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January 18, 2014
TASMANIA NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2013
Kerry & David Moffit
Lucy Drew & Graeme Lothringer
Barbara & John Williams
Cathy & Jim Sheedy
Barb & Ed Ruthenburg
Cathy & Gary Huggins
Joan & Bill Tindale
Alannah Turner & Mick Hrbek
Jo & Bob Baker (brother of Alannah & Donna)
THURSDAY 14 NOV = SINGLETON TO COWRA
What would our coming venture deliver, we had all been watching the weather in Tassie for 6-8 weeks prior to our trip and it was wet, wet, wet. Day one we were all relieved to see Kerry & David arrive in one piece at Macca’s without a ‘roo’ encounter on McCully’s Gap Road. Solly, Bear & Cannonball came as the Group’s escort out of town, they decided to travel with us to Rylestone. The group was yet to be altogether. Barb & Ed visiting relatives on their way to Melbourne, so the plan was to meet them at the Tassie Ferry Terminal. Jo & Bob Baker were flying from Adelaide direct into Tassie and meeting up with us on our first day on the Island. Lucy & Graeme were travelling by car which was utilized by Kerry & David, Cathy & Gary, Alannah, Mick and I to carry some additional winter gear. Good start to the trip with a warm and sunny day to see us on our way. Bladder stop at Bylong and then onto Rylestone for smoko with our escorts. Said our farewells to the boys we had to leave behind. Bet they were tempted to keep going with us. We had a lunch break at Bathurst and arrived in Cowra at 4pm. Garry & Mick went to the Bathurst Track to try and do a lap, but the Track was partially closed for repair work, much to their disappointment. Good accommodation with an attached Tavern where we all dined. The Tavern was under new management and the new owners were very welcoming of our Group.
FRIDAY 15 NOV = COWRA TO WODONGA
Had breakfast at the Motel, not in a hurry, we were waiting for the local Bike Shop to open at 8am as Bill needed a new bolt for his windscreen. Both David and I are having problems with our bike radios, at the moment we have a shortage of working radios on this trip. Bill raved about the "best Bakery in Australia" at "The Rock", a town just outside of Wagga Wagga. So we decided to make this our lunch stop. The Group then got split, as sometimes happens, due to a red light at road works, with John, Kerry, David & myself quite a distance behind the front group. Then about 20klms before "The Rock", Bill came across this Bakery, Bill had the location incorrect. So Bill & Joan stopped, which also stopped Jim & Cathy, plus Lucy & Graeme. Then along came the tail end lost brigade, so we also stopped. Bill explained this was the Bakery he had referred to, just a mishap with the destination. John decided to push on to "The Rock" to let the Group ahead know that we had stopped. It was indeed a great Bakery and those who had stopped, indulged whilst wondering what the group at "The Rock" were eating (but did we really care). Just to add insult to injury, just in case they hadn’t also found a wonderful Bakery, we took photos of what we were all eating and text the photos to the group. When we regrouped, they informed us that they had eaten at a very 2nd rate Café, some didn’t even eat the food it was so bad, winners are grinners. Bill even had a hand full of business cards from the Bakery to hand out to the Group to let them know where they should have all eaten lunch!
Graeme had phoned Dale McLean on my behalf to discuss my radio, Dale suggested that I just needed a new handpiece and gave Graeme the information required. Upon arrival in Wodonga, Graeme and I went to the local Dick Smith store and purchased a new transmitter for me, so now we have one more working radio. David managed to get his working also, so hopefully we can now be more informed when separated on the road. Tonight some dined in a nearby Irish Pub, while others had a Pizza at the Motel. Today was another dry & sunny riding day.
SATURDAY 16 NOV = WODONGA to SPIRIT OF TASMANIA FERRY
Lucky us, another sunny riding day. Left early and decided to have breakfast on the road.
