Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

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Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:56 am

Yay!

I successfully talked the store manager into giving me 5 weeks off work to go cycle touring. One week for the World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon 4, and then four weeks to get home--although I'll not use all four of those weeks, in all likelihood, although I'm no fast tourer. I read il padrone say he knew someone who did it in 2 weeks? ... I shudder to think.

As yet my planning is highly vague--"avoid Newell Hwy" is nailed down, so am investigating Hume Hwy, although am seeing as it's the main freight way for Melb->Syd. For the a chunk of NSW I intend to come upwards via New England Hwy, or along roads which follow it if there are any--seeing as I toured the northern NSW coast earlier this year--and jump on a train at the Gold Coast to avoid the traffic on the last bit of leg back.

I scored the most highly original reason at work for wanting time off :)
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by BNA » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:37 am

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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby WarrenH » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:37 am

" ... so am investigating Hume Hwy ..."

Last weekend I was on the Hume Highway. It is really busy, it's windy and there's lots of semi's. The weight of traffic was mind-blowing, the Hume must be one of the busiest roads on this planet. The shoulder is big but the winds from the trucks still push you around ... non stop. In NSW no freight is shipped by rail it is on the Hume the Pacific or the Newell.

Can I suggest that you find any other roads possible even if you have further to ride. It has been a long time since I was last on the Hume until last weekend, I got off it as quickly as I could and I hope never to go on it again. I got hammered by the trucks and the smell was disgusting.

When I left the Hume after only a few kilometres the side roads and the parallel roads were fantastic. I was riding on the Bicentennial National Trail from the Old Hume Highway at Cullerin north of Canberra to Canberra and only went on the Hume to remind me why I don't like highways ... and it worked. Twice I crossed the Hume (both sides of the freeway), and waited about 5 minutes each time for a gap in the traffic, about 20 minutes waiting in total.

The Hume is also as boring as batshit. Where as the roads west of the divide, like those crossing the Abercrombie River towards Bathurst, or through Aberdeen or Ebor, or crossing the Divide like along the Wollondilly River or Old Grafton Road are some of the most spectacular roads in Oz.

If you run out of time there is an option to hop on a Greyhound. The bike will cost you $49 on a Greyhound or $25 with the pedals off and the bars turned to along the centre line of the bike and the chain covered. By train you must have a bike box. The large regional stations have boxes which are $12.50.

Warren.
Last edited by WarrenH on Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:47 am, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby il padrone » Sat Jul 24, 2010 10:52 am

From Melbourne to Albury it is very easy to avoid the Hume. This route is quite direct using roads running roughly parallel with the Hume (often the old highway) and is not too hilly. It's an 'all-sealed road' route. There are other possibilities, especially to the east through the Strathbogies, Mansfield, Tolme and Whitfield, often much more scenic, quieter and more worthwhile, but they'll need extra days.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:58 am

WarrenH wrote:" ... so am investigating Hume Hwy ..."

Last weekend I was on the Hume Highway. It is really busy, it's windy and there's lots of semi's. The weight of traffic was mind-blowing, the Hume must be one of the busiest roads on this planet. [...]

The Hume is also as boring as batshit. Where as the roads west of the divide, like those crossing the Abercrombie River towards Bathurst, or through Aberdeen or Ebor, or crossing the Divide like along the Wollondilly River or Old Grafton Road are some of the most spectacular roads in Oz.


Excellent, thank you! I actually meant roads parallel or following it to some degree, not the actual highway itself--I learned my lesson quick smart on the Pacific Hwy--but it's good to know what the Hume's like before I even go anywhere near it.

I'm looking at the places you mentioned, and am seriously considering Old Grafton Road/Old Glen Innes Road, looping through Nymboida and then finishing up at Grafton and catching the train the rest of the way. And the rest of the places you mention :) I gather you like that part of NSW. I missed seeing out on Cathedral Rocks last time, and so. All the more reason to loop that way... tinkering on google maps and bikely as I type, making myself a squiggly route of fun.

Anybody know what this particular route from Melbourne to Canberra would be like? Would that be more interesting than heading up through Albury?
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby il padrone » Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:40 am

owlrigh wrote:Anybody know what this particular route from Melbourne to Canberra would be like? Would that be more interesting than heading up through Albury?

Princes Hwy East would be every bit as bad or worse than the Hume - very busy divided freeway Melb to Traralgon, then a high speed two-lane highway through to Orbost and beyond. Don't do it!!

The good thing is there are some good alternate roads to ride along most of the route. Use them.

Take a suburban train to Pakenham, then there is a flat road south of the rail line through Nar Nar Goon and Bunyip to Longwarry and Drouin. Ride the old Hwy to Warragul or the new bike path. From Warragul to Moe you can ride north of the Hwy on the Old Sale Rd (lovely hill country) or go south into the Strlezcki Ranges for some real hill country on gravel roads, even do the Grand Ridge Rd through Mirboo North and on to Boolarra then cut across to Churchill and Traralgon. Note: most of the towns of the Latrobe Valley - Moe, Morwell, Newborough, Traralgon - are pretty rough coal mining towns, not very much to see.

From Traralgon to Sale and Bairnesdale is kinda flat and boring and there's no way to avoid it. Again take the side roads - north through Heyfield, Cowarr and Maffra to Statford (or there is a route south through to Rosedale and the Holey Plains State Park that is good) then the road through Bengworden to Bairnesdale. Or if you have some time a route through Stockdale to Glanaladale to the Mitchell River National Park then on to Bairnesdale via Lucknow is really nice. Allow 2-3 days for this with a rest day to explore Mitchell River NP (Den of Nargun, Billy Goat Bend).

