The Thirstypacker Threehundo is a challenging ride, covering 150km and around 2,800m of climbing each day. Put that work in, and you’ll see some of the best riding the Canberra region has to offer in a two day ride.


We acknowledge that this adventure is located on the traditional Country of the Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal people who have occupied and cared for the lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them as the Traditional Custodians and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

Quick Overview

The Thirtsypacker rewards abundant climbing with refreshing sports recovery drinks at two of the region’s best producers of brewed libations. The 300km loop can be completed in two big days and accommodation is available in Tumut, so you can leave the bivvy behind if you like.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace


About the Thirstypacker Threehundo

The Thirstypacker Threehundo loops out west from Canberra, crossing the Brindabella Ranges on one of the region’s best dirt road climbs, before taking riders down a stunning descent to pastoral river flats and the Tumut River Brewery for refreshing sports recovery drinks.

After snoozing the night in wonderful Tumut, Thirstypackers make their way through the hills to Wee Jasper Distillery for lunch, before wending their way back to Canberra via Mountain Creek Road. If you’re fit and like riding your bike, this is a great way to do it for a whole weekend.

Leave early Saturday and be back in Canberra for a Sunday recovery feast.

Thirstypacker Threehundo History

Tumut is in Wiradjuri Country and its name is possibly derived from the Wiradjuri word ‘doomut’ meaning ‘quiet resting place by the river’ – sounds perfect for a weary rider. European history of the Tumut area dates back to 1824 after the area’s discovery by explorers Hume and Hovell. Riders will encounter the Hume and Hovell walking track on the approach to Tumut in the Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve.

Both the Wiradjuri and Ngunnawal people feature in Wee Jasper history, however Wee Jasper is thought to be named after green gemstones that were found there by a Scottish resident. He called the stones his ‘wee jaspers’.


How to Get to the Thirstypacker Threehundo?

From Sydney

There are regular flights from Sydney to Canberra’s international airport and regular buses to Canberra from Sydney’s Central Station. The Murrays Bus service usually costs between $49 and $80 return, with bikes needing to be boxed. There’s also a regional train service between Central and Canberra, with return tickets costing around $80 and bikes needing to be boxed here too. Check timetables and book online through Transport NSW.

From Melbourne

There are regular flights from Melbourne to Canberra’s international airport. There’s no direct train service, but you can jump on a train to Albury and then continue to Canberra by bus. Timetables and bookings from Public Transport Victoria for Canberra to Melbourne (via Albury) route. Or catch the Melbourne to Sydney train and transfer to the Canberra train from the Goulburn railway station.

By Bus

Bus services are available from the Snowy Mountains, South Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and elsewhere. See Murrays Coaches, Buses & Limousines, Greyhound Australia or Road Jet for details.

Where to Stay Along the Thirstypacker Threehundo

The best place to stay on the Thirstypacker is the Riverglade Caravan Park. It’s right on the river and close to both the main street and the Tumut River Brewery. You can treat yourself to a cabin or roll out the bivvy on an unpowered site, a powered site or even a powered site with your own ensuite.

Skill Level

Intermediate – Advanced

An intermediate level of riding ability and a high level of fitness is required for this route. Do not be deceived, this is a long ride with a lot of climbing and you’ll be backing up one big day with another. There are parts of the route that are remote with no reception.

Distance / Duration / Elevation Gain of The Thirstypacker Threehundo

Day 1 – 152km / 10.5 – 12 hours / 2,806m

Day 2 – 150km /  9.5 – 11 hours / 2,811m

Essential Gear for the Thirstypacker Threehundo

  • Bike – A hardtail mountain bike or gravel bike is ideal, running tyres at least two inches or 48mm wide will keep you smiling, most of the time. Road surfaces range from bitumen to overgrown forgotten tracks
  • Tools and spares – At times, you’ll be a long way from a bike shop. Bring a spare tube and the tools you need to work on your bike. There are bike shops in Tumut, but opening hours vary
  • Water filter/treatment – Clean water is sparse after Warks Road on the Canberra side of the Brindies, after that point many creeks and streams are intermittent and run through farmland. Water from them should be treated
  • Snacks
  • Clothing – It can be very cold up at Bulls Head and the long, fast descents require more layers than the long, luscious climbs. It’s possible you’ll see a wide temperature range and mountain weather, so check the forecast and pack some layers that are easy to change in and out of
  • Helmet
  • PLB
  • First aid kit
  • GPX file and GPS (with a backup way to navigate – an offline map on your phone with the GPX file loaded on your app of choice or kick it old school with a paper topo map)
  • Battery bank


Read more: Navigating With a Map & Compass

What it’s Like to Ride the Thirstypacker Threehundo

Day 1 – Canberra to Tumut

Distance: 152km
Time: 10.5 – 12 hours
Navigation: GPX File

The Thirstypacker Threehundo experience is about riding through beautiful places on quiet backroads. And frosty sports drinks. It’s a full weekend of riding and you’ll know you’ve done something pretty significant by the end of it.



