Bike Life: Exploring the Colo River

Call me Un-Australian, but I think beaches are rather overrated. That one day that you decide to beach it for the day and, coincidently it’s either on a weekend or a public holiday, and it’s probably the case for the majority of people. It’s that one place that is over-glamorised, and where all good times of Summer supposedly happen. It’s a great place, until you realise that everyone goes to the beach. Everyone. Head to any beach in or near the sprawling metropolis of Sydney and, more likely than not, it would be overcrowded. There’s also nothing worse than that sunburn, and the expectation of tolerance for those whose bodies are intently prepped up and carved for public exhibition. Queue the sympathy for an author without a beach body worthy of a centrefold publication.

I’ve always had a fascination for a river lifestyle, ever since spending a week deep in the primitive jungles of the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu almost a decade back, where spring water is free and not bottled, electricity is more of a novelty than a necessity and personal business is done in a hole in the ground finished off with a couple of leaves from the nearest tree. Sydney is more renown for its massive abundance of beaches, and it has definitely removed the spotlight from its alternative: the river. Believe it or not, despite pollution and development over the century, Sydney still has its share of some clean and swimmable rivers that are quite easy to access. One of them is the Colo River.

Over the Labor Day weekend, earlier this month, me and a few of my buddies went up to the Colo for a swim to quell the intense heatwave that was prevalent for many consecutive days. It’s long been my friend Mio’s favourite hang-out zone and, considering that he’s always brought this place up many countless times, I was due to give it a visit. It was a good day for us, but blighted by Kevin who locked the keys in the car. See, if we went on our bikes, this would have never happened… but, when you experience something that you have not yet realised, you delve into it as an explorer. When the unexpected occurs, it becomes an adventure, and this was the exact thought that came up in my head in my first visit here with my buddies.

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I tend to finish my day job very early on the quieter days. Astounded by the pure and unadulterated beauty of a river untouched by developments, I was extremely keen to return to the area. I clocked off from work 2 hours early, so I hurriedly raced back home to gear up. Only a 45 minute drive, 50 km north from my place in Baulkham Hills, the Colo area can still be considered as a local afternoon blat. Just off the Putty Road, it’s not exactly a completely foreign locale for many motorcyclists, too.

The pictures speak for themselves here, and I can guarantee you that this won’t be my last visit here. There are so many brilliant camping spots that are dying for my patronage, and Summer is only just coming up… but I will talk about them later on. Good times to be had… For now, enjoy! 🙂

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Took the Upper Colo Rd route for this journey, where the population is very sparse, and traffic almost non-existent.

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The Hawkesbury river system, together with its tributaries, is known to be part of the most extensive sandstone canyon systems in eastern Australia.

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Colo, where urban roads diminish into gravel trails. Better have a rugged set of tyres on…

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Sticking around at a desolate intersection of dirt roads.

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Taking five to enjoy the serenity and tranquillity, for a quietude to dispel the pressures of life on the fast lane..

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Hands down, the cleanest river that you will witness anywhere around Sydney. A well-kept secret, and hope for it to remain that way for years and decades to come. A brilliant place for families with young children and dogs wishing to cool down in the heat of the Summer season.

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At Upper Colo Reserve. “Take nothing but photographs. Leave nothing but footprints.”

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After fighting off a bunch of spider webs and leeches, I reach the beautiful river once again..

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Beaches are overrated; you end up soaked in salty ocean water and feeling scungy. A pristine freshwater river is where it’s at!

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If your bike is still clean after an adventure, you’re doing it wrong!

Map - Exploring Colo River - 24-10-2015

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