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Sydney to Melbourne and back via the mountains.

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by 0gg1e, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Day: 1
    Set out from: Sydney
    Destination: Cooma
    Time in Saddle: 5 hours 12 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 422km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 20.15L
    Total Distance: 422km
    Total Fuel: 20.15L

    Set out an hour and a half late, but that was to be expected. I left home at 0830 and took the M7 then Hume to Golbourn for my first rest and fill up. I’ve done this leg many times and the weather was crisp and dry. I set off and stopped again at Lake George for some snap shots before heading into Canberra. I stopped for lunch and to buy a paper driving map (turned out to be the best purchase I’ve made) as my phone won’t always have reception and the google maps on that would then be useless. I also picked up a SD card for my camera. I set out on the Monaro Highway after that and found myself enjoying the gentle curves and sweeps it offers. Took some photos and caught up to a couple of other riders on the way to Cooma. We rode together for the last 50km or so. So if you saw me on the way up to Cooma on Easter Monday, thanks for the company.

    Attached Files:

  2. Day: 2
    Set out from: Cooma
    Destination: Wodonga
    Time in Saddle: 6 hours 34 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 454km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 22.61L
    Total Distance: 867km
    Total Fuel: 42.76L

    8am start and it was 8 degrees and foggy. The Dririder Climate Pro with its quilted liner, wet weather pants on top and a long sleeved t-shirt underneath were adequate to keep the cold out. The heated grips (great investment) took care of my hands. I was warm, dry and comfortable.
    I headed up to Jindy and the fog lifted about 20 minutes into the trip. The scenery was stunning. Simply beautiful country. It is a must do ride. Full stop. I stopped at the lake and took some photos called my friends who live there and found out they were in France.

    I headed further up into the mountains towards Thredbo. Had a brief stop there and headed to the national park. The road was twisty, narrow and had no lines, but it was a hoot. I had my video camera mounted from my stop in Leather Bark through to Khancoban, but the bugger was out of power so no dice on video of that ride. I had morning tea in Khancoban and headed to Victoria, Corryong was the town I had lunch in.

    After this it all went awry. I wanted to head down the Omeo highway to Omeo to rest overnight. However, I failed to notice that after Mitta Mitta, the road was not sealed and was greeted with a sign informing me that the next 10km was in fact just gravel. Not having ridden on gravel before and fully loaded on my 2 month old bike, 1000km from home and out of phone reception, I felt that perhaps today was not the day to see if I could ride on gravel. The fact that my ABS kicked in anytime I went near the break in my 50 metres of experimentation reinforced this opinion. So I turned around, enjoyed the 60km ride back to Talangatta. It was here that I decided that perhaps Wodonga would be a suitable place to rest. I stopped at the first motel I saw in town. I then switched on the news and saw that the foul weather that had hit pretty much everywhere else except for where I’d been along the entire eastern length of Australia missed me, I felt better. I had planned for bad weather and switched to plan B as tomorrow my luck wouldn’t hold like the weather had for me and I would not be wise to venture back up into the alpine regions again.

    Attached Files:

  3. Day: 3
    Set out from: Wodonga
    Destination: Melbourne
    Time in Saddle: 4 hours 50 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 492.9 km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 28.19 L
    Total Distance: 1369.3 km
    Total Fuel: 70.95 L

    Plan B is in effect. I woke up to rain and wind. Convinced that twisty mountain roads wouldn’t be as fun in the wet, I decided to see a bit of the Murray region. So far the Murray Valley Highway (B400) had been okay. Gentle curves through some valleys as it came down from the mountains. From Wodonga to Echuca it is boring. Kilometres of dead straight road through flat country that blends together. It could be that I was not enjoying the rain but paddock after paddock on a dead straight road is not my idea of a good time. I stopped at a couple of places on the way, but their names didn’t stick. I did stop at Nathaniel for a short break, that towns name stuck because I took a photo of it. I eventually headed to Echuca and had lunch and a bit of a wander around town. My first attraction was Victoria’s oldest brothel. I’ve decided to go back later and have a cruise on a paddle steamer.
    Lunch over, legs stretched back on the bike. More or less straight roads through to Bendigo. My arrival in Bendigo was met with locusts. I thought at first that I was riding into leaves. You know how in autumn with a strong gust you can get a lot of leaves fly off the trees. Well that’s what it looked like, except instead of leaves it was locusts. They were everywhere and at 80 kph when they impact they make a mess and if they hit your neck they sting. I was feeling concerned for the two open face riders I’d seen earlier.
    The stop in Bendigo was brief as I was starting to ache and I wanted to get some real rest and arrive before it was dark. I pushed on to Melbourne and eventually arrived at Flinders St at 6pm. I turned off Flinders St onto Russel about 25 minutes later. With the panniers, I’m just a fraction to wide to split like all the locals were doing. So I had to sit there like a car for the slow crawl down the street. I found the secure parking I was looking for, parked and found my accommodation.

