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Epic rides in Aus?

11581 Views 69 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Thylacine
Where in Australia can you do a 200+km epic ride through mountains, valleys, etc? I'm thinking a point-to-point ride with a night or two camping under the stars... not just 5 laps of St Andrews.

Check out this thread and you'll understand why I'm asking.

Roughly 100,000 words
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It takes decades to learn the trails through the mountains or shortened to only several years if you buy a copy of the meticulously researched 'Wild Places' by Peter Prineas and Henry Gold. First published by Kaliana Press in 1983. This book is a collector's treasure. There is a recent reprint of 'Wild Places' published by the Colong Foundation. The CF are on the web. The large maps are magnificent in the original 'Wild Places'. The reprint is only $27.50.

Try to find an original copy of 'Wild Places' at a second hand book store in preference to buying the reprinted version that can be bought from the Colong Foundation or at outdoor shops .. and then design your own rides.

The maps in the original edition of 'Wild Places' are large folio. In the reprint they are small (smaller than A4) and difficult to read because of the incredible detail within each map. That's if you like getting right out there, exploring heaps, going where you will see no one else and not giving two f'n hoots if you get it wrong.

National Parks dumb down areas to this level ... locate a copy of Wild Places because every old road and old track is marked. I avoid requesting information from the counter jumpers at National Parks.

The original 'Wild Places' covers the wilderness regions in NSW and the ACT. Kanangra, Ettrema The Budawangs, Bimbiri, Deua/Woila, Bogong/Gooberagandra, Brogo, Nadgi (wilderness coast), Genoa, Indi, Byadbo, Kosciusko/Jagungal, Colo, Barrington Tops, McDonald, Werrikimbee,The Macleay Gorges, New England, Washpool, Mann and Binghi. I'm not sure if the reprint covers the new wilderness regions separately and names them. Areas like Yengo, Nattai and Wollomi and Bobby's Plains because they are under the traditional regional names in the original Wild Places.

The Northern Alps to the Main Range. Canberra to Kosciusko across the mountains is fantastic. Below Bimbiri summit over Pocket Saddle and Coolamine over Long Plain. Farm Ridge to Mount Jagungal coming out at the DH track at Thredbo. If you come in on the back tracks through the back country there are no signs that say ... BIKES ARE NOT PERMITTED PAST THIS POINT. I've not seen a sign with the exclusion details pasted on the back of it telling me to go back, not once ... :skep: :nono:

When riding in the mountains it pays to know the huts and have regular condition updates about them ...

The Western Blue Mountains. Lithgow to the Wolgan River 'through' the mountain along the old standard guage railway line to Newnes, then into Rocky Creek on something resembling a roller coaster track. Into the heart of the Colo Wilderness ... awesome gorge country. The track actually starts at the old railway yards in Lithgow, not just where the Rail Trail site says it does. The tunnel through the mountainis is very dark and full of glow worms. The only place on the planet where glow worms can be seen during the day, I once read.

Any of the Rail Trails through the Victorian forests are magic. Not all of the disused railway lines that can be ridden are listed on the Rail Trails site or paved in tarmac. Link a few track section together ... you will know where the line was.

I rode the dunes tracks on 90 Mile Beach in Victoria last April and refuelled at Locksport pub. Raymond Island off Paynesville (catch the ferry across, cyclists travel for free) Raymond Island and Lake Reeves near Locksport are wonders for wildlife. The Gippsland Lakes are beautiful and easy going if you handle packed sand.

I haven't done the two epic convict built roads, the Six Foot Track in the south western Blue Mountains and the Great North Road, from Sydney to Newcastle ... Several ride reports are on the web for both. I have done part of the Six Foot Track at Jenolan Caves.

I've ridden small sections of the Bicentenial National Trail on the northern ACT border with NSW at Cooyooyarroo and Muligan's Flat and down south at Yaouk and Naas. Excellent single tracks, real sheep trail stuff ... The trail links country pubs together it appears where it runs near my home. At 5,330 kilometres long this trail could link several country pubs together. If you can bunny hop 3m wide low wooden obstructions called horse gates when approaching roads ... you don't have to stop riding ... except to give way to the odd sheep. On the BNT site's home page in 'About' are the cyclist's notes and the 'Shop' has the booklets and maps.

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Im not sure but isn't there a mt beauty to falls creek ride? i read about it somewhere seems pretty epic riding through alpine country,
Wassa covered most of the trails I was thinking of. I know a few people ride from Canberra to Baitmans Bay in one day, you might be able to turn that into 2 days. Also look at the routes for the recent week epics, Mountains to Beach and Terra Australis. There might be something you could do there, although a fair bit of that would be under snow now. There is also the Snowy Mountains which I have always eyed off to do something similar one day (it will never happen).
Ben, I'm glad that you mentioned Bateman's Bay, because it just reminded me of trips in the wilderness behind the Coastal Ranges ... into the Budawangs.

