To Melbourne and Back
By Alan and Meredith Lane-Richardson
Our plans for our Christmas jaunt, like many of our plans, came together at the last moment. We’d intended to get down to Tassie and catch up with Pat and Rosie, but as things panned out we left later than we’d intended and had to come back earlier (work, work, work)!
So Tassie wasn’t do-able, but Melbourne was. So we loaded up the Cali and the Monza with all our camping gear, tools and so forth and set off.
We headed off through Boonah and down the Lions road and spent the first night at Casino, testing the tent in a raging storm. Little did we know that this was to be the last warm day for the entire trip!
The next night was Walcha then down the Thunderbolt to Canterbury for lunch. Magnificent riding country, with the bikes enjoying it as much as we were.
From there we headed out across some back roads via Dungon and up the Putty to Sydney (more nice riding). In Sydney we got captured severely with the cost of the tolls. They charged motorbikes the same as huge four wheel drives towing whopping great boats (NSW loves pollution). So it cost us $14 to get into the city centre. Never again! We spent two nights with friends in Sydney while Alan ran around sorting out the Cali’s electrical problem, which only got partly fixed.
Then, down the East Coast calling into some great spots where Meredith had spent time as a child. The weather was continuing cold and dreary and just not the summer we were expecting.
We left Bermagui (NSW) early, in freezing rain, heading for Maffra (Vic). Another cute town, where camping is as cheap as chips! We’d been advised that the Pambula to Bombala was a must-do ride, so we duly headed off that way. It was a dramatic ride with twists turns, and fog so deep you could hardly see the vehicle in front of you. Then we crested the mountain, pulled into Bombala, looked behind us and not a cloud in sight!
We then headed for Melbourne via Phillip Island and went for a scoot around the track with lots of photos to prove it. What a blast! (Ok, so we scooted around on electric mopeds but the bikes weren’t allowed, and it was great fun all the same)
Rode into Melbourne on toll roads and discovered that it is the best city for bikes! No tolls for bikes and you can park your bike on the footpaths. Wow! We spent two nights in Melbourne while Alan sorted out the Cali’s tyre problem (won’t be getting Metzler rear tyres again). We spent lots of time parking on one footpath in the city then riding off to park on another – almost as good as the open road!
From Melbourne we headed out over the Dandenongs (wet as usual) toward Mt Kosciusko and Canberra via the wine country and detouring through many backroads to avoid the dreaded highways.
On the way we enjoyed a great tour from Wodonga to Cooryong via Bellbridge. Then f-f-froze to death over the magnificent Snowy Mountain country which had seen snow at Christmas and was –6C at Charlottes Pass when we passed through.
Stayed the night at Tumut then headed off to the Central Rally over rough dirt roads with logging trucks and dust and boulders for stones. Spent a great night with many of the AIGOR people and won the longest distance male and female awards!
The next day we traveled on an even worse dirt road into Canberra, spent an hour there (seemed to be long enough) and when the police officer moved us on from parliament house we headed to Sydney on the incredibly windy, straight highway. No joy there.
Two more nights in Sydney then we headed for home along our favorite roads and ways: Putty, Thunderbolt, Waterfall, Summerland and Lions.
After 6,500kms we reckon the East Coast is full of magnificent country, though we only scratched the surface. Next time we’ll take more time and do more exploring – and take more stuff so we’ll be ready to fit new tyres and fix Guzzi electrics.