Bikepacking Barrington Tops
Sydney local, photographer, and newbie bikepacker Bob Barrett takes us on a tour of one of Australia’s best kept secrets for adventure cycling, the Barrington Tops National Park in New South Wales.
Words and photography: Bob Barrett
Barrington Tops is a relatively unknown region of Australia, which was naturally pretty appealing from a cyclist’s point of view, and having now ridden there I can say that the countryside, with its rain forests and never-ending hills, is the most scenic I’ve seen in the country.
The whole region is very remote and inaccessible, but we wanted to get a good feel for the place, so a multi-day bikepacking trip seemed like the best way to explore. The route we followed started in Gloucester, and was broken up between a 106km ride on day one and a 121km ride on day two, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but with barely a flat metre of ground, inclines often exceeding 10%, and long stretches of gravel or dirt roads, it was tough.
Being winter in the southern hemisphere, snow had originally been forecast, but in the end the most uncomfortable the conditions got was at the top of some of the climbs, where the temperature dipped to just above zero. In fact, we were actually blessed with blue skies and sunshine throughout.
There’s very little out there in the National Park, which I suppose is what makes it so good for riding. The scenery is second to none, and the little company you do have – be it the cows you have to dodge on the road, confused local pub patrons, or your riding partners slogging up the climbs next to you – all make for a memorable riding adventure.