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There and Back Again. A bike riders holiday.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Benny Boy, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. I wasn’t sure if it was worth posting plans for my upcoming road trip.
    Most of the roads I’m travelling on have already had write ups by other riders who have travelled them recently. But I may be able to add a few insights and at least clear up the debate about the state of Thunderbolts way.

    I’m aiming to get to Jenolan. Im camping where possible and staying in hotels as a last resort.

    I have an idea what I’m doing for the trip, but there are still a few areas that I haven’t sorted yet.

    Basic plan so far is:

    Day 1 Dec 31st Ipswich to Bald rock NP, via Goondiwindi.

    Day 2 Bald Rock NP to grafton via Gwydir HW, then taking Waterfall way to Clouds Creek, Armidale and finally ending up at Tamworth where I plan to stay at a mates place for two nights.

    Day 4 From Tamworth im back tracking to Bendemeer and heading to Walcha (avoiding the fuel there) to head down Thunderbolts way. From there to Cessnock and then Wollombi. From here I haven’t decided if I want to go south and then take the Old Pacific Highway or head west and go via Bylong Highway.
    Depending on where I find a place to stay will depend which way I go. Suggestions would be most welcome.

    Everything going well ill end up in Jenolan on Friday arvo, where ill stay for a few nights before heading back on Monday. I’ve three days to get back home before I start work again. Keeping it relaxed so I can sightsee on the way home.

    Ill be taking either Bylong highway or Old Pacific highway on the way back, again depends on where I can find accommodation/camping.

    Then back to Glouchester and onto Nabiac. Depending on time going via Kempsey, Willawarrin and Macksville and then onto the eastern section of waterfall way via Dorrigo. Then back up to Grafton and the Sumerland way to Casino. From here it back home via Bonalbo and the Mt Lindsay Highway. I may change this as I’ve read Lions way is a bit messed up at the moment.

    That’s it in a nutshell.
    Work has been incredibly busy lately so haven’t been for a decent ride in months. Can't wait for this trip.
  2. No Oxley? Seems a shame to miss the best bit of riding in this area. Would suggest maybe doing Oxley from Port Macquarie & head up to Armidale then back down to Dorrigo.Couple of great waterfalls to look at ...Apsley near Walcha & also at Ebor. From there either Waterfall way to Coffs or travel up thru Nymboida to Grafton (or both)
    Road up thru Kempsey, Willawarrin,Bellbrook to Macksville has a fair bit of gravel
    • Like Like x 1
  3. ^^WHS^^

    You can't go that close and not do the Oxley.
  4. From Tamworth you can turn off at Nemingah, go via Dungowan and take the Port Stephens Cutting to get to Thunderbolts. Saves backtracking and it's off the highway. The cutting is an interesting bit of road, too.
  5. Yeah no Oxley, for the moment. I did it at the start of the year and was aiming to do the roads i haven't travelled on yet. But plans can change, so i may end up in there again. Cheers for the heads up about the gravel.

    I did a bit of reading this morning, is the West head road in Ku-ring-gai chase NP worth doing. I want to ride good roads because they're good, not because they're in a book.
  6. Bylong Valley way, is a top ride.
  7. Was always planning to fit it in. But after reading your thread it became a must do.
  8. Mate, even do the Bylong Valley way, then through Sofala and go treat yourself a lap of Mt Panaroma (Bathurst)

    Enjoy your ride, looking forward to a report and a few pics.

  9. Heard there is a bit if gravel there, or is it sealed now?
  10. No gravel when I went through there in August.
  11. i recently rode some great roads out near jenolan caves (whose road is currently being resurfaced in the twisty section and should be avoided)

    Dukmaloi road was great, as was Rydal Sodwalls Tarana Road (what a name) as well as O'connell road.

    Maybe you can factor some of them in on your ride, Rydal Sodwalls Tarana road is cool, pretty isolated and some cool old bridges that you ride over.
  12. #12 Ljiljan, Dec 11, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
    That reminds me, don't do this: http://www.superduke.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=76227. That was on Diamond Swamp Rd.

    Dukmaloi rd is excellent, it comes with one major problem though - once you're properly having fun you are so far into gaol territory that you might never see home again.

