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Melb to Sydney to Brisbane to Melbourne in 9 days.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by sunrise, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. I scored four days off work, and decided to do a 9 day trip (weekend + working 1 day +4 days + another weekend = 9ish days) from Melb to Bris and back..


    Day 1 (sat) - Melb to Syd (The Long way..)
    Never been through Sale and Lakes Entrance etc, so I figured I'd try something different and went through there to get to Sydney. Also heading up the Monaro Hwy from the Cann River to join up with the Hume (eventually, after Canberra). A long day, taking about 13 hours. Got to have a pie at some little stop in the middle of nowhere between Lakes Entrance and Cann river. yay! Over 1000km, but wasn't bad. Some nice forest bits early on the Monaro Hwy too if I remember correctly. But not really worth going all that way to for a tiny bit of twistys.

    Day 2 (sun) - Blue Mountains
    Spent a bit of time exploring the Blue Mountains. Unfortunately, I spent more time not moving and stuck in traffic (thanks to roadworks) more than anything. Totally drained my legs, being stuck for about an hour going up. And then more or less the same getting back out. Especially not so much fun after the huge ride the day before. MEH



    Day 3 (mon) - Manly -> Newcastle
    This day I worked (I only had 4 days off), then that evening headed up to Newcastle. However, it was raining. Heavy. maybe 50km up the freeway, and it got torrential. no lights on the freeway either, just the little torch on my hyosung lighting up the road. with me slowing down, and trucks going passed, suddenly visibility became 0, pretty much literally. And I took the very next exit off and figured I might as well find somewhere to stay rather than die trying to get to Newcastle. Following some other highway, again with no lights, through forest, to some tiny town 10km down the road, I very very very slowly made my way there to find a closed service station and what must have been a closed general store.

    I got to park for a bit and regather energy, realising there doesn't seem to be anything around, I opted to continue going back to newcastle, and rode back through the stupid pitch black road in the wet crawling back to the fwy to newcastle. By then, it was still raining considerably, but nothing like earlier, and so I continued on, and did my best to stay in front of the trucks to avoid that stupid misty spray. But soon enough, it poured down stupidly AGAIN.. So I stopped (again), this time at a service station. Relaxed with some muesli bars and water, and discussed weather and bikes with some locals while I waited for the rain to ease. Probably another 20 minutes later and it did! So off I went again, in the rain, keeping ahead of the traffic, and made it! After what felt like riding all night....

    Day 4 (tues) - Coffs.
    Well the rain didn't stop all night, and in the morning it was still going. But nothing as extreme as the night before, and as a bonus it was day time! BRILLIANT! So off I went, my first taste of the Pacific Highway.. Enjoying more service stations, McDonalds for lunch (McDonalds by now could have become a ride sponsor..).. lots more rain, but felt relatively comfortable after the previous night. Got to Coffs in time to get some snacks and enjoy the sunset. yay!


    Day 5 (Wednesday) - Noosa, no wait....
    This was supposed to be a super ride to Noosa. After visiting a bike shop to adjust my chain after throwing on a bunch of km (I like to keep it maintained, and I've been lubing it every day, especially with the weather!), they gave me some directional 'advice' to avoid the rain, and take a backroad to an inland highway where it would be drier. Cool I thought..

    I start going down this windy narrow back road, which is 80 or 90km long before it joins more major roads. First impressions; it's raining, and this road is shit and full of pot holes.. Second impression; BIG pot holes.. Third; there's SHEEP right next to the road.. WTF.. and by about half way, a truck comes the other way on this narrow back road (I dont have much room.. and there's no room to the sides just dirt), and in the crap weather, with the pot holes, and expecting a cow or a sheep to be in the middle of the road around the very next bend I decide this might somehow be stupider than the pacific hwy, and I might as well turn back. So I do, and about 30km before getting back to Coffs there's a lovely sign.

    I’m given two options - Straight is 30km back to Coffs, or left is <something> creek road, ~20 or 25km to Pacific Hwy. Awesome that's where I want to go, so this will save a bit of time. So I take this alternate route.. Go over a train line.. Then there's a sign about a gravel road, I continue under the assumption they're doing some repairs and it'll go back to Tarmac after a few minutes.. About 10 minutes later, I'm still on this gravel road and now in the middle of the forest, it's still raining, the pot holes are getting bigger and all hold a big brown puddle, steep up and down hills (the up hills I didnt mind, the down hill however.. ergh), and some cliff action.
    Another 5 minutes go passed and I've had enough but push on and FINALLY come to tarmac again. Relieved, 100%!. However, that was a bit preemptive, a minute later I'm back on gravel. it continues, with even larger pot holes, more rain, less gravel, more hills. I'm crawling along, 10 minutes later, I go passed a tractor with the driver giving me a WTF look.. another 10 minutes later, there's a sign.. The slippery road sign, of the car going losing control/going fully sick.. I'm thinking what?! how it could get any worse?! Sure enough, it's now not gravel, and just dirt. And by dirt I mean mud. And I'm on a road bike. I can feel the bike losing traction in the front every now and then.