Lucy & Graeme suggested a wonderful Bakery in Beechworth. Fantastic Bakery, can’t imagine why I don’t have creamy buns for breakfast every day of the week. Good start to the holiday, sniffing out all the Bakeries and we’re not even in Tassie yet. Our stock standard excuse was "but we are on holidays". This town was delightful, with all buildings looking as if they would be eligible to be Heritage Listed. We all agreed that we would like to spend a few days exploring in and around this area. After breakfast Graeme took us on some back roads on our trip to Melbourne. After Beechworth, we travelled via Milawa, then through Kings Valley, then over a very windy mountain range which brought us out to
Mansfield. I absolutely got my rocks off, fabulous ride. Then we had lunch in yet another well maintained old town of Alexandra, we sat in a Rotunda in the main street. From Alexandra we headed south through Marysville, which was badly ravished in the 2007 Black Saturday Bush Fires. Then through Black Spur to Healesville, another winding mountain road surrounded by beautiful tree ferns, on through Lillydale and into Melbourne. I failed to take a left hand turn and we ended up with two separate groups getting to the Ferry. Graeme took the main group and Bill & Joan were able to guide Mick, Alannah and me to the Ferry Terminal. At the Terminal we met up with Barb & Ed and then commenced the long process of waiting to board the Ferry. The cabins were excellent and we all met in the lounge as the Ferry was departing Melbourne. Dinner & drinks watching the sun set and a smooth crossing was appreciated by all.
SUNDAY 17 NOV = DEVONPORT TO WYNYARD
Upon arrival at Devonport, we were greeted at the Ferry Terminal by Anthony Spinks, a tour operator who works in conjunction with our travel agent Jane Ryan. The bikes were the first on and off the boat, so we had about a half hour wait for Lucy & Graeme. During this wait, Ed realised that he had left his laptop on the Ferry in their cabin, so he had to return to the Ferry and luckily he was able to successfully retrieve the laptop. Also while we were waiting for Lucy & Graeme, the girls all gave John a big group hug and sang a pretty ordinary version of Happy Birthday , he was 72 years young. Anthony then took us to a nearby motel for a full cooked breakfast. Left Devonport and rode to Railton to view a garden of topiary in this small, quiet town. Moved on to Sheffield which was a lovely country town to wonder around viewing endless murals and having morning tea. We then rode endless winding roads from Sheffield to Moina, Wilmont and then out to view Leven Canyon.
Then we continued through Preston, Gawler and Penguin. At Penguin we met up with Jo & Bob (Alannah & my brother & sister-in-law), now the Group is finally together. Penguin was right on the foreshore, lunch once again in a Bakery. Jo & Bob were travelling by car, he happened to park in the same car park that the bikes pulled into. Bob had made a sign up for the side window of his car, it was a white tea towel, had a small motorbike at the top and then printed below was ULYSSES IMMORAL SUPPORT VEHICLE. We all had a good laugh at that and decided that they would fit right in with the mob. From Penguin we followed Anthony along the coast road through Bernie to our water front Motel at Wynyard. We farewelled Anthony and thanked him for his guidance and time. Dinner was in a local Pub within walking distance of our Motel. Bill had a senior moment today, he was riding along rubber necking, as you do, at a property that was for sale, instead of following the road he ended up riding into the property, I don’t believe he made an offer while he was there.
