Central West Cycle Trail – Day 4 – Mendooran to Ballimore

I’m not afraid to say I was a little nervous about today’s stage.

When talking to people about the ride, those in-the-know would get a slightly evil glint in their eye when there was mention of the Goonoo State Forest. And Yes, we had reached the stage where we must tackle the dreaded Goonoo.


Day 4 - Map - Central West Cycle Trail
Our merry pink path on Day 5 of the ride. Source: CWCT


Day: 4

Date: Wednesday, 22 March 2023

From: Mendooran, Central West NSW

To: Ballimore

Official Distance: 53km                 Actual/Garmin Distance: 54km including an unplanned side trip

Total: 192/400km

Time: 4h39m

Ascent: 409m                                  Descent: 448m

Average Speed: 11.6kph                Maximum Speed: 50.4kph

Weather: Hot and dry again.

Stayed At: The Hair of the Dog Inn, Ballimore.

General Comments:

  • You would think that with all this fresh air and exercise that I would be sleeping like a log, but No! The lights go out and the brain switches on worrying about the next day and random things like, why some people have ‘inny’ bellybuttons and others have ‘outy’ ones? What the?? How and why does my brain generate such ridiculous things at equally ridiculous times of the night?
  • It was a full house in the ol’ Royal Hotel last night and we did not need to worry about creeping about and quietly packing in the early morning dark. It seemed that there were a tonne of workers up and about too, and no doubt they were very pleased to be going to work rather than having to get on a bike and pedalling 54km.
  • Unfortunately for us cyclists, a lot of these workers and many of their friends, had to drive past us on their way to said work and the road out of town was very busy, too busy for my liking. Thankfully there was a fairly wide verge adjacent to the road and we could give them plenty of space and they could give us plenty of space…if they chose to.
  • After puffing and panting up the inevitable inclines and whipping down the other side, we finally arrived at the turn-off to the much-feared Goonoo State Forest. We re-grouped, had a good drink of water and I pulled up my ‘big girl panties’ and got on with the next part of today’s stage.
  • It turned out to be very beautiful! Yes, it was hard, but what a joy to be riding through the Aussie bush.
  • My chunky mountain bike finally came into its own as we bumped along narrow and rocky roads, and through large patches of sand. Riding quietly, I startled a kangaroo which bounded across my path, still with its mouth full of grass, and feral pigs also went scurrying into the undergrowth.
  • Apparently, this area is a blanket of wild flowers when the season is good, but after the recent heatwave all that was left were a few crispy paper daisies.
  • All was going along swimmingly when we came to a detour that was not marked on my map/trip notes or on the Pocket Rocket’s app. What to do? Let’s have a break and think about it. When all else fails, eat and drink! 😊
  • Eventually we decided we should do as we were told and pedalled off on the detour in a whole different direction. We never did find out why the detour was in place, but it must have meant incredibly rough terrain – even rougher than what we had already experienced today.
  • One thing that really surprised me about this stage was how much climbing was required. I had visions of us heading more westerly which should mean flatter terrain. Nope! It was a constant variation of more ups than downs – or that’s what it felt like anyway. Oh well, it’s all character building!

Top Tips for this Section:

  • Today you are really going bush! There is no food, water and mobile phone service is very patchy. Make sure you have a Plan B if something goes wrong i.e. flat tyres etc.
  • Road Conditions: Road’ is probably a very generous description of much of today’s route. While we started out with a long stretch of tar road, the rest of today’s surface is tough. It varies from a narrow dirt fire trail through the Goonoo State Forest which includes bone-jarring rocks, wide patches of sand and large sections that are completely washed away. The Goan Creek Road is also tough. While thankfully there is little passing traffic on this back road, the surface does not make for easy riding, and the endless dirt corrugations tested my sense of humour at the end of a long hot ride. A gravel or mountain bike would be best to handle these conditions.
  • Detours: The detours are clearly marked and easy to follow. Do not do as we did (Note to self: never blindly follow your husband) and continue following the fence line after the intersection of Brennan’s Trail. There is an intimidating and misleading ‘PRIVATE’ sign on an open gateway opposite Brennan’s Trail and you must turn here. While the land is private, the road is public and you need to turn onto this road (Goan Creek Road) to get to Ballimore.
  • Stayed At: Your accommodation choices are very limited at the village of Ballimore (a small school, hall and some silos) and the best option is the Hair of the Dog Inn ($75 – Double including breakfast). They have around seven air-conditioned rooms with shared bathrooms, and an undercover area to lock up your bikes. They have very good food and, again, the cold beer was sincerely appreciated. There is also a camping ground with powered sites adjacent to the pub.
The Hair of the Dog Inn, Ballimore
The Hair of the Dog Inn, Ballimore

Previous Stages:

  • Day 1 – Mudgee to Gulgong – HERE
  • Day 2 – Gulgong to Dunedoo – HERE
  • Day 3 – Dunedoo to Mendooran – HERE


  • Central West Cycle Trail – find out more – HERE
  • Dubbo Tourism – find out more – HERE
  • Goonoo State Forest – HERE
  • Overview of the Central West Cycle Trail – find out more – HERE

#travelinspo #CentralWestCycleTrail #ballimore #adventurebeforedementia #mendooran #australianbush #cyclingadventures #bikesintheBush #destinationnsw #greatoutdoors #crosscountry #exploreonbike #visitnewsouthwales #cycletouring #bikepacking

24 thoughts on “Central West Cycle Trail – Day 4 – Mendooran to Ballimore

  1. Cycling through soft surfaces, better you than me. Smiled at the dog sign 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the publican obviously had a good sense of humour! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! What a ride. Loved the signs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were too funny not to include! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Character building stuff, Mel. You have it in spades ♠️ ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One does wonder when one will have enough character??? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great trails and road signs! 🙌🏾 I found your comments about your hilarious random night thoughts funny. I do that too. 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Phew! It is nice to know that I am not the only person with a weird insomniac brain. 🙂


  5. I’m exhausted just looking at the sandy soft dirt you had to cycle through. Phew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it wasn’t the easiest thing to navigate, but it did provide a soft landing when I was tipped off my bike. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, when I saw your featured photo of thick sand, my heart sank into my shoes! But still, it looks like yet another beautiful ride through your Aussie bush! And love those last two fun photos 😄.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good day all round and, was you know, when you are out on an adventure, you have to take the good with the bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh yuck, biking through sand. The same reason I don’t winter bike. What kind of mountain bike did you ride? Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have an old Trek mountain bike. It is getting near 20 years old and is due for pensioning off as I am sure the technology has gone ahead leaps and bounds since then. I just don’t tossing away perfectly good gear.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I just wondered because you kept saying what a clunker it was.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. ‘Clunker’ – a term of endearment??? 🙂 It’s a robust and pretty heavy bike, and I should be thankful it has never let me down.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your sense of adventure but I have to ask why this particular track hard work. What did you see ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This track was chosen because it was relatively close to home and we had some good friends who were willing to ride with us. There were no really BIG things to see, it was more about enjoying the gorgeous countryside.


  9. Cycling on sand – not easy.
    Love the signs.
    I’m kept awake at all hours thinking (and worrying) about ridiculous stuff, too. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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