A 4000km loop around the South East Corner of Australia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bull600, May 4, 2019.

  1. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Each year in April our Dr650’s are dragged out of the shed and packed for our annual extended ride to parts afar. Over the last number of years we have trailered the bikes from our homes in Adelaide over to Melbourne and then launched into various trips to the Victroian High County, The Snowy Mountains and Tasmania (see Ride Reports here ).

    This year we decided to do something a little different – follow the Murray River from South Australia across to close to its source in the NSW Snowy Mountains and then head for the East Coast before looping back through Victoria and home. Our route ended up looking like this and was close to 4000Km in total

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    I like the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” so my reports are based around lots of photos that tell the story of our trips from start to finish. At the end of each day’s report I will include a link to a map of where we travelled and that page also has a link to download the gps logs. The tracks will also be uploaded to the excellent Trans Australia Trails Website.

    Enjoy :-)

    Prep and Day 1

    As the old girl was nudging close to 80,000 km a little TLC was required before I left. With a DR this is never very arduous, but I did change over the sprockets, added a new chain, did and oil and filter change and even checked the valves. Then the packing got under way

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    Ready to roll

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    My partner in crime Russell was ready bright and early on a Saturday morning and we were soon off through the Adelaide hills towards the Murray River. After passing through Inglewood

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    we dodged the morning fog

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    and weaved our way east through some minor roads

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    before popping out at Birdwood, home of the National Motor Museum.

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    It was then over the ranges where we were reminded of how dry the country is. Adelaide has had only 17mm of rain up until mid-April this year, well short of its average which is over 100mm. This makes us very reliant on water pumped from the Murray.

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    After a negotiating a few gates

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    we crossed over the moonscape

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    to the views of the plains in the distance which lead to the river.

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    One of our riding mates Pat, was joining us for the first night and we had arranged to meet him at Mannum. Arriving a little early we popped down to the Mary Ann Reserve by the river

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    where we checked out the big flood levels

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    and the local wildlife.

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    It was soon time to meet Pat and indulge at one of our favourite SA bakeries.

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    The home of the best Kitchener Bun money can buy :clap:clap

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    Once our gluttony was curbed we followed the river around to Walker Flat where we waited for the ferry. There are a total of 11 cable driven ferries over the Murray (sometimes called punts) in South Australia and only two in the whole of Victoria/NSW.

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    It’s a shame that the days of country hospitality and trust have now been eroded and led to video surveillance of onions :eek7:eek7

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    Soon the ferry arrived

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    and we crossed to the eastern side of the river before stopping at one of several lookouts positioned along the cliffs.

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    Soon we headed away from the river and picked dirt roads through Bakara and onto the Old Loxton Rd. These were all good roads through the Mallee country with plenty of dips to keep our interest up.

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    It wasn’t long before we were in Loxton where we grabbed some lunch before heading out the 37km to the start of the Murray Sunset National Park.

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    We entered at Carwarp Rd and then turned north on Taparoo Track.

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    This passed by the ruins of Taparoo Homestead

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    where I almost managed to pick up a roll of fencing wire around my wheels.

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    This brought back some rather salient memories from late last year where I tangled with some similar wire at speed on a trip up to the mid north. That occasion ripped off my chain guard, smashed the chain guide and whipped back and smashed the licence plate light! (and gave me quite a fright..)

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    Without a major tangle I was soon clear and we soon crossed over the main Mildura Rd then took Berribee Tank Track north.

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    Then through a short cut down Pipeline Track

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    which ended with Pat taking a nap when he caught a rut.

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    It was then out over the claypans

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    and onto the Old Mail Rd that runs east/west and parallel to the southern side of the Murray River. We then turned off a few kilometres along the road and onto Lindsay Island.

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    This section of the river is characterised by a number of quite large tributaries that run into each other and then eventually into the Murray. They include the Little Mullaro Creek and Lindsay River and in this section the Lindsay River loops around forming a large island. The area is predominately clay based and has lots of tracks that follow the various watercourses through the gums.

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    It wasn’t long and we found a suitable spot by Little Mullaroo Creek and set up camp

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    and then washed the days dust away with a few cleansing ales :photog

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    Then it was time to sit back and soak up the atmosphere,

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    before Russ cooked up a storm!

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    Map of Day 1




    Day 2

    Sunrise is always a nice time of the day.

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    Now, normally on our April trips away we are needing to contend with cooler temperatures, often below zero overnight. However, this year not only was it very dry but it was unseasonably warm. In fact the temperature for our first night never dipped below 15oC and with a full blown winter sleeping bag I was sweating like pig for most of the night!

