Budj Bim and the Coorong – Beautiful and spiritual places.

Budj Bim in Western Victoria and the Cooring in south Eatern South Australia are beautiful and spiritual places. Particularly spiritual for the Australian Aboriginal people who have occupied and cared for the land for 10,000 years.

The purpose of the trip was to meet up with friends from Adelaide at Kingston SE which sits at the southern end of the Coorong. It also claims to be the lobster capital of Australia!

Budj Bim National Park was a stop on route.

The campground is noted for its families of koalas. Beautiful to see but their growling and grunting through the night makes sleeping a challenge!

The park is set around an old volcano. In the park there are small lava tubes and lava canals you can explore as you walk around the old crater.

The basalt rock covers the local most of the local landscape. On the road out to Tae Rak (Lake Condah) there is Tumuli (lava blisters). Unique basalt rock blisters dotted on the landscape.

Tae rak (Lake Condah) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tae Rak incorporates the oldest aquaculture farm in the world. An Eel farm that has operated for 6500 years

Due to recent heavy rains the lake was full of water and the still day meant the water was mirror smooth

At the cultural centre I joined a cultural tour with an aboriginal guide.

It’s about a half day ride from Budj Bim to Kingston SE and the Southern Ocean and an extra special sunset.

The Coorong is formed as the estuary of the Murray River (Australia’s longest river) where is flows into the Southern Ocean.

The Coorong is a series of lakes running south for 200km from the Mouth of the Murray. The lakes are separated from the ocean by high sand dunes.

The lakes vary from almost dry saline ponds to deep expanses of water brimming with wild life.

Climbing over the dunes the Southern Ocean is wild and cold and pretty much deserted.

Of course I could resist taking a dip in the cold ocean.

The Coorong was the setting for the famous Australian movie Storm Boy. Also in the documentary Wash My Soul that examines the life and music of Ruby Hunter and Archie Roach there is stunning cinema photography of the Coorong.

Dotted around the lakes are reminders of colonial settlement like the well dug by Chinese immigrants as they made the long walk from South Australia to the Victorian goldfields in the early 1800s.

In my 2022 travels this was my December trip. There was lots of water in the Coorong which was beautiful. The big flood waters that fell in NSW and Victoria in November are still yet to reach the Coorong and the Ocean. Maybe another visit in the next month or so to see the lakes in flood is on the cards.

A bit like opposite ends of road touring in Australia. The BMW adventure bike and my friend’s EV.

If you would like to find out more about touring in an EV visit: littlecamperevtravels.blog

Around the Coorong the is much else to see and taste, art, wine, food and music.

Summer is finally in Victoria, Australia

On a clear warm spring day with a touch of summer in the air there is no better place to head the down the Great Ocean Road for a ride with a friend.

One of my favourite stops on the Great Ocean Road is Wye River, a beautiful beachside village.

The Wye General Store Cafe is a great spot for lunch and a cold beer on a hot day.

I should have gone for a swim in the Southern Ocean while there but the riding was just too good.

Mid week, little traffic, no wind and warm on this beautiful road. Perfect biking conditions.

So back home it was on the bicycle and down to Williamstown Beach, my local, for a dip.

The weather is still going to be volatile in Australia’s south east but summer is definitely in the air.

And on a warm evening Melbourne shows off her colours when you look across the bay from Williamstown.

The signs of Spring are around.

The Noon Flowers are in full bloom at the salt Marsh in the Jawbone Reserve.

Also the water birds are returning to the mangroves and mudflats to feed and breed. The wet conditions in inland Australia may mean that some birds may not come to the coast but stay in the inland wetland. But it was great to see some arrivals like;

Spoonbills;

Egrets;

White faced herons;

And the old friend that rarely leave, the Australian Pelican. This one was catching a fish. Hunting, priming, then strike. Two attempts for two fish.

There are also beautiful views in and from the reserve.

Another sign of spring is finally here was the nice turn up of Guzzis at the monthly coffee catchup on Saturday.

A collection of bikes at the coffee kiosk in Lygon Street an Italian Hub in Melbourne

While it’s still a battle for Spring to kick winter out the door, it will prevail. Such is the cycle of the seasons. Meanwhile way up north in Queensland. Julia Creek has experienced its hottest ever October day- 43.9c.

When travelling in Europe people ask me – What is the weather like in Australia? I answer – It depends where and when. The above is a good example of why!

Lovely rides north of London

It’s hard to believe that my nearly 6 month northern hemisphere adventure is coming to and end. I arrived in budding april days of spring and leaving in the October autumn. Flying south back to Melbourne in a few days.

I have been back in England for a couple of weeks and indulging in some local rides. In the UK there are places designated as Areas of Natural Beauty and these are where I head.

The Cotswolds is one such place with rolling hills and farmland and villages built from the local stone dotted through the land scape.

A little further north of the Cotswolds are the Shropshire Hills . Close to the Welsh border and the Severn River Valley it’s the entree rides around the hills of the Midlands and their network of canals.

East of London there are villages such as Thaxted with its beautiful old buildings.

And if you are lucky you may see a Master Tthatcher at work rethatching a roof.

Maldon on the east coast is home to the fleet of Thames Sailing Barges. Beautiful little ships that carried cargo along the east coast of England for over a century and a half.

The sailor in me marvels at the skill of the sailors of these Barges who sailed them loaded with cargo up and down streams and inlets with 5 metre tides flowing quickly. The true sailors skill.

The mighty breva is off getting serviced ready for storage as I prepare to head back to Australia. Master mechanic and friend Badrick has given me his Moto Guzzi 1200 sport to ride as he works on the Breva. That’s what guzzista do.

Gorge du Verdon a walker and rider’s dream

The Gorge du Verdon in Provence offers spectacular riding and views from the top of the Gorge and walks up the cliff face and through the Gorge.

Unfortunately due to the long drought in Europe the water levels I n the Verdon River were low but the views still spectacular. And the cold water inviting for a soak on a hot day.

Castellane was my base for exploring the Gorge.

The imposing rock at the edge of the town provides a first glimpse down the Gorge.

Point Sublime is about 17km along the Gorge Road from Castellane and is a starting point for a number of Gorge walks and for canyoning.

The short ride to the Point gave a taste of the riding joys to come but first day was hiking.

It’s about a 300 metre decent down into the gorge a 1 km walk.

At the bottom of the gorge the first stop has to be a dip in the river.

The walk along the Gorge floor follows a tracks, sometimes beside the river, sometimes cut into the cliff and sometimes a tunnel through the cliff.

The next day was for exploring the road around the top of the Gorge and ended up doing some storm dodging and chasing but what views!!!

Some have said the Gorge du Verdon is amongst the most beautiful places in Europe. I won’t argue.

It certainly makes a wonderful backdrop for the Mighty Breva.

Dear friends a lot happened between La Rochelle and Castellane. I’m in Tuscany now and a lot has happened since Castellane. Sometimes adventuring gets in the way of blogging. Luckily this is a discontinuous narrative and I can fill in the gaps later.