    Add another ten minutes, I'm going up this REALLY muddy hill, and the up hill is fine, but I know that means there's a down hill to go along with it. The down hill comes, Im going as slowly as I can, and even give it full rear brake very gently and my bike just slides down through the mud (so I release the brake to let the wheel turn just a little bit), and down I slide, my feet hanging out as a last precaution of falling over since I've got no steering, I guess my balance saved the day??. Eventually, and with lots of teeth gritting and heavy breathing I make it to the bottom of THAT hill, and stop and get off to take a look at my tyres and the tread is full of mud.. Wish I took a pic at this moment, but with the rain, and everything else I just wanted to GTFO!

    So I jump back on, thinking if I hit it that bad again, surely I'll end up going down.. Thankfully, the next bits were slightly gravelled, and not entirely muddy, but the occasional loss of traction not bothering be as much after that last adventure, I eagerly await hitting the tarmac, and FINALLY do. Up until making it back to the highway, repeating before every corner "please no more gravel.. please no more gravel", I finally arrive at the pacific highway! And feel blessed.
    (I've since looked up the road I took after getting back, it's called Morbid Trail.. seems to be popular for 4wd'ers :) ).

    Back on the pacific hwy, I keep going, lots of rain, once getting ridiculous, so I pulled over at the next rest stop.. Visited the bathroom and relaxed for a bit waiting for the rain to ease.. It eases to just normal rain (not spitting.. but actual rain.. but still, much better than before) and I saddle up again, as another bikie pulls in, a nod later and I'm back on the road and decide no point trying to race to Noosa given the crap weather and after having lost an hour negotiating mud, I decide I'll just aim for Byron and spend the afternoon relaxing. After finally making it to Cape Byron, the rain is gone for the first time in a while, and I get to enjoy another sunset on the coast!


    Day 6 (Thursday) - Brisbane
    I awake to rain, again. Leave Byron, in the rain (Always the rain it seems now..). Thankfully it's not too far, but the rain does slow me down somewhat, especially when there's trucks around. Certainly the best option is to stay well infront of them! And I'm pretty sick of roadworks on the pacific hwy at this point too. Finally get to close to Brisbane and get to enjoy some amazing pie (maybe 40 km before brisbane?), with it now just spitting on and off yay! Eventually make it to Brisbane. Sure enough, 5 minutes after getting there, torrential rain, and then 5 minutes later it’s clear again. Hah!


    Day 7 (Friday) – Front Tyre
    No major riding today.. Just relaxing for the ride home on the weekend. Spent the morning looking over the bike and lubing the chain in preparation for the ride home the next day. Also noticed the Front Tyre looking like it’s not going to have a whole lot of tread on the side of it once it gets some more km on it.. That, with the 1700km journey home infront of me, and knowing it was going to be a very wet Sunday, I rode through the rain (as always) to a bike shop and finally got my front Shinko Tyre replaced with some Pilot Power!

    Day 8 (Sat) – Going home
    Got up at 5am to make a 5.30am departure from Brisbane.. The target, Parkes, approx 1000km away down the Newell. Highlights included NO rain!! KFC for lunch, and another spray of the chain. And AND, after getting back on my bike after the fried chicken consumption, getting a BANG BANG BANG from my front wheel, which was directly proportional to my speed (the faster I go, the faster the banging.. indicating it’s to do with the wheel.. making me think back to the lovely tyre change.. upon inspection, noticed the mud guard is somewhat close (I already noticed this earlier but didn’t make much of it). So now I try and find a service centre/mechanic open so I’ll find someone equipped with an allen key.. Everything in town is closed.. So I visit a servo and ask there if anything is open “everything closes at 12”.. So where can I find myself an allen key? “oh, I’ve got some!” *out comes a bag of goodies* and sure enough, one that fits my mud guard.. so after a quick loosen, adjust, and retighten, all was good again, and I was back on my merry way! (hoorah!). I made it to Parkes just in time to enjoy the Sunset at the dish, before settling in to my hotel room with a backpack filled with Maccas.. hah!


    Day 9 (Sun) – Home
    I wake up for the last time with a zillion km of riding to do for the day.. The roads very wet with a down pour over night, and the rain continuining.. I knew i was in for rain the entire day.. My legs quickly got sore after the many many hours of riding from the day before which didn’t add to the fun, but atleast my day would end being back in familiar surroundings.. A pretty ordinary day, just very wet and windy. Fun having trucks go passed lifting up a heap of spray, and then dealing with their trail of turbulence, as the wind tries to push me either off the road or into oncoming traffic :D A lovely heavy downpour to welcome me back to Victoria about 50km out from Shepparton (I decided to go the Shepparton route rather than Albury as the rain wasn’t as heavy according to the weather radar) got me off the road a bit to wait out the rain at what looked like an abandoned service station with a gravel road, and then battled on the rest of the way home. Woo! Legs feel dead, ass somewhat sore, arms tired, and the palm of my right hand feels like wood (hahaha!)

    All in all, enjoyed Tasmania a year ago on my bike so much more; better roads, more fun roads, less trucks, constant awesome scenery. I’m also now missing hanging out at servos, and it feels a bit odd to not wake up and spend the entire day riding.

