View Full Version : The great NSW holidays

Stuart T
27-10-2006, 01:52 PM
After getting my a^% kicked by the mods for linking to another site (gee, it's like being at Netrider :lol: ) I've extracted the digit, got myself a free photobucket account and put this together. Let's see how long a free site holds it together before it bandwidths my pictures :roll:

2 weeks of leave were booked in, at last, a holiday! Even better, we managed to work it out so we both got a bit of what we want. We did it all on the bike and stayed some nice places to kick back and relax. It’s not the dirtiest or most scenic of ride reports, it’s just 2 weeks of being on holiday, with my wife, on my bike. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But even holidays can have some work in them and the first day was a 700km run to put some previously well travelled countryside behind us. Left Melbourne, out via the Hume but headed off at Chiltern to backroad it across to Culcairn. It was a windy day, which made for a bit of extra work keeping the whole plot heading North but we made good time. Had a quick sticky beak around Junee. It has a certain heritage appeal, especially the square outside the station.

Kept the throttle on though and made Cowra just before dark.

The morning after we were into holiday mode. We had to be in Mudgee that evening, only 250km away and had all day to get there. So off to the Japanese Gardens at Cowra for a look see. Pretty impressive gardens, not something you expect to see in regional Australia.

Made it to Bathurst for lunch, where we met up briefly with a group of riders heading south to the Moto GP at Philip Island. After lunch, it was off to Mt Panorama for the obligatory lap of the race track. There was a large growing memorial at the top of the mountain to Brocky.

Off the mountain and into the hills we went, heading for the hamlet of Sofala. This was all new roads to me, so life was good. Sofala was described as a quaint reminder of the gold rush era, I dunno about that. Once the sun went down, I reckon the banjos would be out and the streets deserted. All it was missing was a tumbleweed blowing down the street.

Out of Sofala and on towards Hill End. Pretty, twisting dirt route up through the hills. I was really enjoying myself and getting some rhythm going until I briefly caught up with the local school bus which had just dropped off a couple of kids at their farm. I didn’t quite have time to scoot past it and thought I was in for a slow dust eating ride into Hill End. I never saw the bus again, his local knowledge and the dust in my face ensured I had neither the ability to see or the speed to get past him. It’s only slightly embarrassing to get beaten by the school bus, but we were on holidays and I didn’t really care. A prowl through Hill End showed that the town had lots to offer the historically minded but the day was vanishing fast so we made tracks for Mudgee. The road north of Hill end is certainly faster than the road in from the south, but it made for one wide eyed moment where we had to thread the needle between the school bus now on its way back and a deceased kangaroo on the road at about 100km/h. Found out that our accom at Mudgee, which we’d assumed was reasonably classy, was actually very classy. Luckily we were on a BMW so could blend in seamlessly.

No riding the day after, off on a winery tour. The only motorcycle content was that Robert Stein winery has a nice little display of vintage, mostly British, motorbikes. Managed 10 wineries, so the morning after was not pretty. Luckily, I was feeling much better by the afternoon so we headed off to Wellington to have a sticky at the caves. When we got there though, we found that their cave tour times were pretty crappy and we didn’t fancy a 1 ½ hour tour at 4pm then a 120km dodge the ‘roo ride back to Mudgee in the twilight. Luckily we found a decent place for a coffee and turned the day into a 240km ride for a coffee.

The day after we broke camp and headed north. Headed across to Bylong, the road a mixture of good gravel and bitumen.
The valley is stunning scenery, great vistas everywhere, then over to the Upper Hunter valley, the run down the escarpment was a blast. Cruised in to Muswellbrook then up the New England Hwy towards Tamworth but a peruse of the map revealed that a side trip to Nundle was in order. Great road running out to Nundle and we eventually made it back onto the Hwy the other side of Tamworth. The thought of all that country music is enough to make me shudder at the thought of actually going there (sorry Tamworth). After a chat with the girl at the servo, we decided to head to Bendeemer for the night. On a weeknight you’re usually pretty right to find accom, but a golf group had descended on the town and the pub was booked out. Luckily the caravan park had a small cabin available. Dunno about being a cabin, but it was cheap and it was a bed and so we found ourselves in the ‘purple cupboard’ for the night. A redeeming view though.

Luckily the food at the pub was good.

