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Dec
31
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The quirky old Court House now Visitor Information Centre at Yarram

We headed from Traralgon to Yarram via the Hyland Highway connecting to the South Gippsland Highway then through Yarram and Alberton heading off the highway to the little seaside village of Port Albert. The road to Yarram is a combination of farmland, forest and plantation with lots of corners and a nice road. The closer to the coast you get the straighter the road gets.



Port Albert

Our return home was again through Alberton to Yarram where we struck out to Devon Meadows and onto Balook via the Tarra Valley Road where we experienced a magnificent example of the micro climate of a Temperate Rainforest which was very welcome since the temperature was 35 degrees centigrade. The road was very narrow (single lane at best for a lot of it) with many corners both exceptionally tight and less so but that was an advantage as the view was so spectacular to rush through it would have been somehow disrespectful. The massive tree ferns and many smaller varieties with rainforest trees and shrubs and mosses made a spectacular backdrop to the valleys and stream views we glimpsed and were immersed in along the way, just beautiful! NB: Very few advisory speed signs on corners and road needs to be respected.



One of the beautiful Tarra Valley walks

Once we climbed out of the valley we turned on to the Grand Ridge Road where the devastation of the Black Saturday fires was very evident. The last time we rode up here was soon after the roads had been re-opened when we rode slowly up to pay our respects to the magnificent surroundings we had ridden through many times and figured we would never see again in our lifetimes. That day the Grand Ridge Road ride was through an avenue of blackened tree trunks and bare black ground with huge black streamers of bark blowing in the wind. Today the vista was one of white and grey trunks looking like skeletons standing sentinel. It was good to see the amount of recovery evident, but also heart breaking to see how little.

Thankfully the Bulga National park (again temperate rainforest) was spared from the fire and is still there as also some of the bush in the vicinity, but most of the country we travelled in through on the Traralgon to Balook Road had been devastated and that was a combination of recovery and devastation. Very sad.



Recovery of the bush overseen by eucalypt skeletons on the Grand Ridge Road near Balook

The road surface on this stretch has deteriorated greatly being a combination of road surface cooked by fire and increased logging activity to salvage burnt timber. In spite of this it is a nice ride down to the valley floor with lots of corners to enjoy and good advisory signs re speeds on corners and some great views down to the valley floor without the trees to obscure the views. It was pretty hazy today so didn’t allow for a spectacular photo and I didn’t have the heart to photograph the damaged hillsides.

Tips to remember:

The Hyland Highway has many milk tankers and logging trucks as well as cars and boats on their way to and from favourite fishing spots so make sure you (all of your body) sticks to your own side of the road.

Services available:

Traralgon – 160kms east of Melbourne on the Princes Freeway
Fuel: Multiple choices including Premium Unleaded and 24 hr.
Accommodation: Multiple Hotel, Motel, Serviced Apartment, B&B and Caravan Park options
Food: Multiple choices from small cafes to bistro’s bars and fine restaurants
General Store / Supermarket: Multiple choices from small to large
Motorbike shop: Parts and service BH

Loy Yang – Locality only / Power Station – no services

Gormandale – Small settlement
Food: Small General Store – Hot pies, coffee & cold drinks available
General Store / Supermarket: Small

Won Wron –Locality only, no services

Yarram
– Medium sized town
Fuel: Including Premium Unleaded BH
Accommodation: Hotel, Motel, B &B and Caravan Park options
Food: Hotel, bakery and café options
General Store / Supermarket: Good sized supermarket
Motorbike shop: Parts and service BH

Alberton – Small settlement
Fuel: Usually available – BH (currently being refurbished..…supposed to be re-opened by Christmas but not yet)
Accommodation: Basic hotel
Food: Hotel
General Store / Supermarket Small
Boat sales and service: Very neat and professional operation


Port Albert – Small settlement
Fuel: Available – BH
Accommodation: Basic hotel, motel holiday B & B & caravan parks
Food: Hotel, café, seafood restaurant and take-away fish and chips (yum)
General Store / Supermarket Small

Devon Meadows – Locality only – no services

Balook – Small settlement and National Park (Bulga Park)
Accommodation: Guest house and Caravan Park
Food: Cafe

Traralgon South – Small settlement
Fuel: Available – BH
General Store / Supermarket: Small


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Dec
20
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No promises but I hope to transfer our 2009 Darwin bike ride over to the blog during January and if I ever get registered again with wikispaces will do likewise with the 2010 UK odyssey and will let you know when it's done.


