Well, isn’t amazing the things you learn when you venture away from the big smoke! And indeed we learned that and more when overnighting in Crookwell. Plus we experienced some of the wonders of Australia’s native wildlife.
Departing home, we rested briefly at one of Bilpin’s cafes selling its speciality, apple pies, made from local apples. The Pines Orchard, makes delicious pies with a biscuity pastry topping and is a true winner for us.
Leaving the highway at Lithgow, we circumnavigated Lake Lyell…
and discovered a spot of roadworks. All good for this riding queen cos I’ve got over my fear of gravel roads, yes I have, or rather… yes, I had to because those roads need maintaining and, without fail, every trip we come across a stretch of gravel road waiting to help me ‘get over my fear’!
Stopping at Bathurst for lunch, we spotted some of Australia’s beautiful, colourful, native birds. You might have heard of these, budgies, and yes, they love ‘not being in a cage’. Imagine that! Just doing their thing on the grass near us. Although, like most wild animals, not the best at posing for photos!
At Bathurst, we headed south, via Newbridge. Beautiful road surface and sweeping corners (my favourite combination) we stopped at the ‘town’ of Trunkey Creek, an early colonial settlement with some lovely old buildings. This one is the local Anglican Church. (Amazingly, the Anglicans kindly let the “other team” (the Catholics) hold a mass inside once a month.)
Continuing south, we arrived to a view of Crookwell. Fans of New South Wales country towns will know that a feature of many of them are their ‘look outs’, Crookwell doesn’t need one. And at over 900 metres above sea level, I’m not sure where they would put it.
After settling into our hotel, the Upland Pastures Motel, run by the lovely Janine (currently charging $60 for motorbikers, just ask), we headed out to explore this pretty town.
We soon discovered the new riverside park, with interesting benches, ducks and a backdrop of sheep and frolicking horses, Ridiculously lovely at sunset.
And what Australian town would be complete without a big something? This time, a big chainsaw on top of a local hardware store.
The next morning we took a slight detour, thanks to the recommendations of a friendly local, towards Rugby, where the road was flanked by beautiful rock formations and rolling hills.
And then we bumped into these people, not sure who they were, but they were friendly enough. Ok, ok, Dave and Toni, well known to us and passing through on a mere 600km plus ride for the day. Way more hard core than us. (Although not as hard core than fellow blogger Zed14, you’re my idol!)
Dave recommended a quick side-trip 10km south towards Goulburn for the spectacular sight of the Crookwell Windfarm. And this is where we discovered the fact about Crookwell’s air and that it is the site of Australia’s first wind farm. Very impressive and way more turbines than I manage to capture in my photos.
Our route home was via Taralga to Oberon, a road we have travelled several times and definitely a favourite of mine. It affords magnificent views east and west across Australia’s Great Diving Range.
The Crookwell to Taralga road was new to us and a lovely road with a great surface and stunning scenery. We will revisit that one. In fact, there are so many great roads in this region, mostly at high altitude. Suspect we will be regular visitors this summer when it gets too hot to be hanging around the lowlands.
Lunch and fuel in Oberon then home via Mount Victoria.
Apart from the great weather and lovely roads, a highlight of the return trip was being attacked, for the second time, by a magpie, in exactly the same spot as I had been attacked before. In fact, I reckon he remembered me because, as we approached the junction of Darling Causeway and Bell’s Line of Road, I commented to Gary how that was the spot I had been attacked before. So, as if on cue, I felt the little bastard bumping into the back of my helmet, scratching me with his claws and whining loudly at my audacity of me being vaguely somewhere near his nest. This is quite a well-known phenomenon in Australia, cyclists are known to tie cable ties to their helmets to deter these crazy birds but it doesn’t prepare you for the attack. Fortunately, a motorbike helmet and protective gear meant that I sustained no damage from the flying thug. Still, it isn’t the best experience.
It also doesn’t help if your husband is watching the whole thing in his mirror and laughing loudly across the intercom. Interesting that Mr Magpie was not interested in Gary riding ahead or me or the rider who was following me. Why pick on me?!?
But it didn’t spoil the weekend, after all, what’s not to love? Visiting a town of clean air and experiencing the nature that New South Wales has to provide is one of the best ways, in my opinion, to spend 36 hours.