RECOAINC Hill End Rally 2018
Trip Report by Craig Katen
The Hill End Rally is run each year by Mark and Jane Reynolds and is one of the four yearly weekend rides organised by various people from NSW.
“Hill End owes its existence to the New South Wales gold rush of the 1850s, and at its peak in the early 1870s it had a population estimated at 8,000 served by two newspapers, five banks, eight churches and twenty-eight pubs.
The town’s decline when the gold gave out was dramatic: by 1945 the population was 700. At the 2006 census, Hill End had a population of 166, which now has dropped to 80 people during the year 2017.” (source Wikipedia)
Hill End Lodge, where we stayed, has 30 cabins and is located on a large bushland setting only a short walk from the old town consisting of a Pub, a cafe, a heritage centre, a church, a school and a Police Station.
We arrived on Friday afternoon and took a stroll down to the town for some pre-dinner drinks at the Royal Hotel before returning to the lodge for our meal.
On the way we had an opportunity to meet some of the locals hanging out in their front yard.
Our dinner guests included the 2 resident hounds Brutus (on Jenny’s lap) and Missy
The next morning we assembled near the cafe for our ride.
The ride consisted of a trip through Hargreaves to Mudgee for morning tea at the Mudgee Bakery.
Then a loop taking us to Gulgong and Ulan arriving at the Cooyal Hotel for lunch and back to Mudgee for the return to Hill End. A total of approx 257km.
After the ride there was time to take in the town. Jenny took some photos of the buildings and surrounds.
Saturday night’s dinner was also at the Hill End Lodge’s dining room .
Sunday morning was a good opportunity to take some photos of the property and wildlife.
Kangaroos were in abundance in the lodge and town area – this Joey was right outside our cabin.
There was plenty of birdlife as well
After breakfast we headed home via Sofala, another historic ex gold town.
Some old fashioned parenting advice “Sofala Child Minding” or Mending !
Old mining equipment repurposed as a sculpture
Another Royal Hotel
Thanks again to Mark and Jane for running this ride for another year. It was our first time and we really enjoyed it, the Lodge was a lovely place to stay with very accommodating hosts, good food, country atmosphere and great company as always.
The riding in the local area is top notch as well, incorporating winding hilly sections with open country lanes.
We will be sure to come along again next year.
Craig and Jenny
Photo credits : Narelle, Helen and Jenny