A Travellerspoint blog

Tuesday 11th March

Journey's End

I had contemplated a one day trip from Bermagui to Sydney, with an early start via the coast and then through Braidwood, Goulburn, Oberon and Bells Line of Road through Richmond back to Sydney. One of my camp colleagues suggested that would be brave all in one day, and on reflection I agreed. Decided instead to check out of the camp site next morning after the blog update and chill on the beach with the obligatory coffee and newspaper (back in NSW so thankfully more rugby in the sports pages than AFL) and then stooge up the Sapphire Coast and see where I ended up late afternoon.

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Camp site chicken hasn't quite mastered the art of hiding

The first bit went according to plan, and I caught the end of the Bermagui Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. It had finished on Monday, but most had not yet been dismantled.

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Last one lacked originality I thought

Hopped on the bike about 11am and followed the coast, where I could, through Central Tilba (not coastal but a gorgeous little historic town in the hills - add to your must visit list), Narooma, Dalmeny, Malua Bay and Batemans Bay. I had only ever heard of Batemans Bay to be honest and yet that was probably the least impressive.

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Lots of the coastal roads bounded by ocean on one side, and estuaries, lagoons, wetlands on the other. Very scenic.

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Have to have a seagull shot - pelicans a bonus

Whist Tilba was only a short trip away from Bermagui, I couldn't not stop. Lots of cute shops and but for a bit of a hike on a warm day, some wonderful views.

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Spells compulsory stop...Tilba

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Best Ice Cream shop interior - anywhere

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Tilba views

From Batemans Bay I cut inland through to Braidwood - the only town I doubled up on in the trip, albeit coming in and out from different directions. In fact to be fair I often came out from the same town in different directions - but always unintentionally. This one was planned. (I even got lost trying to get out of the Bright campsite - felt a complete goose as I circled the same campers time and time again trying to find the exit. Eventually a seven year old came to my rescue.)

From Braidwood to Goulburn, arriving about 5pm and time to scull a cold ginger beer and suss my Wiki Camps app out for local camp sites.

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The BIG Merino - of course.

Transpired Goulburn wasn't flush with recommended camping sites - some of the campers rating comments over recent days included "...badly needs updating...students from overseas having spitting competitions, weeing in basins...not quiet after midnight...management care factor zero..." All the sort of feedback that would encourage you stay there if you were 17, but no longer my gig. So, decided a freeway blast would get me home in 2 hours - and it did. Not quite the way I planned to finish, but seemed rather fitting to be cruising back through Sydney city as the sun set.

And there endeth the journey. Twenty nine days, six thousand kilometres, many wonderful towns and sights, ridiculously good weather, good coffees/milkshakes, great car/bike museums, mouth-watering ice creams/gelatos, and brilliant roads - to name some of the highlights.

Brings to mind an old NZ tourism campaign slogan "Don't leave home until you've seen the country."

Thanks for sharing, and bye for now.

Posted by jb2014 21:05 Comments (3)

Monday 10th March

Destination Bermagui

Nothing much happening in Cann River beyond the cheap night's accommodation, so up earlyish and on the road by soon after 8am.

This is forestry country up though Coopracambra National Park, and I had changed my original plan of heading straight to Bombala and instead taking one of the side roads on the way straight across the coast to south of Eden. As I was getting to the turn off point however, caffeine withdrawal symptoms started kicking in (aided by a sunny but cool in the forest 13C) and with Bombala (back in NSW) much closer than the nearest town on my intended path, I reverted to the original plan and 30mins later was sitting in the sun with coffee and newspaper in hand. Relief - life can be so stressful.

Some Melbourne bikers soon joined me which was good - not much else happening in Bombala from what I could see.

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The Melbourne boys bikes. Brave! they had done 2,000kms already.

From there I cut across to the east coast. Great roads, negligible traffic, but some of the corners were as if they had been taken from a Salvador Dali painting. Scary in the forest shadows and hard on the teeth. There was a stretch of road works going on so looked like they were on to it. Not many opportunities to pull over and take snaps unfortunately. The roads were often narrow ish and not a lot of pulling off areas. I am also a bit shy after an incident a week or so ago when I was attempting a U-turn off road to take a snap and caught the front wheel in a rut and dropped the bike. Luckily I jumped off (read about a guy who got pinned under his and had to wait for someone to come along to rescue him) but lifting it back up was no mean feat. The bike weighs 330kg dry, so probably 360kg with my guff. Anyway, with the aid of a bit of adrenalin, anger, sweat and 90 odd seconds of groaning and grunting, I got it back up. No damage, apart from a bit of readjusting mirrors etc., a few burst blood vessels, and an extra heavy duty wash that night. Hopefully the last time that happens - but I must now have the Bremner record for weight lifting. The worst part was the photo I was turning to take didn't even make the publishing cut in the end.
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I came out just south of Pambula and from there stooged up the Sapphire Coast through Merimbula, Tura Beach, Tathra and then got to Bermagui late afternoon.

