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Melb-Syd-Melb for a first timer

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by Strife, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Intro
    So bit of a ride report from my trip to Sydney, I initially only wanted to go as far as Bombala but as the
    dates for the Ride to the Sea coincided with my trip, I decided to go all the way to Sydney.

    Day 1
    Set off for a 5:00AM start, having everything packed up on the bike the night before, I’ve become familiar
    in the way of packing my bike efficiently. Though as I couldn’t remember exactly how I packed it for the recent
    Rawson trip, I had to re-pack my luggage at Yea as I could feel the back stepping out.
    The Rawson trip really help me get accustomed on how to pack my bike and how the bike handles.

    Bike all prepped and about to leave.

    Riding through St. Andrews – Kinglake road, was a fairly clean run but being so early in the morning
    I was taking it a little easy due to the chance of wildlife. Kinglake West to Flowerdale to Yea is always
    a good road plenty of photo opportunities due to the sun rising.

    Somewhere along Flowerdale road.

    I’ve never done the Mansfield to Whitfield road, so after few kilometers in just outside Mansfield I greeted by a deer in the middle
    of a corner, that was fun. This taught me a good lesson in that even if there are decent sized cliffs don’t count out wildlife leaping down it,
    this taught me a good lesson on hazard perception that I used later on in the day. Other than that, the road is some of
    the most fun I’ve ever had on the bike. I did pull off down one of the side roads on the way to Whitfield; I was seeing signs for
    Powers Lookout so I decided it was a good time for a break. The road to the lookout itself was actually unsealed (about 5 km’s worth one way)
    which was quite fun to ride on and proved to be worth it due to the scenery.

    [No pictures were taken on the Mansfield – Whitfield road itself due to having so much fun. ;)]

    After leaving Whitfield I decided to take a little detour (about 10 km’s) to Glenrowan for some fuel so I could make it all the way to Omeo
    without having to worry about filling up at Bright. Something I didn't realize was the route I actually planned included the Great Alpine Road
    (never thought to look it up where it was...) this was after seeing signs for it in Myrtleford. After leaving Bright the roads were great leading
    up to Hotham Heights apart from a couple of trucks skirting the center lines. These roads were really enjoyable roads, I was able to feel how
    the bike was handled with the up-hill/down-hill sections, it wasn’t a bad feeling, just a different to what I’m used to.
    The scenery along the way and at the top was great too as shown by picture at Mount Hotham.

    At Mount Hotham

    The roads from Omeo provided a very fast and entertaining finish to the end of the day. I also decided to cut across to Nowa Nowa from
    Bruthen instead of going down to Bairnsdale/Lakes Entrance, the roads between there were some very open and fast corners which
    was awesome. The day finished at about 4:30PM when I pulled into the Orbost Caravan Park to set up shop for the night, very friendly
    people there (Note to self, pack insect repellent when camping so forests and lakes/rivers.
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  2. Day 2
    It did rain during the night, so when morning came I was packing away a wet tent, to this day I haven’t packed it when it’s dry.
    I set of for another early start when leaving Orbost, about 6:30AM but not leaving Orbost itself till about 7:00AM after having breakfast.
    A good amount of light when leaving but as I had checked the forecast the day before it was showing rain pretty much all throughout the day. As I was
    about to leave the petrol station it started to drizzle a bit and I could see the clouds a bit better which were very dreadful sight as I did pack my wet
    weather gear but really didn’t want to make use of it. I decided to make tracks pretty quick and set off for Bonang, my route was set out for the fun way
    so I went up the Bonang Highway instead of the Princses Highway, 5k’s in and the drizzling stopped so I was pretty chuffed with that. For me, these are best
    roads I’ve ever done, no advisory signs a part from couple sharp left and right handers that were only advising on what way to go and not speeds and also a couple
    of hairpin corners. Also from my earlier lesson with the cliffs and wildlife on the Mansfield-Whitfield road, I met a kangaroo who decided to leap down a cliff and land
    on the road before hopping off, again this was mid corner which is always fun.

    Morning in Orbost.

    At the end of this stretch of twisties (about 15 km’s out of Bonang) I was met with a “Gravel Road Ahead” sign. Now I was warned about this that there may still be a
    gravel road there and sure enough there was (thanks Chris!). The gravel road itself wasn’t too challenging itself just the fact that I am on a gear laden VTR250 on a
    2 inch think gravel road, so suffice to say I stuck to the tracks the cars/trucks left. Along this road was also signs advising me of logs trucks, which are always fun
    to deal with, thankfully I was only greeted with one truck who was very mindful when coming around a hairpin corner and taking it very easy.
    There was also another 4-5km length of unsealed road after seeing the “Welcome to NSW” sign.

    As I reached Bombala there was a great sea of bikes, me wondering to myself what was going on I had remembered someone mentioning a Bike Show going on this weekend
    at Bombala. Though it was still too early in the day and the show didn’t open/start till later I decided to keep going. From Bombala to Cooma there were a lot of bikes coming
    the other way towards Bombala for the bike show, a huge range of bikes going past and some real mint one’s going past on the back of trailers.

