I decided late on Friday afternoon to ride down to Canberra to see Richard’s daughter Maddie who is starting university there this year and my son Sam who is also at university in Canberra. Leaving Sydney at 4.45pm on a Friday afternoon is a really bad idea! We hit horrendous traffic and crawled along the motorway for a couple of hours before we were finally clear of Sydney. We breezed into our favourite roadside café at Goulburn only to be met by a complete blackout which of course meant that everything was closed! No fuel, no coffee and no food! We had enough fuel to get us to Canberra and snacked on some crackers and cheese we had brought with us before riding on to Canberra.
Richard noticed that his tail light wasn’t working and quickly replaced the bulb, however the problem was not fixed. After contemplating the options, Richard taped a small torch to the side of the tail light, left it turned on and voila! Instant tail light. He modestly assured me that he is not just a pretty face…
While he was fiddling with his tail light I noticed that the headlight on the MT wasn’t working (between us we had one perfectly functioning set of lights!). Replacing the headlight bulb is not an easy fix, and I decided to ride to Canberra with the high beam on instead. Luckily it is a divided road for most of the way from Goulburn so I didn’t blind any oncoming cars (which were few and far between anyway).
Saturday morning was spent hanging out with Sam and Maddie and getting Maddie’s new student room set up for her, complete with new cushions, a fan, a throw for the lounge, clothes rack, slow cooker and other ‘essential’ items.
We left Canberra around 2pm and headed north back up the Hume Highway. We planned to ride to Goulburn and then depending on how we were feeling either head back to Sydney or veer off the Hume highway towards Oberon and wind our way through Taralga and Shooters Hill into the Kanangra Boyd National Park, on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains. No surprises that we opted for the latter and after a short roadside rest (I was feeling quite ill) we rode over the Great Dividing Range and through some stunning countryside.
The stretch between Taralga and Edith was amazing – fast winding roads with gorgeous scenery. I was feeling comfortable on the MT and for once kept up with Richard through all the bends and turns.
We rode through pine plantations and immediately the rich, sharp smell evoked memories of childhood Christmases in Germany and Canada. Pine plantations opened into rich, fertile agricultural land and sheep grazing areas – all reflecting a changed and managed landscape. Such a contrast to the wilderness area that we were heading for only kilometres away.
Turning off the Jenolan Caves Road we began a 20km ride on unsealed road that would take us deeper into the Kanangra Boyd National Park. After checking out the Boyd River camping area and being greeted by countless families with large 4WDs, small children and tents the size of the Taj Mahal, we continued riding opting instead for a secluded patch of bushland well off the beaten track. After tackling the Birdsville Development Road and some smaller dirt roads on our Big Loop trip last year, I was feeling very comfortable on the dirt and effortlessly negotiated rocks, puddles, sticks and uneven surfaces. The MT-07 really is a super little bike!
We set up our camp on sunset, cooked up a delicious meal and enjoyed a glass of red wine as we sat gazing up at the billions of stars above us.
We had camped only 5km from the start of the Kanangra Walls Plateau Walk and the next morning headed off to do a quick walk through this amazing World Heritage area. The view from the Kanangra-Boyd lookout is spectacular – it is hard to believe that this wilderness area is only 2 hours drive from Sydney, Australia’s most populated city. Stunning!
Of course I had to practice some of my favourite yoga poses when surrounded by such spectacular scenery.
After our walk, we jumped back on the bikes and rode to the small township of Jenolan, famous for its caves, underground rivers and spectacular limestone formations. The road to Jenolan was narrow and steep with sharp bends and fantastic scenery (although I was concentration pretty hard on the road to take in too much of that). This really is a motorcyclists paradise.
Riding on from Jenolan, we stopped briefly at Mt Victoria for coffee and scones (it was Valentine’s Day after all) and then took the Bells Line of Road back towards Sydney. More fabulous scenery and more undulating, winding roads. The day was getting hotter and the heat really intensified as we headed down into Richmond. It got to about 42 degrees Celsius and we were sweating in our riding gear.
We were both relived to feel the air cool down as we got closer to the coast. And even more relieved when we arrived home, jumped in the pool and sat down to a cheese platter and a glass of wine.
A great way to end a busy but fabulous weekend.