View Full Version : SR500 Rally...

19-11-2006, 09:20 PM
I had Mon-Thurs rostered off work this week, and the only days I had to work were the days I wanted off.. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to head to Bethanga in NE Victoria for the SR500 Club rally. A bunch of us had been there a few years ago and had a great weekend. I got the leave from work for the 3 days, and plans were for Jo to try to get away from work as early as possible on Friday so we could ride up there. The earlier we left, the less of the #31 Highway we'd have to travel.

What do they say about the best laid plans... Jo's work decided only a week or so before to send her to Sydney for the week, leaving Monday and returning on Friday night. That'd mess up our plans for an early getaway, and pretty much excluded Jo from going at all.

So I had a brainwave.. I didn't have to leave on the Friday.. I could leave much earlier and kill several birds with one stone: go for a ride, spend a couple of evenings with Jo, and get to the Rally. I decided on a 2 day ride to Sydney, 2 nights in sydney, then 1 day ride back to Bethanga and stay 2 nights there, leave home Tuesday and return on Sunday.

Monday night I packed and loaded the bike, and Tuesday morning I was out on the road early. I wanted to get a few km under the belt today. The obvious route to the Murray is via Mansfield, Whitfield, Beechworth, Yackandanda, Granya, so that's the way I went.

Mansfield-Whitfield Road

Old-fashioned petrol station in Beechworth

From there it was up the Granya gap, along the River road to Jingellic, Tumbarumba, then Elliot Way, loop around to Kiandra, then up the Snowy Mountain Hwy to Tumut, and stopped for the night at Cootamundra. 789km for the day, and easily within the available daylight. Amazing how much distance it's possible to cover by oneself.

Start of the Murray River Road, and the Granya Gap

Heading towards Tumbarumba

Interesting way to brighten up a concrete tube bunker in Tumbarumba

The Elliot Way.

Just before the Snowy Mountains Hwy turnoff

As seen on our recent trip to Khancoban for the Austouring rally, the water level in the dams right across the whole southeast of Australia is very low. I rode right to the bottom of the boat ramp at the Blowering Reservior near Tumut. It was about 300 metres from the top to the bottom of the ramp, and it was obvious where it had been extended several times as the water level had dropped. They're obvously heading to the point where there's not enough water left to warrant anyone taking their boats out because it stopped 50 metres short of the water. Using my GPS data and google earth satellite images which show the dam much fuller, the point where I was parked is about 245 metres into the dam from the shoreline, and the water depth at that point would have been about 20 metres.

The end of the boat ramp on Blowering Reserviour

Next morning I headed east to Boorowa, then north up a little road (which looked wholly unexciting on my map but was full of pleasant surprises) through Frogmore to Lake Wyangala. From there north to Woodstock, then along the highway for a short while before detouring down some more country lanes and hitting Bathurst from the south, with an obligatory few laps of Mount Panorama and a quick photostop along Skyline straight (and added my own tribute to Brocky on the Holden wall among the thousands of others).

The highlight of the trip to this point was the road from Lake Wyangala to Woodstock. Again, on the map it looks quite uninteresting, and I've never heard nor read about it, but my GPS identified it as Reg Hailstone Way, and it was a bloody ripper, the first section cut into the side of the mountain and then following a ridge and a valley. Bloody good stuff!

Frogmore turnoff.

Lake Wyangala, like many other dams in the area was well down on normal levels.. Only dirt was being held back by the dam wall.

Rock formation in the spillway of Lake Wyangala dam.

Lake Wyangala

Start of Reg Hailsone Way

At Mount Panorama

From Bathurst I headed to Lithgow via the Tarana road, and then down the Blue Mountains into Sydney via Katoomba. Stopped to take a few snaps of Elvis and other helicopter sucking up water from dams near the highway to drop on a bushfire which was burning near Mt Victoria.

