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Northern Rivers to Melbourne route?

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Cris, Aug 16, 2014.

  1. I'm riding from Lismore to Melbourne in the 1st week of October. It's more functional than a tour -- aim is to get to Melbourne preferably in one piece, and get some km under my novice riding belt. I'm not in a hurry, but nor do I want to add the expense of too many overnights (not camping on this trip). I think 3 days riding will be nice and relaxed, though I'm open to adding to that either for a nicer route, or on the way to avoid terrible weather etc.

    I'd like a scenic route with relatively light traffic, but technical riding per se is not an aim (as I say, I'm a novice). I think I'll take the New England Highway to Tamworth. If I was driving, I'd just go west from there to Coonabarabran, then South along the Newell (Dubbo, Forbes, West Wyalong etc). Last time I went that way traffic was pretty light, despite the Newell's reputation for heavy trucking, but it's a bit dull south of the Pillaga.

    Would appreciate any thoughts.
  2. It's a big ride, just before anybody comments on routes. whats the maximum distance you have ridden in a day so far?
  3. @cjvfr@cjvfr - You're right, it's a long ride. The mitigating factor given my inexperience is that I do have time over the next few weeks to put in plenty of longer rides. Also I ride pretty slowly (my cornering would probably amuse the more experienced among you), and am content to do so for now. On future similar trips I would camp, but think an easy night's rest between days riding would be my best bet for now.

    I haven't been using my trip meter, but longest ride to date was about 2hrs continuous. That's on roads I don't know -- my practise approach is just to head out in a more-or-less random direction, and find my way back eventually.
  4. #4 CraigA, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    Big ride indeed.
    I would take a lot longer and actually enjoy it, as there are so many great roads between your start and finish points.

    The most direct route to Melbourne would be 1500-1600 klms maybe? I would double that because I would be up and down the great dividing range taking the best of the country side and the great bike roads, as well as destinations I'd want to visit.

    I would also only attempt to do 400-500klm a day unless you are on a hardcore touring bike too. You can always stretch that out if you are feeling good, likewise shorten it up if you are tired. Just don't book accommodation.

    Based on that I'd allow 6 days at least one way and perhaps 4 on the return run. Multiple long days in the saddle take a toll on your fatigue levels, hence my conservative estimate. It's a lot more taxing than a long distance trip in a car, but a long ride is more about the journey than the destination anyway.
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  5. #5 Cris, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    @CraigA@CraigA - nice idea, and something I'm sure I'll do, but not on this trip. I have stuff to keep me in Melbourne for nearly 2 weeks, so 3-4 days each way on top of that is practical.

    I'll be able to decide what's comfortable to do in a day on my bike (CB500X) with some more trips over the next few weeks. It seems entirely comfortable to me, but I've only done 2hrs at a time thus far.
  6. #6 cjvfr, Aug 16, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2014
    You need to do a bit more distance stuff to see how you go, you need to be aiming for about 6 -7 hours a day riding to allow for breaks. About 1800ks something like THIS is not to challenging and takes in some interesting roads. I would say 4 days riding and three nights accommodation though. This would average about 450ks a day.

    Based on your experience level you should be careful of fatigue on a long trip, take plenty of breaks But get some longer riding practice first.
  7. @cjvfr@cjvfr Thanks for that -- will have a good look at that route as a possibility. The southern stretch looks more interesting than my default route.

    I should have plenty of time to ride between now and then, and will be using it. I'm not daft about such things though. If I don't feel I'm ready, I won't ride. Not averse to some risk though, either, so I don't feel the need to be 100% confident prior.
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  8. Echo what @CraigA@CraigA and @cjvfr@cjvfr have said , aim for no more than 500km days if you can and focus in the next 5 or so weeks on doing some 500km days - maybe even do a weekend overnight run of say 1000km if the budget and time allow.
    Multiple back to back big days can be very draining if you are not used to it.

    But good on you for having a crack at it , just use your common sense !
    Drink plenty of water , don't have a big meal at lunch ( makes you drowsy ) , if you find your attention wandering that's a sure sign that you're fatigued.
  9. I don't like your route after Tamworth but I understand that you have a limited amount of time.

    If it was me I'd come down th coast to Port Macquarie, then up the Oxley and out to Walcha. Left at Walcha and down Thunderbolt's Way to Gloucester, then Stroud, Dungog, Gresford and out onto the Putty Road at Singleton.

