Beginners Bikepacking Overnighter – Laguna, NSW

Words by Ben Ogden
Photos by Tim Attwood

5 minutes

I’m relatively new to bikepacking, discovering it whilst injured on the couch and not being able to ride my bike for 6 months, I was absorbing Youtube videos by the dozen! A new bike purchase (Kona Unit) whilst in recovery dangled the carrot for me to get me back out riding when the time came and was the incentive to give this whole overnight bike camping thing a crack.

A bit of credit card damage on some gear, some kms back in my legs, I was on the hunt for a good, beginner, 1-night overnight route. I live in Newcastle NSW and wanted to find routes that were easily accessible by train (which I have since learnt they aren’t as plentiful as you’d think).

A couple of years in I’ve had some cracking adventures on my bike and one of the most memorable is this simple overnighter out of Morrisette Train Station to Laguna (route courtesy of Timmy Doman). This was my second time doing this ride, the first time there were only two of us and for this departure we had a crew of 16 rolling out with us! Wrangling a crew of that size for a weekend is like seeing a luna eclipse – it never bloody happens! Between work trips, being a parent and general life – carving out this time together is rare but important.

Note: This ride was a test adventure for a few newbies before we would do Attack of the Buns (route) later in the year. Y’know, shake off the cobwebs, test out some gear type of thing.


From Morrisette Train Station, some of us grabbed coffee nearby at the trusty Golden Arches, we ambled through the backstreets of Morrisette and found ourselves on this cheeky little urban single trail skirting around Dora Creek and popping out near near the quiet roads of Cooranbong.

Riding quickly through Cooranbong, we turned on Martinsville Road, continuing on the tar for a few clicks before hitting the meaty incline.

The Watagans

Strap in ’cause you have about 1.5H of incline to reach the summit. Be sure to take care when getting into the State Forest Parks for the Prado parade of 4WD’s that are bound to be around. The switch between Watagans National Park into State Forest land happens pretty quickly.

We earned a break at Olney HQ campground/picnic area at the top. It’s not the nicest spot to camp but a good spot to get off the bike.

From here things get a bit more interesting with a descent that’ll wake you up with a fully loaded pushy. At the bottom you’re rewarded with some nice champagne gravel country roads, a few cattle grids and a gate you’ll need to close on your way through.

Bikepacking Laguna NSW
Bikepacking Laguna NSW
Bikepacking Laguna NSW
Bikepacking Laguna NSW
Bikepacking Laguna NSW
Bikepacking Laguna NSW

The Trading Post

Being a weekend of long overdue catch ups, there was a thirst to be quenched and The Trading Post was high on the agenda. Friend, restaurateur, Chef and fellow bikepacker, Joel Humphreys, heads up the kitchen and wow – bloody hell, it’s good and sure beats a freeze-dried rehydrated spag bol. Be sure to check out Cafe Marjorie and say hi to Joel.

We gorged on burgers, pastas and chips (and plenty of beer) before rolling out to find our camping spot.


It’s obvious in the area that there are a big handful of stealthy spots to camp (I’ve heard of bikepackers stealth camping in the school and along Watagan Creek Road) but we figured our huge group needed to be smart and book something in, especially as Wollombi Tavern no longer offers camping.

We booked ourselves a Hicamp at Mulla Villa Farm between The Trading Post and Wollombi Tavern, setting up camp before some of us rode the 2km up the road for a few more refreshments.

Refreshments included 1000 more hard earned ales and a round of celebratory schnapps to celebrate our friend Andy’s birthday – who at 63 absolutely blitzed it up the inclines on a bike that is definitely not made for the job.

Wrap Up

There are a few possibilities for this route, either ride back the way you came or make it a loop by making Day 2 a little bigger coming down Yango Creek Road. Our group retraced our steps to make quick work of it (it was bloody humid).

This is a great ride to do with minimal gear (food and drink as the reward) however be ready to climb.


Ben’s a rubbish cyclist but loves being on a bike and bike related projects. He is responsible for the Busboy food cart (Sydney’s 3-wheeled cargo bike kitchen) and Newy Rides, a tourism business showing visitors the best of Newcastle, by bike!

Route – Route courtesy of Timmy Doman


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