Friday, February 11, 2011

The final day of this tour. I left Capertee around 8.30am, after taking a photo of this unremarkable place:

- and headed south on the Castlereagh Highway towards Lithgow, a journey of around 45kms. The road was quite busy and also had some big hills, however it had a decent hard shoulder so was safe enough for cycling.

After a few kms I reached Pearson’s Lookout, from where I got some fantastic views over the Capertee Valley:

I reached Lithgow at about 11, and had a look around, there’s nothing very exciting to see in this rather industrial town. Here are a couple of views of the main street:

I caught the 1.49 train back to Sydney, which took about 3 hours to wind its way the 140kms through the Blue Mountains. Then it was another 16kms uphill to the Northern Sydney suburb of Longueville where I am staying with friends. Cycling over the Harbour Bridge made for a pleasurable end to the ride:

the segregated cycle path is wide and smooth and very well used by cycling commuters, the only bad thing about it is that both northern and southern accesses to the cycle path leave a lot to be desired:

I arrived in Longueville just before 6pm, in time for a quick shower and change of clothes before heading back into the city centre by bus for the Friday Night Skate.

Total distance cycled today 62kms, giving a total of 401kms for the 4 day trip.

Got a busy weekend ahead, meeting several friends, going out to dinner Saturday night, and planning to skate down to Cronulla on Sunday. Then I was intending to do some more cycling in northern NSW next week, but at the time of writing this may have to be shelved as rain has now set in and looks like it will continue for a while. I will keep this blog updated so please keep looking, thanks for reading this far.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I left the very pleasant town of Mudgee at 8.30am and headed east along the very quiet Lue Road. The weather was cloudy but warm nonetheless. After a few kms I was saddened to see a dead wombat, obviously recently killed, by the side of the road.

The road offered wide views of the fertile land surrounding the Cudgegong River:

About 29kms from Mudgee is the small town of Lue, of which most of the buildings seemed to be deserted:

The railway station there had clearly not seen a train for some time:

After about 54 kms I reached Rylstone at about 11.30. This is an attractive little town with tree-lined streets and a rich architectural heritage.

About 7kms further on is the town of Kandos, this was founded early in the last century as the centre of a large cement works.
439 Kandos main street, with Coomber Melon mountain in the background.

About 7kms further on is the town of Kandos, this was founded early in the last century as the centre of a large cement works. Below is Kandos main street, with Coomber Melon mountain in the background.

The Lonely Planet route I am following designates Kandos as the end point for today’s section of the ride, which is meant to end back in Bathurst on the following day, looping back there via Sofala which was visited on day 1.

I didn’t particularly want to retrace part of the route, and I certainly didn’t want to stay in Kandos, it was only 1pm by the time I’d had lunch there and there was nothing much to do there, the museum was closed and there seemed to be few other attractions. So I decided to head south east towards Lithgow, from where it would be much easier to get back to Sydney than froim Bathurst, as it’s served by more trains.

The revised route took me out of Kandos towards Glen Davis, along a very quiet road with by far the most spectacular scenery of the trip so far, passing close by the western foothills of the Blue Mountains. The scent of eucalypt was almost overpowering as the temperature continued to climb and the clouds dispersed to leave a brilliant blue sky:

Most of the road was sealed tarmac but towards Glen Davis (40kms from Kandos) there was a few kms of dirt road, however it wasn’t too rough. Just before Glen Davis the route turned off towards Capertee, the revised destination for today.

The last 30kms were a slog; it was still very hot in the late afternoon and the road became increasingly undulating. I finally reached Capertee, which consists of a hotel and a few houses, back on the main highway south from Mudgee towards Portland, at around 7.30pm and found a quiet room at the hotel which, seemingly like all the other hotels in the region, is called the Royal Hotel.

Total distance today - 145kms.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I left Hill End around 9am and hit the road to Mudgee, my destination for the day. The road continued undulating and hilly as it was yesterday. There was a dirt section for a few km but it didn’t last long and I was soon back on good tarmac with virtually no other traffic all day.

I came across this very strange looking insect crossing the road:

After about 35 kms I reached the former mining town of Hargraves, now just a tiny village with a single store, where I stopped for a cold drink:

The road onward continued hilly and afforded some decent views:

Just outside Mudgee the route joined a busy highway, which fortunately had a decent hard shoulder to cycle on safely:

Arriving in Mudgee just before 2pm I found accommodation at a comfortable motel in the town centre:

and proceeded straight away to the nearby wineries to sample their produce. There are about 40 wineries in the region and I managed to get around 5 of them by 4pm when most of them close.
The wineries in this region don’t tend to export overseas and the ones I sampled were unfamiliar to me; I found the wines to be of a good standard but probably not as good as those from other better-known wine-growing areas. It was enjoyable riding alongside the vineyards, I didn’t take any photos because I was in too much of a hurry to get to as many as I could before they closed.
On the way to the vineyards I crossed the Cudgegong River:

There are helpful signs everywhere telling you where the wineries are:

On returning to Mudgee I took some photos of the many interesting old buildings in this attractive town:

I then enjoyed an excellent gourmet pizza washed down with a local Barbera at Roth’s wine bar, then back to the motel.

Total distance today, including the excursion around the wineries, 98.1kms. Max speed reached today 63.5 kph - yes it was hilly!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 1 - Tuesday 8/2/11

Hi, thanks for checking out this blog, which is the latest instalment in my quest to ride all of the routes detailed in the Lonely Planet Cycling Australia guide. Previous episodes have covered my rides from Sydney to Brisbane and Melbourne to Sydney; this time I’m taking it relatively easy, planning on doing 2 separate rides in NSW with a break in between, as on this holiday I need to spend some time in Sydney.

Yesterday (Monday 7th Feb) I rode a Greyhound bus from Sydney to Bathurst, which is the start of a 4 day circular route through wine and gold country. I arrived at about 8.15pm and got a reasonably early night.

I got away from Bathurst about 9am today, having taken a ride around the town and photographed a few of the historic buildings, of which there were plenty. This was the first inland settlement to be established west of the Blue Mountains:

On the outskirts of town, on the banks of the Macquarie River, is this memorial marking the spot where the town was first proclaimed:

The next 40kms of road were very undulating, making the riding fairly tough going It was hot as well and I was glad when I reached the halfway point of today’s section, at Sofala. This is a former gold mining town, now largely abandoned, however it does still have some historic buildings from the gold rush era of the 1870s, including a charming old pub where I took in a leisurely schooner of Toohey’s New. Not the most sophisticated of drinks but refreshing nonetheless.

Sofala is on the banks of the Turon river, seen in this photo:

The road remained undulating, and soon became unsealed:

It continued like this for about 10kms, during which I was thankful for my bike’s suspension mechanism. Soon after rejoining the tarmac I came upon this large lizard in the middle of the road:

At about 4.30pm I arrived at Hill End, the destination for this first day of the ride, and checked into the Royal Hotel, built 1872:

I was given a room on the first floor with access to the verandah, where I was ale to take in a very well earned beer in the still hot afternoon sun:

Like Sofala, Hill End is a former gold mining town which though largely now abandoned, still has a number of historic buildings:

I went for a walk along a well marked trail showing the site of some of the former mine workings:

This is the entry to a disused mine:

On the way back to the hotel I saw a number of kangaroos:

I enjoyed a lovely meal at the hotel, which I was surprised to find had free wireless internet - not something one expects in remote places like Hill End.
Total; distance covered today (including a tour around Bathurst) 95.8kms. Maximum speed reached 59.8kms on a long swooping downhill.