Bike Life: Burragorang Valley via Picton

Childhood: The stage in life where everything absorbed visually from our eyes appear twice as large. A stage in personal development where you acknowledge, and not question, the responses of grown-ups to your every mentioned curiosity; if it didn’t make sense, it was simply accepted, because adults knew better. Time was seemingly an everlasting, non-depletive commodity; hours felt like days, days felt like weeks. The dreadfully mind-numbingly boring hours spent in the back seat of the 1991 model VP Commodore wagon on family road trips were a premonition, synonymous of a life sentenced to an eternal hell of nauseous existence inside a cage. If there was one way that Sunday School could have effectively created a fiery and fearsome imagery of hell, that could have been it for me.

Fast forward to the present, where young adulthood has unleashed its burden through financial commitments and a life spent at work longer than that is invested in sleep. Time has now become the scarce commodity that, one day like a rushing wind, I fear will come with many regrets in how they were expended. For this reason, I ensure that any time off is not wasted, and this has made me to become a massive advocate of devoting time to things that I love, and now place a massive emphasis on what little time I have for myself on embarking on a ride on the motorcycle.

Last week, I went to reminisce the roads well travelled during my childhood and youth, a time of my life void of motorcycles. That route is the road leading to Picton and Thirlmere, one that I had travelled many times in a year for church activities, every year up until I graduated high school. Being a passenger, the drive down there from Sydney would always be that sensation of monotony, and those country roads were just that; back road, minimal traffic, country roads. However, visiting again, after many years, now on the motorcycle, I must exclaim: those roads now will never be seen the same again!

Those times when you feel that everything is in its right place, when the roads lead to twisties upon more winding roads, is the sole reason why I love travelling around on a bike. Sometimes, eating up a few hundred kilometres on a superbike, blasting through and disturbing local fauna, is the only solution to life’s dilemmas. Only a biker will understand the magnitude of this statement.

I figured that I should give Lake Burragorang a visit, since it wasn’t too far off from the Picton area. The road leading to Burragorang Lookout in Nattai after the Thirlmere and The Oaks area consists mainly of 80km/h and 100km/h of wide corners, so you will remain at a fair pace for most of the ride there. Couldn’t resist the opportunity to take snapshots, and the venue is an excellent place to just simply kill time, especially when I was the only one there on a weekday. Burragorang Lookout closes at 5pm daily. It’s a great place to visit, not far away enough from Sydney, yet close enough for me to feel ‘out there’, and make it back home in under 4 hours in total, wrapping up an easy day at work, and an equally relaxing ride down south.

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The old mill in Picton, covered behind a large wall of pine trees. The site is now commissioned as a flour mill under Allied Mills, one of Australia’s largest flour manufacturers.
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Part of the Picton-Mittagong line, the train station at Thirlmere had seen it’s last public transportation use as a steam train service in the 1960’s. Since then, the line had been closed, and service routes replaced by buses. Thirlmere is now home to the Trainworks Railway Museum, the largest railway museum in Australia, which exhibits locomotives with origins dating as far back as 1896.

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A derelict building in Thirlmere, the remnants of a local economy which was propped up by the coal mining boom of the 1970’s in the region.
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The old Thirlmere ‘Prayer Mountain’ of the Korean Protestant church, Sydney Full Gospel Church; signs down, gates up. Now it is just a privately owned rural property. So many childhood memories here… Now, better leave quick before I look even more suss..

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At Burragorang Lookout, with Burragorang Valley in the background, an area that covers approximately 18 000 acres. The water capacity of Lake Burragorang equates to four times the total size of Sydney Harbour.
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The construction of Warragamba Dam, about 20kms north from this lookout, meant that everything below, including the town of Burragorang itself, had to be submerged underwater, never to emerge again.

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As it is a drinking water reservoir, there is a significant exclusion buffer around the lake, so there’s no access to the water. But with a view like this, I don’t really see much of an issue.

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Sunset… time to head off before I get locked in!

Map - Burragorang Valley via Picton - 14-11-2015

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