MONDAY 18 NOV = WYNYARD TO CRADLE MOUNTAIN
We had breakfast at our Motel, great staff, we were very well looked after. Headed off to Stanley via the Table Cape Lookout, which overlooked a nearby lighthouse and the coastline. Barb, Ed, Cathy & Jim decided not to revisit The Nut and left us at the Stanley turnoff and headed further West for a run and lunch. Pity of it all, Barb dropped her bike and spent the rest of the trip quite uncomfortable with broken ribs. Stanley is a lovely old town, right on the coast. We wondered around town looking at the old buildings and then took the chairlift to the top of The Nut, excellent views of the township below and the coast to the east & west. Enjoyed coffee outdoors in the main street, yet another pleasant day. The Wynyard Motel phoned to say Cathy Huggins had left her PJ’s under the pillow, so as we had to return via Wynyard, she would go to the Motel to collect them. This she did, only to discover that they were Kerry’s PJ’s, now the question is, did the Motel contact the wrong person of can someone please explain how Kerry’s PJ’s were in the Huggins room!!!!!!!!! Lunch while we were back in Wynyard and then a wonderful, fun trek through the mountains to get to Cradle Mountain. David had a bad day today, vomiting several times, very hard day to be riding fully loaded and with a pillion. Another warm and sunny day, perfect for riding and lots of winding mountain roads to keep everyone awake. Tonight we stayed in cabins in a Big 4 Van Park. Some decided to eat in their cabins and most decided to go to the Tavern 2 klms away. Graeme & Bob took as many as they could in both their vehicles, which left Gary Huggins, Ed & Jim to start walking towards the Tavern with Graeme planning to return for them after dropping his first crew off. Plan was good, however the 3 boys turned left instead of right at the road and on Graeme’s first trip back he failed to find them. He returned to the Tavern to discover they weren’t there, so off he went again.
Finally found them in another pub , gathered them up and delivered them back to their wives. The Tavern was full and very noisy, the meal was good, but we ate and left and we were all back in our cabins by 8pm.
TUESDAY 19 NOV = CRADLE MOUNTAIN TO STRAHAN
This morning we had a 1-1/2 hour coach trip organised to view Cradle Mountain. We had a small coach just to cater for our Group only, which was great. First stop was the picturesque Dove Lake at the foot of Cradle Mountain. Then we were taken to visit the forest home of pioneer Gustav Weindorfer. Austrian born Gustav and his wife Kate had a vision which ultimately led to this area being declared a National Park in 1922. His often extended chalet was open for inspection and then we ambled around with a tour guide through a spectacular forest walk, with the guide explaining the plant and wild life of the area. A very rich, green vegetation, a wonderful fresh clean smell, a truly unique and beautiful area, but can only image how cold it would be in the middle of the year. Upon returning to the bottom of the mountain, we had morning tea at the tourist centre before departing Cradle Mountain.
Our next stop was Rosebery, a very old mining town where we strolled around for a while. Lunch was planned for Zeehan, however upon arrival all we could find was an IGA Supermarket and as we were only 40klms from Strahan, we decided to just continue on. Just before arriving in Strahan we experienced some light sprinkles of rain, the first of the trip. Not even enough to get any wet weather gear out. We are staying in fabulous cabins in a caravan park, really excellent accommodation. We all headed off separately in pursuit of lunch and a supermarket to get some food for our cabins as we are staying here for a 3 night stay. Later in the day, Graeme, Barbara, Alannah & I headed to the supermarket to buy the supplies required for a bbq. There was a nice bbq area undercover and Jim and Garry cooked for us all. Light drizzle started in the evening and it was getting a bit cool, so we all headed back to our cabins early.
WESNESDAY 20 NOV = STRAHAN = GORDON RIVER CRUISE
This morning we all enjoyed a Gordon River Cruise around Macquarie Harbour, which is twice the area of Sydney Harbour and accessible through the smallest entrance of Hells Gate which is barely 75 metres wide. Hell’s Gate, the aptly named harbour entrance where many ships were destroyed by ferocious ocean swells was for twelve years from 1822-1833, a dreaded convict penal settlement, celebrated in the book "For the Term of his Natural Life". Then we proceeded to Sarah Island, despite the name, it was known as the bloodiest
and most brutal convict settlement. Up to 380 convicts, including some women, were held here, guarded by 95 military. Then we proceeded to Grummet Rock, known as the Small Island during settlement, it housed the infirmary but also housed the worst behaved which were known as the out-and-outers. Next we stopped at the Heritage Landing where there was a walkway, built in 1989, through the river-flat forest. We enjoyed a very good, cold buffet lunch. It was a bit cold and generally overcast day, but still dry and we enjoyed a few bursts of sunshine. Back on shore approx. 3pm and the rest of the day that evening everyone did their own thing.
