High Country Ride, Autumn 2018

1500 kms around the Victorian high country in 5 days, with Barb and Colin, friends from Port Lincoln South Australia where we all lived and worked in the late 1970s.  Barb and Colin were on their BMW R1200RT, and Liz and I were on the mighty BMW R1200GS.  These two bikes are quite similar, and are ideal for a ride such as this.

The photos below are a sample of a few of the highlights of this ride.  It’s entirely possible the captions add nothing to the photos.  I know of one occasional reader of this blog who is firmly of this view.

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0800 departure from Melbourne on day 1.  Destination Bright, via Marysville, Taggerty, Snobs Creek, Jamieson, Mansfield, Whitfield and Milawa.  Overcast conditions until north of the ranges beyond the Black Spur.
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Rest break by a mountain stream in the national park south of Lake Eildon, between Taggerty and Jamieson.  These two have enjoyed many a laugh together.
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View over some the dry eastern reaches of Lake Eildon, on the descent into Jamieson.
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A side street in Jamieson.  It’s a peaceful place.
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Day 2 started with a ride up and down Mount Buffalo before heading off to Harrrietville for morning tea, after which we rode over Mt Hotham to Omeo and an overnight stay at Anglers Rest.  Photo shows the bikes parked near the Mt Buffalo Gorge and Chalet.  Crisp clear air and deep blue skies at this elevation.
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The hang gliding launch ramp at the Gorge on Mount Buffalo.  The ramp faces north.  Visiting this site brought back some great flying and holiday memories.
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The hang gliding launch ramp. There is a dacron tell-tale either side of the end of the ramp, to give a pilot about to launch useful information as to the wind behaviour. This ramp is 4527 feet above sea level, and 3200 feet above the valley floor below.  It is a sheer drop over the end of the ramp.  It’s not a difficult launch in the right conditions, but there is no room for error.  I have taken off here in my hang glider and climbed to over 8,000 feet above sea level in the thermals which are plentiful and powerful in summer.
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Lizzie and the GS beside yet another right hand hairpin on the climb up to the summit of Mount Hotham.  The most distant mountain range visible between Liz and the dead tree branches is the Mount Buffalo plateau.
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Barb and Colin with the BMW R1200RT nearing the summit of Mount Hotham.
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The BMW R1200GS in its element.  This is a very evocative image for me.  There was a high pressure system over the state which created a temperature inversion. The air in the valleys was hazy as a result.  But as we neared the top of Mt Hotham we climbed above the inversion into crystal-clear cool air.
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Mount Buffalo in the far distance, and Mount Hotham in the immediate foreground (near the summit).
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Anglers rest north of Omeo is on the Cobungra River, which joins the Big River not far south of Anglers Rest. At their confluence these two rivers become the Mitta Mitta River.  This is Alpine National Park country.  These horses were tethered near the Blue Duck Inn (the pub at Anglers Rest) after a day’s riding in this remote and mountainous area.
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Unseasonable warm weather saw most of our daytime riding in temps in the high 20s and low 30s. But with clear skies, the nights and early mornings were cold. Frost greeted us as the sun rose on day 3 at Anglers Rest.  But the temperature quickly soared as the sun climbed above the ridges.
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Poplars on the banks of the Cobungra River at Anglers Rest.   I had to wait for the sun to rise high enough to illuminate the full length of the poplars before taking this photo.  The camping area is just the other side of the poplars near the river bank.  The question is, did I post this photo with the reflections at the top or bottom of the image?
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The Blue Duck Inn at Anglers Rest.  A warm and historic pub favoured by anglers, bush walkers, motorcyclists, canoeists and the like.  Cosy accommodation with a wood fire in every room.
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North of Anglers Rest, near the turn off to Falls Creek. The road was all curves, but at various points there would be a sign announcing the next 2, 5 or 27 kms of curves!
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Day 3. We rode from Anglers Rest to Tallangatta, then along the Murray Valley Highway to Corryong. We then headed west on the road which closely follows the Murray River through Walwa and similar small towns. We returned to the MV Highway via the Granya Gap – a longtime favourite set of curves of mine.  This photo shows the might Murray River in its upper reaches where it is clear and clean.
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On the banks of the Murray River.
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Lizzie on the banks of a bend in the Murray River. It was very tempting to go for a swim, but a daylight arrival in Mt Beauty was favoured over riding in after dark.
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This is where the temptation to swim peaked.

 

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Yackandandah for a coffee and a very nice vanilla slice on day 4.
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I followed the GPS for the route from Milawa to Whitfield and found this uncrowded and picturesque dirt road.
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On the last night of the ride we opted to stay on Mount Buller. Sunset in the high country never disappoints.
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Lizzie, perfect pillion passenger, in the last minutes of the golden hour on Mount Buller as the sun was about to disappear behind the summit.
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Some time after sunset and not long before last light this was the view to the north from Mount Buller. It shows some of the high country we had ridden through for the last 4 days.
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Steep descending turn.  The Mount Buller road does hairpin turns better than most.  There had been a bit of rain over night so the trip down was slower than the trip up the night before.
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A favourite watering hole in Yea. Excellent lunch, and they do care about their coffee.  Overcast skies, 30 degrees C and rain threatening but not delivering.
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1500+kms in five days. About 85 litres of fuel used. The motorbike performed flawlessly, notwithstanding its age (9 years) and its ‘experience’ (220,000kms ticked over on this ride).  Great country, great company, perfect weather, and uncrowded dry roads.  I took this photo with the Nikon on a mini tripod using the delayed shutter release.  As I took my place beside Liz we realised there were gum leaves threatening to photo bomb us – hence our list to the right.

6 thoughts on “High Country Ride, Autumn 2018

  1. John, a spectacular travelogue. Your evocation is transporting.

    I love the photograph of you all on the hang gliding ramp, looking like action heroes, possibly The Incredibles, ready to save the day.

    It brought back memories for me too. Yackandandah, where I spent many Easters with my cousins, roaming in the bush and pristine air. And the Blue Duck Inn where I’ve had many a fishing trip beer, now backlit by that tree, gorgeous in russet leaf glory.

    It’s not just the R1200s going well, you all are.

    Cheers

    Mark

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  2. What a fantastic overview of a fantastic ride. Thanks so much for your great organisation and fun company. Looking forward to our next journey together XXXX

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    1. It was a great ride in great company Barb. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The fact that some of the country was looking a little dry for this time of year was a small price to pay for the warm days, refreshing nights and entirely dry roads. I particularly like the photo of you and Colin beside the RT on a bend in the road near the summit of Mount Hotham – real high country atmosphere.

      Bring on the next trip.

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  3. It was a fantastic 5 days. I felt really safe and comfortable the whole time. The photos are beautiful and a great record of our adventure. Thanks for making it happen. X

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    1. You’re an excellent pillion passenger Lizzie. Pleased you were comfortable throughout. It was a very relaxing ride through beautiful remote country in perfect weather. Expect further invitations of a similar nature.

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