South East Australian Odyssey on Postie Bike’s

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by RoverMike, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    35
    Location:
    Canberra, Oz
    17/1/12, Back to the Mountains

    [​IMG]All the swimming at the beach and nice warm weather was making us soft. Time to depart for the mountains again. We scooted up a short piece of highway no. 1 before branching off and heading for Buchan. Re-fueled and restocked the food at the local shop.


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    Great shop. Amongst our purchases we bought some spaghetti as we were getting sick of noodles to go with the tinned tuna. In one of those rare moments, Tom placed the spaghetti on the bike seat while opening his bag. I watched as the packet of spaghetti slid off the seat and straight into the only storm water drain in Buchan. It was almost in slow motion. Ouch! It was only $4 worth of spag but there was a principle at stake. We took a few minutes, but eventually managed to secure enough makeshift tools to lift the inspection lid and retrieve the spag!

    Postie riders 1 – drain 0.


    Onwards up to Gelantipy where we again refuelled. You never know I always say. They did not have any food so a cool drink and an ice cream became our lunch. We were on the health plan.


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    The tourist maps all showed a small village?/town?/settlement? called Seldom Seen just to the north with a turn-off shortly after to McKillops Bridge over the Snowy River. We had to go see this bridge.


    There was some confusion about this ?town? called Seldom Seen. Some maps said it had fuel. Some said not. Every map said something different. Anyway we were riding past and could investigate. We came across Seldom Seen and I can say that this was, without a doubt, the strangest fuel station I have ever imagined. The pictures are not photoshopped – I kid you not.


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    The entry to the station looked like this. I reckon there were at least 15 car wrecks scattered everywhere. Many had for sale signs stuck in odd places. A few motorbikes. An old phone box. Lawn mowers. You name it – it was there. The owner must like collecting stuff. An understatement!


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    On the main road there was the most eclectic set of bush sculptures I have also ever imagined. All made out of interesting shapes of local wood with various implements attached. A collection of push bikes were welded into a tree. There was even a large boat in the back paddock – lying on its side.



    They had a fuel bowser but we never worked out whether there was fuel for sale.


    Someone on ADVRIDER can surely explain the mystery of Seldom Seen?


    Shortly after we took the turn-off to McKillops Bridge. Riding in we got a glimpse of the valley. Should be good!
    Had water in it - the last of the flushing flows (see day 1 for a full explanation).

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    After another 20 minutes or so of riding we were presented with the Snowy River gorge. Actually spent a few hours floating around in the water. Very nice.


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    The bridge was built in 1930(?) to replace the old ferry that carried travellers over the river.The ferry also carried cattle moving up to summer pasture in the high country. I suppose the bridge did after 1930 as well. Must have been interesting to move a large mob of cattle over on a ferry.

    McKillops Bridge has a wooden deck with concrete pillars supporting it – around 30 meters or so above the bed of the river. A surprising number of the timber pieces were marked with an X. As I confirmed by standing on one – the X meant what you think it would mean – it marks the spot of the last person who trod on the X.

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    I was now very glad we were on small postie bikes as the bridge had a lot of X’s on it!


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    We could not stay there forever and backtracked to the main road and headed back onto Limestone Road. This was the road from the second day when we rode through some snow. Today was much warmer. We found a nice camp. Someone had put up a table with a nice view but we contributed by lighting a fire.


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    Laid all our food out and cooked a feast on the fire. (We would have used the stove but we were nearly out of fuel for that!).


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    The camp is called Native Dog Flat in the Alpine national park. Highly recommended.


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    An added bonus - there were a lot of brumbies about. Made it interesting to sit and watch the young horses playing.


    Day 8. 208 km. Back in the high-er country.

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    #21
  2. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Canberra, Oz
    18/1/12, Change of Plans.


    We had planned to ride from Native Dog Flat straight north over the Davies High Plain track. We have been there before in our four wheel drive. It is serious four wheel drive country. Our alpine guide book recommends winches, multiple 4x4's, etc. In an optimistic mood, we wanted to ride the posties over it and cross the Murray river at the northern end. The locals will know the northern crossing - Tom Groggin. After the breakfast of campers, baked beans (in ham sauce of course), we headed to our destiny on the Davies High Plain track. This is the turn-off.

