It would seem that most cycle tourists leave Sydney via the Northern Beaches and catch a ferry to Manly, whereas on Tuesday we’d ridden to Wisemans Ferry, which is a very different route. Whether this was the right decision we’ll never know, but we had a great time. From the campsite where we’d stayed on Tuesday night we caught two chain ferries to get onto the road that hugs the Hawkesbury River. Catching ferries always adds something fun to the day. The road surface was pretty awful, but it was devoid of cars and a fantastic route. After Spencer the road heads inland and over Mangrove Mountain, which was a gentle climb from sea level up to around 300m. We sat in the sun at Mangrove Mountain while eating lunch and thinking about how great it is cycling through NSW during autumn. Not too hot, not too cold. If only the sun didn’t vanish at 5.30pm! After lunch we swooped downhill, dodged the Sydney – Newcastle highway, dropped into Lisarow and found our amazing WarmShowers host.
We arrived at Peter & Vicki’s house, got shown an incredible en-suite room, got told to shower & then come eat cheese. Soon we were clean and sat on their deck overlooking bushland and being fed cheese. What a welcome. This was followed by an amazing Thai fish curry with cauliflower rice, apple turnovers and wine. Soon it was 11pm and we were all still talking, but we had to go to bed. Luckily we knew the next day would be pretty short, and Peter had made some improvements to our route. We slept really well in a comfortable bed and awoke to the smell of more food. Vicki had made a massive breakfast and even went to the effort of replacing bacon for halloumi cheese for me. We all sat outside enjoying this spread and talking further about cycling. They’re currently planning an extended tour to South America with no fixed return date that’ll be a huge adventure. We eventually left their house at about 11am having been thoroughly looked after by two people we had first met less than 24 hours ago. They’re owed a huge amount of cycling karma when they get to South America. We’ll remember people like Peter & Vicki for years, whereas we’ll forget about a lot of the cycling.
After saying goodbye to Peter & Vicki we rode around Tuggerah Lake and through The Entrance. It was really easy cycling, but as it was on great shared paths for a lot of the day it was a very relaxed ride with hardly any interactions with cars. Instead we saw big skies and a lot of pelicans. There was one section where we were on the road, which was fine because there was a massive shoulder and yet the shared cyclepath is currently being extended. This means in the very near future it’ll be possible to ride from Chittaway all the way to Budgewoi on shared paths. We’re very impressed to notice how money is being spent on cycle facilities in the area. Hopefully it’ll encourage more people to ride. Tomorrow we’ll spend a lot of the day riding past Lake Macquaire up to Eleebana. We’re staying there so I can do a ParkRun on Saturday morning.