Friday, March 28, 2008

Highland fling

Day One: Campbelltown to Moss Vale

On Wednesday last week I had a wisdom tooth taken out. With nothing much to do I decided erratically to pack a few things and hit the road. My plan was to scout out the Southern Highlands. Not wishing to bash though Sydney’s traffic I took the train to Campbelltown then headed out along Menangle Road towards Picton. It was amazing to be riding in the middle of the country only a few minutes from Campbelltown. From Picton I followed the Old Hume Hwy down through Tahmoor and Bagro, then I accidentally turned onto Freeway at Catherine Hill before turning back on to the Old Hume to follow my way around the back on Mittagong and Borwal and onto Moss Vale. I had one flat and a weird defect with rear tire. A large air bubble emerged under one of the layers of the tire to the point that it was catching the break callipers. Eventually it popped and thankfully not the tube but I did get a puncture a few kilometres down the road. I was initially thinking of heading down to Bundanoon to stay at the Youth Hostel but it was getting dark so I pulled in at the Jemmy Moss Inn in Moss Vale. To my delight, the Inn was great value at $30 a night and the food and the atmosphere in the pub was excellent.

(Rail bridge near Menangle)
(Argyle Street, Picton)
(Rural scene from Remembrance Drive/Old Hume Hwy)

Day Two: Moss Vale to Gerringong
I started day 2 at the Il Pranzo café in the mall at Moss Vale. It's by far the best café in the town and they roast the coffee beans on site. I then headed over to Legend Cycles to buy a new rear tire. Eventually at 10am I headed out of town along the Illawarra Hwy then turned right onto Nowra Rd towards Fitzroy Falls. The morning was overcast and very cold and I was fully rugged up with my cycling jacket on. From Fitzroy Falls there was a sharp decent into Kangaroo Valley which involved a lot of breaking. Just before you enter the township of Kangaroo Valley, I passed the Barrengarry Old Store and Post Office that claims to be “The Home of the Worlds Best Pies”. I stopped to try this claim out and I wasn’t disappointed. I avoided stopping at Kangaroo Valley as it looked to be one of those towns that is just full of boring tourist shops. From then it was across the valley then to a sharp climb over Berry Mountain. Halfway up the climb there was fridge on the side of the road that contained a self service fudge shop. From then, there was a lot more climbing then eventually I started to roll down the hill and into the town of Berry. I stopped for a quick feed at the Bakery then pushed on. Berry also appeared to me as one of those charmless town full of various shops dedicated to over-priced kitchen utensils and antiques. I took right turn not far out of town past the hospital then headed directly east along Beach Road towards Gerroa. The road coming into Gerroa was the only part of my entire ride where the traffic was quiet heavy and there wasn’t a very good shoulder to ride on. Finally, there was a steep hill up to Gerringong and the I headed straight to the station to get train back to Sydney.

(Canal at Fitzroy Reservoir)
(View back up to Fitzroy Falls)
(Historic Bridge at Kangaroo Valley)
(Kangeroo Valley)


Each day was approximately 75km of riding which took around 3.5 hours to complete. I’d ended up rushing things because I had to get back to Sydney on Friday night, but I still had a most enjoyable 2 days of riding. Next time I hope to get the week off.

No comments: