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Old 02-28-2013, 02:38 AM   #16
TanMcG OP
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Day 7 - Beachport to Halls Gap

Today is about the halfway point of the journey, as mentioned earlier we only have two weeks off work together for the trip, so we need to start moving in the general direction of home. Oh how I wish we had more time off and could just keep on riding. This is why I love ADV Rider because I can read about people who have made the leap of selling everything and quitting their jobs to see the world on the back of a motorcycle. Maybe one day that will be us, but not yet. Reality is calling!

Our route for the day



Rather than just back track along the same route we have already travelled we are planning to leave the coast today, and head inland to Halls Gap, where if we find somewhere nice we might even stay for a couple of nights. I’m a little bit sad to be leaving the coast, but I also like the Grampians area so this should be fun.

When we arrived yesterday afternoon, jmcg noticed that the Tiger needed some oil. We did ask at the little mechanic shop in Beachport yesterday about bike oil, but had no luck, so jmcg searched the internet last night and found a bike shop back in Mount Gambier that should do the trick.

So after a breakfast of traveller porridge (so much more fulfilling than an Up&Go!) we pack up the tent and the bike and gear up for the ride back to Mount Gambier where our first stop is Blue City Motorcycles where we get the Tiger a bottle of oil and they throw in a clean rag for free!



We find a flat piece of ashphalt carpark outside the visitor centre and treat the Tiger to a little drink of oil. Then its back to the supermarket to stock up on picnic lunch supplies, traveller porridge, and mini long-life milk cartons to use in our cuppas.

Todays ride is going to be a long one, so I try to think happy thoughts and ignore the pain in my butt as we ride towards Hamilton. The scenery is at least a little more interesting than pine plantations, mainly farmland and a bit of bush. We stop at a little town called Digby, which is barely more than a pub, an avenue of honour and a couple of houses from what I can see!



It is just a short stop to give us a bit of a stretch and our butts a break from the seat. But even in those few minutes we manage to make a new friend!



We arrive in Hamilton right on lunchtime and stop at the Botanical Gardens to eat our picnic lunch, which today consists of cheese & bacon rolls, timtams and primas.



We take a walk around the gardens and up one end there are these large walk through aviaries. They look quite old and run down and there don’t appear to be too many birds there. jmcg lived in Hamilton for a while in his youth and tells me that there used to be wallabies and emu kept here too, but the place is looking very sad and different from how he remembers it. In the end aviary a cockatoo makes it’s way over and climbs up the fence to see us.



I try to communicate with it, asking if it knows how to dance. All I manage to get is a raised crest and laughed at by jmcg!



We walk back out of the aviary and around to the bike, only to discover that we are right beside the other end of the cockatoos enclosure. There is a second one sitting near the fence but it doesn’t really register our presence. The cockatoo that we were talking to before however, sees us and again walks over and climbs up the fence looking at us hopefully. I look around for something suitable to give him and find a little pine cone on the ground. I hold it up against the wire and he has a good chew on it.



We are quite enjoying watching the cocky chew on his pinecone, when I hear a voice call out telling me to watch out because he might bite my finger. Having received quite a nasty bite from a cockatoo before today, I know well to keep my fingers right out of reach. I turn to see where the voice has come from and see a lady who has just walked into the park. She doesn’t appear to work there or anything, just some random person off the street. And to my disappointment she comes over and stands right behind me and starts talking baby talk to the cockatoo. Hmm…. me thinks it has come time for us to leave!

We gear up and continue our ride into Halls Gap. There are lots of signs for different accommodation places as we get near Halls Gap and I see a large lake on the right and just after that a sign advertising a Lakeside Tourist park. I’m thinking to myself that a swim in a lake sounds like magic, but we continue towards town to check out all the options at the Tourist Information Centre. Coming into town there is a sign indicating that there is an Information Centre somewhere near by. We ride through town and out the other side without seeing it! My butt is almost numb it is so sore, and all I can think about is getting off the bike as we turn and ride back into town. We have nearly made it back out again when I spot the yellow and blue info sign! Woohoo, we found it!

