Australia and New Zealand

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djeady, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 66

    Had a good sleep and woke up trying to decide what I was going to do for the day.

    Had a nice shower and then had coffee and a muffin for breakfast along with my nice mango. The mango was really good, but could have been riper.

    Finally decided I would stay another day and went downstairs and booked the room for another night.

    I had multiple reasons: seeing more of Melbourne; the weather - was nice in the morning but expecting big rain in the afternoon; and the difficulty golf finding accommodation around the coast until cup match is over.

    I walked over to The Queen Victoria Markets, but they weren’t open today, so I headed downtown along Elizabeth St.

    I found a bi motorcycle dealership and had a look around. They even had a couple of new KLRs on the floor. I was thinking about possibly buying a new pair of gloves, bud I didn’t find any I liked. I did wind up buying a rain suit that goes over my riding gear. I’d lost the waterproof liner for my riding pants with the rest of my clothes and I was tired of my jacket being wet. The rain will probably be around for much of the rest of my time in Aus and is also a strong possibility for NZ.

    I continued on Dow past a camping surplus place where I bought a tent pole repair kit - something else that went missing.

    As I got Dow to the bottom of the city, it was clear something was going on, and sure enough I found myself in the midst of the Melbourne Cup parade.

    Pretty interesting to have a holiday for a horse race and also to close off part of the downtown for a parade for that horse race.

    I watched the parade and also did a little shopping for the Ugg slippers my wife wants - conclusion is the price isn’t much different in Canada which saves me hauling them around for the next month and a half.

    I continued across the city, arriving at the ornate Flinders Street Terminal and walked along for a bit, ducking into some of the interesting alleyways that are lined with small cafes. It was lunchtime, so I stopped and had a panini and a coffee.

    I was going to walk further after lunch, but realized if I wanted to go to the Melbourne Museum, I needed to get back.

    I took the free tram up to the Queen Victoria Markets, then walked the short distance back to my hotel where I dropped off my purchases.

    I walked over to the museum and spent a couple of enjoyable hours going through the indigenous exhibit and the Melbourne history exhibit. Two of the more interesting items were a life sized Australian coat of arms with a stuffed kangaroo and a stuffed emu, and an exhibit about the famous late 29s/early 30s race horse Phar Lap which included the actual horse stuffed and in a display case.

    I walked back to the hotel and stopped and had a beer at the pub on the corner.

    I was debating going back to the Marquis if Lorne for dinner, but decided to go instead to a Thai restaurant I had walked past.

    I had a very nice green curry chicken for dinner, then walked back to the hotel through a heavy thunderstorm and called it a night. Soaked again.


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  2. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Oddometer:
    6,441
    Location:
    New Zealand
    You should bring Phar Lap to NZ with you - he's ours. Put that skin back on his skeleton which is in Te Papa, the museum in Wellington.
    Meriwether, crowe2815, griz2 and 3 others like this.
  3. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 67

    Up early, showered, and had coffee in the room.

    Packed up everything and started taking it down to the bike - took 3 trips!

    I headed out across the city and down through St. Kildas.

    Rode for a while, then turned off for Arthur’s Seat to have a look - great views of the South Bay.

    I carried on down to Phillip Island and rode out to the end. There was an attraction there called Penguin Parade where several thousand penguins return to a beach each night. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen until after 8 PM and it was just 3. Also the site was highly commercialized and I could picture the dozens if tour buses arriving.

    I rode back, stopping at the Grand Prix track and I paid my $15 for a “gold token” that let me go out on a path where you could see the track. The path went through some nice gardens and there were some magnificent peacocks.

    I talked with a couple from Tasmania who were touring the southwest of Australia. They were disappointed I wasn’t going to get over to Tasmania.

    I watched the bikes doing practice runs for a while, then got back on the road.

    I decided I would try and get to Wilson Promontory for the night. It was a couple of hours away and I had a nice ride through the back roads of South Gippsland.

    I arrived at the park just before 6. The park office was closed and a sign said the Tidal River campground was completely full. It didn’t say anything about the Stockyard Camp which is just around the corner from the office.

    I went online and was able to book a site at Stockyard and rode over. There were only a few other campers there and I set up for the night.

    I started out to walk one of the trails, but partway I decided it would be dark before I completed the walk so I turned back.

    I hadn’t picked up food so I got out one of my dehydrated meals and boiled water in the Kelly kettle. Oddly, it was Thai chicken curry - the same as I had last night.

    As I prepared and ate my dinner I talked to a couple from Melbourne who had been camped there for a couple of days. He was a teacher and a researcher who specialized in abalone and was a psychologist.

    The one male toilet at the campsite was badly clogged, so I found a flexible branch and used that to clear the drain - that made me some friends.

    Afterwards climbed into my tent for a good sleep.

    My sleep was delayed a bit as one of the local farmers was setting off bangers in a field to chase a way a flock of birds. A series of what sounded like gunshots, followed by the sound of a huge flock of birds passing overhead and calling loudly.