    Unconnected, can you be more specific about resurfacing the "twisty" section?From memory, there's about couple hundred metres or so that could be considered the "straight" section of that road.

    Also, if you are planning on heading up the hill out of Jenolan onto Edith Rd towards Oberon, be aware that the road is quite honestly the worst quality "sealed" goat track I've ever ridden or driven on. Even worse than many gravel roads, no joke, it really is that bad.

    In addition, the road out to Sofala & Ilford from Bathurst is pretty decent and from reports has recently been resurfaced so would make a good run. Also while I haven't been out there personally, stories are told that the roads around Portland and Sunny Corner are quite worth visiting.
  13. I dont know for sure, but when i went up to bathurst 3 Saturdays ago the word on the street/netrider was that jenolan caves road should be avoided in the very tight steep section, as i have not ridden that road before i cant exactly pin point it, but we made a decision to avoid it. There were threads about it in road conditions i think.

    EDIT: i was out at sofala on my ride and can confirm the roads were nice that way, i dont know the names of the exact roads as i was not leading the ride and didnt have the directions / had decided to avoid knowing where i was going the entire time to keep it exciting.
  14. No worries. Cheers. From what you said I assume they are fixing the main road into jenolan - it gets pretty bad in paces.
  15. Cheers guys. From reading the road reports sections it looks like the jenolan road should be good now. Although i've done it in the past so im keen to try a few of these other roads to get to jenolan. The way im travelling im avoiding entering jenolan from the west.
    I remember at the start of the year that the road was incredibly steep and tight. It felt like the bike was going to tip over at one point the corner was a very steep hairpin. I ended up taking the corners on the wrong side of the road, hoping no cars were coming the other way.
  16. Wondering if anyone can recommend a place to stay/camp in the Maitland area, or east of the Maitland area?
  17. Well i got back last night, a day earlier than expected. And quite thankful of that. Im laid up at the moment with a bug. so ill try and write this up as i get time. Overall the trip was 3581.5km.
  18. So I finally had a trip that didn’t end in a crash or me copping a speeding fine or loosing any equipment, or coming home to find a relative had passed away.

    To begin, the departure day arrives and I’ve slept in.

    Not a big deal. I had canned my original plan to ride to Goondiwindi, water over the roads and stuff, and decided to have a relaxed morning and a short ride day. Also I hadn’t visited Vincenzo’s in ages and wanted to stop by there for a pie lunch on my way to Basket Swamp National Park (free camp site) where I was going to camp for the night.

    It had been a while since I had done any decent all day riding, and it had been even longer since I had ridden with weight on the back.
    In the months leading up to Christmas I had limited my riding so I wouldn’t build up km’s on the bike requiring me to get it serviced before the trip, which I couldn’t afford. So I saved the km’s, did the trip and now it’s waiting to get serviced when I have the money.

    Getting back into it didn’t take too long, but I felt off balance for the start of the trip. I realised I had put my main bag more to one side which was throwing my balance off. A quick readjustment of my main bag and I was flowing through the corners as I headed out of Boonah and on my way to Warwick via Cunninghams gap.

    I have done these area dozens of times, but I had never seen the landscape so green. That meant a higher chance of animals on the roads.

    I made the first of many route changes at Vincenzo’s. Instead of Staying at the free site at Basket Swamp I would travel a little further to Bald Rock NP. Since I was making good time I thought I might be able to include a hike to the Bald Rock summit.

    I checked out basket swamp before going to Bald rock. I t has 4km of fine dirt road that road bikes can use if there careful.

    I met another rider there who was on a Triumph Trident. Last model of it type with disc brakes and electric start. Dont know why i din't take a pic but the bike looked good.

    The campsite at Bald Rock is OK. It was tricky to find a site where I could park the bike and set up a tent. Most of the site seemed to be more suited for caravans and campers. At least you could make a fire if you wanted.
    Slide2. Slide3.
    Nights are cool around here even in the summer Slide1.
    I circled two hikers to give you an idea of scale. PC300020.JPG
    The Summit of Bald Rock
    • Like Like x 1
  19. DAY 2

    With a long ride ahead of me I was packed up and on the road as soon as possible. The sun in my eyes and the road covered in patches of light and shadow, made animal spotting difficult. I didn’t even see the wallaby on the road ‘till it was only a few meters in front of me.

