Well after a 2020 full of upheaval and Australia acting as a island of refuge and safety in this strange covid 19 world it was time to take a change of direction.
Have no fear readers and followers the mighty Breva has not been cast onto the scrapheap of motorcycle blogisms
With over 180,000 Km on the clock at is time for the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva to get some TLC
So its place is on the work table in the shed at the moment
It is time to explore central Australia and the mighty Breva was not the bike for this trip
It was over 40 years ago that I rode a Norton Commando Interstate around Australia
Highway 1 – the main highway around Australia- in those days included around 2,000 km of dirt road up in the north of Western Australia and near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Heading south from Darwin the Highway turns east and Tennant Creek heading to the east coast and avoiding Australia’s red centre
In 2014 I took the mighty Breva to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia but the red centre still evades me
Its time to remedy this and the I’ve chosen a BMW F800GSA to do it
The aim is to head off from Melbourne in early March and head up through South Australia to the Flinders Ranges and along the Oodnadatta Track to Alice Springs and Uluru
The next 7 weeks will be about setting the bike up for the trip
And honing up my off road skills.
So stand by friends and followers the next adventure is Australia’s Red Centre
Off the ferry it was a ride through the Mornington Peninsula to Cape Schank and its magnificent view over Bass Strait
There is a lovely ride from Cape Schank to the township of Flinders before heading up to the first set of mountain twisties around the base of Mount Baw Baw.
And through some magnificent old growth forest.
After a run on the back roads of Gippsland camp awaited at Bruthen and the start of the Great Alpine Road.
From Bruthen the Great Alpine Road runs up the Tambo River Valley
Up to the summit of Mount Hotham
The northern side of the mountain is the most steep and a bit of a testing ride at times and then just after it flattens out there is a turn off to Mount Beauty over the Towonga Gap Road; with its beautiful views over the Kiewa Valley and the Mount Beauty Township.
Storms were forecast and a caravan was found beside the Kiewa River
After the storm the next morning was cool and the clouds still hung in the Valley
A 33 hectare urban forest created in the 1970’s from an old bluestone quarry
What a wonderful vision of the then Local Government Council to create this haven in what was then a very industrial suburb devoid of open space.
Only about 12 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne
The fate of the quarry was sealed when the digging hit an underground spring and the lake was formed.
Over the the four months of the Melbourne lockdown I have walked the trails of this urban forest.
Seen the changes as winter turned to spring and now as summer approaches.
The trees in blossom
The resident black swans with their cignets
The flock of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos that came for winter and went back bush in the Spring. Unlike us terrestrial animals free to fly to and fro as they please.
The bird life by the lake is vibrant wattle birds, butcher birds all too quick for amateur wildlife photographer like me
But this little blue wren wasn’t shy and struck the perfect pose.
The hard bluestone walls that surround the lake loom large and bare the cracks from the many explosions that were used to extract the bluestone.
Those cracks now form handholds for climbers to practice their skills.
And in the rock faces there is the subtle marks of human presence
Mosaics of the birds in the park
And as the days got longer and warmer and summer is only an month or so away
The Blue Tongue Lizards come out to bask in the sun.
Walking in Newport Lakes and cycling on the Williamstown bay trail (posts here, here and here.) have made me appreciate my local space very much. How lucky I am to have access to these elements of nature in a big city.
After for months of lockdown in the City of Melbourne the restrictions that have kept Melbournians separate from the rural areas of the State will be lifted in a few days.
The Mighty Breva will roam again across the local countryside, on the coastal roads and over the windy mountain passes.
But before I sign off my local explorations
A pelican in flight a couple of evenings back down at the Koroit Creek estuary.