    Once camp was packed away Pat bid us farewell and headed home while we worked our way out of the park through some dry creek crossings

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    and tracks through the gums

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    that eventually led us back out to the Old Mail Rd where we headed east.

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    Normally, at this time of the year, slippery conditions are often an issue but this year it was the bull dust sections that kept us on our toes. The Road follows close to the Murray in spots

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    and there are lots of tracks that lead off to unlimited camping opportunities along the way.

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    Once back on the Old Mail Rd it was 85km until we reached Mildura and stopped for a break at (where else?)

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    They put on a good bacon and eggs too :-)

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    After breakfast we checked out the main river front wharf

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    before heading off to get some fuel. It was now getting rather warm and soon after heading out of town I noticed a misty spray on my helmet. It turned out I’d lost the one way breather valve on my tank cap and fuel was splashing up from the full tank. After sorting that out Russell then noticed my chain guard was not where it was supposed to be and we stopped for a closer look.

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    Sure enough it was flapping around up near the front sprocket! After the wire incident last year the alloy lugs used to attach the guard had been ripped off the swing arm and I’d replaced them with some metal brackets. It seems they were too thin and the corrugations had taken their toll and snapped them both off.

    With these two little mishaps now under control we finally headed out of town and turned off down Entrance Rd towards the Hattah – Kulkyne National Park

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    Soon we picked up Mournpall Track that led through the park.

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    Passing through a number of gates,

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    past a few lakes and a several campsites.

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    Once through the park we shadowed the river past a number of state forests before turning in to try and locate the junction of the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. The track we took (Mills Lane) was a little sandy in places but after a little over 5km we reached the junction

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    where we stopped for a break

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    right at the confluence

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    We then continued following the river along a track that meandered its way around each bend. We were on the lookout for a nice camp and sure enough not long after came across a nice sandbar which we decided would do just nicely.

    We set up camp on a small rise above the sandbar

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    and washed away the dust (followed by a swim)

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    We then enjoyed the colours created by the setting sun

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    before getting dinner underway (snags and bread)

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    Map of Day 2

    To be continued..
    #1
    Bors, Dukehunt, squadraquota and 13 others like this.
  2. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Great stuff!
    #2
  3. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

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    Day 3

    Without a fly on the tent the warm night was a little more bearable and the view out to the river from inside the tent soon after sunrise is always a pleasant experience.

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    The mornings are always a nice time at camp

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    especially when nestled by a river.

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    After leaving camp we made a quick squirt down the Murray Valley Highway and arrived at Toolybuc where we crossed the river on the heritage listed lift span bridge

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    and headed off past the pub on the eastern side of the river

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    We followed Koraleigh Rd out through irrigated farm land and then hooked back down to the river to cross once more, this time at the Speewa ferry. Along with the ferry at Wymah (500km upstream past Albury) the Speewa ferry is one of only two ferry crossing of the river in Vic/NSW. There is quite a list of conditions to use the two car ferry!

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    Of course we didn’t read all the signage and were admonished by the operator for starting our bikes before the gate had been opened! (no such rules in SA)

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    Once over the ferry it was a short run into (and out of) Swan Hill before we picked up Noorong Rd and headed east once more. We crossed Merran and Mulligan Creeks and even came across an old Suzi that had been left as what looked like an elaborate mailbox out the front of a station.

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    After passing Wakool we eventually made our way into Deniliquin which sits on the banks of the Edward River. We were in the mood for a pub lunch and as luck would have it the River Edward Hotel had just opened its doors for trading

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    and what a cracker little pub it turned out to be

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    With a nice Roast on the menu!

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    It was getting hot again in the afternoon and after lunch we headed south on the Cobb Highway where we once again came across roadworks.

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    This time the wait was becoming comical and so we struck out off the line of cars and headed bush, parallel to the roadworks. It took some doing, weaving in and out of the scrub for several kilometres before popping out just past the road gang, who gave us rather inquisitive gazes as we headed off.

    After 20km south on the Cobb Highway we turned off into the Gulpa Island State Forest

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    where some great tracks led south along the Edward River.

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    There were a number of small creeks that we crossed that joined the river

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    and a number of regulators were set up to control the flow

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    Eventually, we reached an intersection where we picked up River Road that ran east right along the Murray for over 30 kilometres. The Edward River that we had been following south, joins the Murray not far west of this intersection.

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    This road is a great run through the forests that line the river and there are an abundance of great camping spots.

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    We eventually settled on a nice spot by the river

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    where we pitched the tents just a few metres from the edge

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    The water was quite fast flowing and well over our heads right off the bank but a rinse certainly was in order (it was the getting out that was the trick!)

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    We had several visitors next to the tents

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    and after a big lunch we settled for some easy campfire food

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    and enjoyed the campfire ambience

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    Map of Day 3


    Day 4

    After another warm night we packed up camp and continued along the Millewa River Rd. The wildlife were out in earnest with numerous deer and roos crossing our path as we followed the river.

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    At one stage a ‘roo was startled as I drove past and next thing I knew it had disappeared over the bank. I stopped to see where it had ended up and found it stuck in the water.

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    After a bit of encouragement it made it out and back up the bank.

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    There were some cracker camping spots along this section with a number of excellent sandbars

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    where we stopped for a break and some photos

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    Eventually, our run along this section was over and we joined on to the Upper River Rd that led into Tocumwal.

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    We stopped for our morning bakery fix opposite the ‘Big Cod’

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    It was then on eastward once more past Barooga and then onto the Stock Route Rd that followed one of the many irrigation channels in the area.

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    Soon Lake Mulwala was upon us. This massive reservoir was created when the Yarrawonga Weir across the Murray was constructed in 1939. It holds around a quarter the capacity of Sydney Harbour and from the western side of the lake the Mulwala Canal runs for 2,880km across the plains. Now, without sounding too parochial, this gives a little insight into why not a huge amount of water ends up flowing into South Australia from the Murray/Darling system!

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    Soon we reached the outskirts of Albury and set about getting fuel and stopping for a feed (Excellent Roast Beef rolls)

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    It was then out of town and over the bridge that spans Lake Hume.

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    The road then follows the edge of the lake on its southern side where the low water levels were very evident.

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    At around 40km from Albury there is a choice of taking the Wyma Ferry over to the northern side of the river and following the dirt River Rd or continuing on the tar to Jingellic. Having travelled previously a few times on the dirt side we decided to stick to the bitumen and check it out. Its called the Murray River Rd and is a nice run that passes a number of bush camping reserves.

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    They were good spots but with the Victorian school holidays still in full swing these were pretty busy (and have no wood!)

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    To ensure plenty of range for our next leg we decided to duck into Walwa and grab some fuel.

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    It was then back to Jingellic where we picked up the dirt River Rd and headed east once more.

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    This is a fantastic ride with some great views of the upper reaches of the Murray River along the road.

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    We had always wanted to camp along this section and soon found a way down to a the river

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    that provided an amazing camp next to the fast flowing river

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    It wasn’t long before we had our camp set up

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    and enjoyed a swim and lounge around for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get much better than this :clap:clap

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    Map of Day 4

    To be continued..
    #3
  4. stretch49

    stretch49 Been here awhile

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    Fantastic report and pics, thanks for sharing.
    #4
  5. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

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    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 5

    With a slightly cooler night we woke to a misty morning by the river.

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    The sun was soon poking through the trees.

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    A stroll down by the river is always a great way to start the day.

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    Soon we had the tents down and got packing under way.

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    Eventually we dragged ourselves away from this great spot and headed out to River Rd.

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    It was still pretty misty as we continued east

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    along the final twists of gravel

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    before the road turned to tar

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    not far from the Welaregang Rd turnoff.

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    We stopped to admire the views out towards Kosciuszko National Park

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    before we reached the Maragle Rd turn off. This was the first area we had seen since we started our trip that was actually looking green!

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    As we headed off down this section, we came to a grid and sign that indicated it was private property. However, it looked like a gazetted road so we continued on and soon came across a road crew who gave us the all clear to continue.

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    This section of our route initially passed into the Kosciuszko National Park and then in and out of some private property.

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    There was an enormous amount of horse shit through this entire area with the wild brumbies in large numbers.

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    We followed Powerline Rd that passed through both great areas of forest

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    and more open space under the power lines.

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    After a while we hooked back down Black Jack Logging Rd until we were stopped (momentarily) by a locked gate not far from the junction with Boundary Rd. There was room to squeeze through so we continued on wondering what type of gate (if any) would be on the other end.

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    This was now Black Jack Trail

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    and there was a short one way track that headed up to the fire tower but the gate was locked and as were weren’t sure of our bonafides after passing the gate we decided against the walk up.

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    As it turned out the gate on the other side wasn’t locked or an issue.

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    From there we soon were out onto Tooma Rd

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    that led us up past the Tumut Pond Reservoir, one of the sixteen main dams that make up the Snowy Mountains Scheme

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    By the look of the surrounding vegetation the water levels looked pretty low. I’m guessing where this boat was launched would normally be underwater.

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    The road runs over the 86m high dam wall

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    before Snow Ridge Rd continues on to Cabramurra, which at 1488m, is our highest town

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    Unfortunately, the lookout was closed for some reason and then as we headed off we found our intended route up Kings Cross Rd was also closed.

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    So, we headed off instead along Goat Ridge and then The Link Road which passes by the Three Mile Dam

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    This was a really nice area with some great views across the water.

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    The Link Road joins the Snowy Mountains Highway about 5km from Three Mile Dam. It’s then another 9km of nice curvy tar to the ‘Rest House Sawyers Hill’ where we stopped for a lunch snack

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    and caught up on a bit of history about the hut.

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    After lunch we hit the tarmac once more and then turned off 23km further down the road onto Bugtown Rd that took us into the settlement of Old Adaminaby, that sits on the edge of Lake Eucumbene

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    This place has a remarkable history. Back in 1957 and during the construction of the Eucumbene Dam the township was ‘relocated’ to save it from being flooded from the resultant Lake Eucumbene. Over 100 buildings (including the bank!) were transported on the back of trucks to the current site of Adaminaby, about 9km up the road.

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    The ‘new’ town is now a centre for tourist activities in the area

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    and the home of the “Big Trout”

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    After refuelling we hit the road again and headed north along the dirt Yaouk Rd. Past herds of lazy cows

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    until we crossed the Murrumbidgee River

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    It is quite a different river to the one we saw joining the Murray. Not surprising, as it meanders over 1,200km from this point back to where we visited the confluence earlier in the week.

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    We followed Yaouk Rd in a big loop

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    before joining up with Jones Plain and then Shannon’s Flat Rd that took us into Cooma. Time was getting on by the time we got to Cooma so after a quick look around

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    We took the dirt once more along Carlaminda Rd

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    That took us into the small community of Numeralla that lies next to the junction of the Big Bagja and Numerella Rivers.

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    There is a small recreational reserve that runs right next to the river

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    that provided a wonderful little campsite not far off the road.

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    Now, Numeralla may not be a household name to all of us but it is famous for one important thing. Nearby is the home of one of Australia’s DR650 gurus - BergDonk! I had been in touch with him before our trip to get some feedback re possible routes in the area and he had most kindly sent me some extensive GPS files that we were using. He had just returned from a few days away himself but just on dusk he popped in to say hello at our camp and even brought some SA beer along to share! After chewing the fat for some time he took us back up to his place where we showed us his impressive workshop and stable of bikes :bow:bow

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    He also went through some route detours that we had in mind for the morning that would take us across the ranges and over to the coast. Thanks again BergDonk!

    Map of Day 5

    To be continued..
    #5
  6. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Beautiful countryside. I'm enjoying this.
    #6
  7. Desert2202

    Desert2202 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
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    Location:
    Alice Springs Australia
    Fantastic report so far. I prefer a "picture report" myself, some get so "wordy" that I give up reading, but this is great!!

    I love all those back roads you've travelled along, great time of year for it too.

    Cheers
    #7
  8. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Day 6

    Finally, the overnight temperature had dropped to somewhere near what we were expecting (~ 3 degrees C) and sleeping was a lot more comfortable. I had our new route committed to memory and the first of our turnoffs was soon upon us that would take us down Bagja Forest Rd.

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    From there we wound our way through the forest

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    until we came to a junction that had the Deua National Park

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    and the Wadbilliga National Parks coming together.

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    From there we followed Falcon Rd through some wonderful forest

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    until a final ford of Woila Creek signalled the end of the forest

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    and we moved into more open farmland close to Belowra,

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    where the cows seems to be in charge

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    Further on we crossed Big Belimia Creek

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    and then the larger Tuross River

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    at Murphy Bridge

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    We were now getting closer to the coast and took the track up to a lookout that gave us views over the township of Narooma in the distance.

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    We popped down off the ranges and dropped first to the small town of Dalmeny to check out the coastline. We had made it from Adelaide on the shores of the Gulf St Vincent in South Australia to the South Pacific Ocean, a distance of around 1750km.

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    There were several surfers enjoying the waves

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    and a lookout up on the hill gave some great views up

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    and down the coastline.

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    From there it was only a short run of 7km south to the larger town of Narooma

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    where of course the first place we visited supplied our lunchtime needs:wings

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    After a bit of a break at the bakery we veered away from the coast and headed into the Bodalla State Forest along Wildhorse Creek Rd, where we even found a sprinkle of water in Reedy Creek.

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    It was then on to Tinpot Rd that led us through sections of Kooraban National Park

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    Once out of the forest we had a great run along Wandella Rd through more open farm land

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    that gave us nice views of the valleys near Cobargo.

