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I had an afternoon free during my recent trip to Sydney, So I decided to get out of the city and take a ride in the country. I had heard that the Royal National Park was nice, so I asked at the Clarence St Cyclery if they thought that was a good idea. The very helpful staff assured me that it was indeed a good idea, and gave me comprehensive directions. Also, somewhat endearingly, I overheard them refer to me as ‘the touring gentleman’. So I blundered around the central city looking for a railway station, eventually finding one hidden underground. Sydney trains are pretty flash, electric double-decker things. They don’t cater very well to bikes though. So I wedged myself and the Roadrat in the doorway, trying not to block it too much. After a hearty lunch of coffee and banana-bread in Sutherland I set off. The first few k’s were on a fairly busy (but generously shouldered) highway but soon I turned off in to the Royal National Park.
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This was much quieter. I followed the road as it meandered steadily downwards, worrying very slightly about what it might be like riding back up. Pretty soon the road stopped meandering and started plummeting downwards. I was trying to remember the directions I had been given. “Ride through the Royal National Park to the —- Weir”. The Orderly Weir? The Otterly Weir? Aha – there it was – The Audley Weir. Now go along the Lady Something Drive.
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And there it was – the beginning of the Lady Carrington Drive.
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This was completely beautiful. There were no other people, just me and a Lyre bird (who I spotted sneaking across the trail in front of me).
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There were also at least a billion insects producing a periodically deafening buzz from the trees.
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One particular sparrow-sized insect gave me a hell of a fright when it dropped out of the sky and expired while stuck to the front of my shirt. It had a suspicious looking beak mark across its abdomen, so I think it was a present (or a warning) from one of the other birds.
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Eventually (after about 10km) I reached the end of the trail and got back on a road. I was pretty sure they had told be at the shop to keep heading “right and down”. So I did.
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This road was also lovely, I was passed by the occasional car and the occasional cyclist.
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Until I reached the coast. I followed the road along the top of the cliff, stopping for a little while to watch people hang gliding.
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I stopped at Stanwell Park where the gliders came in to land.
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I ate some of a muesli bar, and shared the rest with the local cockatoos.
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Then I was back on the road and cycling over the fantastic Sea Cliff Bridge. I hadn’t really planned how far to go down the coast, but just past Thirroul the road started to get busier and less pleasant to cycle along.
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So I gave up and caught the train from the Thirroul station back to Sydney. I can heartily recommend this route to any other “touring gentlemen” or ladies who might be in the area. It was about 45-50km of beautiful scenery, lovely wildlife and good roads – I loved it.