The Mighty Breva meets the Mighty Murray in North East Victoria

I had approached the Upper Murray from the long way around

Starting from Yarram in South Gippsland

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A small town famous for its street murals.

Its winter and the high roads over Mt Hotham and Falls Creek are closed so it was the low road

Bruthen to eskdale

A pearler of a ride from Bruthen north to the little Village of Eskdale 223 km of curves and into the Upper Murray Region.

Has to be the greatest unrecognised rides in the world.

It was damp cold and at a pass through the Alpine National Park it was 1c and my mind turned to thoughts of black ice on the road.

A cabin waited for me at the Eskdale Caravan Park

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Welcome refuge after a long wet ride

A good night sleep and onto my next destination

The Great River Road starts at the bridge that connects Victoria and NSW at Hume Weir and follows the winding course of the Murray upstream to Khancoban at the base of the Kosciusko National Park.

The Road is around 180km of scenic windy road along the Murray River.

The views of the Murray are special especially if you take a bit of time and pull off into some of the river side reserves and camp grounds.

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The weather was cold but clear and not too bad for riding if you have the right gear.

But the joy of winter camping is campfires

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As the Great River Road is developed as a tourist road the is are well layed out scenic  stops with interpretation on the river and pieces of sculpture

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The camp facilities along the road are great quality. Especially at  Walwa where you can camp with great facilities and a campfire right on the banks of the river.

The road finishes at Lake Khancoban in NSW

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The scars of the recent bushfires are there, both on the landscape and in the stories of the locals

But the land and the people are resilient and signs of renewal abound

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And of course there is something  very special about a winter sunset inland

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Maldon in the Central Goldfields of Victoria, Australia

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In many ways Maldon is the little town that stood still

Built in the 1860’s during the height of the Victorian Gold Rush

It remains largely unchanged

 

There is a lovely 2 hour ride to Maldon through the Central Highlands of Victoria

Past the farming and old logging towns of Greendale and Trentham

To the Spa centres of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs

The Hepburn – Newstead road is a little ripper

From Newstead perched on the Loddon River its a gentle curves and sweepers through scrubby bush to Maldon

And its Gold mining history of diggings and old gold processing building ruins

 

And like all good old country towns there is the little quirk

The little Triumph motorcycle shop.

Looking as old as the town and the Triumph Motorcycle itself

Not surprising as Maldon host the a major highlight of the annual All British Motorcycle rally

The ride from the Newstead Racecourse camp ground to Maldon

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One of my most memorable visits to Maldon was to see a round of the 2013 World Motorcycle Trials World Championships

Held on a specially designed course on the side of Mount Tarrengower

Which provides a beautiful view over Maldon

What a beautiful ride on a crisp winters day!

Apollo Bay to Port Campbell on the Great Ocean Road

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Apollo Bay Fishing Harbour

To get to Apollo Bay there is the route along the eastern part of the Great Ocean Road or

The Road over the Otway Ranges from Forest

After travelling via Anglesea and Lorne last week this time it was over the Otways.

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Tucked between the Otway Ranges and the sea Apollo Bay remains one of my favourite places to visit and to stay.

From Apollo Bay heading west along the Great Ocean Road in the midst of the Otway National Park is the turn off to Cape Otway and its impressive light house proud upon the steep cliffs of the Cape.

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A beacon for shipping on Victoria’s Shipwreck Coast

Past Cape Otway the landscape and the road changes.

East of Cape Otway the road is narrower often clinging to the cliff face and the corners tighter, with patches of dense rainforest.

The sandy surf beaches nestled between rocky headlands like Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay

West of the Cape the road evens out more sweeping curves than tight corners, the land an open plateau across the top or the windblown cliffs with offshore the rocky monuments carved by the prevailing wind and sea.

From Port Campbell the view back along the sandstone cliffs toward Cape Otway in the late afternoon light is a sight one never tires of.

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The Great Ocean Road continues onto Warrnambool from Port Campbell, but my route took me north through the coastal hills and farming land to historic Camperdown

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And its famous clock tower.

