Saturday, 22 December 2018

Ceduna to Sydney

Plenty of grain trucks at the intersection of the
Birdseye & Tod Highways (in Lock, Eyre Peninsula)
Franklin  Harbour  Hotel

We took the scenic road from Ceduna to Whyalla, riding south to Elliston and then eastwards once more. We stopped for a refreshing ale at the pub in Cowell, then in the late afternoon we pitched our tent in Whyalla. We enjoyed a delicious Indian meal, soured slightly by the $12.90 corkage on our $5 cleanskin and then we were on our way to enjoy the Yorke Peninsula.

Moonta, Yorke Peninsula 

The cool days of our Nullarbor crossing were a distant memory when we rode away from Whyalla, and we watched the temperature rise to an uncomfortable 30 degrees by 8am. We holed up in Moonta for a couple of 40 degree days, hiding in the pub, and under the shade of a tree, until sunset allowed us to enjoy a walk along the town jetty.

Lunch stop, Yorke Peninsula 
Determined to ride some new roads, we criss-crossed our way down the Yorke Peninsula on our way to Stansbury. The 42 degrees felt like riding into the breath of a dragon so we retired to the pub at St Vincent for some instant relief. The forecast SW change arrived in time for us to set up our tent in a beach caravan park and then it rained and blew a gale for two days. Being early risers, and the campers kitchen not opening until 7:30am, we found ourselves bunkering down under the primitive shelter of an outside bbq area at breakfast time.

Innes National Park, great roads but 40 & 60 kph limits.

The locals ran on “Yorke time” and finding fuel on a Sunday was a challenge we didn't expect. The beautiful Innes National Park showed a more temperate mood, only for us to arrive back in Stansbury to find our little tent standing it's own against the howling wind.

Enjoying the great camp kitchen at
Hahndorf Resort (and caravan park)
We were both pleased to ride away from Stansbury and we were rewarded with a delightful ride through Port Wakefield, Balaklava, Nuriootpa in the Barossa, and then on to our destination, Hahndorf, in the Adelaide Hills. After a couple of days of sightseeing, and riding the Adelaide Hills, we were ready to be on our way again but cyclone Owen had other ideas, and we were hold up in drizzly conditions for three more days before good riding weather returned.

Drying out at Swan Hill
We were enjoying a relaxing outback ride along the Mallee Highway, on our way to Swan Hill, until we turned off onto a single lane road, with soft edges, and a thunder squall only a couple of kilometers away. There was nowhere to safely stop to put on our wet weather gear so we rode on in the rain, scalding our stupidity and at the same time I was praising the amazing ventilation on my new Shoei helmet.

High up on the Hume Dam
The next day we set off fully kitted out for wet weather riding. The frequent showers cleaned the bugs from our bikes and we smiled all the while we looked out for kangaroos, some still lingering at 10am. We rode onwards and eastwards through Deniliquin, Finley, and Berrigan. At the little town of Howlong we both had to put up with a number of corny puns, around the town's name, as we amused ourselves. Albury provided a navigation challenge after we refused to accept where the signposts to the B58 were taking us. Google maps was our best line of defence to find our way, and before long we were enjoying the curves as we followed the Murray River to the picturesque caravan park at Walwa.

Dawn on the Murray River, Walwa Caravan Park
We awoke to a fine day and took the opportunity to enjoy riding the high country. Timing is everything, and while trundling along Jingellic Rd, on our way to Tumbarumba, we arrived just after the local farmer had let a herd of cows and calves out onto the road. There was a guy on horse back, one on a motorbike and a cattle dog but they didn't try to help us find our way through. They stood on the side of the road; watching, waiting. We eased our way through the herd, pressing the freshly laid cow pats firmly into the tread of our tyres. I had to stop a couple of times when the beasts were awkward at getting out of the way. The farmer gave a subtle acknowledgement when I made it safely to the other side; I think he was hoping for more entertainment.

Lake Jindabyne 

Riding through the lanes of the Kosciuszko National Park is simply wonderful. We must have cruised around at least 1000 bends as the road winds it's way up and down the mountain passes. We only rode 300km that day but it was late in the afternoon when we arrived in Jindabyne.

A game of hide and seek in Batemans Bay

We were back on the road by 8am the following day, taking advantage of a fine day to make our way to Batemans Bay. It was easy to occupy ourselves in this town by the sea, catching up on a travellers administration and enjoying excellent fish and chips by the wharf.

We thought the riding boots, helmets
and wine added to the apartments decorations

On the 21st December it was time to ride the final 300km from Batemans Bay to our apartment in Sydney. We fell for it again and only half an hour into a five hour ride we found ourselves on the side of the road putting on our wet weather gear. Still the ride was uneventful, the traffic was courteous when we needed it to be, and our Airbnb rental is a treat; until next time............

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