    Just a bit further up the road before I reached Tenterfield I saw a mob of roos on the side of the road. Most of the roos moved off the road into the bush. But there always seems to be one that has to be different and run out infront of you. Thankfully I saw the group with enough time to quickly slow down.

    Found just outside of tenterfield PC310042.JPG

    I took the New England down to Dundee and took a short cut to Bald Knob on the Gwydir Highway. The short cut was rough and neglected. Not only was I dodging potholes, I was also dodging branches that had fallen on the road. But it saved time as I bypassed Glen Innes.

    Gwydir highway is a great road. This was the second time I’ve done it. Last time I did it my tires almost out of tread, so it was good to do this road with some proper grippy tires. Plenty of corners on this road and some great views. I tried checking out some of the campsites in the Gibraltar NP. All of them have smooth dirt roads
    Raspberry Lookout just off the Gwydir Highway.

    When I got to Grafton, it was a mess. Apparently there had been a crash on the main bridge that had the CBD clogged with traffic and vehicles were backed up for kilometers north and south.

    The joy of being on a bike. I was able to slip through all the traffic grab lunch and fuel and continue south along the Grafton Armidale Road. But not before encountering a truck that was reversing into a loading dock and blocking off the road. A lady with good intentions was directing traffic, and strongly suggested I go around the truck. I pointed out that without proper traffic control that idea would put me in the path of oncoming traffic. I insisted on waiting, which was very good idea because at that point as a long stream of traffic came the opposite way down the only open lane.

    Finally on my way again, I wasn’t impressed by the Armidale Grafton road at first. It was rough and narrow in places. The road gets better as you head south. I was starting to tire when a group of riders caught up to me. The leaders over took me but I felt renewed and I found I was riding better again as I kept up with the leaders, but managed to stay well ahead of the other riders at the back of the group.

    They turned off towards Dorrigo and I continued towards Armidale. I stopped off at a few waterfalls along the way and took some pics. Im not posting most of these as Dobbo has already posted pics of most of the falls in his thread.

    Ebor Fall. A photo to prove that i don't just take selfies.

    Upper and Lower Ebor Falls
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Got a few pics so im splitting day two over two posts.

    This one is Wooloomi falls. The highest falls in Australia. I checked out the Green Gully campsite while I was there. It’s bitumen road to get there and through the campsite. Just be careful of cows. I was planning to stay here on the return trip back and wanted to make sure it was accessible, otherwise I’d need to make alternate arrangements.

    View from the lookout. A short walk from the Green Gully Campsite.

    One of the churches in Armidale. i wan't going to post this but, considering how hard to was to get a half decent pic of this because of the suns position. Im including it so i can say justify why i took it.

    Back on the road again and after fueling up in Armidale I headed straight for Walcha and the first section of Thunderbolts way. It only the first kilometer or so of thunderbolts once you pass the roundabout in walcha that is bad. The next 40 km are a bit harder to describe. It’s like a good road, but with patches of rough stuff, or a bad road that has had some recent resurfacing creating some smooth sections. Unfortunately I didn’t find any moon craters that other riders have said exist on this road.

    I was heading for Port Stephens gap. Tone2 told me this was now a fully sealed road. I got a surprise when my GPS told me to turn off onto a rough gravelly road. I thought there is no way I’m doing that and considered turning back. But I decided to go ahead and see if there was another road. A few km’s south I found the actual road Tone2 was referring to. Easily identified as it had a sign directing me to Tamworth. It was a really good sealed road, but one I wished I had done another time. At the end of a long 600km+ day I struggled to stay focused as I made my way down the steep tight corners with the sun in my eyes. I had to pull over at one point and rest. It is a great road, one that may be better going west to east so you can power up the slope, unless you like the challenge of a down hill slalom.

    Slide2. PC310079.JPG
    Had a good little break here until i saw the grain truck skid marks. I was stopped in an emergency stopping bay. (I think)

    Finally I arrived in Tamworth to celebrate New Years Eve at mates place. I’d be spending the next two days there so it would give me chance to check out the surroundings.