Destination Guide: Rydal & Lidsdale State Forest, Lithgow NSW


JetBlack 24 Hour Endurance MTB Race
12+13 December 2020

Rocky Trail proudly promotes the Lithgow Outdoor Destination

Experience the unique 24-hour mountain bike event atmosphere at the Jetblack 24 Hour at the Rydal Showgrounds – wide open meadows to set up right next to the cars and a stone-throw from the trail head of the racing circuit through the magnificent Lidsdale State Forest!

Race in the classic Solo categories or in teams of up to six riders – juniors can race in teams of four. The event’s 6+6 hour option lets you rest overnight and retreat to one of the cosy hotels nearby for a re-start on Sunday morning.

Join an enthusiastic community of 24-hour racers, supporters and crew for an unforgettable racing experience! Here we have collected information and links for you to get ready for your JB24H-MTB weekend getaway!

Rocky Trail Links:

> Event website

> Race format

> Race track map and how to get to the event centre

> Race categories and fees

> Race registration portal

About the JetBlack 24 H

More than a decade of rocky trails and still rocking on! We will kick off our 2019 racing season with a cross-country race, which has become our flagship endurance event: the JETBLACK 24 HOUR.

It has been an amazing journey and in 2019, the JetBlack 24 Hour with its JetBlack 6+6 Hour offspring will take place at Rydal Showgrounds in the Lithgow destination and with thanks to our hosts, the Central Tablelands MTB Club and the NSW Forestry Corporation who will help us put together an awesome race track and all that supported by the Lithgow City Council and the team at the Lithgow Tourism Information Centre.

You can race in teams of up to 6 in the 24 Hour and up to 4 in the 6+6 Hour and there are the classic age categories in the solo divisions. Bring the family, friends and the kids – there is so much space and we can’t wait to entertain you in “classic 24-hour race style”!

This is the perfect event for a social mountain biking getaway – get your mates together and bring the whole family! There is lots to do in the region for them while you race, a beautiful park right next to the venue and and there are also free kids activities in the event centre. Resident DJ Mista Nige will be pumping out some funky choonz to kick of the night racing action! A team of caterers will serve up hearty food and healthy treats – and lots of steaming hot coffee!

Come and Be a #rockytrailracer – be sure to sign up to the newsletter for all the event updates!

About our host region: Lithgow

Lithgow is located on the scenic Central Tablelands of New South Wales and the region says of itself that it is “Surprisingly Diverse”. As visitors and race organisers in and around Lithgow for almost 10 years, we have certainly experienced this diversity – from lookouts with stunning views to it friendly people that you meet in town, which offers a wide variety of food from all around the world.

Here we have collected our favourite Lithgow experiences and have asked our local #rockytrailracers for their ideas too for you to start planning your Jetblack 24 Hour MTB getaway in Lithgow!

Link: Lithgow Tourism Online Portal

Links: Things to do in Lithgow

Link: Accommodation in Lithgow

What the Rocky Trail crew recommends as your ‘top things to do’ in and around Lithgow

We have been visiting Lithgow for years now and it’s always a highlight on our events calendar. I quite like getting “inland” and enjoy the bushland surrounds – I remember we once took a drive from Thredbo up via Canberra and then onto Lithgow via Oberon – all that with a baby on board, but we took a few stops along the way to explore and have a picnic by the river and it was a great experience.

We are used to staying in the town of Lithgow and the food offer is incredible – I’m more than happy to share our favourite Vietnamese Restaurant tip with you below! It’s a must for us when we’re there! We have been based at the Lithgow Pony Club with our downhillers below Hassans Walls so to discover Rydal was a real treat for us.

The Rydal trail network is a joy to ride and race, we promise! And the Showground facilities are great, we can guarantee you! Our caterer most likely will be able to use some of the fantastic facilities at the showgrounds – beautifully rustic barns and a massive, flat (!!!) meadow and event centre and all that surrounded by all those singletrails.

So here we go, a few tips below from us:

Cafes and Restaurants

The Lithgow Workies Club makes one mean Chicken Schnitty Parmigiana, a well deserved dinner for a #rockytrailracer for sure! We also love the Tin Shed, a Cafe-Restaurant-Wine Bar that serves delicious meals and deserts in a friendly and romantic setting.

> Cafes and Restaurants in and around Lithgow

> The Tin Shed

> Pho 68 Vietnamese Restaurant


Nice selection of museums ranging from a Small Fire Arms Museum to historic sites.

> Museums in and around Lithgow

> Small Fire Arms Museum

Glow Worm Tunnel

Located within the World Heritage listed Wollemi National Park, the Glow Worm Tunnel area offers magnificent views of pagoda rock formations, extensive flora and a wide array of native wildlife including glow worms, kangaroos and wallabies. The walk into the tunnel follows a disused railway line, which once descended into the Newnes valley, transporting oil shale. The highlight of a trip to the tunnel is the thousands of Glow Worms visible in the darkness of the tunnel.

Link: Glow Worm Tunnel Walk

Link: Glow Worm Tunnel Walk Info on NP website

Link: Wolgan Valley Eco Tours

Link: Bushwalks in and around Lithgow

Glen Davis Ruins Tour

The Glen Davis Shale Oil Works, located in the Capertee Valley about 1 hour north of Lithgow, was one of the largest employers in the area. Once an important strategic resource in the war area, now vertical sandstone cliffs stand guard over the crumbling vegetation covered structures lending a surreal impression. The ruins of this once thriving industry can be toured every Saturday.

Link: Glen Davis Ruins Tour

Blast Furnace Park

The remnants of the Blast Furnace at Inch Street in Lithgow stand tall reminding us that Lithgow was the birthplace of the Australian iron and steel industry. Now informative signage with images of how things used to be.