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    No sooner were we on the track then I spied some horses. I initially assumed they were Brumbies – they are everywhere in the Alpine National Park. They got closer and I could make out a rider. Go figure – we were in the wild west.


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    Turned out to be a man and woman. They had two saddle horses and a pack horse each. Six horses in total – now that is serious. We stopped to chat. They were incredulous that we were planning on riding over the top on posties. They had skirted the track and said they thought it might be a bit steep for posties. But they only had 6 horse power between the two of them - 3 each. We had 8 horse power - each. We ignored them.


    Their story turned out to be much more adventurous than ours. They had been on the road for three months following the national trail. This is a horse (or walking or mountain bike) track that goes from the top to bottom of eastern Australia. More info here:
    http://www.nationaltrail.com.au/.

    It was now our turn to be incredulous – they had ridden from near Cairns in North Queensland and were planning to go to somewhere near the ‘Prom’. About 4000 km all up. They had already done 3000 km in 3 months. Now that is truly something.


    Their horses started to get fidgety and they had to move on. We did too. Like all 4wd tracks this one got progressively rougher as we proceeded. After only about 5 km we came to a seriously steep hill. The posties simply could not climb it. In fact I crashed – the bike rolled back over me. Lucky that all the good gear protected me! Something told me that those horse riders were right - our 8 horse power - each - did not cut it.


    We could get the bikes up that particular hill by running beside them and using the throttle. One advantage of a semi-automatic gearbox, i.e., no clutch to engage. The problem was that this was only the first of many many many many many ... (you get the picture) ..... steep climbs. Tom was keen to proceed and reckoned we could do it. He said, it will be easy Dad – and showed me how you just run beside the postie as you go up the hill. He demonstrated. Aagh - the enthusiasm of a 17 year old. I knew he might be able to do that but I doubt I could. After some interesting discussion we (meaning I) decided that the Davies high plain would remain unconquered by posties on this day. I was thinking of telling him that we needed a goal for future adventures. Of course that would have been a lie. I wanted to stick to roads where we could actually ride the posties rather than push them.


    This piccie shows the hill that convinced me to turn around. Not much of a view of the hill but I was not thinking about a “scenic shot” at the time.


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    With our (meaning mine) change of plans we headed back. Rode the same track (as on day 2 where it had snowed) to Benambra. Incredibly it started to rain while riding to Benambra. I was waiting for the snow with ski gloves at the ready. Go figure! No snow that day. Got fed in the local Benambra cafe (highly recommended!) and headed north via a slightly different route allowing us to explore the fabled Omeo plains around Benambra. The Omeo plains are a treeless expanse of excellent grazing land. While the rain was now gone it was windy and we watched for about 10 minutes as the sheep formed lines. Head into the wind and they stayed in those lines. I kid you not. It was weird to watch. I imagined an army parade for sheep.

    You can get a sense of the strange events from this photo.


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    From there it was straight north onto a great dirt road called the Benambra-Corryong road. We were following the advice of the lady in the Benambra cafe and found a great campsite on the Gippo (but pronounced “Jippo”) River. Laid out our swags and put up the fly to keep out the rain.


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    There was just enough light to catch some dinner. Only took a few minutes and we had three lovely rainbow trout. An appetiser before our main course of noodles and tuna.


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    Day 9 route. 170 km. Nearly all dirt.

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    #22
  3. TwoUpTourer

    TwoUpTourer Long timer

    Joined:
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    1,468
    Location:
    South Australia
    Great trip guys - best thing you will ever do for your son. Inspiring me to do a trip with my daughter - thanks!
    John
    #23
  4. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

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    19/1/12, Cruising.

    The plan today was a little vague. Not a plan really - rather just a few vague thoughts. We would head north to Corryong and then we would decide. Packed up quick and we were on our way. The scenery was fabulous and we were thundering along the uphill climb. By thundering I mean around 30 km/hr.