Then road back to Melbourne.

It is so wonderful to be able to do this ride again free of traffic like it used to be 40 years ago, when sections of the road through the forest was still gravel and tourist coaches had not been invented.

The lockdown provisions in Victoria still preclude staying away overnight.  All the hotels and camping grounds are still closed.  It was nearly a 10 hour trip by the time I got home in the cold and the dark but what a ride and how good to be free!

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus 8 – Home in Australia

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Egret hunting in Koroit Creek

Free as a bird

After 14 days locked in the Gilded Cage of enforced quarantine

It was such a relief to be out in the fresh air and sunshine

On my bicycle

On my favourite loop around the bay

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Pelicans fishing and looking across Hobsons Bay

And then time to get the Mighty Breva on the Road

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On the Great Ocean Road

With a mate

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Over the last 10 or so years I have avoided the Great Ocean Road as a ride

The road has become blocked with tourists coaches heading for the main attractions along the road

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So I had missed the grand vistas looking along the cliffs and across the ocean

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The bike in the rhythm of the winding road as it winds along the cliff face, and through the forests

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But this day the roads were empty, the sun shone upon me and the joy of riding this magnificent piece of road was one again enjoyed unhindered.

 

A Bush Christmas

A Bush Christmas is synonymous with Australia

But now much of our bush, Australia’s Bush is on fire

Not all

but too much

too much rare and precious flora, rare and giant trees and flowers

Much of Australia’s unique fauna, quolls, koala, snakes, goannas

to name a few

burnt alive in the fires

So its a sad Bush Christmas for those of us that love nature

her bounty and her beauty

The fires are not so large and intense in Victoria so I’ve taken some walks in the bush

The Ada Tree (above) is special, over 300 years old and a towering 75 metres high.

One of the last remaining giants of the forest

A Giant Mountain Ash found only in the southern parts of Australia

So few of these great trees remain

And in the damp gullies ancient Beech Trees remnants of Gondwana land and dominated the forests in wetter times.

The forest has its special sights sounds and smell.

See the tree ferns, hear the whip birds call

The birds have no voice in Parliament, no capital, but a beauty in their song

What a sad place it will be if we kill that song.

Happy Christmas and reflect and enjoy the wonderful things nature have given us

This Christmas think about how we can give nature a present

Heavenly Goddess

Taoist temple and Heavenly Goddess Statue, Footscray, Victoria, Australia

The heavenly goddess

Rising from the remnants of industrial decay

An old abattoir

Now parkland that were once holding pens for slaughter

Waterways once polluted now revived

Renewal

I had a teacher once

A boat builder

As I made mistakes when building a my clinker row boat

He would say

There is nothing that cant be fixed

Maybe the Heavenly Goddess is a symbol of renewal

That there is nothing that cant be fixed

There just needs to be the will for renewal

Clinker detail

Goodbye to the Melbourne winter

I’m saying goodbye to the Melbourne winter

Cold old Melbourne winter

Windy cold icy Melbourne winter

Still cold Melbourne winter where the weak sun warms the skin but not the bones.

My home town

In many ways a beauty by the bay

View of Melbourne from Williamstown on a clear winters day

She sparkles at night

Arts centre and cafes in Bourke Street

And by some standards its not as cold as others suffer

You can even ride your motorbike.

But when the icy rain falls from the grey skies

Its time for this adventurer to give his goodbyes.

Welcome me the warm arms of Europa.

Chapter 3 of my European motorcycle adventure is about to begin.

NYE Yarra River Cruise to the fireworks in Melbourne, Victoria

The vessel

Futura in her pen flag flying ready for NYE

A full moon to guide us

The skipper preparing the boat

Image by Brian Mckinnon

The merry revelers on board

Up the river under the Westgate bridge

Keeping watch for other vessels

Image by Brian McKinnon

Image by Brian McKinnon

Under the Bolte bridge

The city skyline full of light

Image by Brian Mckinnon

Then at midnight the fireworks

Image by Brian Mckinnon

Image by Brian Mckinnon

Now it’s 2018!!!!!