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Bermagui is a very nice spot, and the camping ground excellent value. $20 and modern facilities right on the beach and shop front - though a good 5mins walk to the Gelato shop. I met a Central Coast couple who were quick to invite me over - turns out they run the C.C. Ulysses bike club so have invited me to hook up with them. Also met another lady, probably in her late 50's/early 60's, who was travelling around Australia in her Corolla (no tent - slept in the car) as a permanent lifestyle thing. Very interesting to talk to. She had been in another of the camp kitchens initially with what transpired to be a nudist club. She must have decided I might be more conventional company!

Posted by jb2014 20:47 Comments (2)

Sunday 9th March

Destination Cann River

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Or get a convertible...

The plan had ben to head off to Mount Beauty and then back track a little to go on to Omeo - but didn't quite work out that way. I struck a cycle race/ride and so decided since it would be slow going to head directly over Mount Hotham and save Mount Beauty for the next trip.
It didn't phase me too much given my circumstances, but I was in amongst cycles for the best part of two hours. It wouldn't have been so bad but I would get caught up behind cars which had much more difficulty getting past than I did with nothing else in front of me. There must have been close to a thousand cyclists - certainly many hundreds anyway. Every time I thought I had passed the leading group, I would come around a corner and find another bunch.

Notwithstanding that, and some crazy 4WD drivers who had lost their patience, and sanity, it was a very scenic ride over Mount Hotham and down in to Omeo. There would have been some great photos but for the inability to pull over with all the cyclists. Also, when you did get past a group I was reluctant to lose the ground gained. So, very few photos for the day I'm sorry.

I had stopped to fill up at Omeo only to realise the petrol station was closed when another Guzzi rider came over to chat and put me on to another detour (to avoid the cyclists) from there to Swifts Creek which was on my overall route. That was about 30km away and had a petrol station there, so I carried on. When I got there I was impressed that the service station dude came out to greet me - only to find he was asking me to hurry up because he had to lock up and go and fight a fire! With the next nearest petrol 70km away I was mightily relieved that I hadn't stopped for photos earlier!

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Another scorcher and vacant roads back down from the mountain

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Rare to see a creek with water in it

I carried on from there on the Great Alpine Road in to Bruthen for a milkshake stop and a chat to a group of QLD riders who joined me. From there it was on to Orbost and then Cann River by about 5pm, so time to pull up stumps for the day. The distance covered wasn't great, but there had been a lot of riding through the day.

Cann River wasn't much more than a pub, petrol station and a couple of shops, and the only camping ground was booked through the local pub. i.e. no one at the camping ground. The amenities weren't flash for sure, but they worked, it was very quiet and at $10 for the night - my cheapest stay so far.

I met a youngish couple there who had sold up and had spent the last few years cycling around Australia picking up work when they needed to but otherwise intending to carry on for many years to come. They were well set up and she was even lugging her cello around with her!
I did enjoy sitting back in the evening sun out in the countryside listening to her playing about 50m away. I am no judge, but she sounded pretty good to me.
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My own table and chairs - yeh!

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The cyclists kit

I saw a bush track marked nearby so decided a bit of exercise would be do me good just before sun down. It was pleasant enough, but wasn't sure where it was taking me as the sun started dipping, and had visions for a while of having to sleep under the stars - slightly spooky. Anyway, eventually I reappeared on the other side of the camping ground. Hooray!
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My wayward walk

Posted by jb2014 15:10 Comments (2)

Saturday 8th March

Destination Bright

Hello again. Dudded by a non-working WiFi in Bright and no facilities at my last overnighter either, so I am a bit behind. Here now at Bega library for at least one day's update and then will see where I end up overnight tonight.
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Well, knock me over with a feather! Wait, there's more...
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An old Buick dad - circa 1920's

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The demise of the British bike industry evidenced by the oil trays under the engines! Not needed for the Japanese or European bikes.

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Jaguar car and Moto Guzzi bike model display - nice touch.

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Couldn't leave Shepparton without a five course lunch. $1.80!

I had a couple of hours in Shepparton before heading away, and as is often the case not sure how far I would get. Blessed again with sunny weather, I cruised through Benalla, Glenrowan, Myrtleford and then pulled up at Bright mid-afternoon and decided a good spot to stay. I would have moved on to Mt Beauty (on Felicity's list of places to see - so guaranteed to be worth it!) but my Wikki Camps app wasn't giving me any camping sites there.
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For mum

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The BIG Ned Kelly - Glenrowan.

I confess to never really getting the whole Ned Kelly thing. Wasn't he a bad guy?

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First of interest in a while - could be the Victorian winner.

