Picton Loop in the Southern Highlands

There is a lot to see and do on this rural jaunt. There is the well-justified boast of deepest rail cutting, oldest stone arch and largest rail museum, but the route also explores some fabulous natural bushland as well as undulating rural countryside. The Wollondilly district is rich in Aboriginal and European history. As well put in the Wollondilly Visitor Guide, “a colourful tapestry interweaves the Dreamtime legends of the Gundagurra and Tharawal people on a backdrop of gorges, ranges and plains, with a rural patchwork created by the white settlers”. The ride out from Picton would have been a lot busier in years past when the coal trucks barrelled along Barkers Lodge Rd down to the coal terminals at Port Kembla. Thankfully now there is rural tranquillity as you climb slowly to Thirlmere with orchards and wineries complementing the rustic views. Visiting the Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere can suck in at least a few days, but even an hour at the restful and tranquil freshwater lakes at Thirlmere Lakes seems an eternity. The unsealed road down to the National Park is sandy in patches, so you need to stay alert, choose a lower gear, and keep on pedalling. If the riding is hot there is plenty of sanctuary en route, such as Wirrimbirra, or the hotel, at Bargo! Depending on your vintage, a ride along the now much quieter Old Hume Highway (Remembrance Driveway) can evoke similar feelings to standing on a deserted WWII airstrip–plenty of tarmac but not much action (and probably a good thing too). Enjoy the downhill run back to Picton, which now includes a short-cut over the recently renovated and engineering marvel of the heritage-listed Victoria Bridge. A ride option for those wanting a longer ride and seeing more of the Southern Highlands can continue on a steady climb along Wilson Drive to Hilltop and Colo Vale and return downhill along the Old Hume Hwy via Alpine, Bargo and Tahmoor (an extra rolling 40km: 20km up, 20km down). You will also get to the see the deepest rail cutting in NSW just before Hilltop.
Ride type:
Sightseeing
Mountain biking
Road riding
Commuter
Kid friendly
Difficulty: Intermediate (Blue)
Ride Duration: 1/2 day
Fitness Level: Medium
Terrain:
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
On-Road
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Estimated Distance (Kms): 52.0
Services:
Water
Food
First Aid
Toilets
Bike hire facilities
Carparking
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle / uber
Trail Map: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1W6krFTyvNn21gqsMmydTXyRJKVU&usp=sharing

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