Old Convict Trail - TRAIL

Old Convict Trail - Trail, Wisemans Ferry, Australia

First 2 km's is a gentle hill climb, nice and smooth. After that varying sections of walking track / fire trail and rocky drops and climbs. Nothing too major though. Some interesting convict plaques at the start of the ride make for interesting reading first time through. Ride as far as you want with the knowledge that the last 2klms is a sweet run down hill with heaps of mild waterbars for enjoyment

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
T. White   Cross Country Rider [Jan 30, 2011]

Also known as the Great Northern Road (according to maps), the Old Great North Road (according to the signs) and numerous variations, as well as "Wisemans", this is the ideal ride if you want some nice views, cruisy firetrail, fast downhills (Western Comsn Track) and of course the fun technical sections. One to avoid on hot days as it gets pretty hot up there. Definately better to go in July (which is when I went), and I still returned sweaty. It can be done at any pace depending on how desired. It was interesting learning about the track's history from the numerous signs and monuments along it, and the Buddhist Retreat is not the sort of place normally sighted along a bike track. The numerous ways of riding it can make your ride as long or short as desired.

I gave it a 4 star rating as it is a fantastic track along the ridgetop, but it requires an uphill at the beginning to get to the interesting stuff. Still, if I could, I'd rate it 4.5/5.

Customer Service

Classic Route (the way I did it): Park in the carpark, catch the ferry accross, and up Devines Hill, at the top of which things get interesting - Rocks, singletrack, technical ascents and descents and dropoffs, half of the fun consists of choosing the line. This continues for 8km or so until the Western Commission junction. If you go right, you'll go back to the start. Left takes you down a flat out descent, past the Buddhist Retreat to Ten Mile Hollow. Going left there moves you to Clare's Bridge 1km away, a nice spot for a snack. It is possible to keep heading north (though haven't done it myself) where it returns to being rocky and technical. Return to the Western Commission junction and head up and down for several kilometes before it descends steeply to the gate. Head right back to the ferry.

One of the interesting sounding alternitive routes consists of turning right (from Clare's Bridge) at the Commission junction, heading back the way you came, until a couple of km from the top of Devine's Hill, turn right for a technical descent to Shephard's Gully Road for 10km back to the ferry. On my list to try next time.

Similar Products Used: Coba Ridge Trail is a fair distance away, but is in the same vicinity, having eroded firetrail similar to the GNR, so if you're in the area, you can hit it as well.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
2
schacksta   [May 10, 2002]

This ride is fantastic. Heaps of variety. The only thing it lacks is tight singletrack, but if its open, smooth fire-trail you want, followed by overgrown, ungraded fire trails, punctuated by technical rocky climbs and dropoffs, this track is for you. I went up the track for 2.5 hours and then turned back, and made it back to the car in 45 minutes... so, yes its quite a climb, but the ride back is worth it, and has some excellent water-bars to have some fun on too. I'll definately being going back for another serve.

Customer Service

As per the original info, but bear in mind that the first two kilometres mentioned are actually out of bounds to riders - there is a sign asking cyclists to walk... down the hill that is.... I think its okay to ride up it.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Pete   [Jun 11, 2002]

As already mentioned, the only thing lacking is a bit of singletrack.
I rode this for the second time a couple of days ago, and there has been some maintenance done to the dirt road that leads down to Clares Bridge - they've created some beautifully smooth sand waterbars - perfect for getting some high speed air.
Highly recommended.
Only 4 stars, 'cos no singletrack.

Customer Service

As above - except that when the ungraded firetrail joins the graded dirt road, you can turn right and head back to Wisemans Ferry - making a ~30km loop (when you eventually reach the tarmac, turn right and you'll end up back at the ferry).
This avoids having to illegally ride (or walk) your bike back down the first 2km (Devines Hill).
An optional extra which is well worth a visit is Clares Bridge which is reached by turning left when you reach the graded dirt road and riding for maybe 4 or 5km (return by the same route).
For full directions, check out:
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~dnoble/Sydneyrides.html
(ride number 3.5)

Similar Products Used: It's the only one I've done in the immediate area - but if you like this, you'll love The Oaks which is in the Blue Mountains - about the same distance from Sydney CBD.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
scott   [Jan 09, 2003]

i drove to wiseman's ferry a tiny town on the hawksbury river -it's quite pretty with big sandstone escarpments surrounding it- i stayed in a 4 star
resort with a golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool etc for $70 a night. the next day i went on the ferry to the start of the "old great northern
road" the day when i stared the ride was wet and miserable- i had visions of having to turn back because of the imminent downpour - but as it happened
the day turned into a brilliant sunny day - i still have the sunburn to
prove it. http://www.npws.nsw.gov.au/culture/north_road/ its a section of the original road from sydney to the hunter valley built by convicts in 1825. the section is closed to all traffic except mtbers and walkers. it has
a lot of original stonework, butresses, culvets and bridges that was built by the convicts as well as convict graffiti scratched into the rock and
stone store houses and stockades etc. as well as a sandstone cave that was converted into a gallows- another spin on the concept of "hanging rock"
- they went to a bit of effort to make the gallows cave/rock as homely as possible with a bench seat and nice steps carved into the stone as well -how thoughtful of the colonial authorities.

