View Full Version : Clowndogs underground over-nighter

23-11-2007, 09:32 PM
This is a spur of the moment trip that I embarked upon last weekend but first a little background.

The weekend prior I had undertaken an 800k trip to visit some friends and test my newly purchased camping equipment, having never really camped before. The trip initially consisted of a large amount of dirt travel from St Albans north of Sydney to Moonan Flat and over the Barrington Tops to Gloucester. Unfortunately the weekend was a wash out. I was drenched for two and a half days and after slipping and sliding my way from St Albans to Broke I altered my path and stayed on the bitumen. I don't mind dirt roads but a wet one on a vstrom loaded with camping gear was more work than fun. In the end I completed the trip and was glad to have done it, but due to the weather I came out the other end tired, and with very few photos to show for my efforts.

I had resolved to take a break the following weekend and maybe just do a ride around Sydney, but come Friday afternoon and ideas started to float around my head once again. Before I knew it I was down at Woolworths buying tuna, melba toast and nescafe coffee sachets. :razz:

The weather forecast was good and so I packed the bike ready for an early departure on Saturday morning. I planned to do a relaxed trip, 250k on Saturday leaving me with plenty of time to setup camp and relax followed by 250k on Sunday to get me home. I was looking forward to setting up my tent and relaxing a little, the previous weekend I was soaked, reading tent instructions and fighting the rain as the sun was going down.

The route takes me south out of Sydney down to Mittagong via the M7. From Mittagong I head west to Wombeyan Caves and eventually to Mt Werong where I plan to camp for the night. Day two takes me north to Oberon and then east on my way home, with a side trip to the Jenolan Caves.

I left home around 6am, hoping to arrive at Mt Werong in plenty of time to set-up camp and have a lazy afternoon. The sun was still partly concealed by clouds and low above the horizon as I cruised down the M7.

The M7 is one of Sydney's newest additions leading south. A good way to get out of the city and get the real riding started.

After a quick breakfast at Mittagong I began my journey west along Wombeyan Caves Road. I noted that Mittagong and the surrounding areas had a really sweet smell, kind of a mix between pollen, honey and sherbet :) I passed some trees covered in hundreds of flowers later on, a likely source.

If I recall correctly, the Wombeyan Caves road was only tarred up to somewhere around High Range, which I think was only a locality.

This was a stunning little driveway proudly displaying a fantastic view of part of the owners property.

I took the opportunity to grab a shot of the strom, patiently waiting for me, as I once again stop for photos. It was at this moment I got the crazy idea to try a panorama shot, of sorts.

I herby present, Clowndogorama ! :bs
Warning, objects may be more peculiar than they appear!

As seems to happen on each of my trips, my passing had not gone un-noticed. To the un-trained eye these may appear to be nothing more than cows attempting to elude the heat under the shade of a tree, but don't be fooled. These creatures are members of a clandestine organisation operating on a global scale. Their motives are as yet unknown, but they are intelligent and they are organised.

My feeble attempt to slip past casually failed, of course.

I was interrogated at length by one of the henchmen.

A lengthy discussion followed and I was eventually granted permission to pass, whew !

Once again, Dodgy Bro's Inc is running on a tight budget and special effects don't come cheap. I foresee a mirror shot in the near future.

Not long after the road turned to dirt I was skirting the boundaries of Nattai NP.

Ok, so it's not as grand as some of the tunnels you will find in this forum but it was pleasing to the eye just the same. Better than the M2 tunnel at least ;D


Yea yea, sounds like too much work for Dodgey Bro's Inc.

More Photoshop trickery

Soon after I took a quick break at, ahem, a lookout. Woodenwally something or other.

Quite a nice spot, just on the edges of Nattai NP, wooden, wombe, wallawalla, bah.

Ah yes, as I was just saying, Wollondilly Lookout. of course.

I would love to just grab a backpack and head into that if I wasn't such a lazy bastard. Back on the bike I say.

