A mob of sheep being hearded along the road side to confirm you are in rural Austratralia
That you are in the mid west of NSW
I waited till it was clear to skirt around the outside of the mob and the sheep dogs and farmer skilfully hearded the sheep into the selected paddock
You also know you are in mid west NSW when you set up tent in the back of the Premer Hotel and enjoy the hospitality and a few Schooners of Old.
But the purpose of the trip north was not to enjoy the mustering of sheep or the taste of a Tooheys old but to test the Steinbock’s comfort for long touring and to test its ability on some of my favourite riding roads. Also to test it on trails I had been reluctant on which to ride the mighty breva.
The Steinbock handled the beautiful roads of the Coffs Coast area of NSW with aplomb taking the beautiful Waterfall Way and its surrounding roads in its stride. AA full tick of approval indeed
But the real test was the Armidale to Kempsey back road that included 127 km of varying road surfaces through national parks and beautiful farming land. (see map above)
What a ride! I also became very aware of how tiring riding on trails iy is compares to road riding.
In the highlands south west of Kempsey are the beautiful Ellenborough Falls. The longest single drop falls in NSW
From to falls east there is there is the Flying Fox Refuge in Wingham on the Manning River
Not far from the coast and its beautiful beaches
The Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac is emblematic of the biker culture in this part Australia
And a travelling piecemeal adventurer can find like souls – lovers of bikes and boats
The test was complete and the ride back to Melbourne was direct and purposeful
As I write Melbourne and Victoria are in a circuit breaking lockdown.
Hopefully, these actions curtail the current outbreak of Covid 19 and I will soon be on my adventure to Central Australia via the Oodnadatta Track.
Arriving in New Delhi on 1 December 2008 for a first visit to India was more chaotic that was to be expected.
It was only 5 days after the the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, which when added to the massive construction program, that was being undertaken for the 2010 Commonwealth Games there was a special craziness in the city and its people.
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.