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Old 02-20-2013, 11:29 PM   #1
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 47
2 Week Aussie Tiger Tale..

As this is my first ride report, I probably should start by introducing the characters in this story. My husband jmcg decided about 3 years ago to go and get his motorbike licence and asked if I'd like to get mine too as it would be fun to ride together. To his surprise I agreed, and it was the most fun decision I have made! We started off on a pair of Honda CB400s (much to jmcg's disappointment, the costs doubled when I agreed to come along on the motor biking journey!), and after graduating to my full licence about a year ago I upgraded to a Triumph Tiger 800, who will be our trusty steed on this trip.


Me (TanMcG):

The rough idea for this trip was to take two weeks off work, load up the Tiger with all our new, mostly untested, equipment (including panniers, dry bag, tent, sleeping gear and JetBoil) and head off down The Great Ocean Road. We didn't have any plans, rather see where the wind would blow us (and boy did it get windy out there, but I'm getting ahead of myself). It is to be our longest trip on two wheels, our first camping trip and our first adventure riding two-up.

Here is a little glimpse into the future at the approximate route we ended up taking:

TanMcG screwed with this post 02-21-2013 at 02:40 PM
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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Nice bike!

Excited to hear about the journey, good luck!
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #3
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by TigerMike View Post
Nice bike!

Excited to hear about the journey, good luck!
Thanks TigerMike, she is an awesome bike!!

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Old 02-21-2013, 01:26 PM   #4
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 47
Day 1 - Emerald to Lorne

Starting kms:

Our route for the day:

After repacking the panniers a couple of times to fit everything in and get it balanced we were ready to head off.

But our motorbike adventures just wouldn't be right without a stop at the bike shop to kick it off. On our first adventure it was because my Honda had a flat tyre, this time it is to trade in jmcg's Street Triple and sign the paperwork for a brand new Husquavana 650Terra which we will pick up when we return!

We top up with fuel in Lilydale and then hit the road at almost 10:00am on the dot. The first stop is again a tradition from adventures past, at the servo outside Geelong where we break for coffee (jmcg) and ice cream (me!). Then we hit the road again for the short trip into Geelong where we stop at Maccas for lunch smoothies, then back on the bike where we make for the Great Ocean Road and the refreshing sea breeze to cool us down.

Next stop is Anglesea where I take my boots off and dangle my feet in the water.. now it's starting to feel like a holiday!

The "official" start of the Great Ocean Road:

On the road:

Back on the bike we cruise on up to Lorne where the nice lady at the caravan park hooks us up with a powered site for the cost of an unpowered site at the more isolated Queens Park, and its got a view.

We get the tent set up for the first time ever (outside of our lounge room!) and then it's off for a walk to the beach and into town to check out what's on offer.

Walking on the beach

Stopped for refreshments at the Bike Shed

After a good look around we head back to the campsite where jmcg reads the paper and I have a little nap (did I mention we're on holiday!). When i awake from my nap, this little guy is sitting in the tree above the tent watching us.

We walk back into town for some dinner from the Salty Dog Fish and Chipper, which we dutifully share with the most unattractive cockatoo I have seen in my life!


The cockatoo

A quick stop at the supermarket and its back to the campsite for a cuppa on the JetBoil, a look at possible campsites for tomorrow, and then turn in for an early night in which jmcg will be woken half a dozen times by the cricket who is trying unsuccessfully to get into the tent all night!

TanMcG screwed with this post 02-21-2013 at 02:48 PM
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:27 PM   #5
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Port Kennedy, Western Australia
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Great relaxing journey. Well done so far guys.
Marty F
'13 Triumph Sprint GT; '14 BMW G 650 GS
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Old 02-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #6
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by zadok View Post
Great relaxing journey. Well done so far guys.
Thanks for your comment. As I mentioned its my first report, so its cool people are reading it!

