From now on we will release an adventure road book as a closing piece of content for each Over Yonder adventure. The reason being we want you to be able to enjoy the ride as much as we did. Follow the entire route, or just pick the bits you like. It’s our hope that you’re inspired in some way, shape or form, to get out and adventure in our great big Aussie backyard. We begin with the Gold Rush road book.
EQUIPMENTWe each rode our Giant TCX cyclocross race bikes, with slightly more favourable gearing - 38t x 11-36. We weren't fully loaded, but did have a couple of backpacks and one Revelate Designs saddle bag - however these were mainly for our camera gear, plus additional food & water.
Eating & drinkingCarry a lot of food & water. This route doesn’t hit any shops until you arrive in Hill End. Once you do get there you would be well advised to make for the pub. It's very good.
SleepingWe were camping for this trip, coupled with the luxury of not needing to carry our gear (on account of having a support vehicle). However, we did have the misfortune of riding over the Easter Long Weekend. Our initial plans had been to sleep at the pub, but instead we ended up at the Glendora Campsite, just out of town.
Word of WARNINGWe were lucky to be riding in mild conditions. Should you encounter warmer temperatures, be sure to carry LOTS of water. The route is exposed, the sun can be brutal, and your only real water supply is the occasional river crossing.
#OYRGOLDRUSH — Day 1 on
Our route from Hill End to Sofala was not a direct one. That would have been far too short, and could easily be achieved by heading straight along Hill End Road. Instead, our route followed the far more challenging, and enjoyable, Bridle Track.
Eating & drinkingAs with day 1, carry a lot of water and purification tabs. You’re never far away from the Macquarie River, should you need to stop and top-up - however, always throw a tab in just to be sure. The same goes for food. Stock up at the General Store in Hill End before you roll out. You won’t be seeing any shops until you reach Sofala. The riding is slower than you’d expect, so pack more than you think you’re going to need. Sofala has a pub and a cafe, so you won't starve on arrival.
SleepingAgain, we camped. This time we were about 3km out of town, along Upper Turon Road. There were few amenities here.
Word of WARNINGOff-road riding experience and plenty of spares are essential - with steep rocky descents offering up plenty of room for error. The track is very popular with 4WD enthusiasts - so keep that in mind when you’re blazing around blind corners.
Around Monaghan’s Bluff, part of the road has slipped away. Repairs and maintenance don’t seem to be ongoing, so don't go doing anything silly near the edge.
#OYRGOLDRUSH — Day 2 on
Our third day was the hardest. This was not due to the elevation so much as the fact it was our third consecutive day in the saddle, and that we would have to grind this one out on the dirt. To spice things up, there was a seriously nasty climb along Upper Turon Road that had us praying for mercy. 2km at over 14%. Enjoy.
Eating & drinkingAgain, water and food are important. If you camp where we camped, you'll probably want to make sure you stocked up while in Sofala the day before - or double-back for supplies. You will have a very good lunch option at the 45km mark, with the Royal Hotel Capertee on the Castlereagh Hwy serving up bangers and mash. There is also a servo down the road, so make sure you stock up on food and water for the ride home. Next food and water will be in Lithgow.
Word of WARNINGThe steep climb up from the Turon River will break you, however don't just stop and collapse. Keep off the road, as the 4WDs will be hammering up behind you from the campsite by the river. They may even be so good as to completely camouflage you in a thick cloud of dust. So be aware that any following 4WDs likely won't be able to see you, and stay left. Also, be sure to take care on the descent of the Crown Creek Trail, heading towards Wolgan Road. Here you will find some seriously technical terrain, so, if you're not confident in your off-road riding ability, be extra careful.
#OYRGOLDRUSH — Day 3 on