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The BIG tree root - Myrtleford

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Pine forests - didn't realise we did them over here

Not such a long day riding, but a good ride just the same. Little traffic as always (to that point anyway) and but for a close call with a giant eagle that was very slow to get up off the road kill it was feasting on before I rudely interrupted, fairly uneventful.

Bright was very cute, and quite the happening place as it turned out with various long weekend events. I sat in the late afternoon sun and enjoyed a free concert for a while and then a corner pub for a beer and newspaper and watching stacks of Harley Davidsons cruising up and down the streets with a smattering of other bikes.

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Bright. Ice Creamery's big down here. A good thing.

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Another hard day draws to an end. No SMH but turns out The Age is the same with an extra 40pages of AFL. Seriously, there were more pages of AFL than all other sports put together - and the season hasn't even started yet! (Tim is thinking - yeah, so...?)

The Bright camping ground was very well set up and also very picturesque. The only slight downside was that it was also pretty full. Long weekend customers and business booming. I was lucky to get a site really. If I had arrived later ion the day, might have missed out. There were others around but they didn't rate well on Wikki Camps which has proved a good indicator. Having said that, the appeal of free WiFi didn't pay any dividends for me.
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I'm not a Hot Rod kind of guy really, but acknowledge some are cool. This definitely is.

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The swing bridge to my tent.

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Neighbours all bikers.

I was happy to at least get another good night's sleep after one of my less successful decisions back in Halls Gap. I thought I would test my mettle and save on time with blowing up the air mattress (and getting the air out the next morning) by sleeping on the ground. I'm sure I used to do it in scouting days without any drama. Anyway, if there had been any doubt that I was an idiot, then that was removed by the morning. A shocking night's sleep and eventually woke up (the last of many times) feeling like I had had a few rounds with Anthony Mundine. The only reason I didn't relent during the night was because the mattress was packed away in the bike under cover, there sounded like a lot of animal activity around and it was dark... Anyway, served me right. Never again.

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No reason - just liked them

Posted by jb2014 20:23 Comments (2)

Friday 7th March

Destination Shepparton

Actually started the day having no idea where I would end up, but figured if I got as far as Shepparton then I would have done pretty well. And I did.

I had intended to check out the Falls Gap zoo, but never saw the signs so that went by the wayside. I left HG at 8.30am and arrived at Shepparton at 5.30pm and with only a couple of brief stops must have spent close to 7 hours riding. I even ventured briefly back in to NSW!
As always, I follow a fairly circuitous route in search of good motorbike roads, so those geographically in the know may otherwise wonder why it would take so long to travel that distance.

Not a whole lot of variation in the countryside but after a cool start to the day, the sun came out, shone and tiring but a very pleasant day's riding.

Halls Gap and the Grampians generally were beautiful. HG must have the highest density holiday accommodation per edifice anywhere. All I saw were motels, hotels, camping grounds, B&B's etc. I don't know if anyone actually lives there. I guess an obvious destination for hikers and campers. Certainly an abundance of wild life - the following from the camping ground.
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Just a few kangaroos around! maybe a Kiwi thing, but I still get a little excited when seeing kangaroos in the wild.
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Glad the local dam held - my tent down to the left of it.

I went through Stawell, Ararat, Maryborough, Dunolly, Maldon, Castlemaine, Bendigo, Rochester, Echuca, Moama (NSW), Barmah and then to Shepparton. Most towns, as I have found have their own character but the big surprise for me was Maldon. Like most places I go through, I have never heard of it (you are not alone Dad!), but it was brilliant. I was in the riding groove and eager to hit Shepparton before closing time so only stopped to rattle a couple of photos off. A bit like an Aussie country Arrowtown (NZ). Every shop was restored in period style or in the process of being so. Similarly houses - I could have stopped at everyone for a "characterful" snap. (You'll be relieved I didn't.)
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Maldon

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Nice touch

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Best public toilets in Elmsford - probably Victoria. Not usually a drive-in, but I was in a hurry.

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Bendigo - much bigger town than I realised.

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Rochester - Hubert Opperman

Stawell was of some interest to me only because of the running race history. My brief stop summed up by the comment a kindly elderly gentleman made to me as I sat with a coffee near my bike. "Keep an eye on your stuff - there are people around here who would steal a dead fly from a blind spider!" The town did look less vibrant than most I come across.
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Stawell

Have discovered it is a long weekend in Victoria this weekend which explains the heavy traffic in the latter part of yesterday. Earlier in the day had been typically free of anything. I am sure I travelled some of the longest roads I have ever travelled without seeing another vehicle on my side of the road.

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The Shepparton camping ground - nice surrounds but the ground itself not as flash.

A couple of museums to attend to this morning, and then on the bike and hopefully will end up either in Bright, Mount Beauty or somewhere toward the south east coast.

Posted by jb2014 15:59 Comments (4)

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