A strong mountain bike is recommended as there will be significant sections of rough trails, off road paths and numerous river crossings. Speed should not be not a priority and your bike should be set up for strength and lightness with low gearing and off road tyres. Sections of the Bicentennial National Trail are unsuitable for bikes and the Guidebooks provide general advice on these sections and offer alternative routes to bypass particularly challenging sections. The reasons for these diversions include especially steep sections over difficult terrain requiring you to push your bike up, obstacles requiring you to lift your bike over and river crossings requiring you to push your bike through.
The alternative routes usually involve public roads, mostly quiet back roads, and as these are generally close to the BNT, the spirit of the BNT concept is not lost. However these detours leave some cyclists with the impression that the Bicentennial National Trail is much less challenging than it really is.
The travel light advice is important for cyclists on the National Trail. Weight becomes a physical strength issue on sections of the Trail where you may have to lift your bike over obstacles, or push you bike up steep sections. Cyclists may like to consider travelling with vehicle support. A reminder, however, that motorised vehicles are not permitted on the BNT but it is possible to plan to meet a support vehicle.
The BNT endorses Mountain Bike Australia’s Code of Practice which is based on respect:
- Respect the environment
- Respect others
- Respect yourself
The Bicentennial National Trail traverses a large variety of terrain with significant changes in altitude and weather conditions.
Hiker Colin Kemp offers advice for walkers and perhaps his most salient observation is that “the National Trail is not a traditional bushwalk: it is a long distance trek.”
The route of the Bicentennial National Trail was designed with the long distance horse trekker in mind. Planning considerations included the need for feed and water for both horse and rider. When travelling with horses the welfare of your animals must come before yourself – you will be judged by the condition of your animals.
It is more important to be a good horse manager than a good rider when your start your trek. By the end you will be a good rider.
Some resources available for the horse trekker include:
- Mike Allen’s ‘A Packhorse Trekking Manual for the Bicentennial National Trail’ is available through our merchandise form.
- Steve Nott’s thoughts on trekking with horses, So you want to go trail riding?
BNT Section Coordinators, John and Jo-Anne Kasch, are regular presenters at pack horse trekking workshops throughout the country.
The National Trail can be accessed at many points by vehicle, which can allow trekkers the opportunity to arrange a support vehicle to bring feed and water for animals during drought, and company for the long distance traveller. Support persons may wish to explore nearby areas as they leap frog along between access points, enjoying their own adventure.