Cycling the Central West Trail: Photo Diary

Cyclists on route out of Dubbo | Michele Eckersley
Cyclists on route out of Dubbo | Michele Eckersley

Cycling the Central West Trail: Photo Diary

See what it's like to cycle the Central West Trail in NSW with our photo gallery. Taken by a few happy travellers, these pictures were taken during the Central West Trail Self Guided Cycle tour highlight the iconic Australian scenery found on the rural bike route connecting Mudgee, Gulgong, Dunedoo, and Dubbo. Enjoy and get in touch if you would like to ride the Central West Trail.

Day 1: Arrive in Mudgee, transfer to Goolma, cycle to Wellington (48km)

After meeting our representative in Mudgee, who will provide you with your e-bike for the trip, you will be transferred to the tiny hamlet of Goolma, the start point of your self-guided cycle journey through the Central West Trail. 
As is the case for much of the route, you will pass through picturesque pastoral country where serenity understates the importance of the history, and modern prosperity, of Australia. These lands provided the stage for the establishment and success of the Australian wool industry, a commodity long referred to as the 'Golden Fleece' on account of its value. 
The route is a steady ascent for the first part of the day until you reach Mt Bodangora and following that the afternoon is mainly freewheeling, with a few small ascents, all the way to Wellington. Set upon the banks of the Macquarie River, the township of Wellington was an important colonial settlement for Christian missionaries, pastoralists and those seeking their fortune on the nearby goldfields. Ascent: 463m, descent: 364m.
Classic scenery on the CWC between Goolma and Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Cyclist completing the route in Goolma |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> E-bike on the route between Wellington and Goolma |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Dirt road on the route between Goolma and Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Cyclist arriving in Wellington on the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Motel in Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Motel accommodation on the Central West Cycle trail in Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Cyclists gather in cafes in Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Day 2: Wellington to Dubbo (63km)

The route this morning out of Wellington starts with a solid climb (you'll appreciate your e-bike) via Mount Arthur Reserve following quiet back roads, that loosely follow the course of the Macquarie River, to the town of Geurie. Depending on how you are going for time this makes an ideal lunch stop. 
Happy cyclist on the route between Dubbo and Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Cyclists on the CWC between Dubbo and Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> E-bike on the CWC between Dubbo and Wellington |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
From Geurie you have two options for your course to Dubbo. The primary route loosely traces the Mitchell Highway to Dubbo while the alternate route (which we recommend) meanders along a quiet old road vaguely following the course of the Macquarie River, passing the Dubbo Pioneers Cemetery before entering town nearby to the famous Western Plains Zoo. 
There is plenty to do and see in Dubbo so we recommend adding an additional day here to explore attractions such as the world-renown Western Plain Zoo, Old Dubbo Gaol or Dundullimal Homestead - additional nights must be requested at the time of booking. Dubbo is also a major base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service an aerial medical service that acts as a crucial lifeline for the people of rural and remote Australia. A visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Visitor Experience is recommended. Ascent: 415m, descent: 449m.
Letterbox art on the CWC near Dubbo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Day 3: Dubbo to Ballimore (49km)

Before setting out this morning, we recommend purchasing lunches for today and tomorrow as there are few options until Mendooran. From Dubbo, our route takes a series of quiet backroads out of town. If you entered Dubbo via Wongabron you will be backtracking along your route to Wongabron through the 'hobby blocks' on Dubbo's outskirts before paralleling the Mitchell Highway for a brief period.
When passing back through Wongabron, Suzie at the Wongarbon Post Office will make cyclists a great morning tea, or coffee with scones - if she is pre-warned! The route from Wongabron to Ballimore passes through prime agricultural and pastoral country where, depending on the time of year and water available, you may encounter fields full of crops such as canola, wheat, oats or other cereals. The area is also popular for livestock farming. Today's destination of Ballimore is a small town of fewer than 200 people and a great example of the settlements that sprang up around the railway sidings along this crucial piece of economic infrastructure. Ascent: 272m, descent: 229m.
Cyclist on a corrugated section of road between Ballimore and Dubbo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Bar at the Hair of the Dog hotel Balimore |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Cyclist on route between Ballimore and Dubbo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Typical pub continental breakfast on the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Day 4: Ballimore to Mendooran (54km)

