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Bombala to Orbost via the Bonang Highway, Eastern Victoria

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by mjt57, Feb 19, 2007.

  1. Every year we have an annual bash up to Merimbula on NSW's South East Coast (the "Sapphire Coast"). This year, as usual, the ride started at Moe Maccas in Gippsland, down to Yarra Junction via Noojee where the Melbourne starters joined the ride. Then up to Tintaldra via Beechworth and then over to Merimbula via Cooma. The ride home next day usually takes in Bombala to Cann River. This year we did it differently. Instead of leaving Bombala and heading down to Cann River, we headed for Delegate, Bonang and Orbost on the Bonang Highway.

    I've never travelled the Bonang Highway. It has about 110 km of fantastic twisties, (and cheezels too) but it's interspersed with two sections of dirt totalling around 20-30 km.

    As I ride a Blackbird it's not that great on the dirt, sliding around like a seal on ice. And what with the riding position, the weight of the bike and the slow pace it ensured that by the time we finished the last section of dirt, my wrists were really suffering.

    By now though, the temp was up to the mid-30s and was promising to get hotter the further south and west we travelled. But the sealed sections made up for this. Well made roads (all of the Victorian section is sealed) made for a good run. Due to recent weather a few parts of the road had trees down right across them. Locals must have gotten the chainsaws out to cut a section and clear parts of them so that traffic could get past. Luckily none of these falls were on corners.

    After missing a few roos by a bee's doozywhatists along the Cathcart-Bombala Road, we were taking it fairly easy. However, the heat must have encouraged the local fauna to stay inside for the day and watch the cricket or something. Other than the second biggest lizard that I've ever seen dart across the road in front of me just out of Orbost, it was an uneventful run in that respect.

    There is no NextG coverage between Bombala and Orbost. So, if you do break down on this road, hopefully you'll have fellow riders to help you out. There are "towns" shown on the map. However, they must be invisible. Aside from one place that had two farmhouses and a a school zone (never did see the school), there is little in the way of civilisation along this section of road. So, make sure that you fuel up in either Orbost or Bombala. Both towns' servos sell PULP if your bike requires it.

    When I left the last dirt section and encountered the bitumen, I unwisely thought, beauty, sealed road, lots of grip. Wrong. For about 100 metres there is light and fine gravel on the road. And it's hard to see, as it matches the color of the light grey bitumen. It nearly caused me to highside as I give the wright wrist a bit of a handful. I bounced my left foot off the road and caused my foot an injury. Light swelling but enough to realise that no matter what sort of boots you wear, you're still susceptible to injury if your feet impact the ground the wrong way.

    Anyway, I was lucky to keep the bike upright. I'd say that it was due to skillful riding and catlike reflexes, but those who know me who may be reading this will wish to say something to the contrary.

    My GPS's trip computer tells me that this section of dirt caused an average speed of 33 km/h. The total distance of the twisty section is about 110 km. From Bombala to Orbost it's around 130km. So you have about 20 kays of normal roads before you cop the good/crap stuff.

    Oh, if you don't have a cast iron stomach, you may succumb to motion sickness. Or if you had a big night the night before (what, me, Tura Beach Country Club, nah...) then for me the trip was made a bit less pleasant wit h a constant linger of wanting to chuck chunder for the last half hour or so of the ride into Orbost.

    So, if you don't mind a bit of dirt riding, the rest of the road will more than make up for it.
  2. Re: Bombala to Orbost via the Bonang Highway, Eastern Victor

    My lips are sealed...but it may cost you :LOL:

    Great write up M, think I will have to do this :grin:
  3. Re: Bombala to Orbost via the Bonang Highway, Eastern Victor

    There are a couple of base staions between Cann River & Orbost on the main highway for all the networks (not just Telstra) so maybe you just didn't notice when the phone was in coverage. No phone system likes being in valleys in heavily treed areas but you can usually get a sniff of a signal on the ridge tops.
  4. Re: Bombala to Orbost via the Bonang Highway, Eastern Victor

    the pleasure was all mine ;)
  5. Re: Bombala to Orbost via the Bonang Highway, Eastern Victor

    My husband probably meets you where yours ends Joel :grin: (He's asphalting though).
  6. Hey mjt....great write up! You have me tempted to try the Bonang - even with the dirt sections. Been looking at the map of this route...rubbing my chin going .. hmmm... one day. ;) :)
  7. Thanks.

    The road is good, lots of fun, except for the dirt bits, of course. But you get them out of the way early, I s'pose. It'd probably be a bit different if you did it from Orbost to Bombala. I'd recommend that if you do go in the northerly direction, that when you reach the dirt you'll probably need the rest. There's a handy pullto area on the left as you head up just before the dirt starts around a right hand bend 100 metres further up. Be careful there too as the road has fine gravel scattered over it at this point and is where I nearly highsided the bird.
  8. What, only 20 or 30 K's of dirt..... Another fine road f@**ed. OK only kidding, as i've said in another post somewhere, if you want to see some gobsmacking country turn off at bonang and head to McKillops bridge and over to Seldom Seen. Or if coming from Melb' through seldom seen down to McKillops and over to bonang. Hey, it was my backyard for a cupla decades. The views will not dissapoint.
  9. What are the roads like? Sealed, unsealed, if unsealed, how much of it?

  10. From Delegate to seldom seen is unsealed, without looking at a map, from memory about 80-90 K's. Well worth it though.
  11. Hehe, just realised your from Gippy. Go up through Bruthen etc and down to McKillops. It is sealed upto Seldom Seen. Stop at Little River Gorge lookout, check the razor back out into the gorge (I've climbed down that), further on down the road is the bluff. Theres a wrecked VW beetle down there, a Union rep' mysteriously went over the edge. Found his clean picked bones a cupla years later. He'd scratched a note onto his leather briefcase, he had a busted leg and couldn't climb out, only down.... So, don't fall over the edge.
    It's all basalt country up through there, so it's like riding on little ball bearings for alot of the way. JUst slide through the bends, it's fun.