    Then we come around a corner and BAM - what do we see – a lone busted up postie bike parked on the side of the road.We had no choice. We had to stop. Someone must be trouble. Here is the lone busted up postie with Toms (‘A’) bike in the background.


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    Posties have all their electrics in the headlight. This postie had a broken headlight and all the electric “guts” were dangling out the front. The indicators were broken, there were no registration plates, the seat was torn, you get the picture. If not, here is another look from the other end.


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    No helmet. Had it been abandoned? Was it an orphan? We started to try and work out what had happened. Perhaps the rider was hurt? I checked and there was petrol in the tank. There was also a key in the ignition. My immediate thought was to see if it would start. As I began to swing my leg over and give it a kick it I hear a loud ‘ooooiiiiii’ from the bush.


    We hear some rustling in the vegetation and about 15 seconds later - out steps Brett.


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    That solved the mystery. Brett was doing some weed-spraying. Had a back-pack of the good juice. Ended up having a chat for around 30 minutes or so. Turned out that his postie was fully operational – it just looked a little rough because it works in the bush for a living. Brett had lived his whole life in the Gippo River Valley. Knew the country like the back of his hand. He knew where we had camped last night (where Pluto creek runs into the Gippo River for locals) and said he had planned to drop in but never got around to it. He had seen us ride through Benambra the day before!


    He was from King Flats – and he pointed out that next time we come through we better stay in his farm accommodation. Brett was a mine of knowledge about the forest and river. We ended up talking about the 2003 bushfires. It was a real pleasure to spend some time with him – and he was a fellow postie bike rider to boot.


    After that we resumed the climb up to Sassafras Gap. Made it.


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    Easy ~ 40 km run into Corryong from the high point.


    After talking with umpteen locals after parking the bikes in the main street of Corryong we eventually found a cafe – they served great food and the most elaborate coffee decoration I have ever seen. Just look for the cafe with “Grata” coffee. Also doubles as a bar. Highly recommended.


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    We sat down and with the help of a map decided to ride home via Thredbo. We have driven that road in a car several times and it is a famous road for motorcycles. Sports bike heaven. Not sure about postie heaven but it was worth a try. As we fuelled up we ran into two guys on 1000 cc sports bikes. Both of them asked where we had been. After telling them, one said - he had always wanted to ride that rode from Benambra to here. He had never done it but was planning a ride shortly - he had to get a different bike first. They were going the same way as us but at a very different speed. They were planning on being in Thredbo in an hour or so. We were planning on that by the following afternoon!


    The tentative plan was to camp at the Geehi River camp ground. No camp sites with tables were available but Tom found a piece of board on the side of the road that was put into service as a table.


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    Great swimming by the way! I am sure I saw a Platypus just below our camp site. Either that or a very big rat – one of the other.


    Look one way and you see a beautiful mountain river.


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    Look the other way and you see the main Kosciuszko range - that is the top of the Snowy mountains and the roof of Australia. Spectacular.


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    Oh – I forgot. Tom had taken his thin backpacking sleeping mat on the trip. I had a new inflatable one – and the new inflatable one was very very very ..... comfortable. The backpacking version was not cutting it and Tom was not sleeping as well as he could. We splashed out and bought a cheap air bed in Lakes Entrance. $24.95 if I recall correctly. This one took a while to blow up using only his lungs but when done it was very very COMFY !!

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    [/FONT]We spread our swags out. As I mentioned earlier we had great views of the river and mountains. In a swag you get great views of the sky. A fully three dimensional perspective! As we lay there we spent out time counting satellites. I don't know if you have looked recently but there are a lot of satellites up in the sky. Many more than when I was a kid. Some progress has occurred. At some stages it seemed like a significant percentage of the stars in the sky were all moving in a regular pattern! The discussion between us was dominated by one question – how would the original Australian aboriginal people have interpreted the satellites had they seen them? We never answered that question and sleep soon came.

    Day 10 route. 150 km. half dirt and half bitumen.