The gray/white, dirt/gravel road gave way to red dirt in the space of about 5 meters.

The plant life along the road changed colour quite dramatically also.

As did the road markers. In fact, if you look closely, even the 20 or so flies resting on the top of it have been dyed red.

More to follow...

23-11-2007, 10:58 PM
Red is only one of the many colours I will ride on this trip. Australias roads are available in a variety of colours and hues.

The roads remain fairly wide and straight all the way up to the Joadja Nature Reserve.

But the colour changes ever few kilometers. Red and white gives you ?

Im often surprised how well my over the shoulder shots turn out, quite often better than when I can actually see what im doing, funny that.

The road rises and falls as I head towards Bullio

Another turnoff and a big rock looking somewhat out of place. I think these are actually farmholders driveways.

The roads begin to turn white and narrow ever so slightly as I progress. The weather is good and the Wombeyan Caves lay somewhere ahead.

I have to say, the roads out this way were all in pretty good condition for me, corrugations were few and far between.


Here the roads really start to narrow and begin widing their way relentlessly up and down the sides of the mountains.

I wanted to attempt a panorama here to show the gravel road picking it's way along the mountains edge but my camera skills a limited and I took all the wrong shots at all the wrong angles.



I passed over many of these floodways, always low down in the elbow of some hill or mountain, this road could be interesting in the rain.

Endless corners up and down and I don't recall passing a sole out here since it turned to dirt. It's fairly slow riding but with the road to myself im happily putting along watching the terrain go by.

Another floodway and probably the roughest little bit of road in the whole trip, so it was basically a dawdle for the strom.

Left home at 6am, 30 minutes for breakfast at Mittagong, that 4 hours on the road for a grand total of 200k. Not breaking any speed records here, but, not trying to :lol:

Hmm I wonder where that road goes, well, another day.

The dirt turns to tar for a km or two either side of the caves. Looking forward to a cold drink, been a bloody hot day so far.

Time for a rest, some relaxation and a cold drink before I head on towards the lush forrests and wilderness of my camp for the night at Mt Werong.

A relaxing walk through the caves perhaps ? Why yes good sir, lets.

Hold on a minute, nobody said it was uphill !

Ye gods, all the way up there ? is there no lazy arsed traveler option ? Ok well at least I can see the entrance up ahead.

Nooooo it wasn't the entrance, just a platform !! Climb ! Climb you magnificent bastard !

Maybe I should have brought walking shoes ? or taken my riding jacket off ? or brought some water ? or a signal flare ? I can'ne doit capn, I havn got the poooower !

Salvation at last, the inside of the cave is chillingly cold and the sweat covering every milimeter of my body quickly turns cold and give me the sensation of having been drenched.

The camera flash lights every corner but this place is DARK. Still moving at and outside pace and eyes struggling to adjust it wasnt long until I smached my head on a rock.

23-11-2007, 11:47 PM
As you can see the path winds up and down through the caves. I have to appoligise for the picture quality, this little camera just can not cope with low light levels.

Most of my photos both here and at Jenolan caves are not worth keeping, but I have plucked out a few to help give a fell of the caves.


Watch your head

These caves really are a natural wonder but unfortunately for me, I wasnt feeling it. I wanted to marvel at these things in awe but it was not happening. I may have been simply tired from my climb or distracted by the sensation of feeling soaking wet but something else played a part too.

The caves are full of guide rails, man made pathways, automated lighting and piped commentary. I know that without all these features the caves probably wouldnt be accessable to the average joe, but still, I can't help feeling it detracted from the whole experience in a large way.

I would like to go back here without the camera sometime and have a better look when im more relaxed. This figtree cave is only one of the self guided walks and the caves also host a large camping area.

This was looking down a large chasm.

The two sections here that are lit used to be joined until the bottom bit fell away.


The lighting is good but it all feels a little bit Disneyland. That was one of the things I was struggling with, it all felt fake, cosmetic. Of course it isnt REALLY papier mache it's stone and deposits and what not. Definately going back for a proper look.