More to come soon.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:28 PM   #7
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Berowra, Australia
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Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.
Looking forward to the rest of the RR!
It's not what we ride but why we ride.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:03 PM   #8
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Originally Posted by antipode View Post
Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.
Looking forward to the rest of the RR!
Thanks Antipode!

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Old 02-21-2013, 05:25 PM   #9
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Day 2 - Lorne to Blanket Bay

Starting kms (which means if I did my math correctly we did 227kms yesterday)

Our route for the day:

We are up early and get dressed for a run. I of course forget to take my ventolin (I am a mild asthmatic) and end up puffing along somewhere behind jmcg on the 4.something km run. Then it's back to the tent for the liquid breakfast of champions; Up&Go. Actually its just the only thing we could think of to get for breakfast that didn’t require bowls, milk, toaster, etc. none of which we had or were able to carry or keep in the top box. We take advantage of the powered site and charge up the camera battery, then pack up the bike and get ready to hit the road for today's new adventures!

We stop for photos at a lookout on the ocean road and there are a group of bike riders over the other side that from their rego plates appear to be from New South Wales. Before we have a chance to chat they have geared back up and take off. I snap a few pics along the way while following them planning to get their email address if we run into them again.

(I didn’t end up seeing them again, so if you recognize yourself and are reading this, feel free to PM me your email address as I have some more photos from the road!)

We head into the Cape Otway National park to a lovely little campsite called 'Blanket Bay' where we have our choice of sites and the Parks Victoria lady I ring tells me they are free this time of year, score! We settle on a lovely spot next to some picnic tables and a track that leads straight down to the beach. Set up tent and unload sleeping equipment then head out down the not-so-lovely corrugated dirt road and the road block of tourists who have lost their minds at the sight of a couple of koalas to get back to the main road.

Trying unsuccessfully to catch a glimpse of the ocean while riding down the dirt road to the camping site (darn bushes keep getting in my way!)

Our campsite:

jmcg gets some relief from the washboard surface and tourists by cranking the bike up to speed on the ride around to Beech Forrest and the location of one our favourite eateries, The Ridge Café, which we have our fingers crossed will be open this time.

We are in luck, they are open.

We head out onto the deck and enjoy a lunch feast!! (Sorry to anyone who doesn’t like food photos, ‘cos I’ve got lots of them!!)

Geez, I need another nap now..

On the café owners recommendation we decide to make a stop at the Redwoods Picnic area and have a wander through the trees.

Not too exciting looking in from the outside..

..but once you step into the quietness between the huge trunks, it's a little bit of magic.

Gear back on; whoa starting to warm up now. We head back to camp past the mad koala-viewing-tourist road block!

..and down the dirt road. If you look really closely you can see a tiny glimpse of water in this one!

Back at camp we've got a couple hours to kill before we head into Apollo Bay for dinner so we don shorts and head down to the beach to explore. The water is beautiful, the rock formations fascinating, and the shell treasures are aplenty!

While we are searching through a particularly bountiful treasure pile we hear frantic whistling from a little boat out on the water. I turn and see something splashing in the water not far off shore. What is it? A person? A dog? No..... it's a kangaroo!! WTF!?

Seriously, there is a kangaroo looking thoroughly saturated and confused standing out on the rocks. The guys in the boat are still whistling and waving frantically. What the heck do they expect us to do with a soggy sea-going kangaroo? I'm telling jmcg to take photos, but he feels it would be inappropriate to stand there taking happy snaps when someone is expecting him to go to the roo’s rescue so we only get one photo of it.

jmcg walks out towards it a little way on the rocks and it bounds in to shore and back up the beach. Seriously, did that just happen?

We finish our treasure hunting and the wind is starting to get cold so we head back to camp. But not before we catch site of our first ‘scuttler’ on our trip.

Note: I’ll warn you now that we get a little bit excited about the sight of critters that scuttle (i.e. crabs and lizards) so be prepared for more pics to follow

Jmcg psychs himself up for another 2-up trip down the dirt road and we gear up and head into town. We fill up with petrol, stop at the supermarket for breakfast provisions, and then end up at the noodle bar for dinner. We were planning on pizza but the only place I saw coming into town that said pizza is shut. While waiting for our honey chicken, a lady walks past with pizza boxes.. Oops, I guess I missed something!

