Central West Cycle Trail – Day 2 – Gulgong to Dunedoo

Yes, we are back on our bikes again, ready for Central West Cycle Trail Mach II. After the trail was almost washed away back in October 2022, we thought we would be safe to reschedule for the cooler temperatures of early Autumn 2023. Who knew that our best laid plans would coincide with a heatwave? This is not your ‘Indian Summer’-type heat, we are talking 38.3°C (100.9F) on the day prior to our departure and I was nervous!

Gulp! Here we go…

Map - Day 2 - Central West Cycle Trail
Day 2 Route – in pink. Source: CWCT


Day: 2

Date: Monday, 20 March 2023

From: Gulgong, Central West NSW

To: Dunedoo

Official Distance: 58km                 Actual/Garmin Distance: 58km

Total: 88/400km

Time: 4h26m

Ascent: 363m                                  Descent: 460m

Average Speed: 13.1kph                Maximum Speed: 44kph

Weather: Too damn hot!

Stayed At: The Royal Hotel, Dunedoo. Don’t stay here!

General Comments:

  • I was equal parts excited and nervous as we set out from Gulgong this morning. We were in the lucky position to have a support car which meant we didn’t have to carry all our gear, but we would have to get serious about pedaling to avoid the worst of the heat, with the forecast maximum of 31°C today.
  • Riding in the early morning cool is heavenly. I love that crisp chill feel on my skin and I appreciated it even more as I knew it wouldn’t last long.
  • There is something very special about riding the quiet country backroads in the early morning. The light is golden across the paddocks and you get the sense that the land is waking up. Yes, we had to contend with the odd school bus and commuter car, but other than that we had the road completely to ourselves.
  • Road Conditions: As would be the pattern for the rest of the trail, the surface under our wheels was mixed – from heavenly smooth tar, to mongrel loose gravel, to dirt corrugations that would shake loose the fillings in your teeth. Estimate: Tar 40%, dirt 60%.
  • Terrain: Riding a bike makes you appreciate the ease with which you zip up small inclines when driving a car. There was plenty of undulating country today which varied from gently rolling hills to a few lung-busting climbs where I found it quicker to get off and walk up, than slowly and somewhat pointlessly, pedal in Granny Gear (1:1). It turns out that Granny Gear was going to get a serious work out every day out on this trail!
  • Soon the lovely tar ran out and we were bumping along narrow rural roads only used by the surrounding farms. Much of the early part of the dirt road was shaded by old eucalypts and that dappled shade was much appreciated as the temperature started to climb. Unfortunately, those warm temperatures did not do any favours for the dead feral pig on the road ahead of us. It was a good incentive to pedal extra fast and get upwind as quick as possible.
  • If you are averse to road kill, you may like to reconsider your decision to undertake this trail. It became a bit of a feature each day – not continuous, but certainly the wildlife came off second best when it came to a surprise meeting with a vehicle.
A drinks break - on the way to Dunedoo
A blessed piece of shade…
  • I am hopeless in the heat. The rising temperature is in direct correlation to the speed with which my energy drains out my toes. As the temperature climbed towards 32°C it became a matter of just getting the kilometres done. Deep breath and head down as I ground up the hills and relief as I free-wheeled down the other side. Thank goodness for the beautiful countryside we were riding through as it was a good distraction from the sweat dripping into my eyes.  
  • Even though today was made tougher by the heat, it was still a wonderful day out in the Great Outdoors. Will my legs, body and backside agree with me in the morning?

Top Tips for this Section:

  • Food/Water: Make sure you are well-prepared for this stage as the trail does not take you through any towns where you can resupply. Ample water is particularly important on a hot day like we experienced. You can book morning tea and/or a farm tour at a bike-friendly farm in between Gulgong and Birriwa the way and this needs to be arranged in advance.
  • Mobile Service/Range: I recommend you have a Telstra-compatible mobile phone as Telstra usually has the best coverage/service in rural areas. Even with that, there are certain parts of the ride with no coverage at all.
  • Traffic: Any traffic you meet will be mainly on the tarred sections including the odd truck and school bus. On the dirt sections, local drivers are usually very considerate and will slow down. Do be prepared to swallow some dust though.
  • Waymarking: Waymarking and signage is good. I had the trip notes and my Pocket-Rocket cyclist friend had the route on Strava downloaded on her phone. Or if you have the most basic sense of direction, you could ride just following the signs.
  • Stayed At: We stayed at the Royal Hotel in Dunedoo ($85 – Double). Do not stay here. It was filthy dirty, tired and over-priced. Our host was very friendly and welcoming, but that does not compensate for the simple lack of even the most basic cleanliness. Check out the other pub, motel, cabins at the caravan park or B&Bs. The B&Bs may be located away from the main road and constant truck noise. You may pay a bit more, but it would be worth it for a quieter sleep.
  • Food: Simple, tasty and reasonably priced meals are available from the White Rose Café. Unfortunately, all the other food options were closed on a Monday night

Life is good.

Previous Stages:

  • Day 1 – Mudgee to Gulgong – HERE


  • Central West Cycle Trail – find out more – HERE
  • Mudgee Tourism – find out more – HERE
  • Overview of the Central West Cycle Trail – find out more – HERE
  • Duneddo Tourism – find out more – HERE

#travelinspo #CentralWestCycleTrail #dunedoo #adventurebeforedementia #gulgong #australianbush #cyclingadventures #bikesintheBush #destinationnsw #greatoutdoors #crosscountry #exploreonbike #visitnewsouthwales #cycletouring #bikepacking

27 thoughts on “Central West Cycle Trail – Day 2 – Gulgong to Dunedoo

  1. Wonderful, apart from the heat. Though having said that I would rather be on a cycle when hot than walking. Another adventure well captured, Mel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I am finally starting to walk normally again! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I know that feeling that comes with sitting on a smallish seat 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Even if that smallish seat is padded, it still takes some acclimatisation! 🙂


  2. What a ride! Shame about the accommodation and the heat.


  3. Mel! I feel your pain with the heat. I’m tired just reading about how hot it is. Good on ya for keeping going.
    Thanks for the great info on this cycle. I love a good gravel ride, and the US has so many great options. I didn’t know about this one.
    Can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip.


  4. Mel! I feel your pain with the heat. I’m tired just reading about how hot it is. Good on ya for keeping going.
    Thanks for the great info on this cycle. I love a good gravel ride, so I can’t wait to read about the rest of your trip.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you would find this ride fairly tame as there are no mountains to compare with your part of the World, but it was gorgeous all the same. Have a great day, Alisen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I prefer to cycle on flat land 🙂 Biking uphill is a real grind LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Agreed! Flat roads and a tail wind – Heaven! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m with you – cycling in the heat is really rough. Good for you for tackling it – good practice for a certain long riverside cycle, I’d say. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually it stimulated a lot of conversation and thinking about what we need to do to prepare for next year. There are many more ‘shake-down’ rides on the books now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Step one: Notify the Travel Architect. Check!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. what a trail – but oh my goodness I’d have collapsed in that heat!


  7. I don’t think I could ride in the forecasted 38C! Love the silos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Silo art is becoming a ‘thing’ in rural Australia. Massive works of art sitting in the smallest of country towns. Do you have anything like that in Canada?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t seen art or anything like that, but maybe when you go into the smaller towns.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Or maybe it is just yet another weird Aussie thing! 🙂


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