Start: Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia
Total distance: 412 kilometres (256 miles)
Riding condition: Unsealed country roads, some gravel, sealed country roads and about 40 kilometres of highway shoulder.
CWC Website : link
If you're looking for a week long get away with your bike, some mates and have a thirst for pubs and salad rolls. The Central West Cycle provides. Rolling hills of yellow rapeseed fields, grain silos, disused train lines, abandoned petrol stations, solar power farms and more importantly the colourful locals.
Where you can buy mountains of crocheted tea towels, whiskey infused marmalade (yet to be sampled and vouched for), and lamingtons.
I have to admit that being vegan on adventures like this isn't easy. My saliva glands override my ethics at the sight of a fluffy lamington. I know it's just a sponge cake coated in chocolate and dusted with coconut. But just they go so well with a coffee in the morning.
Just follow the yellow CWC stickers and you're set for a week of country love.
Day 1 - Mudgee to Dunedoo via Gulgong
Distance: 86 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Dunedoo caravan park
After a night at the pub (the Courthouse pub) first port of call is the local bakery*. Followed by a last roll around town and obligatory group photo we roll out loaded up and fresh (except the 3 who rode in from Lithgow the previous night). Ok correction, I rolled out of Mudgee with fresh legs.
*Warning: some bakeries have a 'supreme' edition of a salad roll which usually means a pineapple. You have been warned. I wasn't.
If you thought Mudgee was a cute adorable country town, wait until you hit Gulgong (pronounced "gull" gong).
After loading up on more baked goods, cafe treats and barista coffee we hit the road to ride through pastures of grain silos, rapeseed fields and arrived in Dunedoo at a decent our for a pub feed.
Day 2 - Dunedoo to Ballimore via Mendooran
Distance: 110 kilometres
Accommodation: Hair of the Dog pub (camping and cute rooms available)
Some fun facts about Dunedoo.
Rolling up tents when it's still below 4 outside isn't ever fun, but we were all keen to roll out of camp not the least because the camping site was next the B-Double truck route but we were all keen for some baked goodies.
Hot tip #1: Chad's bakery in Dunedoo do a killer blueberry pie and salad rolls for take away.
By lunchtime we hit the Mendooran. When you roll through the main street please wave to the lovely ladies of the Craft shop who are often seen sitting outside their craft store. Do stop and check out their wares of cute tea towels, and knitted goodies. Some of us chose to eat at the pub. I decided to sit out at the picnic area trying to fix my punctured tube.
Hot tip #2: Be careful where you roll your bike, as the "cat eye thorns" can lead to punctures with a slow leak. Don't be like me who suffered 3 punctures because of these thorns this trip.
Hot tip #3: Check you brought the right sized spare tubes before you leave home or risk having to beg your riding mates for a spare.
Luckily I was riding with some generous people who were able to spare me a spare tube and we hit the road.
Hot tip #3: When in the state forest follow the yellow stickers. You don't want to be stuck in the state forest close to sunset with a broken derailleur and have to ride a single speed bike the last 40 kilometres into town. That's doing a Stewie.
Riding through the state forest at sunset was just delightful. We rolled into the Ballimore "Hair of the Dog" pub with a half moon shining down on us.
I think I can speak for the group when I say this pub and its owners were just super. No judgement when we started drying our socks over the fireplace. Also the only vegetarian burger at a pub on this trip.
Day 3 - Ballimore to Dubbo
Distance: 61 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Dubbo caravan park
After much flaffing about at the pub drying tents and clothes in the sun, and trying to find an appropriately nice angle for a group photo of the Ballimore sign (maybe next time install the town sign in front of the trees), we set out for our short roll to Dubbo. With a short roll ahead of us we were able to afford more frequent stops to say hi to some of the four legged locals.
Hot tip #1: Dubbo St vinnies closes at 4pm (we got to Dubbo at 3:50pm)
Hot tip #2: The Indian palace resto in Dubbo may just be the yummiest Indian restaurant in New South Wales.