there were loads of big dropoffs and interesting riding along the road and the first section "devine's hill" was insanely steep - but i rode it all -
gotta love climbing up steep hills on a bike- the guide book to the area says there are not enough gears to be able to ride that hill- humbug! there
are lots of areas where you can see the convict pick marks on the rock -those guys must have worked real hard- and in chains! lots died apparently.
riding this road kinda gave you the feeling that you had no civilisation round u - it was an isolating experience- i was very concsious of a broken
collar bone if i botched a drop off so far from anyone- i guess it was a feeling that a lot of the convicts woulda felt 180 years ago.

my aim for the ride was to get to clarkes bridge - the oldest bridge in mainland australia - on the map near the bridge was marked "wat budda darma" i didn't know what to make of this but it turned out to be a commune for unreconstruced 50 year old hippies with a temple and various A frame erections etc dotted in the bush - i said hello to the buddists - they invited me to lunch which was to be served about an hour
after i arrived - this gave me time to go and see the bridge. and what an interesting structure it turned out to be! it was like a giant lego construction without any morter/concrete just a pile of stones standing there really - but i bet after the sydney harbour bridge is long gone it will still be there! more solid than a brick shithouse is a convict built
stone bridge!

after marvelling at the bridge for awhile i went back to the temple and had a brilliant vegetarian lunch with the buddists and discused reincarnation
(after what they said - with all my sins- i think i'm comming back as a warthog) and the greater and lesser vehicle- which was interesting - they were sincere and gentle people- the buddists said there are lots of convict ghosts in the area and they have ceremonies which help the ghosts into their next reincarnation. hanging out with them was a plesant end to that section
of the road. then i rode back down their service road and back to wisemans ferry - a round trip of about 42 kms.

Customer Service

Start on the bitumen at the ferry drop of point turn right and ride for two kilometers until you come to the entrance of the "Old Great Northern Road" its well sign posted- start the climb up Devines Hill when you get to the top of the hill avoid the turn for Finches lane- stick to the left track, this will take you alone a rocky road with lots of dropoffs, eventually you will get to a fork in the road the left branch will take you to Clares Bridge- past a Buddist temple- the right hand fork is the road I took to take me back to Wiseman's Ferry

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
snuffmaster   [Feb 18, 2003]

Great track. Long, 30-40km. Get lots of water with you. Two bottles emptied pretty quickly. Half a bottle was used to wash off the blood from my wound as I was going fast jumping over some rocks with more rocks ahead. Camelbak recomended, first aid kit recomended too as there are some unexpected drops and rocky sections. Admitedly I am not a very very experienced ridder.

Great fun though, combination of distance and variety. Please do not follow the tracks inscribed around some sandy sections. The track is widening too much at places.

Customer Service

Yeap, start near the ferry, avoid finch's lane by going left instead as one of the other reviewers mentioned.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
RichardF   [Mar 05, 2003]

NOT A GOOD RIDE ON A HOT DAY AS IT IS UP ON A RIDGE FOR A FAIR DISTANCE, YOU ARE EXPOSED TO THE SUN A LOT.

Customer Service

Ridden this once and it is great. For a fit beginner or intermediate rider it is a blast. It has a few technical spots to keep you interested but generally it is pretty easy riding. We rode for about 4 hours all up and it made me feel great.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
Owen   [Jun 01, 2003]

Makes a great full day epic,the ridge riding is challenging without being too much 'hike the bike', you can maintain a steady speed along the ridge with enough technical sections to keep it interesting.
Its about 49kms to Mogo Creek, which includes a fast long descent on a graded road (watch out for 4wds/cars).Then its steady cadence along the creek road to St Albans,can easily maintain 25kph on this stretch , 20ks or so. At St Albans theres a pub and cafe to get a feed/drink.Then its a leisurely 21ks back to the Ferry on the bitumen. A full day ride with all the hard work at the start and some pleasant coasting at the end.About 93kms all up.Suitable for fit riders only. Start early so you can take in the sights along the way and have a decent rest stop.

Customer Service

Starting as described in the other rides at Wisemans Ferry,continue on the Old Convict Trail towards Bucketty,just before Bucketty take the trail down to Mogo Creek,then follow the creek road to St Albans, bitumen back to WF.

Similar Products Used: Start at Mangrove Mountain,join the Convict Trail to Wisemans , drop down to the Ferry via the Serive Road,then back up Devines, back onto the ridge,take Simpsons Track which loops around to the start. 64kms.(either the Serive
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-7 of 7  

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