When I saw the 1907-built Heritage-listed Cataract Dam described officially as one of the most picturesque in the State, it was enough for me to load the ebike and head South for a day trip. It’s a 90-minute drive from Sydney, not far from Campbelltown and close to the Dharawal National Park, so a double-ride was the plan.
As I approached the western entrance of the Dharawal’s beautifully rugged bushland, I passed a Buddist Meditation Retreat and stopped for a few photos. When you see it, you’ll know you are close to the Dharawal entrance.
Many of our National Parks are gated to stop vehicles and motorbikes. Some are just impossible to get through with an ebike; fortunately, the three I encountered were passable with a bit of creative maneuvering. I followed what’s called the 10B Fire Trail that crosses the 15km wide Park.
Most of the Trail is smooth, except a creek crossing at the bottom of a very steep and rocky ravine. Once you pass that hurdle, it’s smooth riding for the next 12 kms.
The Trail comes out on the other side of the Dharawal on Appin Road, only a few kms from the Cataract Dam Road. There are several colonial style sandstone buildings amongst charming olde-worlde picnic grounds.
The Dam is a visual treat, both from the high ground and at wall level. Made entirely of locally sourced sandstone blocks, the dam is fully functional.
I took a service road down to the Dam wall and rode along the top. The views on both sides are gorgeous.
Even though the spillway on the valley floor is over 190 feet below, you can hear the water roaring up on the wall.
Before heading home I wanted to explore the countryside, so I took the long way back around the Park. This gave me a chance to visit the historic town of Appin, which had an excellent bakery with a great barista. The total ride was 63kms and almost three and a half hours, but you could shorten the distance and avoid the creek crossing by just doing the Dam and Park section from Appin Road. Overall, this was a most enjoyable and interesting ride.
For access to a more detailed route map find me on Strava as Richard Alaba.