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    Once at Cobargo we had a choice to make, head back into the forests and look for a camp or head into a town and grab a spot in a caravan park and have our first shower of the trip. We decided on the later and slabbed in down to the town of Bega (made famous for its cheese)

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    Where we not only had a couple of very long showers but found an excellent pub with great (cheap) country meals for dinner!

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    Map Day 6

    To be continued..
    #8
    Dukehunt, squadraquota, Boxa and 6 others like this.
  9. James Cook

    James Cook O.H.M.S

    Joined:
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    Another well planned ride.
    I have thought the Edwards River may be worth an explore.
    #9
  10. taranaki

    taranaki Mansplainer

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    Nice route. Makes me long to be back in Oz again!
    #10
  11. Aussie Jase

    Aussie Jase Been here awhile

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    Living back in civilization
    Fantastic RR guys, looks a blast and thanks for sharing.
    Cheers
    #11
  12. Aking

    Aking Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
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    20
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Great RR, looking forward to more. Great to get some ideas on routes to the west, maybe next spring.
    Cheers
    #12
  13. jtb

    jtb Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Another epic ride AND report Greg!

    Last July I took the wife and young bloke over to your part of the world and camped for 4 nights down at Deep Creek Conservation Park. I used your trip around Fleurieu and Coorong as an inspiration/base for what we did and where we went. Though we were 4wd/camper based it is a great part of the world. Even got a Kitchener bun (or two) from the Yankalilla bakery and did a day trip to Hahndorf, not even realising that my favourite jams (Beerenberg) come from Hahndorf... luckily we found out before we left town.

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    This July we are going to the NSW south coast, and you have given me further ideas and inspiration! Thanks for going to all the effort in posting this trip!
    #13
  14. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    552
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    Adelaide South Australia
    Cheers jtb, glad you were able to get over to SA and check out some of our countryside! Yankalilla bakery is a beauty but the Kitchener's at Mannum a just that little bit better (they use fresh cream :lol3). However, they do a wicked chunky steak pie :thumbup

    Enjoy the NSW south coast - it's a great part of Australia!

    Cheers :thumb
    #14
    ozcruiser and jtb like this.
  15. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    552
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 7

    After our night of indulgence, we hit the road again through Tarraganda and then back towards the coast again.

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    As we headed east we passed greener farmland

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    before we passed through both the Tanja State Forest and Mismosa Rocks National Park.

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    It was then that we picked our route forward down the interestingly named Goats’ Knob Rd.

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    We didn’t see any Goats Knob’s but we did soon reach the mouth of the Bega River

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    that forms the Mogareeka Inlet

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    which was quite an idyllic spot.

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    After passing through Tathra we followed Sapphire Coast Drive south until we branched off on the less used Redhill Rd. No need for a 4x4 anytime soon..

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    This brought us back out onto Sapphire Coast Drive and into the township of Merimbula.

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    This is another town built around an estuary with lots of boat and tourist activities

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    After a few snaps we headed off again but stopped to check out the Yowaka River at the turn off with Nethercote Rd.

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    It was sometime later that we stopped for a ‘toilet break’ and Russell noticed something sitting on his luggage. It was his mobile phone! It had somehow stayed on top of his bag from the previous stop by the river. Some people are lucky!


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    After ensuring his phone was a little more secure we headed off along Ruggs Rd and through more nice forest.

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    We then turned off into the Nullica State Forest

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    and followed it through until we hit the outskirts of Towamba

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    Where we passed over the river of the same name

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    and then headed once more into some forest.

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    The Towamba State Forest had some pine plantations

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    and then once we moved into Mt Imlay National Park we returned to native species, with the occasional hazard thrown in for good measure.

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    Funny how you always spot these signs on the way out :lol3

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    It was then towards Timbillica

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    and then a run along the bitumen to Mallacoota.

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    Now, we found Mallacoota to be an interesting place. As well as the standard tourist activities

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    the town itself seemed to be made up of one giant caravan park. It was now Easter and it seems there were people camped for as far as the eye could see

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    Fascinated by the sheer numbers, I googled the park to see how many sites they had. Just a lazy 710 :eekers:eekers. To put that in perspective, Adelaide, which has a population of over a million people, has a very large seaside caravan park at West Beach which has less than half this number!

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    What we did like was that the pub was open over Easter! With nice open windows we watched with fascination at the coming and goings of the camping throng which had taken over the town.

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    The pub fare was excellent.. Rissoles and mash (with bacon thrown in) :thumb

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    As well as the bitumen route in to Mallacoota it is possible to head out of town past the airport and pick up the dirt. This leads into the massive coastal Croajingolong National Park that is over 880km2 in area and stretches all the way to the mouth of the Bemm River.

