Pre-Xmas trip December 2013 my first camping trip on bikes!
Straight after work I rushed home, tied all the luggage to the bike, rode to Gregs place and we left Melbourne after 7-8pm, For the first night we stopped somewhere between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance, we had some coffees, muffins and chips at makos in Bairnsdale , then probably rode for another half an hour . it was already past midnight when we turned off the highway into the bush. We then kept riding for another few minutes on gravel in complete darkness, when Greg said: “wait here I will check this track going to the right” – , i said: “Ok” , stopped and waited for a minute or two, before I heard on the intercom grunting and heavy breathing, i asked “are you alright ?” Greg said “yeahhh, fineee”. Grunting continued and a minute later he said: “OK, come over, help me lift the bike, i dropped it”. He was a bit unlucky to do a u-turn . I wasn’t much help either in lifting the bike , i had injured my back hitting too many balls at the golf driving range, and was struggling to even do up the laces even more lifting the bike. but we managed to lift it up, nothing was damaged not even scratched as it was almost stationary drop. This is not even 1200GS , I wonder how those guys manage to lift their bikes in the middle of nowhere especially if they are on their own.
Anyway, we found this nice camping spot few minutes later, very green, next to some water puddle or creek it was hard to tell in the middle of the night, as we started to unload our bikes and setting up tents, zillions of little sand flies or their relatives came out of nowhere and started getting into my eyes ,ears, mouth just everywhere, I think if you could run quick enough and with your mouth open you could probably eat equivalent of a good steak amount of flies. It was really annoying, I haven’t had such experience in probably 15 years (last similar experience was back in Kazakhstan during fishing in some lake) I thought “what have I got myself into, if all camping is going to be like that, I probably will not go camping anymore”. I wanted to put my helmet back on and ride off asap. I probably winged for another 15 minutes.
Greg said don’t worry they harmless, only attracted to light and don’t actually bite. “Ok” I thought, tried to ignore them and tried to not use torch as much, so eventually we both lost interest in each other, I didn’t care about flies and they didn’t care about me. We setup the tents and I got the alcohol cooker going to boil some water to make tea. It was probably already 2am when I hit the mattress.
Next morning we had breakfast at Lakes Entrance, filled up the tanks and asked the gas station attendant where we can get fresh prawns. He pointed at the boat across the road that just arrived from the sea. We got 2 kilos of freshly caught and boiled in sea water prawns and took off to Mallacoota.
Arrived to Wallagaraugh River Retreat (upstream from Malacoota) just after lunch time.
Setup the tents near caravan converted house on the nice plush grass. Had the prawns for lunch , they were not bad , juicy but smaller then Queensland tiger prawns.
After lunch we went fishing caught some bream.
I wasn’t as lucky as the other guys I only got one undersized bream which I released and the other ones wouldn’t hook on, just take my prawns and leave my hook naked. During dinner where we consumed what we caught in the evening guys talked about a black snake that they saw few days ago in their caravan and annoying frog that was making noise last night. That certainly made my going to sleep very relaxing and comfortable. I was holding my breath and stopping my heart to listen to every rustling, thinking it was a snake wondering around. The Wallagaraugh River Retreat is a fantastic place to visit, its very relaxing , very green, lots of animals, kangaroos come really close, parrots that you can feed from you hand, pelicans etc.
Next day we did more fishing and left retreat in the afternoon. Our plan was to ride to Omeo and camp around there. We picked up some beer at Bruthen and probably few minutes into riding we noticed it was getting dusky. We decided to look for nearest camp spot as riding twisties in the dark for few hours didn’t look very attractive, especially with few twisties having gravel patches. Few minutes later we saw a turn off to a bridge across the river. We explored it and as we crossed the bridge we saw the ambers still glowing in what looked like a recent fireplace , probably someone camped here last night. So it was decided to stay here, next to the river and the highway. Brought more logs and made a proper fire, cooked some camp food ( canned beef, powdered soup,noodles etc) popped few beers and sat their staring at the fire and stars.
That spot actually felt a lot more relaxing then even last nights retreat by the river. I think it was the remoteness, no more people around and the spontaneous unplanned camp location, it all just made it so much better.
Rain woke me up in the morning . I went to the river to brush my teeth, the water was really warm so I took an opportunity to dip myself there. It was nice and refreshing. After cooking breakfast we headed towards Mount Hotham via Omeo.
The ride to Omeo was really wet, and it was getting colder and darker from heavy clouds We stopped at one of the cafe’s there to warm ourselves up with coffee and some pastry. One guy told us he just came from Mount Hotham and it was hailing there and road was slippery.
First thought was to turn around and ride back to Bairnsdale, but then we manned up and continued, decided if we encounter any issues we would just take it easy and take our time. Lucky for us sky opened up and road dried up a little.
As we approached top of the mountain temperature dropped to about 10 degrees that felt freezing to compare to yesterdays above 30 degree temperature with even Wallagaraugh River temperatures hovering around +30. Except for taking photos we didn’t spent too much time there.
We headed to Alexandra town where we had proper meal before going to Melbourne.
After three days of riding and clocking around 1300-1400kms , I didn’t feel as tired as I thought I would be. I was actually more tired a week later when we drove cars to Adelaide and back covering almost similar kilometers on nice freeways and in a comfy car, staying in hotels and spending few days in Horsham on the way to and from Adelaide.
There is something about travelling by bike, even though you are exposed to the elements, have to be very minimalistic about what you bring with you, its still feels better and more enjoyable then cars. Its hard to explain and you can probably only understand after trying it.