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Mudgee continued
We have our second day exploring Mudgee today. There are so many things to visit and see. There is such a great atmosphere to the town. Not only is it neat and tidy, but it’s also actually gorgeous. All the shops are filled, the buildings are in excellent condition, and the only thing you see on the ground are the autumn leaves. 
It has been a 4 am start for us this morning, and it got quite cold overnight. We are greeted with a light fog as we drive into the entrance of Blue Wren Wines; surely we can’t be doing a wine tasting at 4 am. Just before we arrive at the cellar door, we take a quick right-hand turn, and we find ourselves in the middle of a large open paddock with bear vines behind us. Even the sun is still thinking about getting out of bed. Craig and Sam from Balloons Aloft meet us. We are about to ride in a Hot Air balloon over Mudgee to catch a sunrise. This should be fun, but Macca looks nervous. First off is the safety drill and the guys from Balloons Aloft really put you at ease, ensuring that everyone’s safety is their number one concern. The balloon is inflated which is a mesmerising experience in itself. Then it’s up and standing tall above us. Before you know it, it’s time to jump in the basket. There is no time to waste; this baby wants to soar. We have lift-off, slowly rising above the township, catching the first rays of golden light as they sweep across buildings and treetops. Now, this is the way to see Mudgee. We gently float across town and come down like were on pillows in the middle of another open field. The support truck and some of our vehicles are there to meet us. Everyone then lends a hand to pack away the balloon. All this activity so early in the morning builds up and appetite, some just want coffee. We are fortunate enough to have Paul and Chef Kip from Blue Wren Wines on standby with the most fantastic breakfast spread you can imagine. What a stunning venue Blue Wren Wines have, animals wander freely around the garden and fresh herbs are flourishing everywhere. After a quick chat with Paul and Kip, it’s time to farewell the team from Balloons Aloft and Blue Wren Wines. 
We head on over to the Mudgee Riverside Caravan & Tourist Park. Owners Ian and Lyn are on hand to welcome us with warm country hospitality. We have brought into the park the aptly named Galaxy Nemesis caravan into the park. It’s an impressive van, fully equipped for off-road and underpinned by the world class G&S Flow Rider suspension and a tough checker plate exterior. This is a serious off-road caravan, packed with all of the creature comforts but built to stand up to the most punishing environment. We can’t wait to take this van offload tomorrow.
Before we go, Tania has one last request; she would like to see a bit more of Mudgee but this time on the back of a trike. Did you ever picture Tania Kernaghan as a bikie chick, well let me tell you she can pull it off!! Nick from Mudgee Trikes comes straight to our caravan door to do a pick. Nick’s trike is a head turning BOOM Mustang Trike imported from Germany.  There’s room on the back for two so Macca swaps his Akubra for a helmet, and he and Tania are off to see some more sites in town. We drop into the old railway station, take a browse through their arts and craft store, then it’s off to the most beautiful park you have ever seen. Lawson Park sits at the northern end of the main town centre and has the Cudgegong river flowing through the middle of it. It’s an incredibly beautiful place to say goodbye to Nick and to wrap up our stay in Mudgee. What an amazing town, the facilities are top notch, every local we have met have all been so proud of their town. It feels like Mudgee has reached critical mass interns of establishing itself as one of the must-see towns in NSW. We highly recommend stopping in Mudgee on any trip you plan to make. We are all making plans to stop back in.
Stay tuned for tomorrows adventure!

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Written By
Jayson Packett | Offroad Media Productions
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Bylong Creek
We are pushing on from Mudgee through the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve, well worth a stop for a photo, through Wollah and into the Bylong Valley. It is a very scenic trip, with lots of variations in the country side, there has been a few steep climbs but nothing too serious. 
 
Our destination today is the amazing Bylong Creek 4×4 Park. We’ll make camp here tonight and have a bit of a play around the property and explore the surrounding towns tomorrow. Bylong Creek 4×4 Park is 800 acres of heaven. Owned and operated by Bruce and Suzie, you won’t meet two more friendly, eager to help park owners than these guys. They are there to make sure you are safe and enjoy your time. The Park has a bit of everything; located in a Valley of aged cliff towers and either side of the valley a creek runs through the middle of the property. The drive into camp is a well-maintained dirt road with a few creek crossings, a few tight sections where we weave our way between massive boulders of granite. The park is a haven for campers, bike riders, 4WDers, caravaners and anyone wanting to get out onto an excellent property and have some fun. We are making our way to the bottom camp, one of the several campsites; honestly, you could camp pretty much anywhere you want, but there are toilets and firewood close-by to several of the camps. Today the park has received about 30mm of rain. Many of the tracks are thick clay, and the addition of the water makes for a slippery surface. We are towing these offload vans and their setup with fantastic suspension, giving us lots of ground clearance. Actually, in some instances, we have more ground clearance in the vans than in the cars. 
 
As we come around the corner, were met with quite a steep hill of smooth clay. Our day is about to get interesting. We know we are traveling with recovery gear, winches, maxi tracks, snatch straps and our secret weapon; Bruce on hand with a Unimog if we get stuck. We are up for challenging ourselves and the vans. This is how you learn, get out there and have a go. Sal from G&S Chassis is first up in his 200 series land cruiser. With exhaust and chip work, he is packing north of 850nm of torque, add to that all-terrain tires and lockers all round; if Sal can’t get up the hill, no-one is getting up the hill. Off he goes, with power to burn. We quickly realise that in slippery clay it doesn’t matter how much power you have, traction is king. We have have been running highway pressure in the tires, so Sal decides to get out and drop the pressure to suit conditions. Once he does that, he makes it to the top! The other vehicles have standard road tires and a bit less power, so we were glad to get some assistance from Bruce to help us up.
 
We have now arrived at camp; we set up the caravans; this is happening quite quickly now, I have been impressed with the Lotus Caravan and Galaxy Caravan. We have given these vans a real workout today, through some challenging terrain. We have had the clearance we needed; the vans haven’t been bounced around all over the place. They have been rock solid. And when you finally arrive at your destination there you have all the creature comforts you could want. The barbie is lit, the steaks and sausages are cooking, now what about a fire? It looks like it might rain again tonight, could make for an exciting day tomorrow.
Want to know more about the caravans we have taken on this trip? Check out their websites:
G&S Chassis
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