Posts Tagged ‘Newcastle’


The ramshackle collection of tin shacks lies in the sand dunes, windswept, at the end of the world. I love this place.

On the way to Tin City

The drizzle cleared and the sun poked through. The Tin City shacks were waiting.

Tin City shack
Tin City from above

I took side roads when I could, but the main road was a stark contrast to the desolation of Tin City.

Port Stephens is busy, and Hawks Nest is a quiet, laid back version of it. An amazing thin line of sanddunes stretches out to a headland. That’s where I cycled.

Yacaba spit
Yacaba spit
Yacaba spit
Yacaba spit

Tomorrow more new places to explore. Here is an old post of Tin City.

https://www.strava.com/activities/6295756568


“Where are you guys going?” asked the kid in his souped up hoonmobile who had pulled over as I inched up the hill in the dark.

“Newcastle,” I replied.

“F*ck me!” I guess lots of people had been wondering what these hundreds of cyclists were doing cycling though the rain in the middle of nowhere in the dark.

Newcastle Overnight checkpoint at Mt White

The Newcastle Overnight is an annual event where a wierd bunch of people (including me) leaves Observatory Hill near the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 9pm to cycle through the night to Newcastle, 173km to the north. It includes some longish ascents and descents in the dark to Gosford before the brain enters spaced-out mode, cycling past the Central Coast beaches and lakes when all are sleeping and only the crazies are out.

I met with Jo again. We have met on several of these rides and shared stories about the crazies. The famous one is of the 20 year old guy walking down the street naked at 3am near Budgewoi holding nothing but a branch. The event pulled the brain out of its inner processes to focus on the now. Once focussed, I had passed. No evidence photo was taken. Only me, Jo and dozens of others had seen it.

This year, no naked guys with branches but I did pass 80,000 km on the bike, just a few km from naked man road.

80,000km for the bike

Just after 80,000 on naked man road I passed a hungry man. There was no Budgewoi checkpoint this year and nothing open for about 20km. Luckily I like taking a lot of stuff on these trips. Although I couldn’t interest him in a kitchen sink, he was interested in some fruit cake and bread.

As is usual on these trips, you start together, have short stints cycling with others and having a chat, but most of the time is spent in a meditative brain state. I started cycling with Jo, and we met up again at the end.

Before departure in Sydney
Made it! 173km later in Newcastle

Thanks to Josh and Annie who both Jo and I had chatted with en route, for taking us back to Sydney in the car!

With the weather forecast of rain all week, I have decided to not cycle in the Snowy Mountains this week (through snow, sludge and freezing temperatures) but rather to take the Newcastle Overnight cycle as day one of my cycling holiday north of Sydney.

https://strava.app.link/l29O1teCnlb


Start: Observatory Hill, Sydney
End: Newcastle Ocean Baths
Total distance: 84km
Strava link

‘Did you see the naked guy with the branches?’ they asked me at the Budgewoi drink stop. I had – a 20 year old guy walking down the main road naked – only wearing a few branches tied to his body – at 4 o’clock in the morning. These things happen cycling along the central coast to Newcastle overnight.

Normally I cycle alone, but this trip caught my attention. A group of about 150 cycling up the main road (not the freeway) from Sydney to Newcastle. To avoid the traffic, they do it at night.

At night there is a different vibe. Peace reigns as you cycle through the bush, through the night. Everyone is sleeping as a cloak of darkness engulfs, only penetrated slightly by the wobbly beam lighting the road 2 metres ahead. `
Everyone is sleeping except the central coast hoons careering along in packs, illuminating the low-hanging mist, bush and cyclists with their industrial strength headlights.

Two official stops – at Mt White and Budgewoi – and random service stations are were where the cyclists meet. We feel camaraderie as we carry out this crazy activity together. At Budgewoi at 4am I stopped at the little erected tent near the roundabout and had a bacon and egg burger kindly made amazing volunteers. The naked guy was the talk of the town.

Mt White checkpoint

Mt White checkpoint

The most exotic bike to do the ride

The most exotic bike to do the ride

Budgewoi checkpoint

Budgewoi checkpoint

The last stretch into Newcastle was along an old train line – the Fernleigh track. Arriving in Newcastle, it was time for a burger with the works. I had earned it.

Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie

Fernleigh Track

Fernleigh Track

Newcastle Ocean Baths

Newcastle Ocean Baths


It was morning, the sun was shining, I had a big tailwind, it was flat, and for the first time cycling for a long time, I put on my Infected Mushroom music. The kilometres hurtled by. The energy music from my adventures in Borneo and Sulawesi was fitting for today. I felt the strength in my body, the blood pumping through my veins and I saw the road whiz past. I laughed with joy. I was on the way to Tin City!

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City is a collection of little tin shacks plopped in the middle of an endless beach with massive, rolling sand dunes. It feels like the end of the earth, with the wind howling, and the sand blasting against your skin. Popping out from Boyces Trail which led me through the scrub to the start of the mountains of sand, the strength and raw beauty of the nature was imposing before me.

Boyces Trail

Boyces Trail

The dunes start

The dunes start

Scurrying up these sand monsters and down the other side, I feel like in my own personal playground. I stand on the crest looking out over the expanse of sand, all to the backdrop of the howling wind.

The sand dunes

The sand dunes

I spoke to Al, often the only person here. Today he had a few guests. He looked rough like the wind and sand, and had an inner peace. He felt comfortable and at ease. I could tell that he belonged here.

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City, Stockton

After a fight into the same wind that had blown me here, I was in the train from Newcastle, and back in the hustle and bustle of Sydney. What a contrast!

Tin City, Stockton

Tin City, Stockton


They’re offering me a job! There I was with this amazing email, in Swansea, 30km from Newcastle. I had just returned to civilisation after a beautiful solitary jaunt along quiet roads through the national park. Beaches and scrub galore. And now, they’re offering me a job! My excess of free time is approaching an end.

Through the scrub

Through the scrub

The mission is to find a cycling and camping experience suitable for my new partner Aaron. I now have found a satisfactory route from the train to the beach. Not too hilly, and an acceptable amount of traffic. After Budgewoi, the nature starts – the Munmorah State Conservation Area. Scrubby, sometimes wooded, hills along the coast. Getting to the Freeman’s camping ground is not too hilly. After that, it is too hilly, but Frazer’s beach with a nice camping ground is beautiful.

Frazer Beach

Frazer Beach

I had a lovely chat while eating my lunch. The guy was interested in my bike trip, and I told him a few stories.

The road to Frazer Beach

The road to Frazer Beach

After the park, the Pacific Highway was as big and busy as always. There is a wide shoulder, but, it remains unpleasant. Goal for today was Newcastle, all ready for the Tin City on Stockton Beach tomorrow. It looks like a cool, spacey place. http://365project.org/onewing/365/2016-07-26