Posts Tagged ‘Cycling’


With winter approaching, there are not enough hours of daylight to fit in a long cycle in and it’s time for something different. In 1997 I went canyoning with my university friend Hamish. This is a return to that really cool activity in the same really cool place – in the Wollangambe Canyon.

Start: Bell Station
End: Mt Victoria Station
Total distance: 55km
Strava link

Today I lay on my lilo inflatable air mattress and floated down a beautiful canyon deep in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. It was offseason and borderline cold, and so I was the only one. A short walk to the canyon from Mt Wilson town saw me inflating my lilo on the lonely beach surrounded by high cliffs on the edge of the beautiful clear-watered river.

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

At the starting beach

With estimates of 6-8 hours for the trip, with upper estimates of 10 hours, I wanted to get back before dark and so hurried down the deep parts of the canyon. I should have stopped to jump off the cliffs into the cool, clear water. It is an amazing part of the canyon.

The deep canyon

The deep canyon

On the lilo

On the lilo

There were some rocky scrambles. At times they were a bit tricky.

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

Boulder dash

There were also lots of shallow bits which were very relaxing. I could walk along side the lilo and didn’t need to scramble over rocks.

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

Shallow bit

There was even a little side canyon.

Side canyon

Side canyon

The trip back to civilisation saw me cycle 7.5km along the Bells Line of Road. With the Easter traffic trying to leave Sydney, some people found my presence on the road unbearable, informing me that I was a f*ing w*nker and that I should get off the f*ing road. I’ve been living in Australia long enough now to be used to this. Shame though.

My day was, however, a big success. Canyoning is awesome!


Start: Bell Station
End: Leura Station
Total distance: 68km
Strava link

After getting all excited reading about canyoning adventures in the Blue Mountains, I wanted to see if I could get to one of these canyons by bike – at least to the bottom of one. No abseiling required.

I decided to try to get to the bottom of the Koombanda Canyon, following a deserted mine road from Bell, and across a road slip to the base of the little Koombanda Creek. It was all rather adventurous, but in the end, a little too dangerous for me by myself. The boulders in the creek were covered in moss and slippery. I didn’t fancy a broken leg all by myself, so eventually I turned back.

Part two of the trip was along the Mt Hay road, recommended by my Blue Mountains friends Howard and Judith. It was a lovely ride and then walk out to Lockley’s Pylon with a spectacular view out over the Gross Valley.

Early morning at Koombanda Creek

Early morning at Koombanda Creek

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

The little rock slip I needed to navigate

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Koomdanda Creek

Mt Hay Road

Mt Hay Road

Towards Lockley's Pylon

Towards Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

View from Lockley's Pylon

View from Lockley’s Pylon

Road from Lockley's Pylon

Road from Lockley’s Pylon


Start: Blackheath Station
End: Mount Victoria Station
Total distance: 68km
Strava link

I have been eyeing off this trip for months. The trip was foiled twice when thunderstorms were forecast over the Blue Mountains and twice due to track works on the Blue Mountains line. Today was the day. I cycled down part of the Six Foot Trail to Cox’s River with the famous swinging bridge. Returning to civilisation with a train station was a steep affair on a beautiful back road.

The last 7km into Mt Victoria from the west is very dangerous, and I won’t be doing that again. It involves a steep climb up a windy main road with only one lane in each direction, no space to the side of the road, and railings stopping an emergency escape.

The rain had set in by the time I reached Mt Victoria and the traffic was bumper to bumper, so I decided to call it a day there rather than returning to my starting point at Blackheath.