There are three commercial caravan parks in town, and I suggest to jmcg that we check out the Lakeside one as the one across the road in the main street looks a bit boring and right on the main road. The sign outside the Lakeside Tourist Park wins us over with its advertisement of a swimming pool, coffee and free Wifi. It is also off the main road and in a lovely setting. We pay for one night and basically have free choice of any of the unpowered sites.

We settle for a lovely spot among the trees, not too far from the amenities block, and with a herd.. pack.. flock.. ah.. I don’t know what the right word would be… let’s go with ‘group’ of emus in the background. We are also instantly adopted by a border collie with a nametag that says “Ruffles.”



Ruffles is a bit of a strange dog, he seems unresponsive to being spoken to or touched and is easily distracted running off to chase shadows and birds. His shadow chasing reminds me of one of my own dogs, a mixed breed cattle dog type, who is deaf and also loves chasing shadows.

Some visitors to the caravan park. I was very excited, some of the emus were only half grown! So cute!



After setting up the tent, we made the short ride into town and walked around look at dinner options for tonight before stopping at café for a coffee (jmcg) and a freshly squeezed juice (me).

We decided on a dinner destination then rode back to the campsite to relax until dinnertime. We played on a giant noughts and crosses board (a couple of draws then I won a couple of games) then I had to have a turn on the trampolines!



Found a second strange border collie, this one without a nametag, by the pool (he barely even registered that I was there!).



For dinner we shared a large Aussie pizza at the Black Panther Café. It was far too much! Next time we come we’ll have to try a smaller one.



After dinner we rode up to Lake Bellfield which we passed earlier in the day and I was dreaming about swimming in! It is an artificial lake created to supply water to the surrounding region and is therefor off limits for swimming!



We take a stroll across the levee wall and there is a great view down over the caravan park. You can’t quite see it but our tent is down there somewhere amongst the trees. The Grampians make a rather impressive back ground.



Back at the tent we fire up the JetBoil for our cuppas and eat some left over timtams from lunch before rolling into bed.

End of day kms



(Todays total is 345kms!! Our biggest riding day on this trip by far!)

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:53 AM   #17
GelandeRoadie
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Thumb Great job

Lets get this straight, right up front: there is never a "bad" / "too early" time when it comes to cake. Especially chocolate cake

Only up to Day 2 so far & love it. Makes me want to head on down that way...
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Old 02-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #18
TanMcG OP
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Originally Posted by GelandeRoadie View Post
Lets get this straight, right up front: there is never a "bad" / "too early" time when it comes to cake. Especially chocolate cake

Only up to Day 2 so far & love it. Makes me want to head on down that way...
Love your thoughts on cake GelandeRoadie!

I have an awesome cake photo coming up in Day 8 that I bet you will like . Will try to get it written up after work tonight. I had no idea how much work people put into RRs!!

Thanks for reading (and commenting!) I am glad you are enjoying it. We are planning next trip to do the East Coast and get up your way!
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:39 PM   #19
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I'll make sure my wife reads your report for inspiration as I just recently purchased her a '96 Transalp custom lowered and all for her to ride and share my passion. Lessons are forthcoming. Can't wait to do a trip like your doing here.
cheers!
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:07 AM   #20
TanMcG OP
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Originally Posted by GSPD750 View Post
I'll make sure my wife reads your report for inspiration as I just recently purchased her a '96 Transalp custom lowered and all for her to ride and share my passion. Lessons are forthcoming. Can't wait to do a trip like your doing here.
cheers!
Thanks GSPD750, its exciting to think that my RR might inspire someone

I hope your wife enjoys our story and that you have many great adventures together in the future! I find that travelling by motorbike makes the journey of getting from one place to the next part of the fun, rather than just hoping that you'll have a good time once you get there.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:40 AM   #21
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Day 8 - In and around Halls Gap

Our route for the day



We woke early and went for a 5km run along the road in the direction of town. There weren’t really any hills today and I managed to keep up with jmcg without too much fuss. Am feeling much more confidant about my ability to run!

