Recently I was on a tour. I had my tent up at my overnight stop when a storm hit. Lots of lightning and thunder close by. My tent is a central support tent that uses an single vertical aluminium pole for support . I was wondering should I have been worried?

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Tony, G'day.

Where you pitch your tent is more of a concern rather than the components of your tent. The simple reason, with extreme voltages almost everything found outdoors can become a conductor.

Basically, if you know that a thunderstorm is looming, pitch lower than other objects and away from the tallest objects. Don't pitch on open paddocks or under the tallest trees or on exposed ridge lines. Also, stay out of depressions where ground lightning can find you. If you do feel unsafe, don't pitch your tent, or if you have already, perhaps leave your tent and look for other forms of shelter, until the thunderstorm is over. .

One of the things that people don't think about, is that when lightning strikes a tree the bark and limbs can explode which then become life threatening shrapnel. Another reason not to pitch under tall trees is that gums are notorious for dropping timber unexpectedly, that brings into play the storm's wind threat. I always check the debris on the ground before I select a site in the bush. I certainly look up to avoid the widow makers like this ...

There are also areas that are prone to lightning strikes. There is an area beside Rock Hill south of Wagga Wagga that the Aboriginal Tribe there, the Wiradjiri people, hold sacred as a powerful place. A lot of the trees there are shattered by lightning. Definately avoid places where trees look like this ...

I've been struck by lightning when riding my bike under an avenue of trees in a thunderstorm.  I was hit by splash lightning, when the lightning hit the tree beside me. What saved me was, I was completely drenched which worked like a Faraday Cage. My bike helmet was blown to bits and I suffered burns to my hands. It was a sudden thunderstorm and I looking for shelter ... 

Being struck by lightning isn't nice but it is a lottery being outside, so shorten the odds in your favour, by good site selection.

Good luck.


Gee Warren!  Bitten by a brown snake and survived.  Hit by lightning and survived.  How many lives have you got left?  ;-)

BTW I liked the medical report shows that you were hit by a "lightening".  Can I get some of that on my touring load?

Dabba, G'day.

I've also survived going over Hungry Hill. Hungry Hill deserves it's name. It's a steep, stoney, nasty piece of work if ever there was one and then the track comes out onto that slither to Hell called Thunderbolts Way, 12 klicks South of Nowendoc, just recently. Maybe that's done it for my extra lives.

Thunderbolts Way makes a mockery of the cynical phrase used to describe bad roads as, good enough for rural. I did a circuit of Walcha Road beside the Barnard River, through Giro, over the unformed road of Hungry Hill, then down Thunderbolts Way.

What an insult to the people of regional New South Wales, the surface of Thunderbolts Way is. It is an absolute disgrace. No joke, descending on the wrong side of the road, was far safer than keeping to the left. At least I had a 50/50 chance against a head-on on the right. I knew that I was going to die, if I kept to the left. I believe in riding to the conditions.


I did Walcha > Gloucester along Thunderbolts Way 5 or so years ago and I don't remember the road surface being a problem.  On the other hand, the road over Barrington Tops from Moonan Flat > Polblue > Barrington was a real roughie when I did it 2-3 years ago.

Polblue - what a sweet little camp spot!

Dabba, G'day,  While I wait for Tony to re-appear, I'm very happy to compare touring notes.

I descended Thunderbolts Way in late August. It was dry.

Did I fail to mention that I descended Thunderbolts Way at dusk? The only cars then were fast moving tradie's vehicles.

The left lane, the surface felt like non-stop ripples and patches. It took me about 15 minutes to realise that I was descending in the wrong lane. Then it got dark and the tradies drove faster.

Descending in the right lane was relatively smooth, with some raised patches.

I'm guessing that heavy vehicles braking heavily, descending, particularly approaching the corners, that are trashing the tarmac. The up-hill lane was relatively good, relatively.

Walcha Road was fantastic ... ... ...

A herd of consummate Perellioligists gave my Serfas Drifters their seals of approval on Walcha Road ...


Here are the consummate Pirelliologists ...

Apologies for the incorrect shot posted, earlier.