Early morning on the Megalong Valley Road

Early morning on the Megalong Valley Road

The Six Foot Trail

The Six Foot Trail

The Six Foot Trail

The Six Foot Trail

The morning sunlight over the Six Foot Trail

The morning sunlight over the Six Foot Trail

The Six Foot Trail

The Six Foot Trail

The suspension bridge over Cox's River

The suspension bridge over Cox’s River

The suspension bridge over Cox's River

The suspension bridge over Cox’s River

Crossing Cox's River

Crossing Cox’s River

On the way back to the Great Western Highway

On the way back to the Great Western Highway

Cox's River

Cox’s River

66,000km for the bike

66,000km for the bike


Start: Lithgow Station
End: Richmond Station
Total distance: 102km
Strava link

Bowens Creek is at the bottom of a deep gully. It is famous for its canyoning, but, on this trip, I explored it on a road closed to traffic because of a dilapidated bridge crossing the river. It involves a beautiful descent into the valley and a bumpy climb along a road that has all but returned to nature.

To end the day I visited the Burralow Creek campground and waterfall.

Early morning leaving Lithgow

Early morning leaving Lithgow

The coal mine

The coal mine

Wynns lookout

Wynns lookout

Near Mt Wilson

Near Mt Wilson

Bowens Creek

Bowens Creek

Climbing out from Bowens Creek

Climbing out from Bowens Creek

Climbing out from Bowens Creek

Climbing out from Bowens Creek

The waterfall at Burralow Creek

The waterfall at Burralow Creek


Start: Moss Vale Station
End: Kiama Station
Total distance: 117km
Strava link

With a sense of trepidation I set out to cycle past all the major waterfalls in the Southern Highlands. I didn’t expect to be amongst the crowds the whole day. In particular, I had read Belmore Falls was more remote and quiet due to the dirt roads, and the closed walking path to the base was only ventured by intrepid walkers.
Well, looking over Belmore Falls from the top, drone buzzing overhead, I noticed that not only at the top, but at the base there were swarms of instragrammers (OK, like me). I ticked off all of the waterfalls, but was never alone, and couldn’t reach any serenity.
The dirt track to Gerrigong Falls was the most beautiful, passing through some highlands open terrain to the edge of the waterfall.

On the way to Fitzroy Falls

On the way to Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy Falls

Fitzroy Falls

On the way to Belmore Falls

On the way to Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Belmore Falls

Nellie's Glen

Nellie’s Glen

Carrington Falls

Carrington Falls

On the way to Gerrigong Falls

On the way to Gerrigong Falls

On the way to Gerrigong Falls

On the way to Gerrigong Falls

Gerrigong Falls

Gerrigong Falls

Gerrigong Falls

Gerrigong Falls


Start: Mittagong Station
End: Mittagong Station
Total distance: 139km
Strava link

This was always going to be a long day – a 70km ride each-way ending in a 500m drop on a dirt road to the Wollondilly River and a 500m climb out the other side. It was, however, a beautiful trip to the Wombeyan Caves. There is a lot to see there. I only saw the limestone gorge and went for a swim in its beautiful clear cold waters.

The road to Wombeyan Caves

The road to Wombeyan Caves

The tunnel on the way to Wombeyan Caves

The tunnel on the way to Wombeyan Caves

The descent to the Wollondilly River

The descent to the Wollondilly River

On the way to Wombeyan Caves

On the way to Wombeyan Caves

Limestone Gorge at Wombeyan Caves

Limestone Gorge at Wombeyan Caves

Limestone Gorge at Wombeyan Caves

Limestone Gorge at Wombeyan Caves

Turtle in the middle of the road

Turtle in the middle of the road


Start: Home
End: Home
Total distance: 122km
Strava link

With more uncertain weather in the Blue Mountains, this was another cycle nearer to home. I explored the Kurnell peninsula and visited some beaches around Botany Bay.

The highlight was the path along the clifftops on the Kurnell peninsula. It feels quite remote and rugged. It is a peaceful place to sit on the cliff’s edge and watch the waves crash against the rocks below.

The Cronulla sand dunes

The Cronulla sand dunes

Kurnell peninsula

Kurnell peninsula

A place with a view: Kurnell peninsula

A place with a view: Kurnell peninsula

Watching the waves crashing: Kurnell peninsula

Watching the waves crashing: Kurnell peninsula

Kurnell peninsula

Kurnell peninsula

Kurnell peninsula

Kurnell peninsula