THURSDAY 21 NOV = FREE DAY IN STRAHAN
Most took a run up to Queenstown this morning to explore this very old copper mining town. Alannah, Mick & I went via car with Jo & Bob to Queenstown for a family outing. In Queenstown there was a Railway Station Museum where they are restoring a train and it’s carriages to its former glory. Strolled through a very old, but magnificent Hotel to inspect their dining room to view their very old sideboards, antique fixtures and a stroll through a very different era. In Queenstown we came across an excellent country butcher shop and purchased the meat for a bbq tonight. Returned to Strahan around lunchtime, some of us went walking, some found a bar for drinking. Late afternoon the skies opened up and delivered a very heavy downpour of rain. Cooked our bbq, which was undercover and it got quite cold, so everyone returned to their cabins quite early.
FRIDAY 22 NOV = STRAHAN TO HOBART
Heavy rain all the way from Strahan to Nelson Falls, which was about 30klms past Queenstown. The roads around Queenstown were very tight corners and sections of the road were extremely slippery, so we had a very sedate and cautious ride this morning. Upon arrival at Nelson Falls the rain stopped virtually upon arrival. There was about a 20 minute walk to the falls, a solid wooden walkway had been created through dense rainforest, we were surround by lush green ferns and a crystal clear creek bed. This was a great walk and of course the rain helped with the amount of water cascading over the falls. After a smoko break, we visited "The Wall in the Wilderness". Amazing place, self-funded
by an artist called Greg Duncan, the wall spans 100 metres and depicts the history of the region. The carvings are of humans, animals and the flora and fauna of the area. The detail of the sculpturing was amazing, even down to bulging veins in arms. The weather turned for us and we had a warm and sunny afternoon and more fantastic riding roads. Lunch at Ouse, and arrived in Hobart about 4pm. Coming into Hobart , due to traffic, we ended up being split into 2 groups, however we were staying near the Airport so we all managed to arrive at our destination, even though we ended up arriving by 2 separate routes. We are staying in a brand new Van Park and have beautiful cabins, lucky for us we have a 5 night stay here. Only issue was the Van Park was a long way from a supermarket, so we all travelled to this supermarket, stocked up our fridges and ate quite a few evening meals in our cabins. Today Cheryl Richardson arrived to spend the Hobart sector of the trip with Garry. Apparently a well-kept secret was that Sandie & George had planned to fly down also as it was also Sandy’s 60th this year. However, due to Sandie’s brother being very ill in hospital, they had to cancel.
SATURDAY 23 NOV = HOBART
Most spent the morning strolling around the Salamanca Markets. I was guilty of enjoying a plate of pancakes, well after all I was on holidays. Then I went with my family to stroll through the very old village of Richmond, with Australia’s oldest stone bridge, built in 1823. The group was scattered near and far today but we all came together at 6pm in the Van Parks Camp Kitchen for our evening meal. We all contributed by bringing a community plate of food and turned the night into a joint 60th birthday party for Kerry, Graeme and myself and Cheryl stood in for Sandie. We all phoned Sandie and sang Happy Birthday to her, was a shame we weren’t altogether. Birthday cake appeared, so did sparklers, hooters, balloons, bubble blowing toys and party hats, yes we are growing old disgracefully. Today was a cold, cold, wet, wet, wet day.
SUNDAY 24 NOV = HOBART
Cold, wet start to the day. Got together to sort out our trips to Port Arthur and Bruny Island. We had tours booked but had swapped the days around to take advantage of the kinder weather for Bruny Island. Once we had a plan, people drifted off on their own adventures for the day. I spent the day with Bob, Jo, Alannah, Lucy, Graeme, Cheryl, Garry, Barbara, Barb, Ed, Kerry & David. We rode/drove south through the Huon Valley, famous apple growing region. Cold, wet and windy but extremely scenic. Stopped at a beautiful, new country Tavern, fire place burning, yes 24 November and the fire place was required to be functioning. We all enjoyed a magnificent lunch, servings were huge and a lot of the food was left, but all the same Bob & Jo still made room for sticky date pudding.