Back at the camp we had porridge for breakfast before wandering up to the front office to pay for a second night and have a look at some walking maps. The owner recommended a walk at Mackenzie Falls, and to get there we had to take a short ride. So back at the tent we geared up and headed out. jmcg seemed to be enjoying the twisty roads, while having not looked closely at the map I fear that we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere as there were signs for Mackenzie Falls initially and then we seem to have travelled quite a way without seeing another sign. My worries are unfounded as 23kms later we come to the car park at Mackenzie Falls.

We changed into walking shoes and shorts, locked our gear onto the bike and slathered ourselves in sunscreen and insect repellent. At the first sign post we came to that gives directions for the various walks I rather liked the look of the one to the viewing platform with an easy rating. jmcg however had other ideas, and chose the walk to the base of the falls that is rated as extremely STEEP (yes there were capital letters on the sign!) and a warning that the walk back up is very strenuous.

We stop to read some signage about how the falls got their name. Can you see anything exciting in this picture?



Hopefully you spotted it.. a SCUTTLER!!



Okay, so I have to admit that the steep track was a brilliant idea. You don’t get this beauty from viewing the falls from on high.



While playing with the camera and enjoying the fine mist coming from the falls I lose jmcg for a few minutes. He soon reappears and beckons me to follow him. There has been a gate installed with a no entry sign on it warning of danger beyond from flood damage to paths. jmcg swings around the gate and disappears down the path beyond, so what’s a girl to do but go after him! We follow the path for a little way as it works it’s way along beside the river.



Back at the falls we chill out for a bit and let the mist cool us down. This photo puts the size of the falls into perspective.



We cross back over the giant stepping-stones to get to the super steep stairs that will lead us out of here again. I find it difficult to imagine this tranquil place after a storm/rain, as there are signs out warning not to cross the stepping-stones if they are submerged!



Back at the top we take the easy walk to the viewing platform and my earlier suspicions are confirmed, the view is definitely not as good from up here.



On the way back down to Halls Gap we make a quick stop at Reeds Lookout.



Even though I’m geographically challenged I still enjoy looking at these thingamajigs (sorry, I have no idea what they are called!) that tell you which direction and how far away different places are.



The lookout.



The Tiger didn’t want to miss out on the view!



We rode back into town and stopped for lunch at the bakery. We discuss plans for the afternoon over lunch. jmcg wants to walk to a feature that is known as the Pinnacle. We saw a photo of it in the camp kitchen this morning and he claims it is very popular and that everyone goes there. When looking at the walking maps this morning we both agree that it said the walk starts from the back of the caravan park in the main street. So after lunch we ride up and down and round the streets in and around the caravan park looking for a sign to the Pinnacle walk. No luck. So we ride to the Tourist Info Centre where jmcg waits outside in a mood that is far from happy while I run inside to ask directions. The lady behind the counter frowns at me telling me that she wouldn’t recommend we do the Pinnacle walk this afternoon as it is very hot and the climb is approximately 4km return over steep rocky ground. Well that just sounds like a challenge to me!!

We locate the Wonderland car park where the walk starts and we each take a water bottle and a prima drink. I have dubbed the primas our ‘victory primas’ and they will be drunk when we reach the top! While getting ready in the car park two young backpackers walk past us and ask which direction is it to the pineapple?! We point out the path to the ‘Pinnacle’ and have a laugh about the mispronunciation. From now on, we refer to this walk as the Pineapple and its makes me giggle every time!

The hike is hot, steep and rocky just as the tourist information lady advised, but we are determined!

This rock formation is named ‘Silent Street’ but due to the number of lizards we found basking along the way we have renamed it ‘Scuttle Street.’



A rare moment of shade and cool breeze and I almost lose the will to continue on to the Pineapple.



VICTORY PRIMA!! (Having travelled in my pocket the juice is warm, but victory is sweet!). The body of water in this pic is Lake Bellfield that we visited last night and while you can’t make it out in this picture our tent is down there just to the left of the lake



What a view!



On top of the world (or at least on top of the Pineapple!)



Looking back at jmcg from where he set the camera up to take the previous photo. He set the timer on the longest setting and had to sprint back around to get in the pic with me.



This scuttler looks a bit like leaves..



Taking a break on the return journey.



