Pedal through the Pilliga for Rescue Helicopter

For a bike ride with a difference to help make a difference, everyone is encouraged to join in the fun of the annual 'Tour de Gorge' mountain bike ride in the Pilliga Forest on Saturday 1 September.

Three cyclists riding through the Pilliga

National Parks and Wildlife Service Area Manager John Whittall said it’s not a race, but is a great opportunity to see part of the Pilliga off the beaten track.

“Riders should come prepared with a mountain bike or a sturdy bike that can handle rough terrain.

“We are mixing it up a bit with a change of route this year that will see participants start from Pilliga Pottery then follow either a 50km or 12km route through Timmallallie National Park and Pilliga Nature Reserve.

"Riders get the opportunity to take in the remarkable bush scenery and may even spot some of the park's wildlife, including turquoise parrots, emus and wallabies," Mr Whittall said.

"We also time the bike ride to coincide with the emergence of a myriad of stunning wildflowers.

“This year’s event will raise funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

"For those not feeling energetic there will be stalls and plenty to see at Pilliga Pottery on foot, while the riders have their adventure," Mr Whittall said.

The guided bike ride starts at 8.30am at Pilliga Pottery, Borambitty Road, Coonabarabran. Riders should bring a bike in good working order, spare inner tubes, a helmet, snacks and plenty of water.

"Tour de Gorge is for the whole family; however, participants are usually at least 10 years old and have some bike riding experience," Mr Whittall said.

“Past participants with average riding experience have really enjoyed the unique ride, one said they had an emu running beside them at one point!

"Some parts can be a little steep and challenging, but people can take their time. We have a sweeper who picks up anyone who feels that they've had enough and there are two locations along the way to refill water bottles," Mr Whittall said.

Registration of $25 is required by emailing  or phoning the Pilliga Forest Discovery Centre on (02) 6843 4011.