The rain ceased after lunch but was still very cold and windy. Another simple evening meal in our cabins.
MONDAY 25 NOV = HOBART
Today we rode down to Port Arthur where we had an organised tour booked. Took a slight detour on the way to view Eaglehawk Neck and The Blow Hole. Light rain on the trip down, but it had ceased by the time we arrived at Port Arthur. We started our time at Port Arthur with a short boat cruise around Mason Cove. Out on the water we were able to enjoy a wonderful overview of the site and the very old, stone buildings. We cruised past the Isle of the Dead and Point Puer Boys Prison. The Isle of the Dead is the final resting place for military and civil officers, their wives and children as well as convicts. Between 1833 and 1877 around 1100 people were buried on this Island. Point Puer Boys Prison operated from 1834 to 1849 and was the first purpose built juvenile reformatory in the British Empire. Juvenile offenders were separated from the older convicts to protect them from criminal influence. Most of the boys were aged between 14 and 17, with the youngest just 9 years old. Point Puer was renowned for its regime of stern discipline and harsh punishment, but all the boys received an education and some were given the opportunity of trade training. After the cruise, we were met by a Guide who did a walking tour around Port Arthur pointing out points of interest and discussing the history of the settlement. We spent an hour with the Guide and then we were left to stroll the grounds at our leisure. The Memorial Garden is enclosed behind high trees and therefore for those who do not wish to visit this site, it is not on view unless you enter into the Garden Area. On Sunday 28 April 1996, a tragic and well documented chapter was added to Port Arthur’s history when a gunman took the lives of 35 people and physically wounded 19 others in and around the Port Arthur Historic Site. The Memorial Garden incorporates the shell of the Broad Arrow Café and there has been a peaceful garden and remembrance pool created, also a plaque with the names of those 35 people who lost their lives on that day. Upon return to Hobart, most of us just ate tea in our cabins again.
TUESDAY 26 NOV = HOBART
Today was our full day trip to Bruny Island. Bob, Jo & Mick didn’t participate, Barb & Cathy spent the day with us, but did not do the boat section of the tour. We rode our bikes to the town of Kettering and then boarded a bus for the ferry trip across to Bruny Island. The bus delivered us to the boat terminal for our trip around the Island. We were all provided with large rain jackets to wear in this open boat and Alannah & I scored the front row seats.
Bruny Island is famous for its wildlife, spectacular landscape and local produce. We were hoping to see some migrating whales, but missed out on that treat, however we were quite close to a colony of seals, lazily sunning themselves and totally unperturbed by us. Some incredible cliff faces, differing in height and colour and active blowholes. Was a really great trip to do. The tour promoter told us that it was rated higher on the tourist scale than Milford Sound in New Zealand, but those of us who have toured Milford Sound would disagree. Upon our return to our accommodation, I caught up with Jo & Bob who had spent the day exploring Hobart town. They had a great laugh, driving along a major highway, walking along the side of the road without a worry in the world, was a totally naked man. Jo nearly broke her neck spinning around to see if this was for real, sure enough, naked as the day he was born. Bob saw a police vehicle trying to do a U-turn to get to the guy, I think Jo wanted Bob to also do a U-turn so she could get another look. I guess we are not the only people trying to grow old disgracefully. Our last night in Hobart, most dined in their cabins and started the packing process.