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Dec
17
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The first glimpse of the Great Dividing Range as we head along the Licola Road

We enjoy the run up to Licola with Norm having carted logs out of Breakfast Creek, Hickeys Creek and Seaton log dumps many years ago. The terrain from Glenmaggie up becomes increasingly rugged and rocky with central Australian red rock terrain and you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the Flinders Ranges or further into Central Australia. We saw wonderful soaring eagles this trip which is a pretty common sight. The temperatures are generally warmer in the winter months though it is a mountain area so weather can change quickly especially further north than Licola.



A view from near the top of CRB (or so the hill was known by log truck drivers some 35 years ago) down across one of the many valleys on the Macalister River

Traralgon to the Seaton turn off just before Cowwarr runs through dairy, beef, wheat and sheep country and is largely flat to gently undulating. Once you turn off onto the Seaton Road you start heading for the hills and by the time you start moving through the Lake Glenmaggie area the road changes to an exercise of climbing up and down the mountains with multiple corners from really tight to big sweeping corners and everything in between all the way to Licola and beyond. Beautiful riding and the views down into the valleys of the Macalister River are awesome.

The ride back into Heyfield was enjoyable also and it was great to see so much water in Lake Glenmaggie.



The bridge at Lake Glenmaggie – good to see the water levels so high, there has only been a river under it for many years until the last year or so

From Heyfield back through Rosedale again passes through dairy and beef country and the roads are generally flat and straight then you encounter a bit more interesting terrain and bush and farmland as you head in and through Gormandale and then some native and pine forests amongst the farmland as you head back to Traralgon literally through the Loy Yang Power Station (an impressive view ) and home. (This area is an enjoyable afternoon coffee run to clear the cobwebs for us to and from Rosedale.)



A view from the lookout over the Open Cut to the Loy Yang Power Station....and a couple of good looking bikes of course!

Tips to remember for the Licola road:

One of the advantages of the commercial traffic is that the road surface is maintained pretty well and Advisory signs are pretty good.

The road is used by BIG log trucks for the majority of the year so you seriously need to plan to not just have your wheels on your side of the white line but you whole body as well.

The roads are reasonably narrow with little or no shoulder before it drops away to the valley floor and often where there is a shoulder it is likely covered in round pebbly gravel so not somewhere you want to end up.



A glimpse of one of the wider corners descending down towards the bottom of CRB. Good to see so much prolific growth after fires and flooding a few years ago when there was huge degradation of the soil

Given the rocky terrain rock falls are not uncommon though the most common areas are well signed.

If there have been heavy rains you will likely encounter washes of pebbly gravel across the road so cause for caution also.

Wouldn’t recommend night time riding in the area as there are many wombats, wallabies and kangaroos and often quite visible in surrounding paddocks from late afternoon on. Cattle grazing in the area are predominantly black and given there have been fires and floods in the area of recent times fences may not necessarily be as secure as they should be so another potential scary night time hazard if wandering.



The Licola General Store

Services available:

Traralgon – 160kms east of Melbourne on the Princes Freeway
Fuel: Multiple choices including Premium Unleaded and 24 hr
Accommodation: Multiple Hotel, Motel, Serviced Apartment, B&B and Caravan Park options
Food: Multiple choices from small cafes to bistro’s bars and fine restaurants
General Store / Supermarket: Multiple choices from small to large
Bike Shop: Service & parts - BH

Glengarry – Small town
Food: Hotel and cafe
General Store / Supermarket: Small

Toongabbie – Small settlement
Fuel: Available – BH
Foods: General store / Cafe
General Store / Supermarket Small

Cowwarr – Small settlement (turn off onto the Seaton Road before the town)
Fuel: Available - BH
Food: Café and Gallery / Art space / Restaurant (Old Butter Factory)and Hotel including fine dining
General Store / Supermarket Small

Seaton – Locality only – no services


Licola
– Small settlement
Fuel: Available – BH
Accommodation: Caravan Park and Camping sites
Food: Small General Store – Hot pies, coffee & cold drinks available
General Store / Supermarket: Small

Lake Glenmaggie – Locality only – no services
Accommodation: Caravan Park

Heyfield – Small town
Fuel: Available – BH
Accommodation: Limited Hotel Motel and Caravan Park
Food: Hotel, Café and Bakery
General Store / Supermarket Small
Bike Shop: Service & parts - BH

Rosedale – Small town
Fuel: Available - BH
Accommodation: Basic Hotel and Motel
Food: Hotel, Café and Bakery
General Store / Supermarket: Small

Hiamdale – Locality only – no services

Gormandale – Small settlement
Food: Small General Store – Hot pies, coffee & cold drinks available
General Store / Supermarket: Small

Loy Yang – Locality only / Power Station – no services

Enjoy the ride!


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