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    We followed a variety of tracks through the park

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    before deciding to head up north to Cann River for the night. He we found the Rainforest Caravan Park – and it was free!

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    That although quite busy

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    It provided us with a nice little bit of space to spread out our tents and ward off late afternoon encroaching caravans and trailers.

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    Map Day 7

    To be continued..
    #15
    Dukehunt, squadraquota, Boxa and 6 others like this.
  16. jtb

    jtb Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2003
    Oddometer:
    2,454
    Location:
    Hawkesbury NSW Australia
    Loving it!

    Looking forward to the rest.
    #16
  17. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 8

    It was fascinating to check out some of the rigs that people had set up for their stay. Some just slept in their boat :evil

    [​IMG]

    With camp soon packed (we decided against the cold shower) we soon found the Old Coach Rd that headed south

    [​IMG]

    back into Croajingolong National Park

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    This road led us down and over the very picturesque Bemm River

    [​IMG]

    that reaches the sea and forms the large Sydenham Inlet.

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    It’s a tranquil spot and the weather was perfect as we watched a few boats head out

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    across the large calm inlet

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    The little town has a nice looking pub

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    and proved to be one of our favourite spots on the whole trip

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    Eventually, we dragged ourselves away from Bemm River and picked up the Old Coast Rd again

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    that took us through the Cape Conrad Coastal Park.

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    Eventually we joined the Marlo – Conrad Rd that follows the coast and gives glimpse of the spot where the Snowy River meets the sea.

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    The large estuary is impressive and looks a little like a mini Coorong (where the Murray River meets the sea).

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    We then passed through the small town of Marlo before following Marlo Rd, that hugs the Snowy River, north to Orbost. Here it was time to pick up a few important supplies at the servo

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    which is actually run by the pub across the road (I guess that’s why the servo sold beer :beer)

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    We stocked up on some food as well

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    and then headed off once more, following the Snowy River north on Buchan Rd.

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    This led us past a rather unique sight. Rather than having the dairy cattle cross the road for milking they’ve built a tunnel for them to travel under the road!

    In they go

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    Out they come

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    This road also had a handy little private MX track alongside part of it.

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    We even got to watch someone taking a on a lap. Although the pressure of attention may have affected their performance, with a nice little spill halfway through :lol3

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    After a short while we branched off the Buchan Rd and picked up Painted Line Track that led us into the Tara Range Park

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    where we followed Mottle Range Rd

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    and then Seven Mile Rd, through an area of fire damaged forest

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    As we turned on to the Bruthen - Nowa Nowa Rd I needed to stop to check the gps cable which had worked its way loose. As I was doing that Russell noticed something dangling from the back of his bike. This time it was his camelback :eekers:eekers. He had left it on top of his rear bag back in Orbost and somehow it had stayed there with only a broken strap to show for the experience!


    [​IMG]

    From there it wasn’t far into Bruthen

    [​IMG]

    which we passed through and then picked up the Great Alpine Rd that took us west towards Bairnsdale. We skirted around the edge of the town on the Wy Yung – Calulu Rd that followed the floodplain next to the Mitchell River.

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    This was one of those marvellous secondary tar roads with little traffic and great scenery to enjoy

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    Eventually, we crossed the Mitchell River

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    and passed some old farms buildings

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    before turning into the Moornappa State Forest via Stoney Road. Now, as it turned out the road wasn’t stoney but rather freshly used by logging teams that had cleared a break on either side. As a result, it was as bumpy has hell and it was slow going as we climbed up onto the ridge line.

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    Our plan was to cut over the ridge and join up with one of our favourite spots - Freestone Creek. We have camped numerous times at great spots along Freestone Creek Rd in the past. One of the best is Johnstons Flat. However, the spot where we have previously camped with a couple of tents was crammed with as many as four cars and camper trailers. We dropped in to check it out and found our normal grassy camp, as well as being full of people, was a dustbowl and there was no water in the creek at all.

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    Of course, it was still Easter and the crowds were thick but with only spasmodic puddles along the creek there was little incentive for us to stay, so we kept moving.

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    With camping options exhausted along Freestone Creek Rd we picked up the tar again and decided to keep going and assess our options a little later. It was not far along the Boisdale – Newly Rd when I felt a bug sneak into my helmet and up under my sunglasses and into my eye. After trying to remove the irritation while riding I soon realised that I’d need to stop and flush it out. I was able to use some eye drops to remove whatever it was but as I headed off, I was in some discomfort. After a while I decided I’d need to give it a proper flush out in a shower, so we pulled into Heyfield to look for a camping option that had a shower. We found there was a caravan park out of town a little at Blores Hill so we set out and grabbed a tent site there.

