Posts Tagged ‘Cycling’


Early to rise and early to shine – to get to the visitor’s centre by 9:30 for the Great Wall of China tour. Today was a slog to get to Pooncarie, leaving Mungo at 1:30pm. I did it, as I am now sitting in Pooncarie.

Pooncarie

Pooncarie


The 70km tourist loop of Mungo – also recommended for cyclists – continued its corrugated way, throwing in short sand for good measure. It was very peaceful and beautiful, though, passing along it in the early morning light.

Morning corrugations

Morning corrugations


Morning corrugations

Morning corrugations


When I heard the Great Wall of China tour was actually at 11, I raced off to the Mungo Lodge to feed. I caught the tail-end of the breakfast buffet. In the half an hour I had, I consumed most of the calories I needed for the day. `The buffet and… a caramel milkshake.

Walking onto the sandhills that make up the ‘Great Wall of China’, under the guidance of a local aboriginal, you see a lot more. The dunes are alive with animal tracks – painted lizards, snakes, magpies, kangaroos, goats.

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China


Leaving Mungo at the hottest part of the day, I made my way along 50km of bumpy, corrugated, sandy road. The start was fine, with a tailwind and better road surface. The last part was awful, and I was counting the kilometres to the main road.

The road to Pooncarie

The road to Pooncarie


When the road did come, it was heaven. Perfect bitumen, flat and a strong tailwind. I made it to Pooncarie in time for a big chicken schnitzel. 🙂

A beautiful cycle through a barren moon landscape. Malley scrub, massive flat saltpans, sand formations and corrugations. Oh, and a caramel milkshake.
On the way to Lake Mungo

On the way to Lake Mungo


The morning was still so time to take out the drone.

The view from above

The view from above


The World Heritage Area began with a climb over a little ridge to see a huge expanse of flatness with a dead straight white line bisecting it to the horizon.

The vast saltpans

The vast saltpans


On the horizon were blobs of shimmering white. They looked like wheat silos from a distance, but as I approached, I saw they were sandhills.

The sandhills before Lake Mungo

The sandhills before Lake Mungo


As I proceeded, I climbed lines of sandhills to descend to the next salt pan.

When I arrived at the main loop around Mungo, where all the tourists go, I hit the corrugations. Sometimes they were ok, and other times they pummeled me to a standstill. The road to the campsite was a bit bumpy in the evening light.

The road to Belah Campsite

The road to Belah Campsite


The east side of Lake Mungo is flanked by a range of sandhills. Blown there by the prevailing westerly wind, they form a range of odd sculptures.

Sand sculptures

Sand sculptures

Sand sculptures

Sand sculptures

Belah campsite is busy. Not the solitary experience I expected. Still, a nice bench to cook dinner on, and a chorus of mozzies and flies to keep me company.

The mornings are beautiful. Crisp air and beautiful light. As the afternoon ages, the flies pick up, and the bum gets sore. My water stop became an afternoon learning about the farm. Thanks Ryan for giving me a glimpse into the day in a life on the farm.

Taking the cattle off the truck

Taking the cattle off the truck


The track continued west with kangaroos and emus crossing.

The track westward

The track westward


The track westward

The track westward


Around 3 the flies picked up.
The flies picked up

The flies picked up


Carrots and sugar snaps, fresh from the ground. I hadn’t expected these. I was greeted my the friendly locals today with food, water, and a place to sleep for the night.


Laura and Michael

Laura and Michael


The road is now truly flat and the landscape arid. I love this kind of country. The red earth, normally bare, is covered in a blanket of grass.

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel

The road to Mossgiel


There were lots of sleepy lizards on the road. I also saw a snake warming itself on the road. I startled it passing, as it dragged itself up into a vertical position.

Sleepy lizard

Sleepy lizard


Thanks to the Huntlys for letting me stay on their property. Lovely people.

Day 8. 0km. Hillston

Posted: October 19, 2020 in Australia, Cycling, NSW
Tags: , , ,

Thunderstorms were predicted, and with dirt roads ahead, it was a day for a rest.

Looking out at the rain

Looking out at the rain

It was spent doing some shopping and asking at the pub where I can get water between here and Lake Mungo. A homestead, a water tank at a hall and a school are now dotted on my map. Thanks Christie and the guys at the pub for all the help!

Hillston

Hillston

Tomorrow into the outback! There may be a delay with some posts. There’s no internet in the outback. 🙂


The clouds have arrived and the wind direction has changed. All is building for thunderstorms tomorrow. With dirt roads and a lot of nothing ahead, tomorrow will be a rest day and a day of research.

The road to Hillston

The road to Hillston


When the wind is at your back, the road surface is good, and it is slightly downhill, the cycling is easy. I was in Hillston by lunch.