From the small town of Nerriga on the Braidwood-Nowra Road, 1 klick south of Nerriga an old rough track, the Endrick River Road, runs east to join the Endrick River. The road then forks, go south to run between Foster's Mountain and Quiltey's Mountain to finally reach Sallee Creek ...

The track then heads north to Mount Sturgiss, Pagoda Rocks and Hidden Valley, camp in Hidden Valley. The photographer Rob Gray has done some good work near 'Hidden Valley' ...

Dump the bike and spend hour to climbing Mount Sturgiss. Walk out to the edge of the escarpment overlooking the Clyde River Gorge at the end of day 1. Every evening the fog rolls in ...

Day 2, Get back on the main track, and head north to the Vines, You can take 60 minutes to climb Quiltey's Mountain on the way and look at the old Aboriginal Bora grounds ... and the giant snakes ...

There is a section or two of portage over gaps near the Vines because the old wooden bridge is out, an always slippery crossing because of the thick rainforest canopy and moss. Rob has photographed the crossing here These types of crossings are very slippery underfoot because the Vines are a remnant rain forest pocket. You need to be careful on these tracks because of the fragility of the ecosystems. At the Vines head NE to Newhaven Gap or do a relatively short trip west, back to Nerriga. Eventually you will join up with the Braidwood Nowra Road at Sassafras if you go through Newhaven Gap. Excellent riding on huge sandstone slabs through Snow Gums, Sallees, Inland Scribbly Barks and heath lands is to be had here, shallow sandstone slab creek crossings with lots of natural sandstone steps. There are even several creek crossings on the maps marked as 'many rock ribs'.

I can list the topo maps for this ride, but the map to get is called 'The Budawang Sketch Map,' available in camping stores.

The Braidwood-Nowra Road heads west, back to Nerriga. Before then 15ks of much sandstone pavement from New Haven Gap to Sasafrass to enjoy, then about 25ks back to Nerriga on gravel. You will ride through the upper catchments of Ettrema Creek and Bainbrig Creek and Bullee Brook after Sasafrass down a long hill. The road is cut through the sandstone escarpment. This is unbelievable country, to be distracted in. The rivers here are all sandstone filtered and crystal clear.

You will not ever forget this ride through the NW Budawang Wilderness just touching on the southern tip of the Ettrema Wilderness ... you can ride out to the high escarpment of the Shoalhaven Gorge, past The Jumps to Touga or across Quiera Clearing to Tullyangella Clearing to Tolwong, if you still have the energy ...

If you ever do this trip, let me know and I'll detail several side trips, that will knock your sox off Buddy ... guaranteed. Don't take two days you will miss seeing too much, take a week to ride the 100 kilometres, you will most likely turn it into 200. Once you are there, you will know exactly what I mean.

This wilderness is the likely haunt of monsters. You will need to keep a good eye on the carnivorous plants near Sallee Creek ... they don't often see a fresh juicy young cyclist. The last few guys who took this road into the Northern Budawangs still haven't returned, that was several years ago now ... I doubt that the carnivorous plants gave them a chance to go feral.

One of the side trips to Shrouded Gods Mountain ... The Budawangs are also known as the Misty Mountains. They also have another nickname, THE FLOODAWANGS. Finding water doesn't seem to be a real problem here except during the height of summer. You will do many creek crossings.

Another side trip, ... into the Valley of the Monoliths ...

If you ever do this trip, cut a few inches off each side of your handle bars ... because if you are ever going to come face-to-face with a Velociraptor, it will be in a tight rock slit in the Budawangs ... getting stuck will be messy.

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fop1 said:
Im not sure but isn't there a mt beauty to falls creek ride? i read about it somewhere seems pretty epic riding through alpine country,
I know there are quite a few alpine trails around that area (Bogong High Plains), but nothing as lengthy as some of the stuff Wassa is referring to by the sounds of it. But you're right about Alpine country - it really is something to behold. All the way from Gippie to the Blue Mountains really.... there's HEAPS of awesome terrain there to be discovered by us MTB-ers. A group multi-dayer like the link HB posted would be awesome along our Great Dividing Range.

But as for Mt Beauty, I once thought it would be a good idea to try and ride to the top of Mt Bogong and spend the night up there. I did this once on foot via the staircase spur - best hike I've done with an awesome sunset and equally awesome moonset, camping right next to the cairn on the summit. After entering a MTB race around Mt Beauty one year I found several trails/fireroads that seem to lead up to the top of the Bogong range - I figured you could ride up these and from there you could link up with the track that goes from Falls to Bogong summit and ride that to the top, then backtrack from there, coming down via the Big Hill MTB trail network, including the most awesome Surveyors Track. But I don't know if any bikes are permitted on all those trails up on the range.
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Maybe the outback is your best bet. Lots of riding there that could be interesting. has some great advice on these types of trips.