Almost back at the bike.



Back in the car park it was a struggle getting into my jeans, jacket, boots, gloves and helmet for the short ride back into town, but once there I cooled down with an ice cream and jmcg had… you guessed it, a coffee!

Then we went back to the campsite, slipped into our swimming gear and made for the pool where I just floated and relaxed while jmcg used up a bit of the free wifi to catch up on emails and other peoples adventures on ADV rider!

One last trip into town was required for dinner. We shared a serve of fish and chips at the same Black Panther café that we ate at last night, and still a bit parched from the days exercise I think we drained the whole bottle of water between us!



We decided to treat ourselves to cake for dessert and they served us up such a MASSIVE piece. I struggled to eat my half!



Once evening falls in Halls Gap you have to watch where you’re going or you might trip over a kangaroo, they are everywhere! This one was just below the deck where we ate dinner.



We were both stuffed full from dinner and tired from such a big day of running and walking (over 11kms in total!) so headed back for an early night. Unfortunately it was very hot in the tent and I was still awake and sweating after 11pm, and it didn’t help that we had some new neighbours for the night that had very loud voices and no concept of time!

End of day kms



(today’s total is 68kms)
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:00 PM   #22
Eagle`02
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Fantastic report there,,,
I visited most of those places & more on a trip with my wife & kids in October `12.
We travelled down from Newcastle NSW , I was in my 4x4 with caravan in tow , but constantly thought to myself "How good would this be on two wheels ???"

Ruffles the Border Collie was busy munching on some roadkill morsels on the towbar safety chains of the van next to us one night

I was not so lucky with the Emus crossing into SA, nearly collecting a couple enroute to Mt Gambier,,, but sadly did collide with one on the road up to Halls Gap just short of the Dam

Thanx for the report, I will be back to do it again in another year or so
Cheers
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:47 PM   #23
LittleWan
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Wonderful report, you guys!

It's so neat to read about a completely different part of the world.
A kangaroo on the rocks? Koalas, emus, echidnas, wallabies...wow.
Very cool.

keep up the good work!

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Old 03-01-2013, 11:47 PM   #24
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Fantastic report there,,,
I visited most of those places & more on a trip with my wife & kids in October `12.
We travelled down from Newcastle NSW , I was in my 4x4 with caravan in tow , but constantly thought to myself "How good would this be on two wheels ???"
Can your wife drive the caravan while you go by bike??

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Ruffles the Border Collie was busy munching on some roadkill morsels on the towbar safety chains of the van next to us one night
I can just picture that!

Thanks for reading and commenting, maybe we'll pass you travelling around in Oz some time!
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:58 PM   #25
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Wonderful report, you guys!

It's so neat to read about a completely different part of the world.
A kangaroo on the rocks? Koalas, emus, echidnas, wallabies...wow.
Very cool.

keep up the good work!

Thanks LittleWan. I love reading about your 2-up adventures with BigWan can't believe some of the 'roads' you travel together!!

I think our Aussie critters are pretty cool, as you can probably tell!

Thanks for commenting, it gives me such a buzz to learn people are reading my rr
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:03 AM   #26
boy60
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Great RR

Thanks for sharing
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:47 AM   #27
jmcg
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Wonderful report, you guys!

It's so neat to read about a completely different part of the world.
A kangaroo on the rocks? Koalas, emus, echidnas, wallabies...wow.
Very cool.

keep up the good work!

Hey LittleWan!

Thanks so much for dropping by.

Your reports are a great inspiration.

Looking forward to reading about the next Wan adventure.

Cheers,

JM.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:48 AM   #28
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Thanks for sharing
Thanks for reading!

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Old 03-02-2013, 05:45 AM   #29
Moyston
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thanks guys. im learning all about the adventure riding now, after years or superbikes and track days..these are the reports and pics that are making it a worthwhile decision to change and experience it all , thanks
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:39 AM   #30
bastimentos
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Making me miss my home country

Nice one guys, good effort on the RR, chockas full of pics and stories - not sure what all this running is about though, I'm always keen for a nice sit down during a long ride so you guys must be fitter than me.
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