Blue tongued lizard

Blue tongued lizard


A trip to the pub tonight made me realise my trip to Lake Mungo will be more adventurous than I thought. Dirt roads and long stretches with nothing. I’ll be planning out all the water stops tomorrow. And the joker card is held by tomorrow’s thunderstorms. If any roads are closed, a new plan is called for.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.


These places are far apart. To cycle to a big town further than 65km, I had to do over 160, so I started at 4am. Speeding through the dark, the first shades of pink developed behind me.

Sunrise on the road

Sunrise on the road

Sunrise on the road

Sunrise on the road

It wasn’t hot, and there was a gentle tailwind pushing me to my second breakfast at Condobolin. A big breakfast and 2 cakes hit the spot.

The main road to Lake Cargelligo has no town in between, so I took a side road that followed the Lachlan River. That way I had some civilisation after 68km. Little did I know this involved 50km of dirt.

Some dirt

Some dirt

Some dirt

Some dirt

The back road

The back road


The bitumen resumed after Euabalong, and I even had a tailwind (rather than the normal headwind) for the last 10km.

I spent an hour relaxing on the lake shore.

Lake Cargelligo

Lake Cargelligo


The scenery has changed. One side of Parkes it was still rolling hills, and the other, the scenery became flat, and although it had a rain-induced covering of purple, it felt harsher. I am approaching the outback.

Flat and purple tinged

Flat and purple tinged

Parkes is famous for its radio telescope that played a part in the 1969 lunar landing and starred in the 2000 film ‘The Dish’. I didn’t go there – it was an hour’s cycle off my route. Parkes is also famous for its Elvis Presley festival. I passed something that was probably part of that – Elvis and a rusty car in the purple field.

Elvis and the car

Elvis and the car

Elvis and the car

Elvis and the car

I am staying at a pretty much abandoned town – Bogan Gate. At the end of the Bogan Way, this old railway town had a pub and cafe that have both closed due to COVID. I called before I left Parkes and they left a door to the hotel open. ‘Leave the money on the table before you go.’ The streets of this town are eerily empty.

Bogan Way

Bogan Way

Bogan Gate

Bogan Gate

Bogan Gate

Bogan Gate

Bogan Gate

Bogan Gate

I cooked some spaghetti sitting out on the verandah out the back. The dog and the cat watched on hungrily.

Hotel cooking

Hotel cooking

Hotel cooking

Hotel cooking


Today I left my planned route to head for the big smoke of Orange. It was a day of unexpected encounters, ending the day eating roast chicken with Graham and Rita.

Graham and Rita

Graham and Rita


I often forget things. I leave things behind, only to discover it when it is too late. Last night I discovered that I had left my bike lock in Tarana, and so today I needed to go to Orange, leaving my Aussievelo cycle route.

The route stayed hilly. The rolling hills are usually covered in brown and yellow dead grass. Now, after the months of rain, it is all covered in a lush, thick cover of green. At times it reminded me of Tuscany in Italy.

The road to Orange

The road to Orange

The road to Orange

The road to Orange


In Orange I made a beeline to the bike shop to buy a lock. That’s where I ran in to Kate – a cyclist who has cycle toured all over the world. We ended up having a picnic lunch on the park lawns as she told me of her trips in Ethiopia and Tibet. She was there in the times it was possible to cycle to Mount Kailash unaccompanied.

In Manildra I was about to set up my tent in the caravan park when Rita came past and invited me to dinner. I joined them in front of their caravan after my glorious shower and clothes wash. We got talking about Rita’s rheumatoid arthritis, and I realised that she wasn’t being treated for it, but just taking an expensive homeopathic medicine. I had written all about rheumatoid arthritis as part of my work at NPS MedicineWise and convinced her to see her doctor.

The road to Orange

The road to Orange

Tomorrow on to Parkes and beyond. I’m told it will get a bit flatter.


It was a cycle through the dark, and then up the very well maintained stairs in the first morning light to the jumble of massive boulders on the top. Lots of gaps and holes to crawl through. Lots to explore next time.

Evans Crown

Evans Crown


Matt the cyclist I met in Leura gave me a tip. While in Tarana, go to Evans Crown at sunrise. I watched the sun poke above the opposite hill as I sat on one of the boulders perched above the valley. Spectacular.

Evans Crown

Evans Crown

Evans Crown

Evans Crown


At 8:30 I finally left Tarana and followed a creek and the train line, climbing up over hills where there train line skirted around the edge. It was a beautiful, peaceful road, super lush and green. Peaceful except for the magpies that squarked and swooped. Nothing like yesterday’s attempt at my eyes though.

The road to Bathurst

The road to Bathurst

The road to Bathurst

The road to Bathurst

The road to Bathurst

The road to Bathurst


The pub in Newbridge is being renovated. No rooms. No food. They have beer though. Had a nice chat with Bob. I’m cycling through a massive volcano crater that stretches from Parkes to Bathurst, apparently. Learn something new every day. 🙂

The pub at Newbridge

The pub at Newbridge