Namadgi Naas Valley Bike Ride

A story of a long-planned scenic bike ride along the Naas Valley in Namadgi National park, or how an easy 30 km family ride along the river valley turned into a full day family bikepacking adventure. Lesson learned: 4WD tracks are not flat, even if they follow a flat flowing river!


Mind the bulls when parking

We are starting the ride from the only obvious parking space, next to a historical sign near where Top Naas Road crosses Gudgenby creek. While the place looks like an easment on the public road between the private properties to us, shortly after we unload bicycles, farmer appears. Apparently, the wider fenced off part of the road is still a private property, and he is about to drive a flock of bulls through there shortly. If we would like to find our car at the end of a day in one piece, without bullhorn dints, we are strongly advised to move the car off his property.

Fortunately for us, after a short discussion, we are allowed to park behind his front gate on the main access track to his house, where the bulls will not go. We are definitely on a private property now, but having a permission from the owner makes all the difference. Our big thank you goes to the friendly Naas Valley farmers.

That said, next time I would park at the public part of the Naas Valley Rd. road near the turn off from Boboyan Rd. (see practical tips at the end of this article).


Top Naas Road

The first part of the ride along the Top Naas Road crosses private farmland on a publicly accessible gravel road. Gradients are easy, weather beautiful and the road winding through the countryside is scenic. Everyone is happy – this is exactly what we came here for.

Shortly after passing through Caloola Farm we cross the Naas River over a shallow concrete ford and follow a Naas Valley Fire trail to the Namadgi National park gate.  A small sign informs us that we have 30km to go before we reach Boboyan Road.

Naas Valley fire trail – the not so flat river trail

This is where the fun begins. Naas Valley fire trail winds its way along the Naas river, crossing it multiple times. The first ford is just after the gate. With very little rain over the winter months, there is not much water and the river crossings are easy.

The part we did not expect is the way the fire trail follows the river. While the river stays reasonably flat, the fire trail climbs up and down over the surrounding ridges that drop to the valley.

Instead of a nice flat family friendly ride, we follow a proper 4WD trail, complete with low range climbs and obligatory ruts in many places. On most of the climbs, and on an occasional descent, the ride turns into a hike-a-bike exercise. After a few nasty climbs, everyone is getting tired and the moral of the crew goes rapidly down.

Short flat sections between the hills become pleasant rests where we can finally do some riding and enjoy the scenic countryside we are passing through.

Horse Gully Hut

One of the highlights of the ride is a Horse Gully hat. Small meadow around the hut would make for a perfect camping spot, but for us, it is a welcome rest. With all the unexpected climbing, we also run out of the water and are glad to find out that the rainwater tank is full.

While there are still few climbs after the Horse Gully hut, the worst is behind us. With the sun getting low, we traverse the final open plains to the Mt. Clear campground. There our friends wait for us, and we do the final car shuffle to retrieve our car with all the camping gear from the start of the ride.

Fast facts

What:Day bike ride along the Nass Valley in Namadgi National park
Length:Approx. 35km as described, from Gudgenby creek on Top Naas Road to Mt. Clear Campground.
Approx. 42 km from the Top Naas Road turn off at Boboyan Rd to Mt. Clear Campground.
Time:If you plan a family ride with kids, plan for 6-7 hrs minimum. For the adults, plan for 3-5hrs, depending on your fitness, off-road riding experience and ability to ride up stupidly steep and rutted hills.

Practical tips

ParkingProbably the best place to park your car at the start of the ride is near the main Boboyan Rd at the Top Naas Road turn off. This would add an extra 7km to the ride length. There is a bit of extra space on the side of the road, and you are still on the public roads.
Once you cross the first cattle grid on the Top Naas Road, you are on the private property. There are very few places to stop and you will need to seek owners permit to park there.
WeatherThere are numerous river crossings along the track. Depending on the time of the year the amount of rain these might or might not be easy – be prepared!
Similarly, the steep climbs are quite demanding even in cool weather. They would become nightmares on a hot summer day. Time you ride for a cooler day, and take plenty of water to replenish all the sweat.
CampingMt. Clear Campsite is the official campsite in the Namadgi National park.


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