Day 4 - Dubbo to Wellington
Distance: 78 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Wellington caves
Dinner: Wellington pub
Hot tip #1: If you wake up at the right time you might meet Kim in the kitchen in her bathrobe and words of wisdom. Kim is a retired mental health professional visiting her friend in Dubbo. Kim doesn't ride a bicycle but her husband does. Kim says in her mind she's always 29 but her body says otherwise. Kim might also tell you that she's not one of those mums who hassles her daughter to get married and have babies. We all need a bit of Kim advice in our lives.
Hot tip #2: Dubbo RSL has a fitness centre with a sauna that opens at 6:30am.
Hot tip #3: Dubbo is the kinda town when hot chips is served at all hours of the day. Pies are served with hot chips. No time limit. No judgement. So try to not be too surprised when you're half way through your breakfast pie and a plate of hot chips arrive at your table, try not to say "chips at 9 o'clock?".
Wellington once known as the South Pole for its ice addiction (report from 2015). Unfortunately it did not live up to its junkie reputation. It was quaint, clean and beautiful and full of great things.
Hot tip #4: Wellington cave (7 kilometres out of town) has camping grounds with amazing views of the milky way. Book the cave tour in advance, they get booked out.
Day 5 - Wellington to Gulgong
Distance: 88 kilometres
Accommodation: Camping at Gulgong caravan park
Food: Breakfast donuts and take away salad rolls for lunch from Sang's hot bread, Wellington.
Dinner: Gulgong pub
Day 6 - Gulgong to Mudgee
Distance: 30 kilometres
Food: Breakfast ice cream and takeaway salad rolls for lunch from the bakery
Distance: 29 kms
Elevation: negative. downhill to Nowra
- The biggest epic vegan breakfast at Nowra (The deli on Kinghorne)
Distance: 60 kms (37 miles)
Actual moving time: 5 hours 51 mins
Day of Hike-a-biking. What an epic day under the sun all exposed.
- Empty Firetrails
- Swimming in the creek of the waterfall
Day 3 - Mount Scanzi
Distance: 71.5 kms
Actual moving time: 5 hours 51 mins
- Pie from the pie shop
- Can of solo from the bakery
- Bumping into Tim and Saskia at Kangaroo Valley
- Dip in the creek down Mount Scanzi
Day 2 - Kangaroo River to Kangaroo Valley
Distance: 17.22 km (one way)
Today was supposed to be the "rest day". Little did I realise the climb out of the camp site was a killer. Especially on a scorching hot Australian summer's day. In hindsight maybe we should have packed up and moved closer to the valley that night. Whatever. Still managed to laze about by the river and go for a few dips.
Back at camp the boganville left but left behind all their trash. If you just ignore all the bottles and plastic and rubbish, the camp site was pretty nice and peaceful with perfect sunset viewing position.
Day 1 - Moss Vale to Kangaroo River via Fitzroy Falls
Distance: 58 kms (36 miles)
Actual moving time: 6 hours 47 mins
Start Time: (After lunch at Moss Vale) 12:30pm
Finish Time: 9:00pm
How could I have forgotten so quickly how hard fire trails are. The Jagungal trip was only 6 months ago. Had the traumas of riding the fire trails in the Jagungal Wilderness have faded so quickly.
When I initially mapped out this day out I added the Fitzroy Falls detour to add more kilometres for fear of rolling into camp super early and not having anything to do. That's because I was expecting to be riding 20 kms an hour. The reality is I'm not a fast rider. I'm not confident going down those fire trails and I'll take my sweet time getting down. Also my bike set up was super inappropriately front heavy. All these factors combined resulted in an average speed of about 8.7 kms/h.
On top of being slow to make sure we really rolled into camp late I somehow used a fire trail that becomes a hikers only tail.
- The smells of the forest.
- The post rain mist in the forest.
- The forest.
And for the epics failures, which in hindsight I will call pro tips:
Tip #1: Make sure the fire trail is for bikes and hikers. Just in case that fire trail becomes a hikers only trail and it gets dark and there's only one way to the camp spot.
Tip #2: Secure your load - on your bags. Or you may end up losing your favourite rain jacket on the ride (lucky we had to back track along the trail and found it.
