Australia Day Weekend - Wonnangatta Valley

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Aking, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Aking

    Aking Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
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    20
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    Melbourne
    What better way to celebrate Australia Day than to go riding and camping for 3 days! So having prepared by sitting at a desk for the last 6 months I packed the gear onto the bike and headed out.
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    Sunday Day 1 - living in the outer East of Melbourne it isn’t too far on tar to get to the gravel of the Woods Point road which was in pretty good shape for reasonable speed. On through Matlock to Mt Selma Rd which was pretty cut up by 4x4s during winter digging deep ruts and exposing quite a bit of loose rock. Quick stop for a pie at Licola then up to Howett Plains. Lots of 4x4 idiots to dodge on the way, but the road was in reasonable condition to get on some pace. Stopped at Hewitt Hut to get some feeling back in my bum (whatever happened to the comfy trail bike seats of the old days?) and water the plants.
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    Then on to Zeka Spur Track. I was a bit nervous about how steep it might be, but it wasn’t the steepness, it was the amount of loose rock at the top half that made going slow and rough. The sharp switchback resulted in a couple of close encounters with 4wds coming uphill. Getting down to the valley floor I could see why the valley was settled even though it is really isolated. I puttered around and eventually found a nice spot to camp.
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    #1
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  2. Aking

    Aking Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
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    Monday Day 2 - After a fairly leisurely pack up, I headed off down the valley toward Wombat Spur. The dry weather meant that the 4 river crossing over the Wonnangatta river were fairly shallow, but still deep enough to give me wet feet (next boots will have longer waterproof tounges).
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    Wombat Spur wasn’t too bad, quite steep, but not too much loose rock and bedrock, the last climb onto the ridge is pretty steep. Once up onto Wombat Range Track it’s a nice undulating run along the ridge with great views back into the Wonagatta and on the other side toward Mt Hart. I had decided to head down Eaglevale track instead of along Cynthia Spur, the map didn’t indicate that Eaglevale was steep, so I was a bit surprised when I looked over the edge and realised it pretty much goes straight down from the ridge at 800m to the river at 200m over a couple of Kms.
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    Lots of good front braking practice on the way down. After an endo a couple of years ago going down a steep track I am probably a lot slower than some on downhills. The track was good until right near the bottom where there is a lot of loose rock and some deep ruts where 4wds have dug holes trying to go up. The crossing of the river at the bottom was fairly shallow with quite small rocks, which was good as I had a big audience of kids wanting to see me go for a dip. Then onto the Wonnangatta road to Dargo for an awesome hamburger with the lot. I have been wanting to ride the Old Motoroa Road for a couple of years but haven’t been able to find the way to it from the top so decided to go up from Brigalong. After much faffing around trying to get fuel (Brigalong gas station was shut, so detour to Stratford) I finally got to Old Motoroa Rd. It was a road used by cattle drovers to get their cattle up onto the high plains in the old days and so is well benched most of the way. It is just a pity that so many runoff /speed humps have been put in as it’s hard to get a good rhythm.
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    All was going great until I got over enthusiastic and hit some rocks in 3rd and popped the back tube. It was already 4pm so 2hrs struggling to get the tube out, patch it, then find more holes, then put in my spare tube, left me a sweaty lump.
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    With the emergency 21inch tube in I took it very easy up the remainder of the track onto Motoroa rd. I had to stop for a leg stretch at the intersection with Tamborintha rd and it was then I spotted a half inch hole in the tire that I had not seen when I was changing the tube. I was very thankful that I hadn’t got a stone in the hole and punctured the spare tube. So I wrapped some electrical tape around the tire and then a layer of gaffa tape on top and took it even slower. It was a slow run into Licola campground in the dark after dodging a few Roos, a deer and I think it was a fox (way too close to see). Very tired boy who put up the tent and crashed. Ah adventure.
    #2
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  3. Aking

    Aking Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 16, 2016
    Oddometer:
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    Day 3 - got up to find the rear tire still inflated. I added a bit more tape and decided to head back along the gravel, rather than going out to the highway. I figured if the tire was going to burst I’d rather have that happen on a back road than on the freeway. So out of Licola up to South Rd then Mt Selma Rd, then back along the Woods Point road, through Warburton to home about 110km mostly on gravel. Happily the tape worked the tire stayed inflated (even if it looked a bit worse for wear) and I was able to ride to the shop and get a replacement the next day.
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    All in all a good trip. Lesson learned - if there are sharp rocks slow down.
    #3
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  4. willmaniac

    willmaniac Adventurer

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    Nice trip we where in some of these stops on the long weekend too . Just missed you.
    #4
  5. TonyRDR

    TonyRDR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    330
    Location:
    South Australia
    Great trip mate thanks sounds like fun
    going there with some mates in March to see if I can fall off a bit less this time
    Not used to the steep D tracks yet and am shit scared of the downhills
    #5
  6. The Virginian

    The Virginian Long timer

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    Looks like a great time filled with adventure, thanks for posting.

    Eric
    #6
  7. Slick13

    Slick13 Wanderer

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    Hong Kong, Australia (Bright) & Japan
    Good report, cheers Aking. Never get tired of seeing that country.
    #7
  8. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Granbury Texas
    Always enjoy Aussie Ride Reports. A world away from this Texans life. though my father in law who was in the US Military In OZ said alot of it looks like West Texas. Hope to see one day.The Quantas from Sydney to Dallas flies right over my house 75 miles from the DFW Airport . Someday I will be on it.
    #8
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