    [​IMG]


    The park was really just a large fenced off piece of bushland with some cabins but it did have a shower so I was able to give my eye some TLC. The place was full of bogans and with the sound of parents screaming at their unfortunate kids nearby it was then a quick dinner and into the tent to listen to a podcast and rest my eye!

    [​IMG]

    Map Day 8
    #17
  18. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 9

    I was hopeful that giving my eye a good night’s sleep would reap rewards but on rising in the morning after, a fitful night sleep, things didn’t look (or feel) too good in the eye department. In fact, it was pussy and swollen shut :uhoh:uhoh

    [​IMG]

    After a chat with my wife (a nurse) I decided I’d better take her advice and get the eye checked out sometime during the day. As it happened, we saw a Hospital sign when refuelling in Heyfield so we ducked in to see if they could have a look at my eye.

    [​IMG]

    I must say that after the initial shock of seeing two scruffy guys coming in so early on Easter Sunday morning (lucky we had been able to have a shower the night before!) the staff were fantastic and called up the local doctor to come in and see me. The poor guy had been called out at 3am the night before so he made a sterling effort to arrive in less than half an hour. I felt bad sitting on the pristine white sheets in my filthy pants!

    [​IMG]

    After numerous tests I was given the all clear as far as any obvious damage to the cornea. He seemed to think it was a combination of some trauma to the eye and an allergic reaction to whatever had caused the issue in the first place. He gave me some antibiotic drops and an antihistamine and was adamant that I shouldn’t be riding until I could see out of my eye.

    We didn’t envy hanging around too long in Heyfield so I decided to take it easy and we continued on towards Cowwarr and Walhalla.

    [​IMG]

    I must admit that this first section of the ride was a little stressful as fog combined with the occasional ‘roo popping out from my (blind) left hand side kept me on my toes . Riding with one eye took a little getting used to but we took it slowly and eventually made it to the Thomson River at Bruntons Bridge. We have been here a few times and normally the bridge looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    However, the insatiable Easter crowds meant that every square inch of free space was taken up by campers. In this case that included the track right up to the entrance to the bridge

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    on both sides! In fact this guy’s little kingdom spread over so much of the road we had difficulty squeezing past him (the bridge is in the background) :eek7

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    From up on the bridge it was obvious that every conceivable spot was taken both upstream

    [​IMG]

    and downstream!


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    We continued on and worked our way towards Walhalla through some recently burnt out forest

    [​IMG]

    popping out just by the railway station. This is the start of the Walhalla Goldfields Railway, a not for profit tourist enterprise that runs from the station along Stringers Creek Gorge

    [​IMG]

    and then over the Thomson River to finish at Thomson Bridge.

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    Once clear of the tourists crowds we turned off onto the dirt of South face Rd towards Mt Baw Baw.

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    We crossed Tyres River West Branch

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    and stopped for a scroggin break

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    before the road turned to bitumen

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    and we enjoyed the Twisties along Mt Baw Baw Rd through Tanjil Bren

    [​IMG]

    and onto to Noojee. This place was full of people and interesting machines

    [​IMG]

    including a number of Datsun 1600’s

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    I had one as my second car and they still hold a fond place in my heart :raabia

    [​IMG]

    After checking out the Dato’s we continued past Powelltown

    [​IMG]

    before deciding to get a few kilometres under the belt and hit the tar. In the end we found ourselves at Kilmore and splurged on a unit for the night.

    [​IMG]

    where we knocked off a few beers and watched the Easter Sunday AFL match

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    before the mandatory eye maintenance was concluded and we hit the sack.

    [​IMG]

    Map Day 9
    #18
  19. bull600

    bull600 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    552
    Location:
    Adelaide South Australia
    Day 10

    After a great night’s sleep the eye was slowly opening and things were on the up. The plan today was to make it over to the Grampians via a couple of small State Parks. We resisted the urge and drove right through Riddlles Creek

    [​IMG]

    At the nearby Gisborne I was taken by the contrast of old country style

    [​IMG]

    with more contemporary needs :fpalm

    [​IMG]

    Not far from here we entered the Lerderderg State Park.

    [​IMG]

    The place is pretty restricted with lots of ‘management only’ tracks. There was one main camp area but it was still packed.

    [​IMG]

    We ended up following O’Briens Rd through most of the park

    [​IMG]

    and as we moved through to the adjacent Wombat State Forest the fog set in.

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    Dust and fog are not a great combination!

