Tour de vic...


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After the better part of 2 years without more than a weekend ride away, Jo and I both had some leave from work, and the freedom to leave the city. We could have crossed the border into NSW I think, but decided to just stick to vic. Get out and about, share the love (our money, their food, accommodation and petrol) and relax.

The mission was simple. Stay places we haven't been before, enjoy the ride, but not too much. Most motels have a 10am checkout and a 2pm check in, so the aim was, check out as late as possible, and then check in as early as possible. This left enough time for about 300km riding each day.


Having recently moved to the western suburbs of Melbourne, the exit from town was all new to me, out through Keilor and Melton, and then sticking to country roads which travelled west.

The Yaloak South Wind Farm makes itself apparent as you're climing a steep hill on the Glenmore Road. The wind turbines are incredibly close to the road here.


We stopped for lunch in Buninyong before heading southwest and aiming for Camperdown, which would be our first stop of the night.
After parking the bikes and changing, we took a walk up Mt Leura, part of a large volcanic complex on which the town and surrounds are built. The walk up the road to the top was long, but a gentle incline. The views from the top, across the town and the surrounding areas were worth the effort.



There were several walking tracks up and around the hill also, being much steeper than the road.


In the main street of Camperdown is probably the most impressive town clock tower in Australia. Built from a bequeath from a family of the earliest pioneers of this district in the 1890s.



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The reason we had headed west was because the forecasts for the next week were much dryer in the west, than east of Melbourne, with the one exception being Saturday, when rain was expected as a large front passed through the whole of Victoria, so I decided to head for Warracknabeal, and stay for 2 nights.

We headed northwest from Camperdown, through farming country which was lush and green, and rolling hills which could be mistaken for areas of Gippsland, which really shows how much rainfall the state has had in the past months. At Dunkeld we headed north, through Geriwerd. We took the detour up to the Mt William Carpark.


Some stunning views heading back down Mt William


Lunch in Halls Gap. We found a USA style smokehouse called "Flame Brothers" in among the cafes in the middle of town. Fantastic food. Highly recommended as a lunch stop.
It was a spectacularly lovely day. Perfect weather, in the low 20s, and Halls Gap not overcrowded with tourists and daytrippers.


There aren't many bends between the Western Hwy, and Warracknabeal, and an hour or so later we were stopped in Warrackhabeal at the Warrack Motel. This turned out to be a real gem.


It sits on the Yarriambiack Creek, which is both a blessing, with picturesque scenes like these, but also the curse of mosquito and flies to keep you company.




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On Saturday, the radar showed several large storms heading across western Victoria, but most missed Warracknabeal, although there was some flooding in nearby towns we only saw a couple of light showers. We spent the day relaxing at the motel, and strolling around town.

The window display in a local op-shop.



At the back of the motel, was this covered camp kitchen area. Dining and kitchen inside the cabin, and seating, standing and bbq and pizza oven in a covered outdoor area. Our lunch was a pizza from the supermarket cooked in the camp pizza oven.


This scrawny looking friend came to see what scraps were left over from our lunch.


The weir which dams the Yarraimbiack Creek. Without the weir, it would just be a narrow trickle of water through the town.


The town of Warracknabeal has hundreds of native trees lining the streets and these are full of these Musk Lorikeets which feed on the flowers.


Dinner at the local pub was a beef parma. Not a bad alternative to a chicken parma.

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Our first stop of the morning was a short detour out further west, to the towns of Jeparit and Rainbow. They're not really on the way to anywhere, unless you're in north western Victoria and heading to Adelaide, but I knew there names because the bank I worked for still had had branches in many of these small towns in the early 90s, and I was familiar with all of the branch names. Jeparit was no surprise, a small town with not much going for it, but Rainbow was a surprise. Most people outside of the western districts would have never heard of Rainbow (unless you were reading one of Sir Francis ride reports from a few years back). Despite it feeling "west" of Melbourne and only being about 50km north of the Western Hwy, Rainbow is further north than Albury. To my surprise the bank still has a branch operating in Rainbow. The town is bigger than I had imagined.

We found a cafe in town which whipped up an egg and bacon brekky roll.


and a Bill's trough


in the centre median of the main street is an EV charging station (at the base of the nearest palm tree).


From rainbow we headed north east, through lost of wheat farming country, past Hopetoun, Patchewollock to Ouyen. My first choice of lunch stop in Ouyen, the Outback Jack cafe, which I stop at when I have a work trip to Mildura, was closed, but the Victoria Hotel came to the rescue, serving up a couple of very meaty roast lamb and gravy rolls.