We take a short stroll after dinner (and locate the pizza shop, will remember that for next time!) then jmcg takes us over to the breakwater.

We walk out to the end of the breakwater, but sadly don't see a pod of dolphins as we'd hoped (I just thought they'd look pretty, but jmcg wanted to push me in and see if they would try to save me!). Then wearily we gear up for the last time today. Thankfully the crazy koala loving tourists have packed up for the night so it's just the dirt road to be dealt with.

A little visitor to our camp site (Blue Wren)

Safely back at camp we boil up some water for a cuppa, turn away a van of foreign tourists who want to park at the front of our site as we don’t take up much room with tent and bike, set up the beds and turn in for another early one.

End of day kms (which means a grand total of 275kms for the day)

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Old 02-23-2013, 12:16 AM   #10
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Day 3 - Blanket Bay to Warrnambool

Our route for the day

Quite a cool cloudy start to the day today. Fired up the JetBoil for a cuppa then set about packing up camp. Before we were even half packed up our site had already been poached by another camper who was staying for a few more days but had a dodgy spot down the back somewhere and was keen on the prime real estate that we had been occupying. Once packed up we braced for one last trip down the corrugated dirt road two-up with the bike fully laden. It was a relief to see asphalt again, and a bigger relief that 9:10am is too early for the koala crazy tourists and I was able to enjoy the sight of 7 koalas without jmcg having to brake, swerve or give a blast on the horn. Sorry, no pics as the camera was safely tucked away in my pocket.

The plan today was to push on towards Warrnambool and the company and hospitality of jmcg's old school friend.

Having had only an Up&Go each for breakfast again we made the decision to take a break in Princetown for a coffee (jmcg) and hot chocolate (me) and second breakfast.

Well, in actual fact I was eyeing off the cake display wondering whether there really is a time in the day that is “too early” for eating cake, when jmcg spied something savoury and very tasty looking in the fridge.

Talk about a good decision, we ate the most amazing chicken sub instead!

While sitting out in the dining area we could see some people camped down in the distance. On another note completely, am I developing a bald patch??

Spoke with the shop owner who directed us on how to find the camping ground down at the recreation reserve and let us know the prices, which sounded to us like a bargain. We made vague plans to come back this way to camp and more importantly eat cake!

Hmmm.. I have started to notice that our travel planning often involves choosing locations based around my appetite.. Oh well! Back on the road we made a quick stop in at Port Campbell.

..but with not much happening in town we pushed on again up the Great Ocean Road where we sighted a ‘Wicked Camper’ that jmcg thought was pretty amusing.

Stopped along the way for some classic tourist photos with strange and beautiful rock formations off the coast including the Arch

and the Bay of Martyrs.

Managed to get some good scenic shots of the Tiger on a seriously steep boat-launching ramp where jmcg was extra specially careful when moving the bike to get a better angle!

You can’t really tell from this picture just how steep the angle of the boat ramp is, but trust me, it was a little scary standing at the top looking down into the ocean. I can’t even imagine how someone would reverse down there with a boat in tow!

We rode in to Warrnambool and our first port of call was lunch at another of our favourite eateries, Fish Tales (see what I mean about planning around my stomach!). They make the most delicious chicken burgers in which we happily indulged.

I did warn you about the food photos!!

Before popping into the art gallery where jmcg's friend works to say hello.

He gave us the house key so we could unload and lighten up the bike, and we agreed to meet him back there at 5pm. We spent the afternoon exploring Warrnambool.

Cannon Hill (the classic Warrnambool tourist photo)

Spent $1 cleaning down the Tiger’s chain so we could lubricate it (gotta look after my girl, she has been a very trusty steed )

Goofing around trying to reconstruct warning signs on the breakwater - thankfully no giant wave appeared to make it even more authentic!

