A few weeks ago I was invited to come on a five day ride through the Victorian High Country to the Snowy Mountains area. Of course I jumped at the offer! It was great to be a guest on someone’s ride, rather than being a participant in planning and booking accommodation and the like.
DAY 1: Four of us from Geelong met around 8.30am on Saturday 21st Jan then took the Princes Hwy, Western Ring Rd and Hume Freeway as far as Broadford, then turned inland and met the rest of the crew in Yea. From Yea we headed to Mansfield for lunch and then hit the twisties from Mansfield over to Whitfield. Bob’s bike actually made slight contact with a Ducati that was sliding down the road towards him, along with a fallen rider who was coming from the other direction. From Whitfield it was a lovely cruise down the King Valley, then up the Tawonga Pass and then up to Mt Hotham for the night. All up 595 kms for the day.
DAY 2: After a reasonable night’s sleep at Mt Hotham (I never sleep really well the first night away) we packed up and Ron the builder led us down to Omeo in the cool morning air. After a great breakfast we headed along the Omeo Hwy to Mitta Mitta. I led this section and these continuous curves are exactly what the ZX14 is built for. I got into a nice rhythm and Graham tucked in behind me. He and I stopped about 20kms out of Mitta Mitta and waited for the rest of the crew to catch up. I think the Victory’s of Peter and Ron were a bit of a handful in the tight twisties. We had a break under the trees by the Mitta Mitta River and then it was off to Tallangatta for lunch. It was a very pleasant 25C temp at Talangatta and the rest of the day we rode under clear, blue skies. From here we rode up the Granya Gap then along the banks of the Hume Weir on the Murray River Rd (C546) to Walwa. This section was incredibly green and scenic. By now it was getting pretty warm (around 30C) and after some cold drinks (non-alcoholic!) we crossed the border into NSW and rode onwards to Tumbarumba via the Tooma Rd. We pulled into my favourite spot at the Southern Cloud memorial lookout. It was a cruisy run the rest of the way to Tumbarumba and by the time we checked into the pub, we were well and truly ready for some cold beers, followed later by a pretty good counter meal at the same pub. Total = 405kms.
Roadside debrief after riding the twisties of the Omeo Hwy.
DAY 3: Day three’s ride commenced at a ‘Gentle’ pace in sunny weather, yet again. It was an easy pace as a couple of the ‘fellas were feeling the effects of the prior two days, mainly in the form of back and shoulder pain. Both were Victory mounted actually and clearly that style of bike is a lot of work in tight, twisty stuff. It was great cruising along past all the commercial apple orchards in the cool morning air. We headed over to Tumut, then had a really nice run along the Snowy Mountains Highway (B72) to Adaminaby for lunch. Max and I had a spirited run for quite a few kilometers which was exhilarating. After lunch and a couple of pics of the big trout, we motored over to Berridale. As we checked into the motel early in the afternoon, so Jimbo, John, Max and I took off for a scenic loop of the region which took in Dalgety, Jindabyne and Lake Eucambene. By now it was pretty hot and after a little dirt tracking at the lake (thanks Garmin!) we headed back to our lodgings at Berridale. The local pub was the venue for our evening meal as it was the only place open! However, being Monday all they had available was pizza – so pizza it was! I had a great sleep in a comfy motel bed. All up with Eucambene circuit = 390 kms.
The long & short of the crew!
As this was to be a reasonably long day we headed off just after 8.00am and took a nice morning run down to Bombala for brekky, via Dalgety and a short section of the Monaro Hwy. John headed for the coast from here, on his way to spend a few days in Canberra. After breakfast we travelled down to Cann River via the Monaro Hwy. Even though it is a highway, it is quite a scenic and enjoyable ride down the Monaro. Passing by the Mt Imlay without a quick squirt down it was a bit sad though! True to form, we barely reached the Victorian state border and it started to rain! The quality of the road surface became poor as well, compared with NSW.
From Bruthen we took a convoluted route to our destination at Mirboo North. Most of this was just boring straight roads that needed to be traversed to get to our accommodation at Mirboo North. We’ve stayed at the 1st Tee motel at the golf course previously and Stan always looks after us with a good price on the rooms and by arranging for someone from the pub to ferry us to the pub for our evening meal. All up, 506 kms.
Would Jimbo be tempted from his Harley by the Victory?
DAY 5: After a light breakfast in our rooms we saddled up, fuelled up and headed for a cruisy ride along the Grand Ridge Road (C484). It was wonderful just bopping along with views from the Strzelecki Ranges in the morning light. We crossed the Princes Hwy and headed up from Neerim South to join the scenic, twisty Yarra Junction – Noojee road. At Powelltown we pulled in to the pub – which is every bit as much café as it is pub. There is a very pretty seating area out the back that adjoins the rainforest.
After coffees we said our farewells as three of the group would be turning off a little further down the road near Yarra Glen. The scenic riding continued and at Kinglake we came across a random breath-testing station. That was no problem and then about 15 minutes later were pulled over by two motorcycle cops coming in the other direction. Our lead rider continued on thinking that the flashing lights were all about the car immediately ahead of us which had no number plates. One cop took off after him and pulled him over whilst the other cop directed us to ride up the where Graham had been pulled over – I guess it’s a safety thing for them. Anyway, the no rego plates car was just ignored! Our licenses were all checked and our details written down (surprisingly no electronic devices were used). Jimbo’s now well-worn rear tyre drew the officers’ attention and he was advised to have it replaced ASAP. However, none of us were booked and the cops were friendly and professional in their interaction with us. We pulled in for lunch at Wallan. From here is was a perfunctory run around the outskirts of Melbourne then on to Bacchus Marsh where there was yet another breath testing station. This time we were waved on! Obviously there was a blitz on leading up to the Australia Day long weekend. I rolled into my driveway late in the afternoon having done 402 kms for the day and a grand total of 2,298 kms for the trip.
Many thanks to Ron for inviting me on this ride. He’d done an excellent job with all the trip planning including routing, loading the roads into his GPS and booking the accommodation. There was lots of laughs and banter with a great bunch of fellas. All the bikes ran well and we had no mechanical issues or any other problems. It was a brilliant run which I thoroughly enjoyed, with great company and excellent roads and scenery.
Unfortunately closed on Tuesday we were in town.