Route: Gulgong, Cooyal, Munghorn Gap, Wollar, Bylong, Yarrawa, Bureen, Jerrys Plains.
Route Stats: 175.5km - 1400 ascent - 1784m descent
In comparison, the route between Gulgong and Jerrys Plains via Merriwa (see Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3) is 157km and fully sealed.
Online map: GPSies map
This alternative route offers a more scenic and quieter route between Gulgong and Jerrys Plains. I did not cycle it on my original tour as I had limited time. Since then, several sections of corrugated gravel road have now been sealed, making this alternative route a very attractive option. Please note that I have not cycled the sections between Gulgong and Bylong and between Sandy Hollow and Jerrys Plains (south of the Hunter River). Information presented on those sections have been compiled from maps, the internet and other sources.
The route between Gulgong, Mudgee and Wollar follows portions of Rides 11, 12 and 17 from the Cycle Mudgee Region brochure.
From Gulgong, take Henry Lawson Drive (all sealed) towards Mudgee. About 5km out of Gulgong there are some wineries on the western side of the road. From Home Rule (11km from Gulgong), take Mudhut Creek Road (unsealed) followed by Linburn Road (also unsealed) to Cooyal, totalling 15km of unsealed road. To bypass the unsealed road, cycle to Mudgee along Henry Lawson Drive and then Cooyal along the Wollar Road. (Even those who don't mind unsealed roads may want to take this longer route to visit Mudgee.) Cooyal has a hotel which offers meals and accommodation, as is the last service I know of before Bylong.
Between Cooyal and Wollar lies Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve with its impressive "pagoda" rock formations and rich birdlife. The reserve has a picnic area, some 11km from Cooyal, with toilets and barbecues. Apparently there is a camping area at Honeyeater Flat (though I'm uncertain of its precise location in the nature reserve). The Mudgee - Wollar Road, which passes through the reserve, is sealed.
From Wollar (an internet search shows no services other than a public school), it is 27km to Bylong along a mostly unsealed road. Bylong has a general store and camping area, both of which are about 2km along the road to Rylstone. The road from Bylong to Sandy Hollow is sealed. The side trip to Widden Valley is also sealed and highly recommended. Further information on Bylong, the road to Sandy Hollow and the Widden side trip can be found on Day 4, Day 5 and Day 6 of my Wollemi Cycle Tour.
(Alternatively, rather than going through Bylong, one could cycle from Wollar to Merriwa (51km including 27km unsealed) via Lees Pinch (excellent views) and Goulburn River National Park. This would bypass the more mundane section of the Golden Highway while still accessing services and museums in Merriwa. From Merriwa, pick up my original route from the end of Day 2.)
Between Bylong and Jerrys Plains there are no shops unless you deviate to Sandy Hollow or Denman (see the Day 3 entry of this tour). Both towns lie within 10km of the alternative route. The roads along this route south of the Hunter and Goulburn Rivers are quieter than the Golden Highway and and are closer to the sandstone escarpment that borders Wollemi National Park. The first 5kms is unsealed.
© 2004-2010 Robert Taggart. Last updated 2 January 2009.