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  4. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 68

    I woke up to the sounds of the birds including emus squawking in the background. i made my coffee, then did the 2 km walk out to the big drift. This is a massive inland sand dune that rises a hundred feet or more above the surrounding landscape.

    I climbed up the drift and walked for a distance across it. Just before the drift, there were signs warning it was easy to get disoriented or lost on the drift, and sure enough, the path back was not where I expected. I had to walk quite a distance along the rim of the drift to find it.

    I had hoped to spot a wombat in my walk as I am curious what they look like when they’re the right way up, but I didn’t see one. Lots of tracks and signs of digging though.

    I walked back and turned up the path towards the little historic cemetery. The sign said there were 3 graves, but I only saw 2. Perhaps the third one isn’t mark. The stories on the sign told of the difficulties of early European settlement in the area.

    My neighbours had forgotten to bring coffee and had been without for 3 days. It had started to rain and when I got back to the campsite, they were already packed up. We decided to go ahead with the coffee anyway and went over to the shelter by the path where I used the Kelly Kettle to boil water and make coffee.

    After coffee, they headed out and I went over to the amenities block to have a shower. It was still raining when I went in, but when I came out after a short shower it was sunny and clear.

    Everything dried up quickly and I packed up and headed out.

    I rode out to the end of the promontory to have a look at Tidal River, stopping along the way to look at a couple of beautiful beaches.

    When I got to Tidal River it was a nice enough spot, but it was like a big commercial campground and I was glad I had stayed at Stockade.

    I got a fish burger and a cold drink from the little cafe and then headed back off the peninsula.

    I saw a lovely echidna along the way and stopped to try and get a picture, but it was gone before I got a chance.

    I rode along the coast ducking in and out to see the ocean.

    When I got to Bairnsdale I stopped to buy some groceries. When I came out I had a bit of trouble getting the bike vertical because of the slope of the road. I gave it a good pull to the right and it went all the way over. I got off and lifted it back up again and rode off. I don’t think anyone even noticed.

    I headed towards my campsite which was on the Gippsland Lakes and checked in. Nice little campground. The couple who own it had just taken over in July and were doing their best to restore it from a somewhat rundown state.

    All campgrounds in Australia seem to have some sort of resident animals, and here it was a pair of black swans with two cygnets, as well as countless bunnies across the grassy area.

    I set up my tent and it started to rain. I went over to cook my dinner in the camp kitchen and sat there watching the news while I ate.

    The rain ended and I was just getting everything organized when it started again - quite heavily.

    I crawled into my dry and comfy tent and fell asleep listening to the rain.

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  5. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 69

    Got up and had my coffee, muffin, and mango and started to pack up. Everything was dry in spite of the heavy rain last night.

    Had a shower and finished packing up and was on my way.

    I had decided I would ride up through Snowy River National oark and programmed a destination into google maps. I rode until Buchanan along a beautiful twisty road. It was a bit unclear which way I should go, so I got out my map book and had a look.

    I discovered Google wanted me to take the McKillops Road across the park. My map showed it as an unsealed road so I did a web search. I found a site describing it as the most dangerous road in Australia and advising people not to go in unless they had a chainsaw to remove fallen trees and a winch for extrication.

    It’s funny because Road signs all along the way show it as a tourist route.

    I decided not to go that way. I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not. I’ve ridden some tough roads including the famous Death Road in Bolivia and another in Souther Colombia referred to as “The Trampoline of Death”, so I’m not afraid of a difficult road. Definitely didn’t have a chainsaw with me, though.

    I was rewarded for my decision by a beautiful ride along the Buchanan Orbost Road. It’s a beautiful narrow paved road full of tight corners and sweeping views. There was a lot of tree debris on the road and some corners had fallen rock.

    From Orbost I took the Bonang Road and it was more of the same with the added feature of logging trucks coming barreling at you. There’s a long stretch of unsealed road just after the park and I had one of the logging trucks come around a corner towards me leaving me only about 2 feet of road to get through.

    When the logging trucks go past in an unsealed road they stir up a lot of dust and you have to stop until the dust clears so you can see where you’re going.

    I’ll try and post some video of the road later.

    I got to Bonang and decided to carry on to the coast. I bought groceries and then headed off towards Pamula where there is a scout camp that rents sites when the camp is not in use.

    I got there and picked a spot and then walked over towards the beach. It was farther than I expected, but it’s a very pretty beach. The path is line with many large Banksias.

    On the way back I stopped to talk to a couple in a caravan, then went back to set up my tent. I decided to move into the lower area and set up there. I had asked about fires when I came in and was told they were allowed, so I built a nice fire in the fire ring and let it build up coals while I set up my tent.

    I cooked my dinner on the fire and sat in the sandy ground to eat it.

    The couple came over later and we sat around my fire and chatted. They brought over a bottle of wine that was like a light port and offered me a sample which I accepted.

    We chatted for a while and then called it a night and I got into my tent and fell asleep to the sound of the waves.

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  6. Adventurepig

    Adventurepig the bike, not me !