    The stretch of highway between Cooma to Canberra wasn’t too bad but it was my first experience on a decent length trip on just highway (longest only about 70km’s).
    Stopped off in Canberra for fuel and as I wasn’t really pressed for time decided to have a look around and visited the Parliament House and the War Memorial, sadly didn’t
    take any pictures at the time as I wasn’t really thinking about it. I set off from Canberra thinking this is the last leg except for one more fuel stop to Sydney but after a decent
    stretch of time on the highway I could see exit signs for Goulbourn but as I looked across I could see the Big Ram (which I didn't know was located at Goulbourn) so I decided to pull off there for a break.

    Big Ram at Goulbourn

    After having lunch I left for the last leg to Sydney, this actually wasn’t as bad as I had thought as I had some fun overtaking cars which seemed to eat up some time.
    I was trying not to pay attention to the kilometers left sign but it’s hard not too! The day came to an end when I reached Blacktown/Parklea as I was staying with relatives for the first night in Sydney.
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  3. Day 3
    The day of the Ride to the Sea is today, so I set off early after thanking relatives for letting me stay there the night. I left early as I’m pretty bad directions
    so wanted to get to the Nurragingy Reserve early enough so if I did get lost I wouldn’t be late! The day itself proved to be awesome with great weather and
    a decent turnout of riders for the ride. I now realize how awesome it is to ride with a character covering your helmet and a cape. Of course when I did arrive
    at the Sydney Gateway Holiday Park which is located in Parklea it started to rain only 10 minutes after I had set up my tent, so this was my last night in Sydney before leaving for Melbourne.

    Day 4
    As I get up for an early start (5:00AM), I’m again packing away a wet tent and getting ready to set off home, when realizing that I’m going down the Hume
    Highway and wondering how bad it actually is to travel down (this is riding a 250 mind you). As I prepping to leave the park I decided to leave my “The Count”
    helmet cover on and ride with it on for a bit, well I ended up wearing it from Sydney all the way home. Which in itself made the ride down the Hume a lot more
    enjoyable as people were taking note of it and questioning me at servos and laughing? (At me or with me? I can take a guess.) The stretches of the Hume Highway
    wasn’t too bad as in my mind I broke it up into 200 km segments. Having noise cancelling headphones with music made it much easier ride, though when you hear the
    same song twice you know you’re in trouble. Traffic was very light on the way home until I hit Seymour which isn’t any fun when you just want to get home after
    such a boring ride. After hitting the Western Ring Road it was about 4:30PM on the Monday, which was just the best time really, so I decided to split at a decent
    speed so I could get home, I just want to note that when wearing the helmet cover people tend to leave gaps in bumper to bumper traffic as they look towards you which is nice.

    In the end a very, very enjoyable trip for a first timer who has only done the Rawson trip in preparation for this type of trip. The roads were great, the weather was
    great and the experience was great. I intend to travel that route many times in the future, albeit not as far as Sydney next time. I will defiantly be doing more touring in the
    future though! I should also take some more pictures as after the first day I didn’t take many at all…

    Some more pictures


    Powers Lookout

    Connors Hill
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  4. Well done! Glad your having a great time!
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  5. Good Stuff!!

    Any pictures of "The Count"?
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  6. There's some in the Ride to the Sea thread, I didn't take any pictures on the day though.
  7. Excellent write up, Strife!
    Sounds like you had a great time, top pics (really like the Hotham shot).

    Love that you rode back still dressed as The Count, must've been quite the head-turner. :LOL:

    Well done. =D>
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  8. Congratulations on your "coming of age" young 'un.
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  9. Great stuff, Strife !
    Good write up and nice pictures to 1) Make those of us who've done this run before nostalgic, and 2) Make those who haven't rush out to do the same...

    I still remember my first MEL-SYD-MEL...what a hoot ! Liked it so much that I did it a further 2 times, different roads each time.

    I hear through the g****vine ;) that the roads from Whitfield-Myrtleford-Corryong-Jindabyne and surrounds are fantastic as well. This is the beauty of long distance/interstate riding - we soon learn the plethora of awesome roads that are out there !

    Well done mate (y)
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  10. Great write-up and pics Strife... I reckon you could have fit a bit more luggage onto the old VTR though :)
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  11. Sounds like you had a good time mate. Ive done a similar trip in reverse twice now on my way to motoGP. I usually do it over two days and stay the night in Bright. Great roads, these pics are giving me the itch to get on the road again!
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  12. Great write up strife. :) Sounds like you had a ball. I am very jealous.
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  13. I was intending to the roads to/around Jindabyne by actually attending the Snowy Ride but the dates unfortunately conflicted with my exams, so it's definitely a serious candidate for my next trip!

    I also want to say that the HEMA motorcycle atlas was well worth getting, I only grabbed it a few days before I set off just for the hell of it,
    but it was very useful in terms of the amount of kms between each town and such.

    Just so I don't have to work it out again... total kms traveled over the 4 days: 2456kms
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  14. Thanks for your help with the route, sharing your touring knowledge and experience, it was invaluable! :wink:
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  15. Well done !!
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