This post was edited and photos processed  2019
After previously having to cancel this ride I was determined to go this time no matter what so I set out only to ride into one of the hottest days on record.

Yes that is 44 degrees or 111F in the old imperial measurements. This was in the shade at Nymboida coaching station on Australia day, the heat was ferocious.

When riding I was blasted with oven hot air if I opened my visor and half suffocated in the stifling heat inside if I did not. It really was beyond uncomfortable and downright dangerous as I could not keep enough fluids up and ended up dehydrated, exhausted and starting to get brain fade and wanting to nod off. I stopped and took stock of matters then checked into the first motel I came to where I jumped under a cold shower then rested in air conditioning with a big jug of iced water.

The next day I felt mostly recovered with the exception of some heat rash from the previous day however the day was soon heating up and I needed to do a reality check. I reluctantly decided that it was not feasible to ride south as planned.

I decided then to spend some time exploring a few places in and around the New England Tablelands area of NSW hoping that the temperatures in that area would be cooler due to the altitude, First I rode to the Wollomombi Falls which totally amazed me. The photo doesn’t convey size of the gorge but it is enormous, the 2nd highest drop in Australia.
Next I got adventurous and hit the dirt to visit a place I had long wanted to see. Point Lookout is 1563 m (5127 ft) above sea level and is located about 20km off the Waterfall way.  The views from the ‘eagle nest’ viewing area were jaw dropping, I would rate this one of the best lookouts in Australia and again my photo does nothing to capture the scale and grandeur.

I took a run down from Dorrigo to Belligen and did a few runs over the superb mountain section just south of Dorrigo.

Another thing I had wanted to check in this area was the East Dorrigo Way that runs from Coramba to Ulong and on to Dorrigo. I asked the guy in the servo at Coramba what the road beyond Ulong was like and he said it was kept in good order so I thought I’d give it all a go. The climb from Coramba to Ulong is a superb motorcycle road.

The road from Ulong to Dorrigo was terrible dust then loose stones. Finally I made it across and on the approach to Dorrigo the road is again excellent and soon I was at Dangar falls, one of the dozen or more excellent waterfalls that are scattered about this area.
After exploring Cathedral rock national park I caught up with some fellow riders at Fusspots cafe in Ebor.

I went to explore the Tyringham road. This is the alternative to the Waterfall way and if you had the chance to ride both then it was fun in it’s own right.

I visited Russell Crowe’s museum of interesting things at Nymboida and had lunch at the Coaching Station which I presume is also his? Heaps of interesting sporting stuff collected by Russell on display inside the pub and friendly folk behind the bar – glad my plans changed so I could relax and take it all in.

Between Grafton and Casino the Summerland way is lousy so I went via Laurence and the Clarence river gave some cooling affect.
That’s about it for this ride report. I never got as far south as I had planned but having time to slow down and look at things turned out better. Must try to do that more in future, but the temptation is always to push on and cover more road.

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this ride.
    I have been wanting to ride this area for a while and have been wondering what the conditions for road bikes would be like
    Are you going to post the route on google maps
    Thanks
    Peter

  2. Great photos IC…It's a shame you weren't able to do the whole trip as planned, but at least you spent some time in a great part of the country!

    I'm now living in the Clarence Valley area and there are some great riding roads around here.

    This time I did notice the omission of one of your "standard" photos – amazing pub meal, plus glass of beer, and your helmet in the background on the table! 🙂

    Always enjoy your blog posts…. Awesome work!

  3. Great post – I have a few mates overseas (northern hemisphere) who find it very hard to believe it could be too hot to ride…

    The area you were riding in is great – if you get back there when its cooler there's a beautiful little pocket of country under the Dorrigo escarpment – just to the north of Bellingen – called "The Promised Land".

    Great to here about the diversion on the Summerland Way via Laurence – that road really does get boring. Will check it out next time.

    Not sure what you meant by "this trip marks the end of my use of compact cameras" but if you are thinking of getting an SLR for better image quality then make sure you look at the Micro Four-Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. I bought a Panasonic GF1 and the quality is stunning – and its still incredibly compact (and has the capability to leverage an enormous range of lenses). They are a little pricey but starting to get better – Olympus just released a pretty reasonable priced one.

    I got the camera for a long bike trip my wife and I are doing in Europe soon – can't wait…

    Keep up the great blog!

    Cheers, Robert
    Brisbane, Australia

  4. Thanks for the feed back guys.

    The Panasonic GF1 is going to be my next camera. I had been waiting for the third Olympus 'pen' cameras to come out (debuted this week on net) I think I will go for the GF1 still as there are some deals.

    I am definitely going to visit this area some more. Mid north coast to tablelands is really offers so much and is within easy striking distance from Brisbane. Moving south from there IMO you really need to get to the NSW/VIC border before the riding is as good.

  5. IC – Mate can't thank you enough for informing me of the detour off the Summerland Way via Lawrence through to Grafton. I can now -after an Easter long weekend ride from Brisneyland to Dorrigo & back- throughly recommend the Lawrence Tavern for lunch; we had a great Jewfish meal there and it's really nice looking over the water from the front deck. This is a licence saver…it's too tempting on the Summerland Way to speed (especially on a ZX14…), the only other option being going brain dead, or worse, taking the Pacific Highway!! This road is great, with some nice sweepers and country-lane-style road through to Grafton. Made the trip. Keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks for your description of the roads around where I now live (moved to Dorrigo from Qld's Sunshine Coast back in Feb). I came across your blog while posing the question to Google re the condition of the Coramba Rd, as it looked great for a ride on the map. I'm also a road bike rider that's not afraid to tackle some dirt, but your description of the 25k between Ulong and Dorrigo, sounds a little too hardcore for me, although it may be a little different now that it's 2017. 🙂 If I was riding an R1100GS, instead of my trusty R1100RS, I'd have no qualms at all.
    Still, as you say, there are some fantastic rides in the region, so missing out on that one piece of road, won't bother me too much.
    If you're riding through this way again, and feel like a break for a cuppa, if you take the Dome Rd turn, off Waterfall Way (just outside Dorrigo) which heads to the Rainforest Centre, about 300m after the turnoff, you'll see some big sheds on your left (old sawmill) and a small cottage behind a wooden fence. If you see a blue BMW parked in the carport, I'm home, and you're welcome to drop in . . .

    • I actually rode Dorrigo to Ulong last year October on my Downunder Tour (check story here on blog).

      The road is better now – just a regular gravel road and only challenge is it was rather loose surface on road bias tyres but taking it slow I had no problems. From Ulong there has been a fair bit of resurfacing making the rest a fabulous ride.

      Many thanks for the offer, I am still living in Japan at present pondering what to do next in life but I miss that past of Australia.

  7. Phil Smith

    Thanks for this. I’m having to trim short a planned ride starting next week. Instead of going on to Newcastle, I’ll have to turn again at Uralla: thinking Ebor Dorrigo Ulong …. then home toward Caloundra somehow, Anywhere to stay in Ulong? What maps did you have as it all sounds like backroads. (We’ve done the Coffs to Dorrigo waterfall way, and Dorrigo to Grafton on the old highway) GS1100 BMW, so I’ll have a crack at a bit of gravel. Phil.

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