On day one, water is available from the Cotter Campground, 30km from Canberra, and from Lees Creek on Warks Road, 50km from Canberra. 

The route starts at the base of Mt Ainslie and takes you from a bush reserve through the Canberra urban environment, over Lake Burley Griffin, and leads up into the mountains, through pastoral, subalpine, forestry, and native woodland environments. The challenging climbing earns you some of the most smile-inducing flowy descents to dip and dive down. 

Without being an epic 1,000km undertaking, this route gives you a strong sense that you’ve indeed travelled from one place to another. You’ll feel it in your legs and you’ll see it as the different landscapes slide by. Leave the city behind, make your way into the bush, and then gradually see the indicators of civilisation appear again as you approach each town.

Warks Road in the Brindabella Ranges is a favourite climb in the region – it’s long and consistent and closed to cars. The area hasn’t seen a bushfire for a very long time and it has a very welcoming forest feel with Lees Creek running alongside the road from time to time. 



Bulls Head Picnic Area at the top of the climb is a perfect spot for lunch before the descent into the Brindabella Valley and the tough climbs back out and into the forestry county. There’s no water here but there are toilets and an open-sided stone shelter. 



The Micalong Swamp Reserve provides a contrast to the subalpine Brindabella Ranges. The reedy swamp is an unusual feature for this region and the open woodland forest around it makes it a visually interesting area.

From there the route leads on to what is a primetime highlight of the ride. A long and undulating trail giving way to an old single-lane bitumen road that descends steeply with 180° switchbacks and views for days.

Once you arrive in Tumut, you’ll find everything you need to recover and fill your feed bags for day two. The Oriental Hotel does a superb local T-Bone and a vego lasagne. Tumut River Brewing Co is the prime choice for Thirstypackers, with abundant sports recovery drinks and burgers.

Day 2 – Tumut to Canberra via Wee Jasper

Distance: 150km
Time: 9.5 – 11 hours
Navigation: GPX File

On day two water and indeed gin is available at Wee Jasper Distillery, along with grazing boards and toasties. 

In the morning, head northeast on Wee Jasper Road on bitumen and hard-packed dirt. The big climb of the day is just before Wee Jasper and the descent down into the valley is made all the sweeter knowing you’re riding to cheese and a G&T. 

There used to be a pub and general store in Wee Jasper, but they closed years ago.



Until the Wee Jasper Distillery opened in early 2023 there really was nowhere for a feed at Wee Jay. The opening of the distillery opens this route up as an enjoyable weekend ride and the superb road climb from Wee Jasper is best appreciated with some fuel in the tank.

Once you’ve made your way up and out of the Wee Jasper Valley, you’ll turn off the bitumen onto some hardpack dirt along Sawyers Gully Road. There’s a particularly steep pinch on this section, about 95km in, so get a few red snakes into you before then. 



From there you’ll continue to Mountain Creek Road, onto Fairlight Road, and Uriara Road for the ride back into Canberra. Ride Molongolo Reserve and bike paths along the lake, through the Australian National University and back to the starting point. The closest pub with good beer and decent food is the Dickson Taphouse. 


Tips For Riding the Thirstypacker Threehundo

  • While the distance and total ascent for each day are about equal, the first day is the harder of the two, with some steep climbing up out of the Brindabella Valley. 
  • September is the opportune time for this ride, although it can be completed year round. Leave Canberra at dawn and for best results, try to time your descent into Tumut on Argalong Road for late afternoon or golden hour
  • There are some dry sections, so carry plenty of water
  • Wee Jasper Road can see some traffic, and parts of it allow vehicles to be travelling pretty fast, so some caution is advised on this sealed section
  • There’s a lot of ground to cover. It’s not a race but it’s best to keep moving and keep eating. Strava reckons I burnt through 15,000 calories on this ride, about 27 Big Macs so you’re earning a truly decadent Sunday feast when you’re done