Capital Country, Truffles & Bettongs

Eastern Bettong standing above a freshly dug hole.

Rug up for an unforgettable winter experience with everything to offer: culture, history, wildlife, nature – and a thrilling truffle hunt.

Begin and end your tour with the beauty and charm of Canberra in winter, where brisk winter mornings give way to sunny days under wide, perfume-washed skies.

Then join us on a wonderful journey that takes in all the sights and delights of our majestic Capital Region, sweeping through historic villages, rolling pastures and spectacular, ever-changing scenery.

Among the many highlights of this glorious winter ride are two unique truffle-themed experiences that reveal the fascinating link between one of the world’s most highly-prized gourmet delicacies, and a tiny marsupial almost hunted to extinction.


Canberra, Australia, Listed as a top 10 city in Best in Travel 2018

Day 1: Canberra to Gungahlin - Cycling Distance 30km

Today we take to the bikes to explore some of Canberra's greatest delights. From Kingston, where the tour begins, we’ll take a short ride to the Jerrabomberra Wetlands. One of the ACT’s most valuable wetland habitat areas, Jerrabomberra is a refuge for an abundance of migrating birds from the northern hemisphere and inland Australia.

From the wetlands, it's on to Duntroon, the home of The Australian Army's Royal Military College, where we'll ride through peaceful, leafy streets and see historic Duntroon House and the Changi Chapel. We’ll then tackle the short climb up Mount Pleasant – a tranquil lookout that offers one of the most spectacular views of Canberra and the Brindabella Mountains to the west.

From Duntroon, we’ll join part of Canberra's newest bicycle infrastructure, the off-road cycleway alongside the new Majura Parkway, which will take us to one of the highlights of this tour – a visit to a  Truffiere. We’ll watch the truffle dogs in action and learn how these highly valued delicacies are harvested and prepared for market.

Scientists estimate that there are more than 1200 truffles species native to Australia. What few people know is that truffles are just as valuable to their forest landscapes as they are to human connoisseurs, storing water and sharing nutrients that are crucial to the survival of trees in times of drought.

Vital to the propagation of the precious truffles are bettongs – adorable, rabbit-sized wallabies nicknamed by ecologists as ‘nature’s engineers’. Truffles form more than 50% of the diet of these tiny jumpers, who each dig up to 100 water-preserving holes per night, and spread truffle spores far and wide as they criss-cross their territory in search of food.

Hunted almost to extinction by humans, cats and foxes, Eastern Bettongs disappeared from the Australian mainland in the 1920’s. In 2012, a small population of Tasmanian Eastern Bettongs were reintroduced to Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary in Canberra’s north. This evening we will be guided through the Sanctuary on a thrilling twilight nature tour, where we’ll learn more about the Eastern Bettongs and hopefully get to see one at work.


Day 2: Gunghalin to Gunning - Cycling Distance 55km

Today’s ride snakes its way through the suburbs and along the edge of Mulligan’s Flat Woodland and quickly enters rural NSW. Our journey follows a popular local cycling route, and you will soon understand why Canberra is referred to as the Bush Capital.

On the way, we will see remnants of European settlement from the time before the city of Canberra was established.

Lunch today will be at historic Gundaroo, a unique town that has retained its special 19th-century character. Before we leave, we’ll visit the workshop of renowned ‘Bikecologist’ Wayne Kotzur, a bespoke bicycle builder who specialises in custom vehicles for people with visual or mobility impairment.

After lunch, we’ll tackle some steady climbs affording gorgeous rural views. This is an area famous for wind turbines, and these sometimes controversial structures dot the surrounding hillsides. We’ll arrive in the peaceful town of Gunning in time for a well-deserved afternoon tea.


Day 3: Gunning to Crookwell - Cycling Distance 45km

Today takes us to the highest point of the tour. Crookwell is nearly 1,000m above sea level, and while short, today’s cycle features a steady, constant climb with a reasonably kind gradient – although a few short sections will challenge the legs. You will be rewarded, of course, with stunning views across the countryside, as well as a lovely, 4km descent to our destination.