Shortly after departing Ballimore this morning, you will enter the Goonoo Conservation Area. Made up of mainly box-ironbark-callitris woodland with patches of mallee, it is designated as an 'Important Bird Area' supporting an isolated population of the vulnerable malleefowl as well as populations of diamond firetails and painted honeyeaters. Also, keep an eye and an ear out for glossy black-cockatoos, Gilbert's whistlers, and the easternmost population of yellow-plumed honeyeaters. The route through the conservation area is sandy in patches and can be very muddy after rain. Caution is recommended. 
Emerging from the forest you will soon arrive in Mendooran, a small rural village and the oldest town on the Castlereagh River. Murals are dotted around town (an opportunity to explore on foot) which depict the history of the area. If you fancy something a little different and time is on your side why not take a trip out to the Black Gate Distillery, on the southern side of town, to sample their whiskeys and rum (by appointment only). Ascent: 291m, descent: 250m.
A dirt stretch on the route between Mendooran and Ballimore. |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Shaded road on the route between Mendooran and Ballimore |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Mt Carl Trail on the CWC between Mendooran and Ballimore |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
The Royal Hotel in Mendooran |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Royal Hotel, Mendooran verandah |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> The Royal Hotel in Mendooran on the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Day 5: Mendooran to Dunedoo (51 or 53km)

After a local breakfast and picking up a packed lunch to take on your way, you set out this morning towards Dunedoo. After the initial section, there are two options of route with the alternate route heading south towards Cobbora while the primary route arcs north via the historic Dilgah Station. Both have sections on dirt roads, although the alternate route is rougher and longer. 
Before European settlement, Dunedoo and the surrounding area was occupied by the Gamilaroi and Wiradjuri peoples and the town’s name is derived from a local Aboriginal word for ‘swan’ which are common in the area's lagoons. On rolling into the town, be sure to take a look at the towns newest attraction, some "Silo Art". Painted on the towns' old grain storages is a larger than life mural of the champion racehorse Winx and her jockey, local Hugh Bowman. Ascent: 234/360m, descent: -281m/-335m.
Crossing a small bridge on the route between Mendooran and Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
A quiet unpaved route between Mendooran and Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Afternoon tea in Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Painted Silos are a feature of the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> The portions are huge at the Dunedoo Hotel |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Wonderful Silo art on the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Day 6: Dunedoo to Gulgong (58km)

Today's route takes you to the historic town of Gulgong, the Wiradjuri word for deep waterhole. On route to Gulgong, the road is generally well graded with some excellent sweeping rural views, good shade and birdlife such as flocks of Galahs, Choughs and Magpies. Shortly after the tiny settlement of Birrawa, stop for homemade scones, hosted at the lovely Mayfield Farm (by appointment- cash only) before pushing on to your destination. 
The town of Gulgong really emerged after gold was discovered at Red Hill in 1870. For a brief time, the town blossomed and this heritage has remained intrinsic to the town’s identity. This afternoon you will have ample time to stroll around the characterful town centre and visit the numerous listed buildings and museums. Not to be missed is the Holtermann Museum’s UNESCO listed photo collection, which provides visitors with a fascinating visual insight into the region’s early colonial history. The Pioneer Museum is also highly recommended, hosting an enormous, well-presented collection of items providing insight into days of old. Ascent: 220m, descent: - 202m.
Cycling the CWC out of Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Cyclist with Windmill on route between Gulgong and Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Cycling between the vines enroute to Gulgong CWCR |  <i>Ross Baker</i> Cyclist artwork on the route between Gulgong and Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i> Quiet paved route between Gulgong and Dunedoo |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>
Cyclists arriving in Gulgong |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
Cyclists in Gulgong |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
Cyclists in Gulgong outside the Ten Dollar Town Motel |  <i>Ross Baker</i>

Day 7: Gulgong to Mudgee (30km)

Your final day exploring the Central West should start with a hearty breakfast at one of Gulgong's welcoming cafes before hitting the road for your final destination of Mudgee. Today is a relaxed affair, following rural backroads loosely along the route of the Cudgeegong River. A civilised start time for the day should see you in Mudgee in time for a delicious lunch in town before making the journey back to Sydney or elsewhere. Ascent: 172m, descent: -186m.
Cycling the dirt roads on the CWCR between Gulgong and Mudgee |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
Cyclist on the Central West Cycle route between Mudgee and Gulgong |  <i>Ross Baker</i>
Cyclist selfie on the CWC |  <i>Michele Eckersley</i>

Do you want to explore the Central West Trail of NSW at some point? Let us know in the comment section below!


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