Saturday 27th April
Saturday morning, we had a bit of a sleep in and finally got under way at 9am. I was going to take Nyree back over a trip I had done a few months before. I had a free weekend so headed out through Kanangra Walls, Dingo Dell and camped in Abercrombie National Park, and came back through Burraga and Oberon.
This one was to be in the same general direction, but heading further west to Wyangala Dam and then making our way back from there on the Sunday.
So through a bit of mid-morning Saturday traffic through Chatswood and we were on our way to Richmond and up the Bells Line of Road to Bell where we turned down the escarpment into Hartley Vale and our first stretch of dirt road.
We crossed the Great Western Highway and followed Coxs River Road into the Kanimbla Valley. From one of the high points on the road you can see a massive building out in the distance, it looks like an office block – but it must be someone’s house. It’s further up the Coxs Road on the way to the campsite, so it’s definitely another ride for another day to investigate. We made our way along through Ganbenang and back up onto Jenolan Caves Road. We then headed down into the Caves, it’s been a long time since we’ve been down here, it really is another one of the roads where we wonder how did they come up with the idea to whack a road through here? Anyway, we arrived, parked the bike and grabbed a coffee. Again a long time since we have been here, I remember it as a bit run down, but now it seems fresh and it was busy!
We departed and headed up through Chatham Valley and across Shooters Hill down into Porters Retreat where we followed Abercrombie Road down through the crossing and up the other side towards Taralga before turning off onto Craig’s Road and eventually coming out at Laggan. I wanted to have a beer here, as I’d seen a bumper sticker saying “where the bloody hell is Laggan pub”, but alas we were a bit behind and if we were going to stop we’d definitely be arriving at Wyangala in the dark.
So we continued on through Crookwell and out through Rugby, which turned out to be nothing, we were expecting a little town! We turned north and headed up through Hovells Creek before hitting the junction to turn towards the Dam. The countryside reminded us of Lake St Clair as the ridges and valleys made a natural bowl that was perfect for a dam. Unfortunately, we couldn’t ride across the dam wall as it was closed for maintenance, so we back tracked and headed into the little town of Wyangala and headed up the road that followed the back of the ridge that contained the waters of the dam. We turned off onto Oaky Creek Road and headed down a steep road to the shores of the dam. It was actually like crossing the rim of a crater and heading down into the bowl of it. You could see the dam level was low as the tree line stopped well short of the water level.
By this time light was almost gone and we just managed to get onto the sandy shore and pick a spot to set the tent up. I did manage to drop the bike in a sandy patch, and we decided that this was good enough spot to set up. I got to work pitching the tent and Nyree headed back to the tree line to grab some firewood.
We were set up in no time at all, roll mats and sleeping bags out, gear stowed away and Nyree had the fire started. We set our chairs up, made a cuppa and prepared our dinner of freeze-dried Chicken Tandoori.
I had been raving about the last freeze-dried meal I had, but Nyree being a beginner with freeze-dried food wasn’t so sure. Unfortunately, I rushed it a bit and it ended up being a bit too soupy and not quite hot enough. Regardless when your hungry anything tastes ok, I assured Nyree it will be a better effort next time. We sat around for a while, it was a million-star clear night, there were also a few others camping in the distance with campfires flickering. We let our fire die down and we decided to hit the sack and hope for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday 28th April
It must have been OK, I awoke a few times and eventually got up around 7.30, however Nyree’s sleep wasn’t as good, she kept rolling off her mat as we were on a slight downhill incline, and she also felt the cold.
Breakfast was the 2nd effort at the freeze-dried delicacy, this morning it was bacon and eggs with hash browns. This one turned out better, although Nyree still can’t get her head around the whole concept of powdered food!
We packed and were on our way by 8.30, we headed back into Wyangala township to fill the fuel tank and took a sidetrack up to Elliott’s lookout, which of course looked out over the dam. We continued on and backtracked past our campsite and continued onto Quart Pot Road which we figured would take us the edge of the Pennsylvania State Forest which we wanted to travel through and hopefully come out the other side near Trunkey Creek.
We turned off onto Tea Tree Road and followed this fire trail for some way until we came to a locked gate. Just as we stopped, a 4WD towing a camper trailer came through and proceeded to unlock the gate, I asked if we could get through and they said no it was private property, and that we should head back a bit and pick off another track heading to the north and through Pennsylvania to bring us out at Trunkey.
We had to make another detour off this track as it was closed for logging – probably could of gone it, but to be safe…anyway we made our way onto Kentucky road and ended up in the little hamlet of Neville. From here it was a dirt road back out onto the main Trunkey road. We stopped at Trunkey Pub, arriving about 10am, a bit early for a beer! so coffees were ordered. It was nice sitting in the sun on the front porch and enjoying a great coffee, we’ll definitely stop here next time, the coffee was great.
We headed south down the main road that was now the Goulburn Road, and decided to head past Abercrombie Caves and visit them another time, not far on we turned into Bald Ridge Road that would take us through to Burraga. We stopped here for lunch of hot chips from the local store, which doubled as the front room of the owner’s house. A very little place Burraga with not much, in its heyday near 100 years ago it had a population of a few thousand, thanks to the mine. The owner told us how her little kids travelled an hour each way on bus to school in Bathurst. It seemed we were a long way from anywhere, but I suppose when you travel in Sydney it takes you just about an hour to get anyway, and causes a lot more stress!
We were planning on heading south through Arkstone and into and across Abercrombie River N.P but time was getting on so we made a beeline for heading back to Black Springs and the Oberon and home.
We headed back down the hill to the Gt Western Highway and across and up through Hartley Vale to Bell and made our way on the usual route back down the mountain to the M5 and home to Narrabeen.
We arrived just on 5pm, covering only 880km, down on what was originally planned. However that leaves more to explore on our next trip!