A great beginner's tour, but equally enjoyable for the experienced bikepacker, this ride takes you through spectacular remote scenery while still having the amenities of pub meals and accommodation.
Apart from the beautiful scenery and nice roads, the Two Pub Tour has a number of particular features that make it a stand out cycling route.
Relatively short daily distances: For newer riders we would often recommend about 60kms a day as a good starting point. Enough distance to have a bit of challenge but accessible. It also makes it a good tour for winter where shorter daylight hours can make covering bigger distances challenging.
Easy Access: Both ends of the tour are at regular train stations on the Opal network. This means you can wheel your bike on, no boxing required. Trains to Windsor and Morisset both run roughly every hour and cost only a few dollars.
Accommodation options: The vast majority of our cycling routes presume you are cycling with a tent (that's how we prefer to roll) but we definitely get asked a lot about tours where you can stay in accommodation. You can choose between camping or booking a bed in St Albans and Wollombi. This makes it great for a "credit card tour" or a minimally loaded tour.
Food and Drink Options: As suggested in the name this tour uses two great local country pubs as its overnight stops. This means if you want to leave the stove at home you can still finish each day with a hot meal. You could even just pack minimal riding snacks and have lunch at Wisemans Ferry on day one, a late lunch at Lagoona on day two, and a late lunch at Cooranbong on the third day.
Photos courtesy of Ali, Gus, Mo
Day 1: Windsor to St Albans
Take the train to Windsor Station (it's a regular suburban service so no need to box your bike). You'll feel like you're in the country as you pass turf and vegetable farms on the way out of Windsor. If you want a coffee the Tractor Cafe is a great stop. Before too long you'll be winding along back roads as you head down to the Hawkesbury River. Back up and over some hills, you'll broadly follow the river as you head towards the town of Wisemans Ferry, which you access via cable ferry. You can stock up here and have a meal at the pub, before crossing the river on another cable ferry. The last 15kms into St Albans winds along the river and is very enjoyable riding. The Settlers Arms hotel in St Albans has great food, good beer and there is free camping on the grass over the road from the pub.
Day 2: St Albans to Wollombi
Start off with some breakfast at the Settlers Arms or the new cafe, the Pickled Wombat. Then rolling out of St Albans it's 25kms of gentle undulations and following the river to get the day started. A 6km climb then follows up towards Mogo Creek, it only rises 230m so it's mostly a very gentle gradient.
At around the 100km mark you turn onto the Great North Road at Bucketty, this road is moderately busy and a little narrow in parts so pay attention (particularly if you have been enjoying relaxing and wandering over the road on the quieter earlier gravel roads).
Lagoona at the 120km mark has a nice cafe/wine bar and is a great spot to stop for a snack. Wollombi has a few more food and accomodation options than St Albans and if you want something nice it's worth booking something in advance, alternatively there is free camping on the grass behind the pub.
Day 3: Wollombi to Morisset
Riding out of Wollombi we would recommend stopping again at Lagoona for a coffee and to fill up water bottles as there are no supplies for most of today's riding. Watagan Creek Road is again a beautiful dirt road winding through a valley for almost 30kms and is generally extremely low traffic. The road then starts to climb up and over the Watagans and this is probably the largest climb of the whole tour, rising 357m of vertical height over about 9.6kms. It's all generally a pretty pleasant grade but just might take a while. If it has been raining this road could be quite muddy. Once on top of the Watagans it's a fast paced descent down the other side, bearing in mind there will be a bit more traffic on the descent. Grab some food or coffee in Cooranbong and enjoy the last 10kms of urban exploring trail into Morisset.
Map & GPS
- This tour still passes through some quite remote and wild parts of the country. Phone reception is non-existent between Wisemans Ferry and Wollombi. Then on the third day there is no reception until after you cross the Watagans.
- Definitely tell someone where you are going and when you are due back. It's also a good idea to take an EPIRB or other satellite capable emergency device. We generally either carry a Garmin Inreach, a Spot Tracker or an EPIRB.
- You need to be able to navigate without phone reception via a GPS device, paper maps or offline saved map files.
- You should definitely ride with other people and carry spares to be able to fix your bike. Two spare tubes, tyre levers, pump, multitool, chain breaker, spare quick link and some chain lube would be a good start. If in doubt, swing by the shop for some advice.
- There are no buses or trains or public transport in this part of Sydney, if your bike breaks down or you can't continue you would need to hitch a ride or find a house with a telephone (remember there is no mobile reception for most of the route) to call a friend or family member.
- We recommend you carry three litres of water per person in summer, or two litres in winter.
- The ride as a whole is fine on any sort of gravel, touring or mountain bike. We would recommend 35mm tyres or larger.