Link: Blast Furnace Park

Hassans Walls Lookout

Hassan’s Walls Lookout is just minutes from the Lithgow town centre. The Sir Joesph Cook boardwalk provides easy access to the magnificent 180 degree view of the Blue Mountains escarpment and rolling valleys below. Hassan’s Walls Lookout is the highest scenic lookout (1130m) in the Blue Mountains.

Link: Hassans Walls Lookout

Link: More attractions in and around Lithgow

Zig Zag Brewery

The Old Zig Zag Brewery was first built around 1888 upon a well-known spring water source deep within a steep sandstone valley on the outskirts of the small Lithgow coalmining community. The famous brewery is once again striving to make award-winning beers using pure spring water and regionally sourced grains.

Link: Zig Zag Brewery

Blue Mountains Sparadise

Blue Mountains Sparadise offers a range of accommodation, less than 15 min out of town. Japanese inspired stylish furnishings provide a stay that is not only comfortable but also boasts sensational views over Lake Lyell.

Link: Sparadise

New: Endeavour Park Adventure Playground

Check out the new adventure playground on the Great Western Highway!

Link: Playground

Accommodation and local business offers near Rydal and in and around Lithgow

You can camp at the event centre from Friday until Sunday. However, we thought, some of you might want to stay off-site and the 6+6 hour racers would have the perfect schedule to do so especially. Also, if you’re bringing the family and kids you will have access to our caterer and services in the event centre, but might prefer a hotel-set-up.

Here are some ideas and the local businesses of Lithgow and surrounds are looking forward to us arriving in town – they are offering a wide range of specials, which we’d like to share with you. As more and more offers are coming in, we’ll be updating this list and you’ll find a full overview on our website too.

> Lithgow Tourism Information Centre

Local accommodation offers

>> Mountain View Escape

This beautiful mountain farmhouse cottage is a twenty minute drive from the property to Rydal, via Pipers Flat Road. For #rockytrailracers the owners offer an early check-in and late check-out, which will work well for bigger groups or families. Some can race, some can stay and enjoy the cottage and surround or do some excursions via the event centre and you will have had a long weekend.

Offer: “We would be able to give an even later check-out of 8pm to your riders and families, which would enable the rider to return to the house to shower and enjoy a dinner with the rest of the family.”

What the owners say: “We are set up well for families and groups and all they need to bring is food. The house is fully equipped with washer, dryer, TV, Foxtel, games, BBQ etc and it is also home to our two alpacas. Please let me know if you need any further information and I think we are a great match for your racers and their families.”

Link: Mountain View Escape on Homeaway

Local business offers

Coming soon.


With thanks to local rider and Central Tablelands MTB Club president, Craig Flynn

Says Craig, “Formed in 1984, the Central Tableland Mountain Bike club has a long history of building trails and hosting races. Rydal has been our XC home since 2008 and offers an extensive trail network through the high country of  Lidsdale State forest. The course for the 2019 Jetblack 24hr will once again use the main ridge top loop. Expect some fast, swooping trail with plenty of corners. The Rydal show ground will give you the perfect event center with plenty of room, proper toilets and big, starry skies.”

Craig racing ‘his’ track at the Shimano MTB GP at Rydal in 2017.

For those staying longer or looking for something to pass the time while family or friends ride there is plenty of stuff to see and do and here’s Craig’s top 10 picks of what to do in the region in no particular order.

1. Lake Lyle.

Just down the hill from Rydal is the Lake Lyle Recreational park with Aqua Blitz, kayak hire, Water Skiing and more.

2. Hassans Walls Lookout.

The highest lookout in the Blue Mountains Hassans wall is just 3km from the center of Lithgow and is weel worth a look, um, out. Extensive view over the western edge of the Blue Mountains and south toward Hamtpon and Kanagra Walls are offered from the wheelchair accessable board walk.

3. Glowworm Tunnels.

The Newnes railway was built in the early 1900s to service the shale town of Newnes in the Wolgan Valley. Trackling some awe-inspiring terrain the line required 2 long curving tunnels to negotiate the Wolgan clifflines. The Line was short lived and when the trains stopped the glowworms moved in.

4. State Mine Heritage park.

Lithgow is a mining town and this is a great look into some of the rich history of both mining and Railways, For a short time it also happened to be the venue one of the most popular DH tracks in the country.

5. Blast Furnace Park.

Continuing with the heritage theme Hoskins Blast Furnace was the birth place of the Australia steel industry. The ruins are a mecca for photographers.

6. Japanese Gardens and Bathhouse.

For those looking for some relaxation and pampering The Japanese spa are a must do.

7. Jannie Farm.

If cheese is your thing do not go past  Jannie farm without calling in.

8. Pearsons Lookout.

 Just off the Mudgee rd, about 40min north of Lithgow Pearsons Lookout looks down over the beautiful Capertee Valley. Billed as the widest enclosed valley the the world it’s twice as wide as Americas Grand Canyon.

9. Jenolan Caves.

Regarded as Australias most outstanding cave system with 11 spectacular show caves, pure underground rivers and amazing formations,­ Jenolan Caves is among the finest and oldest cave systems in the world. Award-winning Jenolan Caves is open every day, for underground activities to suit every age and fitness level.

10. Deep Pass.

For the More adventurous Deep Pass is a walk in camp ground and amazing wild swimming spots. Well worth the steep walk in and out.

Do you have any questions?

Talk to us via our online chat – click on the orange circle symbol on your bottom right screen corner and we’ll be right with you! (We always love talking bikes, racing and riding!)