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    160
    Location:
    Maitland, NSW
    Hey djeady..enjoying your adventure. Rode these roads in the opposite direction on the way to Philip is motoGp 2 weeks ago. Mckillops is ok if you take your time. Very narrow in places. Awesome views, bit of same you missed it. The logging trucks are just plane frightening. On other words if you come across them at the wrong place in loose heavy gravel. 2way radio comms is the only way.
    Youve almost completed your lap of oz. Best of luck with the last few days.safe travels.
  7. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 70

    Got up and made coffee and started to pack up. I went up and used the shower. It was actually pretty good, in spite of the lack of light, and enough light was seeping in that I was able to shave at the little sink.

    I walked out to the beach for a few minutes and then came back and said my goodbyes and headed out.

    I started up the Snowy River Way again with thoughts of going to Jindabyne.

    It started to get very windy and rain was threatening.

    It did rain, but not for long.

    I looked at the weather forecast for Jindabyne and it was for a high of 6 C and rain, so I turned north towards the Snowy Mountains Highway.

    I stopped in Benboka at a little bakery for lunch and had a nice steak and kidney pie. I also managed to snag the last Beesting which was very tasty, but a bit messy to eat.

    I continued up the highway and the wind was fierce, moving the bike back and forth across the road. Even where it was sheltered, the backwind was very strong.

    I finally made it into Canberra.

    The weather was still quite nasty, so after having a brief look around I made a snap decision to head back out to the coast.

    I got in the Kings Highway and headed out. The ride was mostly uneventful. The last bit of the highway before the coast is a spectacular descent down from the mountains with lots of switchbacks and spectacular views. No where to stop and take a picture though.

    I got in to Batemans Bay and bought food, then headed south towards a caravan park in Nakua Bay that had camping sites.

    There were just a few sites in one area - most of the park was permanent caravans. I set up my tent and walked out to the beach to take a picture of the sunset.

    I gathered up my food and went over to the camp kitchen to cook and eat my dinner, then went back to my tent and went to sleep.

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  8. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    15,974
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    Fantastic pics and a good story. Thanks.
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  9. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,815
    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    Enjoy the rest of your Oz travels!

    If you want a bed near Rotorua in NZ get in touch, we are 20km east of town & always enjoy hosting passing adventurers. Will be away Xmas/NY though.

    Cheers
    Clint
  10. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 71

    Got up early and had a shower, then went to the camp kitchen and made my coffee which I enjoyed with a muffin and a mango while watching the news on TV. Haven’t watched much TV for the last couple of months.

    I debated staying for another night, but instead decided to bumble around up the coast and finish up somewhere around Jervis Bay.

    I rode back out to the Princes Highway and stopped for a coffee at a little food wagon. I also poke around the adjacent antique and curio store for a few minutes.

    I had learned at the coffee shop that I could go back in and ride along the coast to Batemans Bay, so I rode the short distance back in and headed up along the coast.

    I got to Batemans Bay and started to look for a place to eat, but found I got very quickly dumped back on to the Princes Highway. I had planned to go into Murramarang National Park and ride some of the back roads, but I rode quite a piece past the road in before I finally found food at a little roadside stop.

    I had a nice mixed plate of seafood with some chips.

    Afterwards I turned back towards Murramarang and rode in to have a look at the roads that led to little bays and beaches. They were fairly rutted and rough, but I had fun poking around and looking at the coast.

    I rode back up to the highway and headed towards Jervis Bay.

    I had picked what I thought was a commercial campground for the night and had picked up food for dinner. When I got to the campground it was actually in a park and ITV was completely full. I rode around to a couple of different campgrounds before finally finding a place to stay before finally finding a place in Huskisson that had room in an overflow lot.

    It was the first time I’ve had a problem finding a campsite and at $50 it was the most expensive campsite of the trip.

    The place was full of younger travellers and there was a group that played Brazilian country music quite late at the camp kitchen until somebody finally shut them down, but it was ok otherwise and the facilities were good.

    I set up my tent and cooked my dinner, then tried to get some sleep and was finally successful.

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  11. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417
    Day 72

    Got up and had my breakfast, then I had a shower, then packed up and loaded everything on the bike.

    It was still early, so I went out for a little walk along the beach

    Met the guy I’d chatted with while cooking dinner the night before. He was actually from just a little bit further north and had just brought his family down for the weekend. I walked back to the campground with him and then brought him over a sticker.

    I got in the bike and headed out towards Wollongong.

    I got there quite a bit faster than I expected, so Graham wasn’t home and I sat in the front steps and did my updates until he got back.

    When he arrived, I started to unload the bike and remove the accessories that I was going to take with me.

    His brother Peter was with him and we chatted for a while before heading out for some lunch.

    After lunch we dropped Peter off and went back to the house. Russell has returned from his ride and we all talked while I continued to unload the bike.

    Graham cooked a nice stir fry for dinner and afterwards we went for a drive - thought we might be able find an upright wombat on Mount Keira, but no success. Afterwards called it a night and I went off to sleep in their spare room. IMG_2133.jpg IMG_2132.jpg
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  12. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    417