Walking to the end of the breakwater in search of seals and dolphins (no luck, except for on the sign that told me to keep a look out for seals, but I don't think that photos of seals really count!)

It was quite windy out there, as you might be able to tell from my hair-do!

Also walked up Lady Bay beach and around Stingray Bay.

And just incase you were wondering... there were no stingrays sighted either!

Met back at the art gallery at 5pm as planned. How cool are the graphics from a previous exhibition they held?!

We helped jmcg’s friend (well, really we just watched while he did all the work) set up a projector for a local film group's viewing of a French Sci-Fi movie later that night. Then it was down to a local pizza joint for dinner and to catch up on old times. After pizza we went back up to the local art space for the night's movie ‘Holy Motors.’ And for those of you out there that haven't seen it, it is just about the strangest movie I have EVER seen!

While pre-movie we had been planning to go out afterwards for a beer, by the end of the movie we had all pretty much had enough for one day and headed back to the house instead for a hot drink and a chat before going to sleep on a real (not inflatable camping) mattress.

End of day kms

(which means we only travelled 184kms today).
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:39 AM   #11
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Joined: Feb 2013
Location: Ireland
Oddometer: 130
Nice pics , sounds like great trip. I am envious , its 1 deg C here today.
You seem to have drawn the short straw carrying all the gear,but the Tiger looks the part.
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:14 AM   #12
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
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Originally Posted by Eyore View Post
Nice pics , sounds like great trip. I am envious , its 1 deg C here today.
You seem to have drawn the short straw carrying all the gear,but the Tiger looks the part.
Hey Eyore,

Thanks for the comment.

The weather was indeed good for the duration of the trip. The worst we got was some pretty gusty wind conditions.

The Tiger did an awesome job of carrying both of us and our gear! Great touring bike.



jmcg screwed with this post 02-23-2013 at 01:29 AM
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:24 PM   #13
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 47
Day 4 - Warrnambool to Killarney

Our route for the day

We woke up this morning and snuck out of the house for another run. While we didn't go as far this time, boy does Warrnambool have some hills! I remembered my ventolin today, however the hills still saw me puffing and trailing somewhere behind! We showered and dressed, said thank you and goodbye to jmcg’s friend and headed up the road for breakfast at Maccas – there would be no Up&Go today!

After breakfast we rode on to Tower Hill (a reserve nestled inside an inactive volcano) to check out the sights and the wildlife. On the road into the park we came across an emu who ran up the road in front of us for a while, but by the time I got the camera out of my pocket, the cover off and the thing turned on (all with my gloves on) the emu had run off into the bush and out of view. So sadly there is no picture. We pulled up at a small car park to look at a sign then decided we'd move up the road 230m to the Visitors Centre instead.

I left my visor open for the short ride and low and behold managed to get a piece of grit lodged up under my eyelid! OUCH! We stood in the car park for what felt like hours with a boulder grazing against my eyeball ever time I blinked or moved my left eye, while jmcg looked fruitlessly into my eye and poured water from our drink bottle into it. Soon I heard the angelic voices of a lovely couple coming to my rescue with a bottle of eye drops, a mirror and some tissues. Within about 30 seconds of their arrival the minuscule piece of grit was extracted and my eye felt instantly better. We thanked them profusely, but didn’t manage to catch their names (nor do I have any idea what they actually looked like as I could barely see with my eye was watering so much!).

We had a quick look around the visitor centre (not really worth the grit in eye experience to get there!) and then walked to the start of the Peak climb. And wouldn’t you know it, the track started from right where we had originally stopped the bike!! A steep walk to the top and we posed for a couple of pics and enjoyed the view before descending and getting geared up again.

On the way out of the park we did get to see an echidna by the side of the road and a koala up a tree, but no more emus.

Then we kept on cruising into the town of Port Fairy to explore.

We walked up and down the Main Street to see what was available for lunch options, and decided on a pretty funky looking place called Rocksalt where we enjoyed a very delicious and reasonably priced lunch.

