Destination Guide: The Seven Valleys NSW (Rydal & Lidsdale State Forest, Lithgow)

From the wonders of the Glow Worm Tunnel to the wild majesty of the Wolgan, the Seven Valleys region encompasses the vast Lithgow City Council area, which has been hosting Rocky Trail events for over a decade!

Although there are many, many more valleys than the name suggests, those seven, Lithgow, Wolgan, Kanimbla, Capertee, Megalong, Hartley and Tarana were chosen to represent the incredible variety of the region.

We look forward to welcoming you at Lithgow’s Rydal Showground to race our iconic Jetblack 24 Hour in the Lidsdale State Forest. This year the event hosts the official AusCycling 24 Hour Solo National Championships!

Rocky Trail proudly promotes The Seven Valleys 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!

Jetblack 24 Hour hosts 2022 AusCycling 24 Hour Solo National Championships

Rocky Trail Entertainment will deliver the 14th edition of their Jetblack 24 Hour event and promise that the 2022 race course will be specifically designed to optimise the 24hr solo racing, allowing our riders to focus on the racing and endurance challenge. The event provides a spacious racing hub of 6.5 hectares providing a comfortable base for rider transition/camping and parking in close proximity to all the action. This year the event offers additional ticketed event services for solo racers including marquee services and concierge support, to assist them with the challenge and commitment required for 24hr solo racing.
With the solos fighting for the green and gold stripes, the 24 hour competition also includes team relay classifications. The event also offers a 6+6 hour race for solos and teams. Read more…

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 our host region: The Seven Valleys

Like The Hunter Valley and The Southern Highlands, The Seven Valleys promotes a distinctive region of NSW. Encompassing the vast Lithgow LGA, The Seven Valleys covers more than 4,500 square kilometres of stunningly diverse country on Sydney’s doorstep and a history that stretches from the First Australians to the present day.

As visitors and race organisers in and around the region for almost 10 years, we have certainly experienced this diversity – from lookouts with stunning views to the friendly people that you meet in the town of Lithgow itself, which offers a wide variety of food from all around the world.

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

Link: The Seven Valleys Tourism Online Portal

Link: Things to do in the region

Link: Accommodation options

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

We have been visiting The Seven Valleys region 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 on to 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 the region

> The Tin Shed

> Pho 68 Vietnamese Restaurant


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

> The Seven Valleys Museums

> 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 The Seven Valleys

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 The Seven Valleys

Japanese Bath House

Surrender to the beauty of nature, and experience the Japanese onsen culture, with natural mineral spring waters overlooking spectacular views. Book in a massage while you’re there with a full range of treatment packages available, plus accommodation options so you can soak all day!

Recharge and restore in the abundance of nature.

Link: Japanese Bath House

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 The Seven Valleys

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 The Seven Valleys 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.

> The Seven Valleys 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 surrounds 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

>> Victoria and Albert Guesthouse

Come experience the blend of history and contemporary luxury at the Victoria and Albert Guesthouse. With a wine bar, ‘A La Carte’ dining room with award winning food and ample room to stay, escape the hustle and bustle and step back in time. All guest breakfast are fully catered for and there is ample free parking for big utes and bike trailers! Phone Josie on 0459 844 345 or book via their website.

Where history meets experience –

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 2022 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 centre 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 centre of Lithgow and is well worth a look, um, out. Extensive view over the western edge of the Blue Mountains and south toward Hampton and Kanagra Walls are offered from the wheelchair accessible board walk.

3. Glow worm Tunnels.

The Newnes railway was built in the early 1900s to service the shale town of Newnes in the Wolgan Valley. Tackling some awe-inspiring terrain the line required 2 long curving tunnels to negotiate the Wolgan cliff-lines. The Line was short lived and when the trains stopped the glow worms 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 of 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 Australian 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. Jannei Farm.

If cheese is your thing do not go past Jannei 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 in the world it’s twice as wide as America’s Grand Canyon.

9. Jenolan Caves.

Regarded as Australia’s 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.

There are so many experiences that await,
here are just a few to get you started:

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