    From Windsor head down the Northern Road to Campbelltown, then The Appin Road to Wollongong. Then down the Princes Highway to Melbourne. Plenty of good road, plenty of good places to stay and a good mix of fun stuff and 'transport stages'.
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  10. Yep, what hornet said, except that at Grafton, I'd head through Coutts crossing towards Ebor, then down through dorrigo. That run from Grafton to Coffs is as boring as bat shit on the Pacific hwy, as you no doubt are aware. The route I'm suggesting has some good roads and excellent scenery.
  11. That's the plan. I would like to fit in a 2-day trip before the big one too. Fortunately (?) I can set my own hours right now, so am not limited to weekends.

    I'll be aiming to arrive in Melbourne 2 days before I absolutely need to be there, so I have room to slow down etc en route if I find I need to.
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  12. Cheers @CraigA@CraigA and @hornet@hornet for the further route suggestions. I only know the main routes south (Pacific, NE Highway, Newell) so I'll be having a good scour of maps with these ideas in mind.
  13. @Cris@Cris let me know how you go mate, am riding down to melb for the 1st time about 2 weeks later than you. Going to the GP yee harrr! (Am riding from Ballina)
  14. Hey @khamil23@khamil23, will do. Haven't quite decided on my route yet, though my decision will be influenced a bit by being a noob, so it may be different from a more experienced rider's choice.

    You planning to take time over the trip, or just gun it down there?
  15. Probably do it over 4 or 5 days. Cruise really. Leave the 11th or 12th and am staying with my old mans mate at phillip island so it doesn't matter if we get there a bit early. My old boy is the navigator, I think we will ride from Ballina - Armidale- Singleton -Scone, and then I forget the rest haha
  16. Sounds good. Looking forward to my trip (and many more in the future).
  17. I did this exact trip from Lismore to Melbourne in November last year in two days by myself, and all I can say was this was painful. But given more time and with a bit of company I would probably do it again.

    Enjoy the ride.
  18. Painful physically, d'ya mean, or just boring? Did you go one of the 'obvious' routes (NE Hway + Newell, or Pacific Hway)?

    I've fixed on doing it over 4 days. Too new a rider to risk longer rides than that.
  19. Physical pain, you start to feel it about 6 hours in.

    Took the boring route from Sydney to Canberra down the Pacific Hway, went from Canberra to Cooma through to Mt Buller down the Gippsland Plains into Melbourne. the last leg was bloody cold. I was wearing summer gear in 2 degree temperature with ice and rain.

    Was pretty awesome though.
  20. Typically, after all the kind advice from you guys, I went and ignored it all ;). I decided the length of the ride was enough of a challenge at my stage, so what I needed was a simple direct route without too much traffic. Main aim: to get to Melbourne unscathed, with a decent number of extra kms notched up. Scenery and twisties can wait for later trips.

    All went well and I arrived yesterday morning. My itinerary was:

    Day 1: Lismore to Tamworth, New England Highway
    Day 2: Tamworth to Bathurst, via Bylong Valley Way
    Day 3: Bathurst to Albury, Olympic Highway
    Day 4: quick run into Melbourne along the Hume

    The Bylong valley way was my one concession to picking enjoyable roads. That was great, though it confirmed my sense that I need more practice before extensive twisty rides, as my progress over the hill passes was .... amusing.

    One challenge for me was the fact that day 3 was extremely windy. Leaning on corners with gusts coming at me from the direction of the lean sometimes felt like the bike would be lifted right from under me. Of course this didn't happen, and I spent a bit of time deliberately relaxing and watching how much the wind was really deflecting me -- it felt huge but was actually only a metre tops.

    Another issue was just keeping alert for the long easy stretches -- I find my bike comfortable and stable, and could easily drift mentally. So I spent time making up exercises, imagining what would I could do if various hazards cropped up, practising dodging imaginary diesel patches, etc.

    Coming into Melbourne was a bit unnerving. Nothing went wrong, but I'm unused to city traffic on the bike, and fresh off 3 hours of very light-traffic highway riding, the transition required fierce concentration. But I made it. All in all it was fun and a good bit of extra riding experience. I'll probably choose a different route for the way back.
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