WEDNESDAY 27 NOV = HOBART TO FREYCINET
Barbara & John stayed in Hobart after the Group had left as John needed a new tyre on his bike. We were now riding through a landscape which is not as lush and green as the West Coast of Tassie. We encountered a few light sprinkles of rain. Smoko at a "to die for Bakery" in Swansea. Had a wonderful ride around Coles Bay and as we couldn’t access our accommodation until 2pm, had lunch at a café in Coles Bay. The Café had an outdoor area which our Group took over entirely, and we had lunch with an unrestricted view of Coles Bay, great spot. Upon leaving, Bill slipped his foot in sand and down came the bike, luckily no harm to either Joan, Bill or the bike. Booked into our amazing accommodation at the Freycinet Lodge. We all had spacious cabins, very luxurious, a real treat. Most of us went on a bush walk to view Wineglass Bay, fabulous walk with a well laid out path to follow and then a viewing platform to take advantage of the spectacular coastline around Wineglass Bay. Quite a few tourists at the lookout enjoying the view, obviously a very popular spot. Quite a warm walk after a cool start to the day. We decided to dine in the Lodge’s Bistro, the Lodge was surrounded by a large outdoor verandah with stunning ocean views and the lounge area inside had floor to ceiling windows, so it was a magic spot to sit for drinks and our evening meal. The girls decided that tonight was cocktail night, so most of us enjoyed a few cocktails before dinner. After the meal we returned to the lounge area for yet more cocktails, such a great spot, no-one was in a hurry to return early to their rooms compared to the time we usually retire.
THURSDAY 28 NOV = FREYCINET TO St. HELENS
Cathy Huggins birthday today. Woke to a wet, grey day, quite a lot of rain last night. We had a beautiful breakfast supplied with our accommodation, always makes for a good start to the day. Wet weather gear required today, rode off in the rain but after about an hour, the day turned fine and clear. The East Coast is very different terrain from the West Coast, sparser vegetation and not the same lush green, however we still found lots of winding roads through the mountains with occasional ocean views. Rode into the township of Ross, a beautifully maintained town with historic, quaint buildings, and a convict built stone bridge and of course, a couple of country Bakeries. From there we headed to the coast to ride around Bicheno and then into the town of Legerwood. At Legerwood there is a large park dedicated to honour local soldiers killed in World War I. Nine trees were planned in their honour. In 2004 it was decided to carve the stumps of the trees into the likeness of each solider. The results were amazing and at each tree, the story of the fallen soldier was detailed. Quite of moving place to visit, the carvings were brilliant. From there Bob, Jo, Mick, Alannah, Bill & Joan headed direct to St. Helens. The rest of the Group headed into the hills around St. Marys for the sole purpose of visiting a Café, tucked away in the hills, which specialise in pancakes. What a food feast this holiday has been, yum, yum. We scored rain while riding with full stomaches to our accommodation in St. Helens. Once again we had very good accommodation and that evening we walked down to the local RSL for dinner. While we were inside there was a very heavy shower of rain but by the time we left the Club, it was just raining lightly.
FRIDAY 29 NOV = St. HELENS TO BRIDPORT
Rode out to the beach at Break-O-Day, brilliant white sand, sapphire blue water, absolutely beautiful. Stopped in at the Columbia Falls, spectacular walk to the falls, along a creek bed surround by ferns. Due to all the recent rain, the falls were in full flight, very powerful, yet another beautiful stop. From there some of the Group stopped at "The Pub in the Paddock" and the rest continued on to Pyengana Dairy Company, where we all regrouped to enjoy either smoko or early lunch and took the opportunity to enjoy some cheese tasting. We all sat outdoors on this beautiful, sunny day taking in the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges and watching the process of the cows next door as they were patiently lining up for their turn to be milked. From there the Group broke into two, some heading directly for our accommodation at the Bridport Resort and Lucy, Graeme, Cathy H, Jim & Cathy, Joan & Bill and myself decided to visit to Bridestowe Lavender Farm. The Farm was quite a sight to see, with endless fields of pretty lavender plants as far as the eye could see. We all decided to try the local lavender ice-cream, tasted great. The Resort was once again excellent accommodation, with most having 2-3 bedroom Villa’s for the night. Half of the Group decided to eat in and the rest walked down to the local Pub for a meal, which was very good. Now I can dob my brother-in-law in, most people clean their teeth with toothpaste, Mick obviously cleaned his without his glasses on because he loaded up his toothbrush with deepheat. Not a pleasant experience.