The cakes in the display fridge were beckoning us while we ate, but we decided it would be best to go out for a walk to work off lunch and return later for cake. We rode up the hill and walked down along the beach where we saw a group of surf life savers out on the beach and what looked like one of them having an assessment. One of the younger ones swam out into the ocean and then started waving their arms to indicate they needed assistance. Another young one was then directed into the water and swam out and brought them back in where another helped dragged him up the beach where he miraculously appeared to recover.

We then walked down to the other end of the beach intending to walk right round to the lighthouse we could see in the distance. If you look very carefully in the photo below, just near jmcg’s left ear you can see a white dot – that is the lighthouse!

But before we made it very far we came upon a massive river, the Moyne River, which was blocking our way. We had to walk back to the bike and ride around to the next car park. On the way back we stopped to check out the historic fortifications at Battery Hill. Pretty awesome pieces of machinery.

Around at the next car park we were at the entrance to Griffiths Island, where the first sign told us to allow 1.5hrs to 'enjoy the island in its entirety.' We figured we could definitely beat that time and headed out to give it a go.

A windy 1.7km walk around beach and island tracks and we made it to our destination, the base of the lighthouse.

I couldn’t help but wish we had brought a water bottle with us when I discovered the rather ominous looking remains of a partially mummified wallaby by the side of the track..

Happily I also found a live and healthy wallaby hiding in the bushes.

jmcg quite suspected that the live wallaby was in fact some sort of mechanical wallaby as it just stood there chewing methodically and otherwise not moving. Just before we carried on though, it did start to do some sort of gross regurgitation maneuver which I think proved that it was actually a real live wallaby!

By this time the wind had picked up into a bit of gale and we just wanted to get back to town for that highly awaited cake so we took the shorter track around to the car park, geared up and rode back. We parked right out the front of Rocksalt and to our absolute dismay they were closed, with a sign out saying they wouldn’t be reopening until dinner at 6pm!

Plan B, which was the bakery across the road was also closed.

With nothing left to do, I could see a girl walking around inside Rocksalt and I knocked on the door, prepared to beg if necessary. I explained that we had returned for cake after our walk and asked if it was at all possible to get a couple of pieces to go. To our delight she said that she could do that for us and I went in and ordered us two of the yummiest pieces of cake/slice.

We walked up the road and sat on a squid shaped chair (of course!) to enjoy the bounty - Honeycomb hedgehog for me, and caramel & honeycomb cake for jmcg.

While we were eating, the town's fire siren started to go off and it kept on going and going for a few minutes, making me rather nervous, especially when we started to see clouds of smoke rising in the distance and blowing over toward town.

Thankfully it was coming from the opposite direction to which were headed, so we made a quick stop at the bottle shop (plenty of room for the beers in the top box!)

Then we geared up and rode toward the smoke for a bit of a sticky beak. Outside of town we could see flames from a grass fire creeping across the landscape, and curiosity satisfied we turned and headed to our next destination, Killarney, and the home of some old friends who were putting us up for the night.

When we arrived at the house we were greeted with some magic words “I hope you are hungry!” because our friend’s daughter, who started Grade one this year, had been slaving away to bake a beautiful cake especially for our arrival. What a sweetie!

We unpacked the bike, put some washing on and plugged in all our electrical bits and pieces for charging while we had access to electricity. It was then time to sit down and catch up. We sat around with the family watching movies and eating snacks, spaghetti for dinner, a couple of drinks, and of course a piece of cake (well, I could hardly say no given the effort that had been made now could I?!?).

At some point in the evening the slightly scary cat arrived..

But despite the warnings I didn’t hear him meowing during the night asking to come inside or go outside or come back inside again. I was however awoken at some point in the early morning by a noisy cricket hiding somewhere in the pantry or under the fridge. He seemed to think it amusing to wait until I was almost back to sleep again before starting up with his high pitched and extremely irritating chirping!

End of day kms (How neat is that? Couldn’t have done it better if we had tried!)