    Attached Files:

  4. Day: 4
    Set out from: -
    Destination: -
    Time in Saddle: -
    Daily distance Covered: -
    Daily fuel Consumed: -
    Total Distance:
    Total Fuel:

    Day of rest. Met up with some friends and had lunch etc.

    Attached Files:

  5. Day: 5
    Set out from: Melbourne
    Destination: Omeo
    Time in Saddle: 5 hours 23 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 406 km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 24.37 L
    Total Distance: 1775.3 km
    Total Fuel: 95.33L

    I made it out of the city without incident and set in for a long run on the M1. The freeway wound its way cutting through suburbs and regional Victoria before spitting me out in Bairnsdale. I took a left on the Great Alpine Road and took my time working my way up into the mountains. It’s a beautiful ride, with winding roads and long sweepers. It has something for everyone. I eventually made it to Omeo about 3:30 and stayed at the Omeo motel on the hill. I talked with the lady that runs the clock shop and am rather worried about coming down the other side of the mountain tomorrow morning. There is only about 100 km between Omeo and Bright, but as I learned coming down the mountains to Khancoban, it’s going to be a long run and Ill need my wits about me.

    Attached Files:

  6. Day: 6
    Set out from: Omeo
    Destination: Gundagai
    Time in Saddle: 7 hours 33 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 522.3 km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 30.37L
    Total Distance: 2297.6 km
    Total Fuel: 125.7L

    Today was an odd mixture of fun, terror and frustration. The day was beautiful in Omeo when I set out at 7.30am. As I climbed over the first rise I saw ominous clouds in the distance. I thought they were further out than they actually were and didn’t realise that I was riding right up into them. By the time I was in Dinner Plain, the visibility had dropped dramatically and the fog caused my visor to constantly mist. The drop in temperature also caused my breath to fog up my visor from the inside too. With the visor up I could see, but my eyes stung and were constantly blinking away the tears.

    After stopping in Dinner Plain and talking to some workers there, they told me to be careful going down the mountain but after Hotham Heights it should clear up as I descended. In the 15 minutes I’d stopped in Dinner Plains, the fog had thickened and set in. So with great trepidation I made my way up to Mt. Hotham and so began the most terrifying ride of my life. After Hotham Heights visibility went from reduced to almost nil. I could see about 10 metres in front of me. I averaged about 25km going down that mountain. It went from foggy to fog and sleet and black ice. However, snow was predicted within the next 24 hours, this was the best weather I was going to get and I wasn’t prepared to winter up there. The front of cloud had (it turned out in hind sight) pushed past Dinner Plain by that point and had almost reached Omeo, so going back wasn’t really that much of an option either. So I stuck it out and eventually reached the bottom of the mountain. On my way I saw a few riders heading up, I hope they turned around, we need a signal that means “proceed at your own risk, really shitty conditions ahead.”

    I stopped in Harrietville for breakfast and a rest. I pushed on after that, enjoying the valley below immensely. Eventually I pulled into Wangaratta where I saw a Buick show. Pushing on to Albury next to have lunch, I took the Hume as I needed to cover distance at this point. Albury for lunch at a pub and a quick stroll to stretch the legs. Then I was off to Wagga via Holbrook to look at the sub and take a rest.

    I eventually got to Wagga at about 4pm and after about an hour of stuffing around realised that there were no beds going, so a quick stop in at Maccas for their free wi-fi and I found out that Gundagai was probably my best bet and took off at about 5.30. It was dusk with the light fading fast. I was breaking my touring rules by travelling at dust and into the dark, but I needed place to sleep so off I went again. By this point my legs ached and so did my wrists and in my haste I forgot to put in my ear plugs, it was also raining heavily so I was in a sore and sorry state when I arrived at my motel for the night.

    Attached Files:

  7. Day: 7
    Set out from: Gundagai
    Destination: Sydney
    Time in Saddle: 6 hours 33 minutes
    Daily distance Covered: 465.4 km
    Daily fuel Consumed: 24L
    Total Distance: 2763.1 km
    Total Fuel: 149.7

    I set out from Gundagai at 8.30 after breakfast and my first stop was Cootamundra. The back roads were free of people and I opened it up a bit and covered the distance in a little over 20 minutes. I then went to Young. I quite liked Young and by the amount of other riders going through it I’m not the only one. I stopped for a coffee and then pushed on to Cowra for lunch.

    I went to the gardens in Cowra and ended up skipping lunch deciding to have it in Bathurst. So I went to get fuel. The petrol station in town was a United. Now having travelled in regional NSW and Victoria for a week I was used to the station only have 95 ron PULP but this place had Premium Plus. What’s the “plus”? I wondered and then noticed in tiny writing that their premium contained 10% ethanol. Now if I want to wreck my engine I’ll try to do it in a fun way, like try to hit 200km in first or try sunflower oil instead of engine oil. I checked my trip computer and it estimated that I had 110km of fuel left and Bathurst was 105km from Cowra. I decided to try for Bathurst and hope there would be fuel at one of the towns along the way. I rode at or below the posted limit for a chunk of the way. I was even overtaken by a Yarris much to my shame. But as I went along the distance to dry went up not down. I managed to get it to 140km at one stage. I eventually filled up in Lyndhurst and made up for lost time.