SATURDAY 30 NOV = BRIDPORT TO LAUNCESTON
Had a short stop in historic George Town, Australia’s third oldest settlement and then crossed the famous A-Frame Batman Bridge and then into Beaconsfield. We had a pre-organised Mine Tour of this now closed Mine, the tour lasted for 1-1/2 hours and was very interesting. The men were very fascinated with the old mining equipment on display. Of course the Mine collapse which occurred on 25 April 2006 was a subject spoken of at some length. We were able to view a "mock up" of the telehandler basket that was their prison nearly a kilometre below the surface until 9 May. Very eerie to be in the "mock-up" and watch segments of the rescue being shown on TV screens throughout the Museum. Not too many of us left this Museum without a lump stuck in our throats. We walked down to the main street in Beaconsfield and of course found a Bakery for lunch. Then we headed to Grindelwald and to our accommodation at the Aspect Tamar Valley Resort, another A Class accommodation for us all. The Resort is styled on a Swiss Village, built around a lake. Great rooms and awesome grounds surrounding our accommodation. Went for a stroll around the grounds and most of the girls found a dress shop and emerged with a parcel under their arms. At 5pm we all gathered in a quiet section of the guest lounge to have a meeting regarding the route home to Singleton and Muswellbrook. Of course Jo & Bob would be flying home to Adelaide, Barb & Ed were travelling with the quick trip (home with only one night on the road) but their night on the road was to be in Yass. Garry R, Cathy & Jim, Joan & Bill, Alannah & Mick also doing to quick trip home and overnighting in Cowra. The balance of the Group being, Kerry & David, Barbara & John, Cathy & Gary, Lucy & Graeme and I were taking 3-4 days to get home, destinations to be decided each day. At the meeting Bob presented his Ulysses Immoral Support Vehicle banner to Graeme for future trips. After the meeting we all enjoyed our last evening meal together as a Group in the dining room of the Resort.
SUNDAY 1 DECEMBER = LAUNCESTON TO DEVONPORT
The Group all rose early to have a farewell breakfast with Jo & Bob. So the Group has lost the first two participants. The rest of us broke into two Groups for the trip into Launceston. Lucy, Graeme, Alannah, Mick & Garry wanted to linger at the Resort for a while longer and the rest of us headed off into Launceston. Bill had spent time around this area with the Army so we followed Bill on a tour around Launceston. Bill then took us down to the Harbour. There was a 50 minute boat tour about to leave, it was a tour of the harbour and then part of the Cataract Gorge. That was a very enjoyable cruise. Then still following Bill, we headed off to the Cataract Gorge where we joined the rest of our Group who had arrived before us and they were enjoying morning tea. While having our cake and coffee, a very cheeky peacock was strutting around and trying to help himself to our cake, but at last he spread his wings to give us all a wonderful photo opportunity. There was a cable car across the Gorge which was a wonderful way to take photos, and then we walked back to the bikes via the Suspension Bridge. The Gorge is a very pretty and well maintained place. Commenced our journey into Devonport and stopped at yet another small town called Deloraine for lunch. Upon arrival in Davenport we decided we were at the Ferry Terminal
too early so we headed away from the Terminal and followed the signs to the House of Anvers, a Chocolate Factory. Being a Sunday the viewing rooms into the chocolate making process were closed, however the Chocolate Shop was open, so as you can imagine, we indulged in chocolate drinks, ice-cream, fudge and Belgian chocolates. Headed back to the Ferry Terminal and went through the process of boarding, finding our cabins and then meeting for drinks in the lounge and of course dinner together.