The time that we were there, the area had been experiencing big dust storms.  We left Walcha early in the morning - probably around 7 - to get through most of the road to Nowendoc that was going to experience severe crosswinds.  We made it, and when we got to the sections where it was a full on tailwind, I was able to do 50kph without any effort on the flat with all touring gear on.  Needless to say, we couldn't pitch a tent at Nowendoc because of the winds, so we spent the night in the small motel.  We sat on the seat outside the general store sucking on a beer and watched the cloud shadows speed across the paddocks - we thought 80-100kph looked likely, and it got faster with each beer! We probably left the next morning around 8, so the descent of the range was done in good daylight and minimal traffic.  It's lovely country in that area.

Dabba, G'day again. Visiting Nowendoc was one of the places that I'd been looking forward to during my last trip.

It was really cold and windy when I reached Nowendoc, so I can relate to your time there. I was grateful for the shelters beside the RFS Shed. I cooked dinner under the shelters beside there.

Despite the hamlet's small size, Nowendoc cater for visitors very well, as you know.

I needed water, so I went to the tank behind the RFS and took my multi tap handle. I'm using it more frequently nowadays ...

Lightening? ... you're spot on. Ha, ha, ha!


I've been looking at getting back through Moonan Flat again, but up towards Tamworth.  Thinking of Scone > Gundy > Moonan Flat > Ellerston > Nundle > Kootingal > Limbri > Walcha > Nowendoc > Gloucester > Waukivory > Bulahdelah > Girvan > The Branch > Karuah > Medowie > Newcastle.

Some great country in all of that!

When I reached Belltrees, I headed to Woolooma. Then along side Stewarts Brook until I reached the Gulf Bridle Track. That took me to Moonan Brook about 4 klicks SE of  Moonan Flat. Then I joined Barrington Tops Forest Road, close by.

I hardly saw a thing because of heavy smoke on the way to Gologlie Creek in Stewarts Brook State Forest, at the top of the range.

On the climb to Stewarts Brook ...

At the top of the range at Gologlie Creek looking West. It was very smokey ...

I though that the Barrington Tops Forest Way was excellent until I started to descend to Gibbons Mill and the Cobark River. That's when I crossed the Barnard River and headed for Walcha Road and Hungry Hill.

I've avoided the Nundle route, because of feedback that I've had as a BNT Co-ordinator. Cyclists have told me that they haven't enjoined their meets-n-greets with logging trucks, on the Moonan Flat to Nundle and Nowendoc bypass of the wilder Walcha Road Hungry - Hill route.

I'll do the Nundle route, in November 2016.


"Cyclists have told me that they haven't enjoined their meets-n-greets with logging trucks, on the Moonan Flat to Nundle and Nowendoc bypass of the wilder Walcha Road Hungry - Hill route."

I'm not sure which roads you are referring to here!

We did Muswellbrook > Gundy > Timor > Nundle > Kootingal > Limbri > Walcha a few years ago and most of the section between Gundy and Nundle was good gravel with next to no traffic.  Similarly with Limbri > Walcha Road.  We did Walcha > Nowendoc > Gloucester > Stroud Road > Dungog another time, but I don't recall timber trucks being a problem.  We may have done it on a weekend.

Dabba, G'day.

I'm sorry not to have answered your question, in a more timely fashion, when you wrote ..."I'm not sure which roads you are referring to here!"

From Moonan Flat to Hanging Rock on Hunter Road. Re-supply at Nundle and the back to Hanging Rock, and follow Forrest Way, along the Great Dividing Range on the Liverpool Range. Through Willow Trees and then to the quirkily named location of  Murder Dog. Continue to Black Gap, then turn East on Topdale Road which is still on the Liverpool Range of the Great Dividing Range, to eventually join the New England Range. Topdale Road comes out onto Thunderbolts Way, about 24 kilometres North West of the turnoff to Nowendoc.

This route bypasses the Moonan Flat, to Carricabark River Track, through Woko National Park,  to the foot bridge at Karamea Station, and then to Walcha Road, before going over Hungry Hill, on the Bicentennial National Trail, which I did in late August ... then toward Nowendoc.

Cheers Mate.



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