(making today’s total a whopping 62kms!!)
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:34 PM   #14
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 47
Day 5 - Killarney to Nelson

Our route for the day

With young children in the house we were up reasonably early and after being spoiled with a home cooked breakfast, we showered, dressed, gathered all our belongings from their various electric plugs, packed up and we were on our way.

First stop was coffee, hot chocolate and a lemon tart in Port Fairy at…. Rocksalt!!

Just love that place. We consulted our maps and internet and decided that today would be a good day to make a break for the border between Victoria and South Australia.

A Mustang that was parked next to the Tiger

Before leaving town we dropped in at the bakery to pick up something sweet looking to keep for a picnic lunch later in the day. Out on the road it was really windy, but I had the camera out ready today in case something interesting happened that I didn’t want to miss (like for example an emu deciding to run up the road in front of us).

No emus, but I worked out why it was so darn windy. Somebody appears to have forgotten to turn off these giant fans!

A strange bird-type character carved from a tree stump..

I was finding the scenery a little dull today. Rows and rows of pine plantation either side of the road and as far as you could see.

With the tent and sleeping mats in the dry bag behind me on the pillion seat, I have a very comfy back rest but unfortunately my seat is about halved in size. This leaves me very little wriggle room and means that my butt tends to get sore a bit quicker than usual. With not much of interest to look at and the wind blowing a gale I just hunkered down behind jmcg and tried not to think about the pain in my butt.

We decided to stop in the town of Nelson, just our side of the Victorian-South Australian border, for lunch which consisted primarily of the apple and custard bun we had got from the bakery in Port Fairy.

After lunch and a bit of stretch, we headed up Border Road and towards our chosen camping spot for the night; Princess Margaret Rose Cave campground. The name itself sounded quite beautiful and also hinted that there would be caves to explore! What fun?!

We walked into the Visitor Centre and the first thing we discovered was that entrance to the caves is via a paid tour, and as we are on a bit of budget this trip, we decided that we would be giving the caves a miss. Then we spoke to the girl behind the desk who gave us our second disappointment since arriving only minutes earlier; the campgrounds were closed tonight for maintenance. Looks like we will have to go somewhere else! Sadly we climbed back on the bike and headed back towards Nelson where we would check out the Tourist Information Centre and decide on a new plan for the night. Along the way we stopped at a lookout over the Glenelg River.

The tiger wanted to have a look too!

We decided that we would stay in Nelson for the night and checked into a lovely little campground in town called River-Vu Park, which had, you guessed it, a lovely view of the river!

Unpowered sites were an absolute bargain price and included use of the bathroom and hot showers. After setting up the tent we walked around the immediate area and discovered that there really isn’t much to the town. There is a kiosk, which also serves as the post office, news agency, bait shop, café, etc. and the pub that appears to be the only place for dinner. As it was warm out, we put on our shorts and bought a couple of ice creams from the kiosk.

Looking at the map of Nelson from the Info Centre it appeared that there was a short walk down Beach Road to the beach. As we had plenty of time before the pub started serving dinner we decided to head for the beach. The map was clearly not to scale because after about a half hour walk around the winding road and up and down hills we made it to the beach. It was very windy but we had got all the way there so we went for a walk on the beach and had a bit of fun anyway.

Then we hiked back into town, where we saw an adorable little echidna wombling it's way across the recreation reserve.

We stopped to take photos and laugh at the magpie who was flapping around and squawking at the little guy and giving him a hard time.

Before seeing him safely across to the other side of the road.

Then it was back to camp where I had a quick shower and jmcg fired up the iPad and modem to watch some television shows online until dinnertime.

For dinner we wandered over to the Nelson Pub for a meal, because as I mentioned earlier it looks like the only place in town that is open for dinner. I must say that dinner was disappointing. It was costly and not really the best quality, so we ate up and wandered back to the tent for some more online television on the iPad and an early night.

