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Our original holiday plans were to spend four weeks in the High Country, but with the next 2 weeks having rain forecast, we decided to head to somewhere dry. Enter the Orange Villages Bicycle Trail (OVBT).

A quick trip up to Orange, where we were lucky to leave our car with relatives of a friend, we embarked on our 6-day journey. We enjoy meandering along taking in our surroundings and prefer to camp so our mountain bikes were loaded up with panniers. Here is our story on the OVBT.

Day 1 - Orange to Molong  (56km)

Leaving Orange we enjoyed cruising along country roads taking in the peaceful surroundings. Before long we were faced with category 3 & 4 climbs up into the hills. Here there is a half-hour return walk to Pinnacle Lookout which we chose not to do as we weren't keen on leaving our bikes unattended. We then reaped the benefits of our uphill with an awesome downhill run to Lake Canobolas. This is a beautiful dam complete with picnic areas & a cafe (not open when we were there), where we cycled across the dam wall.

After here the rest of the day is mainly downhill cycling and if you keep your eyes peeled there is always something to see.

The old township of Borenore is worth a stop with its old railway station....

....and interesting statues (opposite an old pub?).

The township of Molong is quite big with a supermarket & cafes.

As we were camping we cycled out to the Molong Showground & Golfcourse (1.5km uphill out of town). This cost us $10 (no power) but we were given permission to charge our devices from powerpoints on the outside of a shed & toilets. Drinking water (rainwater) was available. We enjoyed wonderful hot showers before cooking up our dinner on the Trangia.


Day 2 - Molong to Cargo (71km)

Cycling back through town this morning we came across our first quirky sights for the day.

Today's ride was along fantastic backcountry roads where the gravel was solid and the landscape stunning, especially with storms rolling along beside us during the afternoon. 

The mill township of Manildra was busy with trucks but was convenient with a cafe/takeaway come grocery store and a park with toilets, drinking water fountain, and undercover tables.

More great sculptures and letterboxes were spotted along the way today.

We stopped in Cudal for lunch at the Landauer Memorial Park, also complete with toilets, tables & a drinking water fountain. Leaving here we were sure we would get caught in the storms rumbling around us.

We took the predominantly gravel route where there was a choice and we were glad to have done so as not only was there less traffic, we managed to avoid the rain!

Cargo is a tiny place with a pub and cafe/takeaway shop which also sells basic groceries. Tonight (as it was my birthday) was a non-camping night and we stayed in new accommodation out the back of the main pub building (cost $120). Our ensuite room had a microwave, bar fridge, kettle, tea & coffee supplies, TV, and a deck to relax on.  After a shower, we enjoyed a drink at the pub, before buying dinner at the takeaway. (The pub only serves dinner Thursday to Sunday, although they could supply a pie or toastie other nights.) We were very happy with our 2 burgers and chips ($26) from the takeaway, along with another takeaway drink from the pub, sitting on our deck watching more storms roll on by.

Day 3 - Cargo to Cowra (69km)

Today's ride took us on nearly all bitumen except a small 6km section of gravel which could have been avoided. 

Initially leaving Cargo we cycled on busy roads but found some interesting things along the way.

We covered the first 23km quickly, reaching the historic town of Canowindra in time for an early morning tea. 

Opting for the bakery as apposed to the cafe we were happy to score an apple turnover and custard tart, along with 2 fresh breadrolls for our lunch later. Beats eating crackers again! 

The rest of the day took us through agricultural and farming lands.

Unfortunatley for us we encountered strong southerly head winds in the open countryside, which we battled for about 30kms all the way into into Cowra. Without the head winds it would have been a flat easy part of the ride.

Cowra showground was our camp for the night (cost $20). They have a basic camp kitchen with microwave, small fridge, toaster & kettle. There is also a laundry (2 washing machines). 

Day 4 - Cowra to Roseberg State Forest (51km)

Up until now we had followed the official sections each day. We would still do this, choosing the 'Wyangala Way' for this section, but we decided to only cycle part way and camp in Roseberg SF instead of the full day of 83km to Neville. This choice was made as we are riding heavily loaded mountain bikes so are slower than gravel bikes and also we like camping in the bush!

It was a tough ride in the hills made worse by extreme head winds. At times we had to pedal downhill. But this aside it was our favourite day of the ride. Fantastic views and quiet roads.

Yep, the hills caused a little lunch time snooze!

We found a spot in the state forest to pitch our tent. No water was available (we had carried extra with us today).

Day 5 - Roseberg SF to Carcoar Dam (63km)

After an awesome peaceful night's sleep we were faced with completing Section 4 (approx 30km still to do) and tackling most of Section 5 (30km). Our plan is to camp at Carcoar Dam (5km short of Carcoar).

It was another fantastic day with a lot of quiet country roads.

We stopped in Neville for morning tea. The park, beside the school, had a toilet, BBQ shelter and rainwater tank. Unfortunately the pub is not open currently - not sure if that's a permanent thing.

Riding towards Carcoar dam we passed the wind farms.

And then it was across the dam wall and to our camp for the night. Carcoar Dam free camp includes toilets and cold (only) showers. There is non-potable water. We were there on a Friday night and it was busy although we were early enough to score a waterfront spot.

Day 6 - Carcoar Dam to Orange (64km)

Today we had approx 5km into the town of Carcoar. As we started heading downhill Alex mentioned we had to come back up again and did we really want to go into town?  I was thinking we might get a bakery or cafe so was keen. So down, down, down we roll into town. To my dismay everything is dead quiet and not a bakery in sight! But Carcoar is an old historic town and was worth a quick look around.

Up, up, up we go leaving town. First big climb of the day almost done and we come across this. Always something interesting to see.

10kms later we tackle our other big hill for the day, then it's undulating until we hit the main road for our final run into Orange.

360+ kms done!

Overall we found this an enjoyable cycle and thank those who planned the route.  Mountain bikes made the few rocky gravel sections easy but slowed us down on the roads, although we were happy to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery.

(Whilst this blog depicts quiet country roads we were, at times, cycling on busy major roads with little or no shoulder. We encountered a fair amount of traffic including heavy vehicles. Care and cycling confidence is required. See our video below for an indication of traffic we encountered.)

Length of Ride

  Approx 375 km


  6 days (could be done in 5)

Best Time to do

   Autumn to Spring


    Moderate, depends on choice of bicycle (gravel or MTB), kms cycled each day and whether done by self-sufficient camping or staying in pubs/motels etc.

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