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Old 02-27-2008, 09:50 PM   #1
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The Slow Way Down - Three days in NSW, Australia

I decided to take a two week holiday from London and head over to Australia. I posted up a thread on ADVrider to see if anyone could recommend me a route and was overwhelmed by the response. One guy, Matt, had a load of time off work and was heading down to Phillip Island for the WSB race. He offered to buddy up for a couple of days and show me a load of great roads.

We met at about 9am on the Monday morning and I rode pillion on Matt's 1150 GSA (the mothership) up to Clubman Motorcycle Rentals on the Princes Highway. While I did all of the paperwork for the big red tank (1150 GS) Matt popped home to get his luggage sorted.

Back home I ride a CBR 600 on the road and a TTR250/XR600 (badly) off the road. This was by far the biggest bike I'd ever ridden on the road let alone off the road. As we set off I felt like I was sitting in the bike not on it, it was huge but I was starting to get used to it. I still can't get used to those damn BMW indicators though!

We headed South out of Sydney down the Princes Highway through a little bit of light rain (just what I didn't want with a fresh rear tyre on the bike!) and then turned left off it into the Royal National Park. Just as we came off the highway there was a slippery section of overbanding or paint which both of us felt the bike slide on, eek!

The road through the national park was amazing. Really nicely surfaced twisties through woodland, I started feeling surprised how easy it was to throw this big red tank into the corners, as soon as you get it rolling it feels much smaller than it is.

Out of the other side of the park we stopped on the cliffs and took in the view.

We pushed on to Nowra where we dropped into a bike shop and asked about the route we planned to take. They reckoned it was all passable and fine. In the stop was a very, very nice looking KTM 950 Adventure that had just been traded in. Matt reckoned it belonged to another ADV rider (whose name escaped me).

Now we started heading off the sealed roads. We stopped for a quick snack and saw a couple of wild kangaroos (you'll have to take my word for it!)

We headed up to Nerriga and started climbing, the road was well graded and we cruising at fair speeds on it. I've only ever ridden proper sealed roads before and really muddy offroad stuff so this hard packed gravel was new to me, it took a bit of time to get used to it and build confidence on such a heavy bike too.

As we hit the high section of the road we ran into fog. It made some bits of the ride pretty hairy as visibility dropped right off and picking your way along the road when you can't see is, err, kind of interesting!

As we started descending it all cleared up and we were treated to some amazing views. There was lots of construction work going on as they build a sealed road in place of this one. It'll be an amazing road to ride on road bikes when it's done.

We stopped by a local pub at about 4pm and chatted to the locals there. They were just finishing work for the day, breaking open the beers and by the look of it had had a few already!

We carried on via Braidwood and rode some really nice roads in the afternoon sun.

We headed on to Captain's Flat where we wanted to stay the night but the pub there (and most of the town!) was shut. We ended up spending the night in Queanbeyan.

Day two to follow...
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:17 PM   #2
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"I still can't get used to those damn BMW indicators though!"

So who can? Nice report so far. Interesting seeing a ride report on your own neck o' the woods by someone from O/S. Oh, and welcome to OZ!
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:32 AM   #3
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Can't wait for the rest. Funny though to hear the the bush called "woodland"...
"Motorcyclist are always going to be frowned a pond..." an inmate in the AUS group

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:59 AM   #4
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Excellent intro and ride

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Old 02-28-2008, 06:15 AM   #5
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We set out from Quianbeyan towards Royalla and missed the turning for the road we were looking for. Instead we cruised onto Williamsdale and picked up the gravel roads from there.

We headed up to Urila then looped back to Michelago where we stopped at the general store for a chat with the owner and an ice cream. These people must have the same conversations with people passing through day in and day out but are always friendly and spare you the time of day. Very refreshing :)

We did some steep uphill climbs somewhere in this area. Twisting roads with tight corrugated first gear bends, they were a bit interesting and on some of them they rattled the end can loose on the bike.

At the top I took a photo of the road. of myself...

...and one of Matt...

We headed to Jerangle (I think) where there was a small water crossing and Matt used to camp here on scout trips as a kid.

Some time a bit later Matt posed for this photo

We rode on through to Numerella where Matt told me about the pie shop that was our late lunch stop at Nimmitabel. Just about the only time I ride fast is when there's promise of food not far away. Just as the low fuel light came on we hit some really well surfaced roads. Standing on the pegs at 110 km/h and nailing it down those roads we felt like Paris Dakar legends. Bring on the pie!

By this stage I was really starting to appreciate the GS and I'd stopped thinking about how big it was. They're great bikes and massive respect to anyone whose done serious offroading on them.

We pulled in Nimmitabel, ate really good pies and found out that there was no petrol station there. I was low on fuel but Matt's mothership had gallons left in it. We set off towards Cooma for fuel and I coasted in on vapour. I filled up with 21.46 litres, Matt with 21.45.

With us pied up and the bikes fueld up we left Cooma and headed to Arable and Dalgety.

From there we went to Jindabyne via Berridale where we spent the night.

Day three (sadly lacking in photos) still to come...
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:28 AM   #6
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Old 02-29-2008, 03:52 AM   #7
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That would be my old 950 you saw in the shop at Nowra.

Good report so far, looking forward to the rest.
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lewy
That would be my old 950 you saw in the shop at Nowra.

Good report so far, looking forward to the rest.
A really nice looking piece of kit. I think the guy in the shop (Greg?) said it was sold the day after you brought it in :)

I just wish I could get my leg over one!
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:36 AM   #9
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The last day was the least exciting of all of them.

We had breakfast. Bought me some socks (I'd forgot to bring any) and headed off round the lake to take a couple of shots of us together with the bikes (they're on Matt's camera). Matt had to get to Phillip Island and I had to get back to Sydney so we parted company *sob*

I rode up from Jindabyne along the Snowy Highway to Tumut. It was 130 miles or so of fantastic road and mind blowing scenery. I started to think about how I was appreciating the GS for all of it's lazy torque - perfect for touring. I didn't hang around too much because I was worried about getting into Sydney too late but stopped for a couple of photo stops. I wish I'd had time for more photos.

I grabbed a quick lunch at Tumut then it was time to hop on the Hume Highway and truck it back to Sydney. My heart sank as I got onto the Highway and saw that it was 410km (250 miles) of dull road to Sydney.

One last thing that was really nice was as I drove into town on the Princes Highway I asked a guy on an R6 at the lights if I was still heading in the right direction. He said yes and that he had time to kill so could guide me all the way back, what a legend. It was cool nipping through the traffic following the R6 and piloting the GS through the gaps cool.

...and there the trip ended. Such a shame it was so short but it was an absolutely amazing ride. Watch out Australia, I'll be back!

Matt took a load of photos on his camera and I've got a couple of videos I took too that I'm sure will get posted up some time soon.
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