Have made a mental note for next time we are in Nelson to not come for dinner, or alternatively bring our own supplies. See, even the not-so-great food experiences help me to shape our trip planning!

End of day kms

(192kms for the day, that’s more than three times the distance we covered yesterday!)

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Old 02-26-2013, 04:54 AM   #15
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Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oddometer: 47
Day 6 - Nelson to Beachport

Our route for today

We were up early (I find that when I’m camping I tend to get up pretty early with the sun) and dressed for a run. I remembered by ventolin and we headed off up Beach Road. Now, I remember from our walk yesterday that the road was a little up and down, but I have a feeling that some of those hills grew in height over night! I was feeling pretty good and even managed to keep up with jmcg despite the hills, until we were practically within sight of the end when i got a massive cramp up under my ribs! I am seriously starting to doubt my ability to be able to run in 13.5km fun run I have my sights set on which is being held in May this year…

Well anyway, back to the ride report. Before leaving Port Fairy yesterday we stopped in at the supermarket in search of breakfast provisions that would keep without the need for refrigeration and that didn’t require large quantities of milk or any kind of cooking as the only equipment we are carrying is a jet boil for hot water, a single plastic mug and one teaspoon. Having never used the JetBoil before I didn’t realize that the cup part would be extremely hot and therefore unsuitable for use as a mug – hence only bringing the one cup! Anyway, we found traveller porridge. It comes in its own cup and has milk powder in it, so all you need to do is add boiling water! Perfect! Well, almost perfect, we just have to take it in turns using the teaspoon to eat

After I had recovered from the run, we’d breakfasted and showered it was time to pack up the bike and hit the road. After leafing through the maps and info brochures we have our sites set on the town of Beachport for tonight. And if we don’t like the looks of Beachport our Plan B is to continue up the coast to Robe, which is supposed to be a nice tourist destination.

Not too far up the road, we stop for the mandatory border-crossing photo as we leave Victoria and head into South Australia.

We ride into Mount Gambier and look around for somewhere to stop for a coffee break. We are unsure if its legal to stop on the footpath in South Australia as it is in Victoria, but we park right outside the Town Hall anyway and as I sit watching the bike out of the café window I keep expecting a parking officer to come out and give us a ticket.

jmcg orders a coffee and seeing how it was a bit early in the morning for ice cream I settle for an iced chocolate drink and we split a custard donut. Yum!

A short walk from the café and to our astonishment there is a sinkhole right in the middle of town. It seems this whole area is made of limestone and littered with caves, and the sinkhole was created when the roof of this particular cave fell in. They have created a garden around and in the hole, with steps and walkways taking you down partway into the depths. Quite a fascinating spot and had us wondering what it would be like if you were just going about your business and a building just disappeared into the ground!

Next up was a bit of a ride around town to check out the crater lakes, including the well-known Blue Lake, that are an absolute must-see when in Mount Gambier. When we saw the Hoo Hoo Lookout it was impossible not to stop for a photo!

I have resolved to google the origins of the Mount Gambier Hoo Hoo club as it is almost too bizarre for words.

The Hoo Hoo Lookout has a view out over The Leg of Mutton Lake, which almost sounds like a bit of joke also! A short walk away and we got a view of the Blue Lake. The colour of the Blue Lake was simply stunning! This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but you get a bit of an idea.

Thankfully we were there at the right time of year, because I learned that from about March to November it is more of a dull steel blue in colour, making it a much less exciting sight. After admiring some lake views jmcg got his heart set on walking up the mountain to get to the Centenary Tower that you can see in this photo taken from one of the car parks.

So up the enormously steep slope we went, in not the most appropriate hiking gear of motorbike boots and jeans. Part of the way there.

These photos don’t quite capture the steepness of the slope, but I’m telling you I could not believe that the path was a shared pedestrian and bike path!! Cannot even imagine how you would get your bike up there, and if you did manage that feat, how terrifying the ride down would be! We made it to the top and the view was quite impressive. The lake you can see in this photo is the third volcanic crater lake in the area and is named Valley Lake.

