Oberon Gravel, Regional NSW, Australia
125 km / 2100 m
Written by James Wilson
Photos by Phillip Sage
James Wilson is a Curve Ambassador, and also runs Graveleur - a community of gravel and adventure cyclists. Recently he shared the experience of reconnecting with a place his family grew up.
Over twenty years ago, my parents moved to Oberon in regional New South Wales. This region of New South Wales has an abundance of quiet back roads, both gravel and black top. The elevation is 1210 metres above sea level, and there are endless pine forests to ride through, quiet farm roads and most importantly, a lack of cars. When my parents relocated from Sydney, I hadn’t rediscovered cycling and never imagined the multitude of areas that existed to explore by bike in this region.
Oberon is located about 180 km west of Sydney's Great Dividing Range. Once you are out of Sydney, it is a relatively easy two and half-hour stress-free drive. There are gravel and mixed terrain routes that you can take to Oberon for the more adventurous. A favourite route takes me from my home on the Central Coast of NSW, through Mangrove Mountain and up to the Old Convict Trail, down into Wiseman’s Ferry, over some river crossings and then up to Bilpin via Colo. From Bilpin, riding is quite adventurous either via some fire roads or Bells Line of Road. After Bell, it is possible to descend into the Hartley Valley and ride over to the Cox’s River via Hampton into Oberon. Pack your climbing legs as there is plenty of elevation in this route.
When in Oberon, several out and back loops can range from 30 to 100 kms, depending on how much time you have. My parent’s property is located 10 km towards Jenolan Caves from Oberon, they live on a gravel road which can only be described as magical. It is possible to ride to Bathurst via gravel and mixed terrain roads. One option goes via Rockley, an area with historical significance in NSW and is set to be revitalised. Another option is to head towards Rydal through Tarana and Sodwalls.
If you plan to make a weekend of riding in Oberon, you must add a visit to the Mayfield Gardens for the food and fantastic atmosphere – further details at mayfieldgarden.com.au
While the riding options around Oberon are accessible and there are places to get food and fill up bottles, it is advisable to plan for places to refuel, as many can be closed mid-week.
Oberon Gravel Explore - ridewithgps.com/routes/34992208
Rapha Prestige – Start at Oberon - ridewithgps.com/routes/38714263
Central Coast to Oberon NSW - ridewithgps.com/routes/38714212