Day Two: Buchan to Gelantipy via Tulloch Ard Rd
After brekkie we grabbed a coffee (which was actually OK!) at the Buchan servo. Caffeinated and feeling pretty comfortable we headed out along the Basin road and gently climbed to the Tulloch Ard road turnoff…this was where things started to get interesting…even at a glance at the track ahead made it apparent that we were in for some serious climbing today!
Start of the Tulloch Ard Road
Indeed there were serious grades…some ultimately way too steep to ride…so we made slow progress. It took us over four hours to ride ~ 25 k’s – We had planned to stop for lunch at Ash Saddle which would mark the highest elevation point in the days ride. We needed however to stop some 5 k’s short of this milestone purely just to fuel up…we had been working VERY hard to this point. Tulloch Ard Rd was quickly becoming Tulloch Hard Rd…and as it got harder there were a few more adjectives/expletives added to express the challange of the ride!
Too steep to ride – the pic does the grades no justice!
We saw a sign to the Tulloch Ard Gorge lookout, a tantalising 1k away. It was no-brainer that we would divert to have a look…we rode towards the ‘lookout’. That’s when we realised that we were descending steeply and rapidly…and that we would have then to ride back up and out! With this we ditched our trusty steeds in the bush and walked in…ultimately to a sign that indicated the lookout was still a couple of kilometers away! Someone had annotated on the sign that you need to be REALLY fit to do this which we thought apt and funny! We were still well short of Gelantipy and given it was getting quite late in the day we sensibly opted to save Tulloch Ard Gorge for another day and walked back up to the bikes and pushed on.
Sign at the start of the walk to the gorge lookout
Once we left the National Park we were riding on much flatter, undulating farm roads through some of the most picturesque farmland that you could see…almost anywhere! To our north and east the Snowy Wilderness (a landscape we were to be completely immersed in over the next few days) was for the first time in the ride revealed!
The country opened up on leaving the National Park – and got much flatter!
Towards the end of the days ride we were rewarded with a wonderful descent to the Buchan – Gelantipy road…but as we all know there’s always one last hill and this was the case today with the remaining jump-up to Karoonda Park (our farm-stay accommodation for the night).
Our instructions Tulloch Ard Rd – ticked off the bucket list!
We got to our cabin and as arranged there were beers in the fridge -we showered and headed to the kitchen where we caught up with Pilco…he was a great old character who had cooked up a treat – Lots laughs and yarns about his farming background and his various escapades as a cowboy and rodeo rider…we were treated to some wonderful country hospitality, the perfect way to end a big day in (and out) of the saddle.
Jeff and Pilco in the Karoonda Park Kitchen