Sydneysiders ought to feel blessed to have such a huge array of options when it comes to national parks. The ‘Sydney Basin’, which generally consists of the areas between Newcastle in the north, Batemans Bay down in the south and the Great Dividing Range to the west, is home to many major national parks. The most well-known, all of which are just an hour drive away from most points in Sydney, include the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park to the north and the Royal National Park to the south, yet this is just scratching the surface of what is a haven of uncovered hiking adventures.
The Sydney metropolitan area is essentially surrounded by national parks, and the ocean to the east. Feel free to argue against this if you wish, but look up a map of Sydney, and observe how we are entrapped by protected areas. If there’s one reason as to why Sydney’s property market is so expensive in comparison to the equivalent Australian state capital, it is that land is in short supply; together with huge demand from both local and international buyers, this creates a concoction of a price hike bonanza. Speaking of hikes, there are plenty of hiking areas for the most part in the popular parks noted above, with both beginner-level and harder-edged kind of difficulties, so there’s a massive variety out there.
For some unsealed road adventures, the park surrounding the Wollombi area is recommended. The main national park in the area is known as Yengo National Park, and it is well-travelled by 4WD tourers, and well frequented by off-road riders who would venture into the single trails that are plentiful. I’ll definitely have to try those trails out one day…
For now, I will complete the coverage of the Putty/Wollombi Loop that my riding group had completed the other weekend. I will only briefly go over the cafes that we had pulled over at, accompanied by the photos for the day. I feel that these places are a hugely important part of these remote areas, as I explain in one of my past blog posts.
The Wollombi section of the loop is relatively remote location, with many country roads and blind corners to tackle; not for the inexperienced, due to changing grades of road surfaces and the remoteness in relation to mobile phone coverage. In saying that, we still had a range of L, P and fully licenced riders, which is an ideal environment for the inexperienced because any minor issues such as a breakdown can be alleviated by the (hopefully) helpful fellow riders that you are with.
The Route 33 Cafe at Wollombi is named after the road on which the cafe is located. Route 33 is the tourist drive that runs from the northern outskirt of Sydney in Calga, all the way to the Wollombi area. There is not much of a spectacular view that is to be noted on a grand scale, but the road is just that much of an easy ride (or drive), that it just doesn’t matter. The Route 33 Cafe makes for that important 2-hour rest point, plus it’s a brilliant place for a cold one off the tap, if you don’t mind a longer relaxing time in the bar.
Jerry’s Cafe, in Kulnura, is another great rest point for motorcyclists. This place probably not at the same level with Grey Gums Cafe at Putty in terms of iconic value (with all that open space and its rows of motorcycle club flags, and all that), but the added convenience of petrol availability and equally great customer service makes it just as important in the book of a motorcyclist. You can’t miss the old Kawasaki at the front that’s been impaled from the ground up, forever immortalised as the showpiece of this rustic roadhouse-style establishment.
Road Warriors Cafe at Mount White, also known as The Old Road Cafe, is one of two major motorcycle-centric roadside cafes that exist on the Old Pacific Highway, the other being Pie In The Sky at Brooklyn, which is located on the other side of the Hawkesbury River. The friendly cafe dog, named “Jackie” is always there to make you feel welcome, and she always appreciates a good scratch under the chin and ears. She also loves a good bite out of your delicious beef burger if you feel charitable enough for the day.
This place is also known to be frequently visited by (to be very frank about it) a great deal of awesome bikes in most weekends. This time, I had the chance to check out an ultra-rare Bimota BB3, which is based on the BMW S1000RR, and it was apparently one of just two that exists in Australia. If you check out one of the images in the slideshow above, you see notice some dozens of rock chippings on the under-tail carbon fibre fairing; far too nice to ride on the road!