Coolah to Gulgong = 97km (Coolah to Bushcamp 50km, Bushcamp to Gulgong = 47km)
Cummulative total = 7404km
Next to the campground at Coolah there was a paddock with 3 cows and a calf and they were seperated by an electric wire but this did not stop the little calf from waundering over to the campground as I think he found a way to go around it. While we were cooking our dinner on the BBQ the calf decided to come over and have a nosy at us and he was very curious about Kouta so Kouta waundered over to the calf and tried to play with it but it was very timid and unsure with Koutas quick moves ... for the brief time that Kouta tried to play with the calf I think he enjoyed himself!
in the above photo Kouta was trying to get the calf to chase him around the table ...
... as you can see Kouta is in full flight around the table but the calf hasn't moved ... the calf couldn't quite get the jist of the game with Kouta!!!
We woke the next morning to a very bright sunny day and it ended up being a very tough day indeed. There were 4 range climbs over a 30km distance. The uphills were around 3-4km long and at around 6% gradient except for the last hill and that was not so steep. All the hills had a down hill but as per usual the road was bad so you had to ride in the middle of the actual road which was easy to do as there was hardly any traffic along this road.
This is the view from the first climb and you look back at the range that we climbed to get to Coolah from the north.
The scenery is really nice around here all full of rolling hills. At the end of this road we joined the main road to Newcastle and went along it for a few kilometers and then turned south onto the Ulan road.
At this junction I got a flat back tyre so we had to pull over and fix it. Fortunately it was at the junction and there was plenty of areas flat enough to pull over safely and fix it. The flat was because the tube at the seam had a hole from wear and tear.
The Ulan road is nice and probably the best road we have been on in NSW ... we figured out why it was in such a good condition - at Ulan there is a coal mine and so the road is good to and from it and around it! There were a few trucks but the road is wide enough for them to pass easily. 8km along we came to the locality of Turill and we thinking of staying there at the local hall but decided not to and initially we headed off with the idea to camp near the Goulburn river as there was a rest area but the book said no dogs as it is a national park ... so as we were riding along we decided that what if someone turns up when we are camped there and reports us? and since it is a the school holidays there probably would be someone there so we decided to pull over and find a track in one of the conservation parks near Turill - they also don't allow dogs but if we just go in the bush and not a picnic area then we will be okay - so we found a lovely spot in the end!
The ground was covered in lichen that was dry so when we laid on it it felt like you were sleeping on rice bubbles! The park is full of native pine and gum trees and while having a cuppa we got the shock of our lives ... about 5 meters from where we were sitting a goanna about 1 meter long passed us! so Neil got up with the camera and began to take photos and walking behind it. The goanna didn't like Neil following so it climbed up a tree to escape and by this time I had come along to see ... (Kouta had slept through the entire episode and missed the goanna!)
... we haven't seen a goanna since being in the Northern Territory and all our bush camping we have done on this trip this is the first goanna we have come across!
Since there has been alot of rainfall everywhere the wild flowers certainly are blooming and near the tent we found this little bush - I think it is some type of Grevillea
and a close up of the beautiful flower
one thing we have noticed alongside the road is the abundance of small flowers and they are either purple or yellow and occassionally white!
We both had a good nights sleep with the exception of Kouta who I think spent the whole night scratching himself and so he didn't get much sleep (don't worry he is sleeping as I do the blog!).
It was a cool night but the morning wasn't too bad but for some strange reason Neil must be getting old and feeling the cold as he decides to put on his footy socks ... and pull them up to keep warm!
We left around 8am and like I said before the abundance of wild flowers is just amazing and we had to stop to take another photo of one
and a close up of the flower
It was not too bad riding to Ulan - it was a gradual ups and downs but the wind was blowing strong from the south west and it was very cold. Just before Ulan you come to the Ulan mine and I tell you it is a real shock seeing this mine sticking out like a very sore thumb in the middle of nature and all the National and Conservation parks!
For some strange reason the mine being there really offended me (and if there were protestors there I probably would have joined them!). The ones up in Queensland sort of really blended in with the surrounds as there wasn't much to look at in terms of natural beauty ... but after viewing nothing but green hills, ranges full of trees and lovely looking fields and farms and really nice scenic country and then you come to this damn mine it really did destroy the beautiful scenery.
We turned onto the Cope Rd to Gulgong and straight away you noticed the road surface became worse so this wasn't a mine road! You climb ever so gently and we had a full strong head wind at this point but it wasn't that bad. About 10km along you come across this sign ...
we didn't realise that we were in the area of the dividing range we thought it was further over east of us!
We decided to take a break here anyway and while drinking our cuppa we noticed that we were surrounded by at least 5 different wild flowers so we took photos of some (are you sick of photos of wild flowers?!)
and a close up (I could be wrong on this but this bush looked like a Boronia type bush?)
and a close up
They are just so pretty!
From the dividing range sign it is a gentle down hill (hard to tell as we had such a strong head wind that we had to pedal) and then a gentle climb to Gulgong. Which by the looks of it is a very old town (a bit like Maldon in Victoria). The main road through the shops is very narrow and they have allowed parking either side and I am sure it is not wide enough for 2 cars to pass each other with the cars parked at the sides!
We will stay here for a rest day tomorrow and I will walk into town to look at all the old buildings.