The day after we kept on the New England Hwy and headed to Armidale in search of a decent coffee. Armidale looked to be a fairly decent town, I could think of worse places to live. It also had coffee, decent coffee. After a quick poke around town, we were off again, but as always, there was plenty to stop at. We headed in to Woolomombi falls, quite spectacular.

A look at the guide maps showed a road off the Kempsey Rd that headed towards Mt lookout then another road that came back onto the Waterfall way at the Trout hatcheries. Out we went, nice condition forest road, the loaded GS handled it very well.

On the return, we got to the intersection of the road we were planning to use as the return back to Waterfall way and not only was it marked 4WD only, but also had a notice about a bridge being out and that it was 4WD in dry weather only. A bit concerning. I got Liz to hop off and I rode down the track for a short distance. It was definitely a different condition track, mostly red clay studded with large rocks. I knew from the map earlier that it crossed a number of streams so figured it would be steeper than the track we had come out on. There were also no tyre marks on it since recent rain so discretion became the better part of valour and we took the ‘safe’ route out. But it’s been bugging me ever since. Was I being woosey? Would we have made it through on a loaded GS 2 up or would it have been a struggle. It’s a little thing but it feels like unfinished business to me.

Made good progress onto Coffs, the road out of Dorrigo was fantasic, superb twisties. My brain was fighting the confusion of wanting to take in the view, look at the scenery and ride like a maniac down this twisting nirvana. I had a good run for a short while but got stuck behind a car. I was kind a glad, we just took in the scenery instead, so was slightly surprised when the car actually pulled over to let us through.

Made it to Coffs, we were there for 3 nights. The seafood co-op at the jetty quickly became our favorite place, so much fresh seafood, so little time. Yum.

Stuart T
27-10-2006, 02:01 PM
After a relaxing time at Coffs, we hit the road again. Down to Port Macquairie then headed up the Oxley Hwy. Having never been on the Oxley before, understood why everybody raved about it, it was pretty special. At the servo at Walcha, scratched the head, talked to the girl at the servo and worked out the back way to Nundle. We came across the Port Stephens cutting which had us scratching our heads. Apart from being an amazing bit of road that worked its way down the valley, it was nowhere near Port Stephens. What was more amazing was that a sheep carrier was working his way up the hill and doing it tough. We pulled over and let him through, not sure how he negotiated the car behind us!

Nundle pub for the night, great little pub in a pretty little town, good beer and food. Pretty much perfect, highly recommended.

Great view from the verandah

The morning after, we took the time for a look around town. The woollen mill is well worth a look, they’ve taken old wool mill equipment from all over closing woollen mills around the country, brought them all together and run it as a successful boutique mill, keeping alive a part of Australia’s wool industry that was vanishing all too fast. All of the work can be viewed from a mezzanine floor. The wool carder was one of the oldest bits of equipments, built in about 1916.

Again, asking for road advice was worthwhile and we took off out of town across the ranges to Timor before continuing on to Gundy and back to the Highway. The road was probably the best road of the trip, rolling off the range heading south, seeing the country open up in front of you, all dirt road but in excellent condition. Good weather always helps days like this though.
There's a bike in the middle of the shot

We made good progress down to the Hunter valley to our holiday cabin for 2 days of exploring, drinking, eating (the total tourist)
Good view from our porch

After our 3 night sojurn in the Hunter, we were off again. We headed across to Stockton to give Liz a chance to sit up front, but on quads out on the dunes. Had a 2 hour blast around the dunes with one of the quad tour companies, it really was a lot of fun, especially when they teach you how to ride up and down 30m sheer sand faces.

Back on the road and up the Hunter before veering off to the Putty road for many miles of madness before stopping for a break at the halfway roadhouse. A reminder here of the fact it’s a small world. There was another BMW GS at the roadhouse, he’d been dropping off copies of CycleTorque magazine. I then recognised the bike as being the same one that had been used by our instructor at an off road riding course in Feb. The rider agreed that it was the bike but told us that Miles had left Cycletorque and was now working as the marketing manager for BMW Aus.

Ended up at Lithgow for the night. Found a pretty impressive lookout in the morning, right on the edge of town.
Does the view make my arse look big?

The day after we headed for the Jenolan caves. After winding our way down into the valley, we were pretty impressed that you ride through the middle of a cave to get in but even more impressed with the Swiss Mountain style chalet nestled in the hills.