Also found another Bills Trough across the road from the pub.


From Ouyen we went north to Hattah, and then east to Robinvale. This road takes us past a huge photovoltaic solar energy farm near Wemen, with over 300,000 solar panels. We arrive at Robinvale which is our next overnight stop

Honest I've never been here before, except to refuel the bike and use the public toilets on trips to the Wintersun Rally in Mildura, but the pub burned down about 6 years ago and due to issues with permits, still sits as it was.


Park in the middle of town.


Main street of the shopping centre. Becuase of the extensive fruit growing in the region, the town has hundreds or thousands of Malaysian, Vietnamese and Tongan workers living here, as evidenced by 3 separate asian grocery stores on the main street. Food choices are quite limited in town too, with no pub, there is just a fish and chip shop, a pizza shop or the choice of 3 different Chinese restaurants. Being a Sunday the kitchen at the local golf club, and the restaurant at the motel are closed.

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The museum in town was closed, but its possible to peek through the cyclone fence..



and of course, a Bill's trough.


View from the bridge over the Murray River.


Canoe tree on the banks under the bridge.



Next to the bridge, at the entrance to the caravan park is what is claimed to be the largest windmill in the southern hemisphere with a blade span of 30 ft.



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Today was an easy trip down the Murray River for a bit over 300km.

First stop was in Piangil. A tiny town just off the highway. There was not much of note here, although it did have a police station and a petrol station, although the local police station doesn't seem like it sees much action.



Lake Boga is about midway between Robinvale and Echuca and there is a museum set up here which houses displays related to the wartime service which this town saw. A WW2 base to service flying boats was set up here, far away from where the Japanese would ever go looking for it. The Catalina museum has video as well as static displays of WW2 memorabilia from the 1000 or so servicemen who were based here.



A 27 litre Rolls Royce Merlin V12 engine, which was used in many WW2 aircraft including the Supermarine Spitfire.


A Catalina flying boat.


Inside the Catalina, looking from the rear towards the cockpit


Lake Boga


We stopped for the night in Rochester, a town about 20km south of Echuca, and about 200km north of Melbourne.

Rochester's claim to fame is that the worlds oldest dog lived here. It died aged 29 in 1939. I think they could do better with their tribute.


Painted silos are the place to be these days. If your town doesn't have them, you're not on the tourist trail.



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Rochester has an annual mural painting competition, and the winners and notable entries are displayed along the side of the road on the way into town. All of them have a price tag, so if you spot something you fancy, it can be yours to take home. Here are a few of the better ones.






A famous son of Rochester was Sir Hubert Opperman. Known as Oppy, he was a favourite of Australian cycling crowds and also the French, after he won several of the major Australian and French cycling races in the 1920s and 30s. He helped make "Malvern Star" a name synonymous with Australian cycling.


Another local boy is the former policeman Ron Iddles, who has this laneway in town named and painted up in his honour.


I noticed this plaque in the bed of the rose garden in the park in the middle of town, adjacent the trainline.
A fence which gets it's own plaque must be very grandiose and noteworthy indeed.


You be the judge.



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Today was our run back down south to Melbourne. The only stop we made of any note was in Colbinabbin to see the painted silos here.

The sun rising in the wrong direction doesn't really help the photography. The silos depict different aspects of the history of the town.
The place is of interest to me personally because my great-great-grandparents emigrated from Denmark/Germany to Victoria and established themselves in Colbinabbin, and lived here and raised their family here in the 1860s and 1870s along with many other Danish-German immigrants who moved to this district and established the town here.


From There we tracked south, through Heathcote, Lancefield and eventually back to home. 6 days on the road, and about 1450km in total for the trip.

GPX track


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
Mt William Carpark.


Got some great pics there :clap:
And above the whole lot those skies and puffy white clouds here and there....makes the CoVid shackles pop, doesn't it?
That Mt. William carpark is a strange sight though.... my last memory of that had the vegetation not higher than 10-15ft and it was all bare where the road comes up, behind that info-board there.
Yeah, it's been a looong time....


Old Timer
.... The mission was simple. Stay places we haven't been before ....

With all of your travels over the years, I suspect you may have found that difficult.

.... climing a steep hill on the Glenmore Road.
I only found that road a coupla years back, the undulating and curvey alignment makes for some spirited riding, even at legal speeds. The last bit of road through the climb leaves a bit to be desired, bumpy, poor surface, narrow,not fun with on-coming traffic, but the views across valley are spectacular.

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