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    #24
  5. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Canberra, Oz
    20/1/12, The Return

    Same old routine. Up, packed and ready to go. This time we were quite early. The plan was to ride over the main range to Thredbo and then start making our way home. We wanted to camp one more night on a stream closer to home and get some more trout for dinner.


    The road up to Thredbo is a favourite of sports bike fanatics. For the first time on the trip we were sharing the road with a significant number of other bikes. Some of the hills are steep and we were down to 10 km/hr on some of the steeper ones. First gear. At that speed you get a good view of the surroundings. Some of the sports bikes went past so fast we were not sure the gush of air was caused by a passing bike. Maybe a satellite? The authorities had erected this sign at the start of one set of twisties.


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    You have got to be joking. We cannot get to 60 km/hr on the flat!! It was not going to happen! Slow and steady we made pass over the top. That would be called Dead Horse Gap.


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    It was all downhill from there to Thredbo. Now Thredbo is a fairly exclusive privately owned ski resort. For the first time on the trip I felt like the dirty/dusty posties did not quite fit. Despite that we still observed a few people taking photos of them while having breakfast. Maybe that was the reason - they did not fit!


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    However, the meat pies from the local bakery did fit – straight into our stomachs. We had two each with tomato sauce – the breakfast of champions.


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    Onwards. Past Jindabyne and turn left at Berridale heading for Adamidaby. One thing I had learnt about posties is that the seat is comfortable. But, we are both over 6 ft. Our knees were bent – a lot – and we were starting to stop around every 50 km or so to get “straight knees”. Tom took that as an opportunity to lie down as Dad wasted time (as he put it) taking silly photos.


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    We were being tracked by a storm. It was just to the south of us the whole way from Thredbo. We made the decision in Adamidaby to camp on the road back to Canberra. Goodbye to the Murrumbidgee River Valley as the gravel road heading to Canberra was calling us.


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    As it turned out, we did get caught in the storm you can see in the previous photo. It was a big one - there were flash floods in all the local creeks. No fish for dinner tonight. That was a problem as we were nearly out of food. Only ~ 50 km from home we decided to ride home.


    Eventually stopped to dry out opposite one of the best wool sheds you would ever see.


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    The wool shed is an icon of the southern Australian rural landscape. They are always raised off the ground – the sheep pee and poo falls through the cracks in the slatted timber floor. They are nearly always clad in corrugated iron and they always look old. Most are still functional for the annual shearing.


    We were close. In the following piccie our home is just near the little white thing (called black Mountain Tower) in the centre left of the photo. About 20 km's to go.


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    We finally pull in. Here we are – home sweet home.


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    Funny how something that took 8 months to slowly plan can finish so quickly!


    But then the memories start. They are the things that last.



    Day 11 route. 295 km. That was actually 1 km longer than Day 1 and our greatest distance on the trip.


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    THE END.
    #25
  6. BlueSkyGuy

    BlueSkyGuy Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    BRP, SLD,129, 421, 50, 219,6, 33, 250, etc...
    I miss the prom, lived outside of Nyora, Vic for a while and made the hop down there a few times.
    #26
  7. FlameDance

    FlameDance Been here awhile

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    Germany
    Cool! I wish my father had taken the time to go on such an adventure with me. He was a great guy but working too much. Didn't serve him well.
    #27
  8. jtb

    jtb Long timer

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    :clap:clap:clap:D:D:D

    Nice! Thanks for sharing!
    #28
  9. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    Love it! memories forever i would reckon.:thumb
    #29
  10. RoverMike

    RoverMike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Canberra, Oz
    Hi Guys

    Although I have been a long-time lurker, this my first ride report. I hope to do some more as time permits.

    Thanks for all the comments. I hope you enjoyed it.

    :wave
    #30
  11. Stefs_cruiser

    Stefs_cruiser Been here awhile

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    Glass house Mnts
    Great ride report mate, written in such an easy to read style. :clap
    #31
  12. goroka

    goroka Been here awhile

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    Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia
    Great trip. Nothing beats doing something like this with your kids - whatever the age.:D
    #32