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.
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
The air was crispy cold as I headed out of the city and into the rural hinterland of Melbourne
As I passed over the Murchison Gap the rich green farming land was rolling out in front of me – a sight to see
The little back roads winding through the hills and farmland beckoning
But it was a holiday weekend and the roads were slowly filling, even the back roads were starting to bulge with caravans being towed by big SUVs. Post the Covid 19 lockdown I think all Melbournites were keen to get out of the city.
After the lovely tourist town of Marysville I was heading for the Black Spur only to hit a long line of traffic
A sign to Warburton a quick to the left and I was on a little road through the forest