Tip #3: Secure your load - in you bags. Or you may end up with clothes that smell like soy sauce.
Tip #4: Have a bike with the right weight distribution. Definitely don't ride a bike with all the weight on the front and for the rest of your trip spend most of your energy controlling the handlebar and shitting bricks thinking you're going to face plant down that gravel trail.
Adapted from Adam's Attack of the Buns riding along fire trails
Day 1 - Moss Vale to Kangaroo River - map link
Day 2 - Rest Day - Kangaroo River
Day 3 - Kangaroo River to Yalwal via Nowra - map link
Day 4 - Yalway to Nowra via Tianjara Falls - map link
Day 1 - Around Bellagio - strava link
Day 2 - Pilgrimage to Ghisallo cycling museum and Madonna del Ghisallo - strava link
Day 3 - Loop around Lake Como strava link
Day 4 - Rome - strava link
Day 5 - Around Rome - strava link
Day 1 - Bern to Interlaken (Lakeside camping) - strava link
Day 2 - Interlake to Giswil (Lakeside camping) - strava link
Day 3 - Giswil to Wolfenschiessen (Valley of cable cars)- strava link
Day 4 - Wolfenschiessen to Altdorf (Mountain hut)- strava link
Day 5 - Altdorf to Ertsfeld (train to Saint Moritz) - strava link
Day 6 - Airolo to Biasca (Hangry) - strava link
Day 7 - Lugano - strava link
One of my favourite places in New South Wales is the Southern Highlands, a short train trip from Sydney. The best part is you can take your bike, perfect for a long weekend cycle tour camping trip.
Start: Central Train Station @ 7:24am
End: Bowral Train Station @ 10:00am
Day 1 - Bowral - Fitzroy Falls - Bundanoon
Distance: 59 Kms
Pit Stop 1 - Bowral - Gumnut Patisserie
At Bowral we rolled into the Gumnut patisserie for a pre ride coffee and a multi award winning pastry.
Pit Stop 2 - Someone's farm
Goggle maps took us through someone's private property but it was a short 100 m sneaky pass. We figured we weren't going to be long. So shhhh.
Pit Stop 3 - Fitzroy Falls & Lunch
Mini hike around the top of the falls and a perfect spot for lunch.
Pit Stop 4 - Exeter train station
A quick snack break sitting at the Exeter train station only needed to move once for the freight train.
Pit Stop 5 - Camping - Bundanoon - Gambells rest site
Bookings essential details here.
Limited number of sites available here.
Cost: From $25 a night
Facilities: Hot (gas) showers, flushing toilets, gas stoves, taps
Dinner - Eggplant & tofu stirfry
Ingredients: 1 massive eggplant, packet of firm tofu, 4 packets of 2 minute noodles, cabbage, onion, soy sauce, ginger, cooking oil spray. Marinate the tofu. Fry up the onion and eggplant on the stove. Cook the noodles. Cook the tofu. Once the noodles are cooked, mix everything on the stove top.
Bundanoon Night Ride to the Glow worm cave
In the dark surrounded one of the crew recited a beautiful Arabic poem by Ibn Arabi,
I follow the religion of Love
whatever way Love's camels take
that is my religion and my faith
ابن عربي - أدين بدين الحب
Day 2 - Hiking around Bundanoon
Lazy morning, slow to start. Pancakes on the stove top lathered in blue berry jam.
There are plenty a hiking trails in the Morton National Park. We
Day 3 - Easter Sunday - Bundanoon - Berrima - Bowral
Distance: 40 kms
Kicked Easter Sunday watching sunrise over Morton National park, followed by another epic feast of pancakes.
Pit Stop 1 - Bundanoon Markets
Packing down and heading into Bundanoon to sip coffee at the cafe and check out the local markets. Picking up a few goodies at the local op shop and sampling some delish vegetarian Indian goods.
Pit Stop 2 - Berkelouw Book Barn
Lazing about reading in the sun lying on the beautiful grounds of Berkelouw Book Barn.
Perfect ending to a beautiful Easter break.