Wooden bridge over the railway on the Tarana Road

Lyell Dam

Waterbombing helicopters reloading




Starting the Climb at Mt Victoria

After a rest day sans riding in Sydney (bucketted down for a lot of the day but the afternoon cleared up and the evening was fine) I was up bright and early on Friday morning, with a plan for about a 670km trip to Bethanga. First out of the city via freeway to the Royal National Park, then onto the freeway again, bypassing Wollongong, heading inland and up Macquarie Pass to Robertson for a mid-morning snack at the famous Robertson Pie Shop. On to the Hume Hwy at Marulan and then onto the Old Hume Hwy through Breadalbane and Gunning, on the Hume, and off again at Yass.

Stanwell Park overlooking the Seacliff Bridge

From Yass, headed southwest to Tumut via Wee Jasper. The signpost at the top of the road advises 64km of unsealed road ahead, but there are only 3km prior to Wee Jasper, and quite a lot of obviously recently sealed stuff closer to the town. The owner of the general store makes me a sandwich for lunch and tells me there are only about 30 or so more km of dirt between there and Tumut.

Yass to Wee jasper




One back onto the sealed road the run into Tumut was a bloody ripper. The road is built for the logging trucks... wide and smooth, nicely banked on the corners.

Wee Jasper to Tumut

Saturday morning at the SR500 Rally with Austourers gs and Moike. When I started the trip the Rally was the destination, but now I've been to so many destinations it's just another stop on my trip. I decide to head back home today. Because I'd already ridden the 'intereting way' to the border earlier in the week, I plan to ride back to Albury and then straight down the Hume Hwy, the quickest way home... but as they say about the best laid plans... the bridge across Hume Dam is closed to traffic for roadworks when I arrive... so much for my quick escape, because the alternative route to the Hume Hwy is about a 100km detour. I take the Bethanga Lake road back to Tallangatta. The alternative is a sealed road, but is further to travel, so time taken probably equal regardless which way I go.

From Tallangatta I put the new TomTom Rider through it's paces to find the best route back to Wangaratta. It sends me down a couple of interesting looking roads, which turn to dirt, but successfully nagivated a shortcut into Yack. I head for Wangaratta and jump on the Hume Hwy there. Fuel up at the Glenrowan service centre and plan to continue down the Hume to Seymour, then onto the Goulburn Valley Hwy... but at Violet town I change my plans on the spur of the moment and exit the Hume. The road from Violet town to Strathbogie is a beauty. Then I head west, onto the Euroa-Merton Road, then back home via Yea & Kinglake.


Bethanga Lake road.. Tallangatta in the distance

Violet Town - Strathbogie Road

near Strathbogie

War memorial in Yarck

Map of the GPS track

Google earth track (http://www.thisstupidurl.com/austouring/Nev-SR500RallyTrip2006.kmz)

19-11-2006, 11:36 PM
You've been racking up some k's on that bird of yours lately Nev ! :P

I own some acreage near Woodstock and am very familar with Reg Hailstone Way, having done the Woodstock-Wyangala dash many times. 8) I haven't been down to the dam for a while, but your pics paint a grim picture. Need rain out there bad !!!!

Nice report ! :D

19-11-2006, 11:44 PM
Yeah it was extremely dry. Even down at Wee Jasper the store owner told me they'd had 25mm of rain the week before and the place looked like it hadn't rained for a year.

20-11-2006, 04:09 PM
Freakin awesome nev! :chug:

I need to pack up my stuff and move my arse to the southern part of this wide brown land!



22-11-2006, 02:06 PM
:shock: :shock: :shock:
Jeez, mate....got shares in Dunlop/ Pirelli/whatever? 8) :lol:
You're like a blue-arsed fly....buzzing around, no breaks :lol: :lol:
Thanks for the story and the pics, bewwwdiful !!
And that Wyangala-Woodstock stretch sounds good enough to go there just for that :)

The highlight ... the road from Lake Wyangala to Woodstock.

.... Bathurst to Lithgow via the Tarana road,
......Wooden bridge over the railway on the Tarana Road

Thanks for those routes.....just highlighted them on the maps for the next trip north. :D :D

near Strathbogie

The little weir is Polly McQuinn (great rockpools below the bridge...if there's enough water). Some good riding around there if you're not too fussed about road quality...just out from Strathbogie is Mt. Wombat, brilliant views into the northern plains from there.