There is also the Simpson Desert Challenge they run here each year which is meant to be amazing. Elvis from DirtWorks does it and he is around MTBR somewhere if you need more comments on that (he's in the Fargo forum occassionally and on Rotorburn)
I reckon you could string something together quite close to Melbourne.
I've been working on getting from Diamond Creek to Smiths Gully store minimising bitumen but I still have a way top go here now need to get along the top - Watery Gully Rd to Clintons rd. From here head out to Yarra Glen- Dixons Crrek- old Toolangi Rd to Toolangi Sylvia Creek Rd to I think its Quarry Track up to Monda Rd Up Mt St Leonard (need to somehow incorporate Tanglefoot track in this) down Monda Track onto track 11 to Donnellys Wier and into Healsville.
I'm not sure how much of this land was hit by the bushfires
The 2nd Orca book has something similar to this I think its Hurstbridge to Marysville160km
Hud's brother, Saint Andrews NW of Melbourne? ... that's no good ... Saint Andrews is a suburb 55k SW of Sydney near the Nattai Wilderness. I was going to say, tell me about the Nattai ... well obviously not.

You being Hud's brother, well my surname is Hudson. I'm Hud's son ... well Hello Uncle!

Mommny says send Daddy home if you see him, She is very cross. I've not ever met Daddy ... and I keep telling Mommy to claim child support. Now I know Daddy is somewhere near Melbourne we have notified Centrelink.

I should be able to buy a new carbon super bike, squishy in the front and the back, with all the child support we are claiming ... or Mommy is claiming.

I Like Dirt said:
I've been working on getting from Diamond Creek to Smiths Gully store minimising bitumen but I still have a way top go here now need to get along the top - Watery Gully Rd to Clintons rd.
Sorry, off topic: cross St Andrews Rd at the end of Watery Gully onto Dawson. Either go up Kings Rd which joins Cracknells via singletrack, or Glenvern which joins Butler, also via singletrack. Either way you'll get to Alma.
Cheers Cowpat
The ST from Kings is at the end ?
I can feel an Epic St Andrews Ride coming on
Yes. Down Kings to the end, bridal trail (signposted) to the left, across the little bridge, up the grassy easement to Couties. On the other side singletrack goes east-west, and there's a northwards branch maybe right there or a few metres to the east, going approx north. Follow this one down into the gully and up again to Cracknells.

If I don't head out to Castlemaine on Saturday I'll probably be riding out to St Andrews from Greensborough instead. If you're interested we can meet up on the way out.
Cheers mate but Saturdays don't work for me (I can't see my 7 year old slogging up theose hills)
I am planning a ride from the store on Sunday morning 8:15 for 8:30 start if anyone is interested in that.
Sorry for Hijacking the thread
Cowpat I mould like to meet you at St A. if you are heading out there. Castlemaine is on my list for the next few weekends, but not this one. There are a few social rides next month at Castlemaine run by the bike shop. I intend getting up there again then.
I Like Dirt, I think you'll find alot of the fireroads are still closed in Toolangi etc. All the gates along Melba hwy have 'track closed' signs on them plus the pipeline works may mean a few areas are inaccesible.
I Like Dirt said:
Cheers mate but Saturdays don't work for me (I can't see my 7 year old slogging up theose hills)
I am planning a ride from the store on Sunday morning 8:15 for 8:30 start if anyone is interested in that.
Sorry for Hijacking the thread
Sunday sounds good to me. Planning a big ride? I need to get out of the house Sunday. Girl stuff happening.:rolleyes:
Yeah really off topic now :nono:. Hud, how about the shop about 9:30? And anyone else if they're looking to ride on Saturday. There's new tracks out there in them thar hills...
Was reading a book on extreme running today and it has an event called "The Bogong to Hotham Trail Run" at Mount Bogong in Victoria. Maybe start looking seems to be EPIC at 64KM :D

You may have to ride illegally to get any "EPIC" trails/ KM's/ ascent worth riding downunder..... BUT this looks interesting....


552 km's…..7 days….. 15,000+ mts of ascent

There is your epic..... :D Dang.....even I'm keen :ihih:

"Terra Australis is an epic seven-day Mountain Bike journey. An unforgettable adventure that will take you from the heights of Victoria's Alpine Resorts, through historic high country villages and Australia's premier gourmet food and wine region. Jaw dropping scenery, Nirvana single track and an amazing natural environment are all part of the experience. Every competitor will be rewarded with a personal victory over the course, over the elements and over your mind, body and soul. If you are looking for the ultimate Mountain Bike endurance challenge then you need to be on the start line of Terra Australis on March 29th 2009."

Some photos :ihih:

Makes the OtwayOdyssey look like a warm up......
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