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    Once through Wombat State Forest the countryside opened up and we passed farmland

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    before we entered Creswick State Forest which is directly north of Ballarat. There were some nice tracks through the Pines

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    and native scrub

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    but it is a pretty small park and soon we were out in the open again where the lack of rain was really very evident.

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    We passed the Waubra Wind farm


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    and some relics from the past (not sure what sort of bush it bashed :D)

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    Until we stopped for a snack not far from Mt Cole

    [​IMG]

    which incorporates the Victoria Mill Scenic Reserve

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    Although it was Easter Monday we were surprised at the low level of traffic and enjoyed a scenic run through the forest. Once out on the other side of the forest we pointed the bikes west towards the Langi Ghiran State Park

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    then it was on into Ararat, where we wasted a fair bit of time trying riding in circles trying to find a grocery store. They had run out of ice due over Easter so more stuffing around saw the time slip by

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    before we finally headed off towards the Grampians National Park.

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    The roads started off nicely

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    but as we traversed the park most of the roads that we took were in poor condition with plenty of bull dust and corrugations. Finally, we made it to a camp we had used before near Redrock Creek

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    and set up our tents

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    The routine in camp is always pretty similar. It starts by getting the boots off and sitting down for a beer or two. Then the tents are erected and sleeping gear organised. Now, I must admit to being a bit of finicky sleeper and have tried a variety of sleeping bags over the years but I’ve now hit upon a wonderful thing – Big Agnes. No, this is not a sleeping companion Russell may have picked up in a local bar but rather a unique sleeping bag that has no insulation on the base. Instead, a decent sleeping mat (Exped Synmat 9DLX in my case) slides into a bottom sleeve. The mat is then inflated (using a 12v pump in our case) and you are ready to go

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    The result is more like a comfy doona covered bed than a sleeping bag – heaven :snore:snore


    [​IMG]

    The final part of the camp routine involves getting dinner organised

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    before finally finishing off any left over beers by the fire!

    [​IMG]

    Map Day 10


    Day 11

    We were up early after a frosty night, with the temperature finally falling below zero :evil. We packed up camp and hit the road with the temperature at a chilly 2 degrees C

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    The morning sun was blinding in our mirrors as we set off down the last of the corrugated roads

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    From there it wasn’t far to the edge of the park

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    and the temperature slowly rose as we travelled through some prime grazing land of the Wimmera region,

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    although things were still very dry.

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    We made good time and the temperature had risen to double figures by the time we reached Edenhope. Here I stopped to admire a fish sculpture that seemed badly out of place with no major rivers anywhere nearby. It turns out it was part of a collection of fish sculptures that adorned the Yarra River in Melbourne during the 2006 Commenwealth Games. They had then been ‘donated’ to interested local councils :eek7:eek7

    [​IMG]

    While I pondered the Big Eyed Scad, Russell got some electrics worked out under a date palm

    [​IMG]

    Before we made our way to the border town of Aspley not far down the road. It seems the town has a couple of interesting highlights. One is the largest flowering gum (Eucalyptus Ficifolia) in the Southern Hemisphere (Not sure how anyone would know that :patch)

    [​IMG]

    and the other is the rather unique looking Border Inn Hotel.

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    From Aspley it was then only 10 km until we were back in our home state

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    With food on our mind we were soon stopped at Naracoorte’s Morris Bakery and Café

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    where Bacon and Eggs were the pick of the menu

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    With a cream bun to top it off:rofl:rofl

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    Our run towards home was made very easy with hard packed white metal roads

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    and before we knew it we were in Coonalpyn admiring the painted silo.

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    The initial plan was to spend our last night in a bush camp not far from the town but we had made such good time it was still only early afternoon. So, rather than sitting in the pub for the rest of the day, we decided to push on to home.

    It wasn’t far to Tailem Bend where we glimpsed our last view of the mighty Murray River we had followed for so long in the early part of our trip.

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    It was then up the South Eastern Freeway before we branched off and took a route through the Adelaide Hills.

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    Past the vineyards and orchards of Lenswood

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    and then down Gorge Rd that follows the River Torrens.

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    Past the iconic Cudlee Café (A haven for bikes on any weekend)

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    and finally down to the views of the city of Adelaide

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    And home :clap:clap

    [​IMG]

    The DR 650’s were faultless again :lol3

    I hope you enjoyed our little trip and as Peter McWilliams said, “Nothing adventured, nothing attained”

    Have fun out there!

    Cheers :thumb

    Map Day 11
    #19
  20. Boxa

    Boxa 2 Smoking Barrels

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    457
    Location:
    Adelaide Hills
    Fantastic RR.

    Thanx for sharing.

    Dave
    #20
    bull600 likes this.