Apologies for the bin and chair in the foreground but it was difficult to fit the whole tower in frame, I was doing some kind of gymnastics on the ground trying to see the screen and set up the shot!

A little something for the history buffs out there.

This photo is to help put the tower and the hill in perspective. See that little projection on the top of the hill centre of the pic? Yep, that’s the tower!.

A seriously cool wall and turret in the crater lakes area. jmcg couldn’t help himself but to climb up there for a photo. Looks very ‘Lord of the Rings’ don’t you think?

After exploring all that the lakes area had to offer we thought it best to keep moving, and stopped for petrol and the supermarket for lunch and breakfast provisions. We were planning to stop at some caves a little way out of Mount Gambier to explore and find somewhere nice to eat our picnic lunch, but riding into the car park discovered that there was an entrance fee so on we went again without stopping.

We stopped instead in the pretty unexciting town of Millicent where we ate our grand picnic of hot cross buns, tim tams, grain wave chips and primas. Admittedly not the healthiest of lunches but it was yummy!

After lunch we kept moving on to Beachport. A quick ride up and down the main street and we decided that it looked like a pretty sweet little town and worth stopping for the night. We chose the more sheltered looking caravan park in town to stay at as it was awfully windy out and set up camp before riding back to the Main Street for a proper look around.

As I already mentioned it was blowing a bit of a gale so we took a break out of the wind for coffee (jmcg) and ice cream (me, of course!) in a cafe overlooking the pier – which is allegedly the second longest pier in South Australia! I am also fascinated by the colour of the ocean here, just kept on staring out there thinking what a beautiful colour it has changed to from back in Victoria.

Despite the wind we decide to keep exploring and ride up to the start of the walk that will take us to the lighthouse.

We make it to the base of the lighthouse. We both agree that it is not the most attractive of lighthouse designs.

Looking out towards Penguin Island.

Looking back towards Beachport.

While the views are lovely, the wind sees to it that any exposed skin (ie. my face) is being sandblasted so we don't hang around and admire them for too long. Back at the bike we follow the signs and ride around the Bowman Scenic Drive to get a good look at the area. Our first stop along the scenic drive is Salmon Hole beach where we walk right to the far end and back.

There is a man stopped there doing some fishing with his two dogs, but he packs up and leaves as we are getting back on the bike as it is far too windy! I feel like a miniature person on these steps complete with tall giant rope hand rails.

We stop at a few other beaches and lookouts along the Scenic Drive but the wind ensures we don’t hang around too long at any of them. The end of the tourist drive was not well sign posted and we ended up on a dirt road which went past the transfer station and came to a dead end. Back tracking a little way we found the end of the tourist drive and then rode around the streets looking for what appeared to be a huge white salt lake that we could see in the distance.

Dirt and wiggly roads, two of the Tiger’s favourite things!

We rode up a long dirt road with glimpses of the lake on our right until the road turned into a two lane sandy track right beside the lake and we decided to turn around. Took a couple of pics but didn't hang around too long as it was a bit smelly and mushy at the edge. We could see large flocks of birds further out on the lake and later learned that this is Lake George and it is part of the Beachport Conservation Park.

After Lake George we rode back to the campsite where we parked the Tiger before walking into town for some dinner at the fish and chip shop. Very good decision! jmcg had a 'stranger special' which involved a chicken fillet, bacon, onion, cheese and gravy on a burger bun. It was reportedly very messy but delicious! I went with the more traditional but far more boring fish and chips. I have to admit though that the chips were amazing and we somehow managed to get through the whole of the generous pile that was served up!

After dinner we went for a walk up to the pier, but due to the wind we just admired it from from the shelter of a rotunda before walking back to camp. On the way back I made a new friend.

We fired up the JetBoil for cuppas and enjoyed some left over tim tams from lunch before borrowing some power from a nearby powered site to charge up the camera battery then turning in for another early night.

End of day kms

(That’s a total of 170kms for the day)

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