MONDAY 2 DECEMBER = FERRY TERMINAL TO LAKES ENTRANCE
Early start to the day, off the Ferry at 6.30am. Regrouped outside of the Ferry Terminal to wait for Lucy & Graeme’s car to come off. Goodbye’s exchanged and then the two Groups headed out of Melbourne in different directions. Obviously I can now only report on the activities of the Group I was travelling with. Leaving Melbourne and following Graeme’s vehicle, we took the Princes Highway and then the Monach Freeway south west to near Warragul. Took the exit to Neerim and then Mount Baw Baw. The road climbed and became very windy. After Noojee the road became very narrow and windy, good back roads and made for a very interesting trip. Followed the road to Fumina South, Tanil South and then Rawson. Turned left for 11klms of windy road to Walhalla for lunch. What a little gem Walhalla turned out to be. Hidden in a deep valley in the Alps, Walhalla is a historic township, once a booming Gold Mining town that went bust in 1914. We strolled around town and inspected the old buildings in this pretty and peaceful hamlet. Great ride in, worth a visit either on your bike or when you are roaming with your caravan. Had lunch in the local Café. After lunch we retraced the road out of Walhalla and travelled via Toongabbie, Heyfield and Moffra to Stratford on the Princes Highway. Followed the highway to Bairnsdale and then onto Lakes Entrance where we stayed for the night and had dinner in the local RSL.
Group 2 took an ever so slight detour to make the Hume Highway heading for Cowra. Arriving at 6pmish and ready for a beer and meal. Barb and Ed heading for Yass.
TUESDAY 3 DECEMBER = LAKES ENTRANCE TO BERMAGUAI
Went for an early morning stroll around town, it very pretty along the water front. Had breakfast in a Café on the Esplanade and didn’t leave The Entrance until 10am. Nice leisurely start to the day. Had a drink stop at Cann River and then left the main highway and did a 40klm round trip to have a look and our lunch in Mallacoota. Another beautiful seaside town. Walked our lunch off with a stroll down to the ocean. Travelled once again through winding hills with very pretty scenery and the roads have been in excellent condition. Arrived in Bermaguai at 5pm and found a Motel opposite a Golf Club, so this was
our accommodation for the night. Dined at the Golf Club, no one had the energy to venture further, should have made the effort as tea was very ordinary, however overall we have eaten very well on this holiday so we sucked it up. No one lingered at the Club, all getting tired and ready for home.
Group 2 departing Cowra for Maccas breakfast in Bathurst before a hasty trip to home ports.
WEDNESDAY 4 DECEMBER = BERMAGUAI TO MITTAGONG
Really enjoyed our breakfast this morning. There was a Café across the road from our motel, had a balcony running around the front with tables and chairs and the balcony was over the water, so breakfast with a view. We were able to watch early morning fishermen leaving the harbour for the day, fish swimming directly below us and even a stingray made an appearance. Another nice day for riding but now we are getting into heavier traffic. Rode through another nice spot called Narooma, definitely a town to revisit one day, worth putting on the bucket list. Stopped at Mogo for morning tea and a leisurely stroll around this interesting, crafty style village. Rode around the coast to view Batemans Bay and then through Ulludulla while enjoying views of Mollymook. Turned off at Nowra and headed up into Kangaroo Valley where we stopped for a walk around and a lunch break. Continued on to Mittagong for our overnight stay. Booked into a RSL Motel and of course had our last evening meal together in the RSL Dining Room.
THURSDAY 5 DECEMBER = MITTAGONG TO HOME
Rained heavily through the night, so the day started with wet weather gear. Followed Graeme through Sydney and had a break on the freeway at the twin service stations. Said our goodbyes there and all headed for home.
I would just like to thank all the Group for the wonderful warm welcome and total inclusion extended to Jo & Bob on the trip (which I had expected anyway). They had a great time and felt like they too had made a new bunch of friends.
Over and out.