To visit the Port Stephens area from Sydney requires at least one overnight stay which presents an opportunity for a second ride. On a day predicted to reach 38 degrees, I started out from Shoal Bay towards Fingal Bay before 7am and it was already hot. The quiet Fingal Bay is surrounded by the Tomaree National Park and has no through-traffic. In about 15 minutes I reached the Bay and the nearby Barry Reserve.
With not much to see, I had considered doubling up some of the previous day’s ride when I chanced upon a National Park fire trail without any idea where it went. It was sandy in parts but mostly a good surface so I just kept riding. After recent rains the bush bloomed with vibrant colours and the birdlife was in full orchestra mode.
I had ridden for over an hour in rising heat when I reached for my water bottle and it wasn’t there. I’ve never forgotten to pack water before, so why did I choose today of all days to do it? Fortunately, within a few kilometres, the trail joined the Nelson Bay Road Cycleway and a white whale came into view bringing much relief.
After leaving the Cycleway I enjoyed ocean breezes at Dutchman’s Beach and the Nelson Bay Marina. The breakwater path is fun to ride with open views of the marina.
By 9am it was too hot for riding so I headed for base camp passing Little Beach which is not far from Shoal Bay. At 27 kms and less than two hours, this was a scenic adventure and a thirsty ride.