    Cliff Notes:
    1 Melb to Sydney
    2 Sydney to Brisbane up the pacific Hwy in rain
    3 Brisbane to Melbourne in rain.
    4 ?
    5 profit
  2. sunrise nice detailed writeup, thoroughly enjoyed that thanks. 1000kms riding in a day is what the dr orders me from time to time too as theres nothing like just riding from dawn till dusk. Oh and the wetness from the rain just makes it all the more exciting and memorable. Good on you. Get some 4000k or 6000k hid lights before your next trip so you can see where you're going better at night.
  3. Rural roads at night is something I generally like to avoid, so I dont end up meeting skippy the bush kangaroo. :)
    I suppose it's good advice anyway, the stock headlight on my bike is shit. :) and safer is safer!
  4. With the stock headlights visibility on rural roads at night time was very poor and bordering dangerous. After upgrading and going for a full hid conversion it made an immense difference and will never go back to stock. Skippy has mobility as I'm more worried about wally the wombat and blinky the koala who I seem to encounter more than skippy.
  5. wow,
    great lill read and sounds like a journey ill have to try out soon.
    that pie shop 40km South of Brisbane would be the famous Yatla Pie, even has drive thro. the truckies love that place, best biggest pie by a long shot.
    Tasmania would be amazing though, with my surfboard strapped to me side :p
  6. Way to go!

    A few days of riding and nothing else is food for the soul.

    Starts getting hard to find time to get the days off.
    Good on ya for finding em.
  7. Funny how it's all the little frustrations that make a trip memorable.

    Your making me wish christmas/new years holidays would get here sooner.
  8. that's the one! yatla pie! never seen a standard pie so big. pretty cheap for the size

    more so afterwards when you can reflect and have a sense of accomplishment.
    sure can get miserable at times when the rain just wont let go... the good news is, all my stuff stayed 100% dry! mountain designs rain cover for my backpack = win! and my aldi tank bag's rain cover = win too!
  9. I used this ride to flesh out my trip to Brisbane for Easter: thanks!

    Day 1: Macedon to Eden, mostly on the Princes Highway. From Bairnsdale on, remarkably good road with the expected occasional roadworks, lots of fun with more of a 'country road' appeal. Those fast sweepers through the forests were great :) Eden as an overnight was OK, but not as good as it could have been.

    Day 2: Eden to Sydney, more of the same. Excellent to Nowra, PITA into Sydney to say goodbye to an RAN chum with a week or two left of a good life :(

    Day 4: Sydney to Grafton: nearly! Off via the Putty Road, which I have worked along for many a fire season throwing water at the ground, but never ridden along. Like the Curate's Egg, good in parts, but overall worth the effort. Onto the New England Hwy at Singleton with the usual highway traffic, then off at Armidale for a recommended 200+km run down to Grafton for the night.
    First, don't let the curator at the Motorcycle Museum at Tamworth take so long telling stories that you are going to do at least half the run at night.
    Second, don't rely on the petrol stations being open late in the afternoon before Good Friday.
    The ride got steadily worse as the weather turned, so on with a warmer jacket, press on. Then it got dark. Then it started raining, heavier and heavier, and the pot holes in the road in the dark got big enough to need a GS to ride out of. Then the cattle were straying across the road, in the dark, in the rain, downhill around the hairpins.
    A light appeared out of the gloom, which seemed a good place to stop, think about fuel, and put on a rainsuit: saved, it turned out to be the Nymboida Coaching Station :D If you are ever looking for a great place to stay, it has to be right up there with some of the best: rooms big enough to hold a party, spa bath, balcony and breakfast for $90, plus a great dinner for a very reasonable charge =D&gt; On top of all that, a free top up of fuel to get me safely to Grafton in the morning :beer:

    Day 5: up the Pacific Highway to Brisbane on Good Friday to join 12 Kiwi relatives for the weekend. Boring.....

    Day 9: down to the Gold Coast for a visit, then off to Goondiwindi via back roads. Great climb through the hills over Mount Tambourine, then to North Tambourine and more side roads until the Cunningham Hwy and plenty of roadwork holdups at the gap. No worries filtering past the traffic, but be careful of the police waiting halfway up to ping anyone coming through in a hurry. SWMBO came through in the car the next day, and the traffic controller took exception to a bike filtering & had him pulled over by the police :(
    Through Warwick, Inglewood and on to Goondiwindi for the night, only to get hit by a thunderstorm 5km out: but enough sense this time to stop and put the rainsuit on in time to stay dry!
    Day 10: initially on the Newel as far as Narrabri, then strike off to the south east and what I thought would be an interesting run from Bogabri to Mullaley: wrong! All was fine until the first section of gravel, loose enough to need a trail bike over the humps and it went on, and on and on..... only to finish for a while, then start again for a total of ~30km! Through cotton country, so there was also plenty of cotton drifting across the road to get hooked into the radiator, but that was a minor issue, really.


    More tomorrow, after 850km in 9 hours toady (including stops) I'm knackered!