Back out on the road and heading towards Mt Werong.

Im sure one of these roads led up towards Mt Werong but I wasn't sure of distances and didnt have a decent map of the area due to this being a spur of the moment kinda thing.

I quite enjoy messing about with photoshop, did you get that idea yet ?

Langs road might lead up to Mt Werong, but im in no hurry, I head to Taralga to top up my fuel.

The roads between Oberon and Goulburn are nice riding, even listed in the Australian Motorcycle Atlas. Im looking forward to knocking over a few of thoes roads when I do my Victoria and southern NSW trip.

Up over the hill and Taralga aint far from here. I pulled up at the single bowser server at 1pm, just as the owner was closing his doors. 24 hour service stations may be the norm in Sydney but not here. However it's not self service either.

A quick turn around and im on the way to Mt Werong, mountains, trees, birds, bee's, wildlife and the great outdoors.



Comon, you knew the mirror shot was coming. The over the sholder shot gave it away didn't it ?


For some reason I really took a liking to this particular bunch of trees huddled together on the top of the hill.


The camrea probably doesn't capture it but it was just a great little scene.

The adjustable madstad bracket was worth every cent, cutting down on wind, noise, buffeting and my insect intake.

Probably a good time for lunch, 280km under my belt for the day but I really can't wait to get to Mt Werong, then I can setup camp and relax properly !

Up into the hills, a few more bends and I should soon reach a turnoff to Mt Werong, according to my trusty GPS.

Ah, Mr GPS, are you sure this is the way ?

The NSW government has finally found a way to combat the constant threat of bush fires. They figure, no bush, no fire, right ?

Yes sir, Mt Werong wilderness retreat right this way, follow the carnage if you dare. With clouds gathering above im begining to think getting stuck downhere by myself might make for an unhappy camper.

Its going to rain soon, I can smell it, and this strom is 200kg+ with stock tyres. Let's ask Mr GPS again.

Huston ? do you read ?

Ok jack, im outta here. New plan, head north until I find somewhere to camp, and I better find it soon because im running out of weather.

More tommorow...

24-11-2007, 07:47 AM
Very good report mate. One of the good thing about riding alone is that you can stop and take photos wherever you like. Great photos.

I don't have a GPS and not want one.

24-11-2007, 10:12 AM
Some nasty looking weather closing in, but also quite magnificent.

Infact, the impending weather helped to frame my favorite photo of the whole trip. I just love the colours and the lines in this shot.

Time to move, heading north towards Porters Retreat, Black Springs and Oberon in the hopes of finding a suitable campsite before it rains.

Too late, the rain hit's acompanied by lightning and thunder. This shot shows the steam rising off the road causing something of a whiteout.

So I arrive in Oberon, suited in my wet weather gear but still suitable drenched. Welcome to the Big Trout Inn. Big Trout you say ?

Not exactly the accomodation I had planned on but any port in a storm.

With a chair like this, how bad can it be

The bare essentials.

It seems they knew I was coming ?

Thoes cows must have tipped them off.

Time for a coffee and biscuit before I slip into the shower for a nice relaxing soak, my hopes and dreams of camping in the wilderness quickly forgotten.

The shower head required some little adjustment, as all shower heads do. A struggle ensued and it was unwilling to comply with my simple demands.

The reward received after my epic battle with the non-compliant shower head was a second room.

Lounge, Beer, Remote control. Heaven will be like this.

My gracious host keeping a watchful eye on the weather.

Tommorow I head home via the Jenolan Caves, almost certain to be jam packed full of touristy goodness.

Duckmalol Road, of course.

Sunday morning and I depart Oberon, yesterday was 350k as you can see, not a huge distance but it was slow going for a while. I can highly recommend airhawks seat cushions, they take some adjusting and fine tuning but for the price I think it's worth the comfort.

second shot of the day and it's mirror shot time already.

