Mission Impassable: Dungog

There are many times in life where careful planning is desirable; a moon landing or a jail break, for instance. When it comes to riding, a rough idea of the what the day ahead entails is helpful, but it’s good not to be too rigid. Throw an eMTB into the mix, however, and the need for a plan goes out the window.

Dungog, home to the oldest continuously operating cinema in Australia, and just generally a cool little town. We stayed at the lemon yellow pub, far right.

We’d come to Dungog off the back of a chance encounter with a local, whom we’d met out on a trail near Newcastle. We’ve always liked quirky little Dungog, and this fella reckoned there was some pretty great riding in the hills north of the town, including a lookout called The Knob. That was all we needed to hear.

A night’s accommodation at the pub was booked, the bikes were charged and loaded, and exactly 30-seconds was dedicated to working out a route. On the upside, our lack of planning led us to some real gems, including a swimming hole that saved us on a 36-degree day. On the downside, we got lost like you wouldn’t believe, resulting in a good hour’s worth of snake dodging and trespassing that got the heart pumping!

Loaded up! The big hills in the far distance were our target. That was about the extent of the plan.

Check out our in-depth reviews of the bikes we were riding:

Focus JAM2 – the lightest eMTB we’ve ever tested.

Norco Sight VLT2 – the impressive newcomer.


Our two steeds! We were super impressed by the battery life of both bikes. With over 62km ridden, we had a lot of juice left.

The fare at the Settler’s Arms was way better than your usual pub grub.
Push for adventure.
Late night tweaks.

The deeper we rode into the bush, the smaller the fire roads became, till we were literally carrying the bikes through the scrub.
We followed a sign that told us the bridge was out, and ended up at a perfect swimming hole.
Plenty of these fellas were out on the trails.
We made it! We found The Knob!
One of the many paddocks we had to ride through on our dash for civilisation after getting very, very lost.
Cooked! 1400m of climbing, 62km, 36 degrees and not a drop of water left. Now that was a good day out.

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