On the way, we’ll pass through Grabben Gullen, named after the local Aboriginal term for ‘small waters’. This town is known for gem fossicking, and sapphires, zircons, and garnets can still be found in the many streams that feed through the area into the Lachlan River.

We’ll arrive in Crookwell in time for a late lunch, and you are invited to tour a famous Crookwell landmark – the Lindner Sock Factory – in the afternoon. Here colourful, Australian socks, including hand-dyed local merino versions, are made by this family-owned company.


Day 4: Crookwell to Goulburn - Cycling Distance 52km

Today we’ll cycle through quiet backroads before taking the main road to Goulburn, reaping the benefits of yesterday’s climb and finishing the tour with a mostly downhill run into one of Australia’s first inland settlements. We’ll arrive in Goulburn in time for a late lunch, and you are invited to spend an afternoon relaxing or exploring the town before we meet again for dinner.


Day 5: Goulburn to Bungendore - Cycling Distance 68km

Leaving Australia’s oldest inland city, famous for its rich history, agricultural heritage and the iconic Big Merino, we’ll set off at a relaxed pace across the relatively flat southern end of the Goulburn plains. We’ll ride through the village of Lake Bathurst before arriving at Tarago, known most recently for its renewable energy projects. After lunch, we’ll take in a tour of the nearby Woodlawn Eco-Precinct and Bioreactor. Then we’ll jump back on the bikes for the undulating climb and a final, rewarding 5km descent into the charming village of Bungendore, home to a thriving local arts scene, galleries, and cafés.

We’ll spend the night at the historic Carrington Inn, built in 1885 as a stopover on the Cobb & Co. route, now a cosy getaway.


Day 6: Bungendore to Canberra - Cycling Distance 40km

Except for the short climb up Smith’s Gap, today is a relaxed, undulating, downhill ride into Canberra. 

With this relatively easy day done, we’ll have plenty of time to explore the Parliamentary Triangle, an area in the heart of Canberra that includes the Australian War Memorial and ANZAC Parade, and Canberra’s oldest building St John’s Church. Other sites around Lake Burley Griffin include the National Library of Australia, Questacon, and the National Gallery with its stunning sculpture garden. We’ll finish with a circumnavigation of new Parliament House before arriving at our accommodation in the thriving hub of Kingston, known for its lively restaurant and café scene.


Canberra

Today the tour concludes at checkout. You may wish to spend some time exploring the many museums, galleries and cultural experiences on offer in this fascinating city before heading home.

While Canberra may be best known as Australia’s political hub, it’s also the place to discover more about Australia through an array of national attractions that hold and tell the nation’s story. If you’re creative at heart, see glass artists in action at the Canberra Glassworks in Kingston and try your hand at making your own glass product. For the urban foodie fix, venture over to Lonsdale Street in Braddon or New Acton to explore some of the best of Canberra’s food and wine scene experiences.

Important information

  • Acceptance of your booking is subject to Mulga Tours receiving a signed Waiver And Assumption Of Risk Form for each member of your party indicating acceptance of our Terms and Conditions, Safety Guidelines, Code of Conduct and Privacy Policy.
  • Your booking fee is not refundable, but is transferrable with at least 61 days’ notice.
  • Guests are responsible for choosing a trip that suits their abilities, fitness level, and state of health. See How Mulga Bicycle Tours Grades Its Tours for more information.
  • A list of mandatory safety equipment that you must bring with you on tour can be found in section 10 of our Terms and Conditions. We will ask to see your safety equipment prior to the commencement of the tour and we may also check it during the tour. If an item is missing or we form the view that a safety item does not comply, we may decide to exclude you from joining the tour or riding until you have acquired the necessary safety item or it has been serviced or recharged.
  • We are unable to delay the start of the tour for anyone who does not have the appropriate safety equipment.
  • Guests are also responsible for ensuring they are adequately and appropriately prepared both physically and mentally for the tour. If you have any health issues or doubts prior to the tour, you should seek appropriate medical advice and contact us.
  • We make every effort to stick to our plans, but tour details, such as accommodation, menus, and sometimes routes, are subject to change.
  • Guests must read all correspondence and information provided by Mulga Tours before and during their tour.
  • You may choose to hire a bicycle from us. The price of hire will be added to the tour price.