    Part of the highway is again missing due to road works and I slowed right down on the gravel sections. I noticed a few riders in the opposite direction doing the same. Grim looks of concentration were shared by all involved. I hit Bathurst just in time as I really, really needed to use some facilities by that point. I had a snack and hit the road to Lithgow. There is a Average Speed Safety Camera just outside Bathurst and ending just outside Lithgow. I hope I averaged out as after being stuck behind caravans I made up for the lost time.

    Lithgow and another pit stop followed by another stupid decision. I have a choice now of the Great Western or Bells Line. I was tired and figured the wider easier Great Western would be the go. After Katoomba it was one massive traffic jam pretty much all the way down to Springwood where I should have taken Hawksbury Rd but didn’t as I wasn’t paying attention. Eventually the traffic sorted itself out and I bombed along the M4 until I arrived home.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time this last week and just enjoyed being on the bike seeing some fantastic country. It was great to get out and meet all sorts of people in particular other riders who were eager to share information about where I was headed to and just chat a bit.
    I’ve got a new route planed out for next summer when Ill go back to the alpine regions.

    In summary I spent 38 hours 11 minutes in the saddle travelling 2763.1km, used 150L of fuel, averaged 6.4 L / 100km and averaged 70kph.

    No photos from today, my brand new camera died overnight for some reason.
  8. Terrific report, ticks the most important "Made the reader feel like he was on the ride" box.
    Just a quick stylistic point, try and break your prose up into smaller paragraphs, it does make it easier to read; the main section of the report on the last leg is nine long, long lines long on my screen, and that kinda discourages reading it all...

    Not a criticism, just a comment, ok?
  9. Sure, thanks for the comment. Fixed it up.
  10. Except for the Great Alpine road You missed some of the best riding roads in OZ,
    You rode around them, and didnt know they were there, all bitumen roads as well.
  11. well done and thanks for the write up... i know it can take hours to put together a thread like this so i do appreciate it :)

    the first time i saw this thread i thought that it was another one that was on here just a couple of weeks back.. but infact, its a few threads below!!

    same bike different colour :p

  12. awsome
  13. Absolutely Fantastic!

    Thinking of doing similar soon but starting/ending in Melb.
    Getting close to winter so thinking of a wider loop and miss those high mountain passes.
    Something like Bendigo - Moama - Deniliquin - Wagga Wagga - Cowra - Bathurst - Sydney, then returning via the coast. Probably be some long boring stretches up but there are a few towns there I've never been to.
    That'll give the GS500F a workout.....
    But not as much as this Riding A Motorbike Around Australia
    He's only half way...
    Apparently liked Broome so much that he got some work and will be hanging around a bit...
  14. Terrific read and thanks for sharing that with us. It has always been a passion of mine to ride longer distances, and a Melbourne-Sydney is definitely on the cards.
    It may have to be on the R1, though the more reviews that I read, the more it seems the Triumph ST1050 is the horse for the job.
    Cheers mate and well done on an amazing feat.
  15. Thanks for the ride report and well done.

    I'd be interested to hear your opinion of the Sprint for a trip like that? Did you get saddle sore?
  16. Sounds like you had fun. I was almost going in the opposite direction to you Melb to Syd and back to melbs on my Kwaka 250, left on Friday got back Wednesday. only got rained on once though the rest of the weather was perfect.

    Your last road trip actually inspired me to do it and it was the best 6 days I've ever done. Love the write up!
  17. Nice report - sounds like you had a great time despite the weather. Maybe we ought to do it together next time! ;-)
  18. Thanks for the encouraging replies everyone!

    I had a blast and just enjoyed my time on the bike... well most of the time.

    The Sprint is very comfortable. I'm 6'2" and around 100kg. My legs got a little cramped and my wrists were sore after the 4 hour mark. I found that stopping for a 5 minute break every hour did wonders. My rear was sore after the first couple of days but as my fitness improved so did my ability to sit in the saddle. By the end of the trip I was fine, it was just fatigue that I had to worry about.

    Beza: I can't take the credit for that report as I didn't write it. I know the one you are talking about, I liked how it was structured and that may have caused the confusion... call it an homage if you will.

    Nickers777: Although it pains me to say it... unless you desperately want a Sports Tourer soon for a trip see what the new VFR is like.

    My next trip is set to take place the first week of July. I'm heading up to the Gold Coast for a week. I'm in the process of looking at the roads around that area. I'm going up Putty to Singleton then on to Port Mac. From there Ill go up to Surfers, then put around there for a few days taking the time to enjoy the roads and locations rather than race through them like I did in this trip.
  19. Definitely have my eyes set on the new VFR Ogg1e, however can't see myself parting with the R1 just yet.
    Best of luck with your Gold Coast trip mate.
  20. Make sure you read the Northern Exposure thread then. He traversed some of my favourite roads and you won't want to miss them, especially the Kyogle-Murwillumbah road through Uki. Fantastic.

    Also read my "Six days on the road" thread from my nth coast trip in January.