Heading south east out of Oberon via Edith

The good weather has returned and it's a nice cool ride.

it's not long until I hit the twisty section leading towards Jenolan Caves.


My first hit that Jenolan Caves may be a major tourist attraction was the fact that I had arrived and parked in carpark two, which by itself was quite large. A short stroll from here afforded me quite a nice view.

It was not long until I hit my first obstacle

You know how I feel about long walks up steep slopes in riding boots. Some people never learn.

Ah yes, let the crazy begin. Touristy goodness.

The water feature shown in these shots was actually man made but it's not as bad as it sounds, I think they dug it out by hand when they discovered the caves.

There are many walks available with the majority being guided tours. The walks range from intensive to moderate right down to lazy arsed traveler. I took the later option.

Once again my cameras shortcoming come to the fore. Grainy at best.

I wont bore you with too many of these, I suggest you get there and take a look, I will be going back sometime to take it in properly.






You punch numbers into the little device according to which part of the caves you are in, it then proceeds to explain your surroundings

At first tourists navigated the caves along wooden pathways, later they began to cut steps directly into the stone until they realised they were destroying the very thing they were attempting to display. They later move to the current format, metal walkways and guide rails, automatic lighting etc etc.


Do not adjust your sets




Now this thing scared the hell out of me. The picture does not do it justice but this massive slab of stone feels like its right above your head and there is no doubt what so ever, that thing is going to fall eventually.




These nttles are what gives the self guided nettle cave it's name.

Scattered throughout the place are little bathrooms build right into the stone.



So I wave goodbye to the Jenolan Caves. Once again I guess things have to be this way but it's really a bit of a shame, I would much rather simply have a road that leads here and bring my own flashlight.

I passed the owner and his pillion heading down into the caves.

Back on the twisty roads leading out the other side and on towards Katoomba.

It must be said that these roads and the roads that followed towards Katoomba where just brillian sweepers and a pleasure to ride. I must have passed 30 motorbikes along the way going in the opposite direction.

Nivea Lip Chap, for the lazy arsed traveller on the go !
When your mates at the pub see you putting this on, you just know they are going to ask where they can buy some.

Lovely riding, it would have been bliss except for the boring section of freeway between Katoomba and home.

More forrest desolation, the price we pay I guess.

Im no greenie but it's still a shame

not all the scenery is gone tho, not for a long shot.

One last over the shoulder shot before I head home.

I think I clocked up somewhere around 550km all told. It was a great little trip but I failed to meet my objectives, I failed to camp. Perhaps over the christmas break I can get in some camping. Im having my bashplate fitted today and can't wait to get the bike back and go for a ride tommorow.

If I can find some decent photos from my 800k trip the weekend prior I might wack them into this thread as I don't have enough to really make another report.

Sorry for any typos or spelling errors, I will pop back and fix them up later today, I have to head out for lunch now :D

24-11-2007, 02:25 PM
Holy Shit !!
Maaaate, what a write-up...and THOSE pics. :glu
Love your style, it's good reading, very entertaining, the pics support the text well (and vice-versa), GOOD STUFF !! :clap::clap::clap:

Biccies and a tin of fish....BUT....!! a Jacobs Creek !!
Yeah, as I said, love your style :bs:bs


24-11-2007, 09:37 PM
Great story - you must have spent more time taking pics than you did in the saddle! Not that I'm complaining, the photos are great.

Got to watch those cows, though...

29-11-2007, 05:13 PM

Awesome :bs


Now, Is this cos the BLIND corners can't see you coming :doh:
Or part of the bovine conspiracy?

Nice write up bloke, love the humour :clap:

14-05-2008, 09:15 PM
Awesome :bs

Now, Is this cos the BLIND corners can't see you coming :doh:
Or part of the bovine conspiracy?

Nice write up bloke, love the humour :clap:

great write up!

Some of those signs used to read "Sound Horny at Blind Corners" , a bit of country humour.