After a cave tour, we headed up the hill and on towards the Abercrombie R road and Goulburn. It’s a great road with surprisingly little traffic. There’s only a few small sections of dirt left now each side of the Abercrombie R. After Goulburn, we hit the freeway for the first time in many days. 100km later at Yass, we dive back off the freeway and head out towards Wee Jasper, getting there not long before dark. The accom at Wee jasper was a bit, well, basic. Liz wasn’t in the mood for it so my plan of getting to Wee Jasper before dark was good, plan B of continuing on to Tumut, along a twisting, narrow dirt road through roo infested country in the semi dark was not so good. But it worked and we made Tumut a while after dark and intact.

The day after bought the first sign of rain in 2 weeks. Bit of a bugger for us, but given how dry things were getting all thought the country, I wasn’t about to complain.

But we were back in familiar countryside now and made comfortable progress through Tumbarumba and headed across towards Jingellic. On this leg we copped a very very strong side wind and rain, but the BM didn’t seem to get too upset by any of this, so we plodded through it fairly comfortably. It cleared up by the time we hit the Murray river road so we had a reasonable run along one of the best motorcycle roads in Australia. With its long sweepers you can see all the way through it’s a great road, you just need to keep the speed up to make the most of it.
Wattle, always looks great in Spring, the stuff is just everywhere

The run up Granya gap was a disappointment though. A storm had ripped through there not long before we got there and we had to pick our way between the fallen branches and leaf litter. Made tracks for the Viennese Patisserie just out of Yackandandah and arrived there in a torrential downpour. It’s a great place and the owner has a very interesting collection of motorcycles in the shed which I had seen in February. The Honda 750/4 he had been half way through building in Feb was now complete and had been raced at Broadford the day before we got there. Apart from the engine, he had hand built everything himself, quite a fantastic engineering and construction job.

Shamefully I didn’t get a photo of the food, but for those who have passed the sign before, stop next time, the cakes are fantastic.

We made it to Beechworth early afternoon where we decided to stop for the day. We had a day up our sleeve and weren’t in a hurry and it kept raining so we called it quits. Found a B&B for the night before a prowl around town. We found a great museum at the old Murray Brewery. It now brews its own cordials and also has an impressive exhibition of Lighthorse Infantry memorabilia.

Settled in for the night after a great meal in town. The final day should have been a shortish, easy run but we stuffed around and stopped everywhere and made such a relaxing day of it, it took us all day to make it home.

It was our first big two-up trip with the BM but with the Jesse’s and Givi top box, we had no trouble packing. By the end of the trip, it was only taking 10 minutes to pack the bike.

27-10-2006, 02:50 PM
Great read Stuart!

.. By the end of the trip, it was only taking 10 minutes to pack the bike.

... I knew there was another reason why I wanted a GS!!!!

27-10-2006, 03:24 PM
.. By the end of the trip, it was only taking 10 minutes to pack the bike.

hehe... over 23 days holiday I managed to reduce my bike packing time from 1hr down to 45 minutes. :)

29-10-2006, 08:54 PM
Glad you enjoyed NSW Stuart.
Ahem...living in Armidale...one of the coldest places in NSW in the winter mate.
Glen Innes, nearby to Armidale, reckons it IS the coldest town in NSW.
Glen Innes has a modern version of Stonehenge, worth a look if you're up that way again.
If you ever stay at Jenolean Caves, make sure you ask to stay in the Manor House, it has all the modern amenities, Caves House does not.

29-10-2006, 10:40 PM
Thanks for sharing :chug:

Great pics and glad you are enjoying the GS 8)

29-10-2006, 10:59 PM
Glad you enjoyed NSW Stuart.
Ahem...living in Armidale...one of the coldest places in NSW in the winter mate.
Glen Innes, nearby to Armidale, reckons it IS the coldest town in NSW.
Glen Innes has a modern version of Stonehenge, worth a look if you're up that way again.

I was filling the bike at a petrol station in Armidale in the middle of winter and the bloke filling the car next to me asked where I was heading. I told him we were staying the night at Ebor. He reckoned I was mad, coz it was bloody cold up there at night.

30-10-2006, 03:59 PM
I was filling the bike at a petrol station in Armidale in the middle of winter and the bloke filling the car next to me asked where I was heading. I told him we were staying the night at Ebor. He reckoned I was mad, coz it was bloody cold up there at night.

But it was also the most memorable place we stayed for the whole trip - actually the only place where I would highly recommend :)