From Bairnesdale you have the joy of the East Gippsland Railtrail, all the way to Orbost - not fast riding but traffic-free and quite scenic.

The Cann Valley Hwy to Bombala and Cooma is very nice I believe, reasonable grades and low traffic through forest country.

hope it goes well.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby banjo » Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:50 pm

Owlrigh, I did this ride in 2008. I took the princes highway out from SE suburbs Melb all the way to Syd then pacific hwy to Brisbane. Lots of smaller detours etc on the way but overall stuck to the main highways.

I loved it and had no real troubles. Took 21 riding days from memory and all the detail are on the forum here somewhere under my name. I wouldn't recommend riding through Coolangatta Tweed Heads though. THAT is a busy stretch of road, especially when you go through on Indy car weekend!

Good luck
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:05 pm

il padrone wrote:Princes Hwy East would be every bit as bad or worse than the Hume - very busy divided freeway Melb to Traralgon, then a high speed two-lane highway through to Orbost and beyond. Don't do it!!


No sir :) Egads. Sounds horrible. If at all possible, even if it does add kms to a final route, I tend to try to go via back roads--both because smaller alternate roads have more things to look at and because of less traffic.

In my plan were two things: take the train out of suburban Melbourne about as far out as I could go, so as to minimise riding in suburban traffic and getting horribly lost, and then when I got near to Brisbane, get the train back in home from the Gold Coast. Glad to see you're of the same opinion.

Thanks for the in-depth info on that particular route! I had a feeling those towns were mining towns, possibly because I read something about them in Australian Geographic? I'll poke around a little more and see what's the what; I have a month to decide specificity.

The East Gippsland Railtrail sounds fantastic. I hadn't even realised it was there. Maybe last time I was in Melbourne I should have spoken to those in the MBTC a little more!

What's your opinion on doing it up through Albury->Wagga Wagga->Bathurst? Eg, using some of this particular Melbourne->Sydney route and then continuing on up? It looks like either way I'm going to either have to head out west around Wollemi NP or in towards Richmond and then up Muswellbrook way... actually, through NPs! That looks nice. I don't know about the terrain, though :D

banjo wrote:I took the princes highway out from SE suburbs Melb all the way to Syd then pacific hwy to Brisbane. Lots of smaller detours etc on the way but overall stuck to the main highways. [...] Took 21 riding days [...]. I wouldn't recommend riding through Coolangatta Tweed Heads though. THAT is a busy stretch of road, especially when you go through on Indy car weekend!


21 days on the main roads, check. That's sort of what I thought it would take, plus a couple extra in case of further exploring or something going wrong. I'll not be going up through Coolangatta/Tweed; if I do, there's always the coast road, which does away with the Pacific Hwy for a sizeable chunk. But very likely there'll be a train involved!
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby elantra » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:13 pm

(Owlrigh) It looks like either way I'm going to either have to head out west around Wollemi NP or in towards Richmond and then up Muswellbrook way... actually, through NPs! That looks nice. I don't know about the terrain, though

If you are thinking about the road from Richmond to Singleton via Putty you probably need to reconsider.
Admittedly i have never cycled it, but it is STEEP and when i used to drive it years ago it was NARROW and LOTS of trucks !

There was a NSW RTA "Big" ride that i did years ago, we went from Singleton to Brooklyn (north of Sydney) via Wollombi, this was quite a pleasant route but with an unsealed section north of Wollombi.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Thu Sep 09, 2010 10:49 pm

So! I have started! One of the ladies at an information centre was telling me that I should go up Monaro Highway towards Canberra, and did mention it was steep at the beginning. Anybody that bit before? Any shoulder on the road, or is it steep to the side of the hill/cliff?
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby il padrone » Fri Sep 10, 2010 11:46 am

That is what I meant by the Cann Valley Hwy. Becomes the Monaro Hwy in NSW. I have not ridden it but I believe it is one of the easiest routes up to the Monaro Plains and traffic is very light on it. Another quiet and very scenic route is to take the Barry Way (Buchan, Gelantipy, Suggan Buggan and the Snowy Gorge to Jindabyne). This is much steeper country, ~80 kms of gravel road but a very rewarding ride through spectacular country. Allow 4-5 days from Bairnesdale to Jindabyne.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby jwg » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:53 pm

^^ definitely second that


owlrigh wrote:So! I have started! One of the ladies at an information centre was telling me that I should go up Monaro Highway towards Canberra, and did mention it was steep at the beginning. Anybody that bit before? Any shoulder on the road, or is it steep to the side of the hill/cliff?


Rode the Monaro highway in the summer, but only from Cooma.the shoulder was pretty good, really easy riding. I'm also a little interested in the route on the Monaro highway all the way from Cann River and just had a look at google street view and it looks like NSW has much more to offer in the way of side shoulders. Pretty much as soon as you cross the boarder one appears... who would have thunk it
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:58 pm

il padrone wrote:That is what I meant by the Cann Valley Hwy. Becomes the Monaro Hwy in NSW. [...] Another quiet and very scenic route is to take the Barry Way (Buchan, Gelantipy, Suggan Buggan and the Snowy Gorge to Jindabyne). This is much steeper country, ~80 kms of gravel road but a very rewarding ride through spectacular country. Allow 4-5 days from Bairnesdale to Jindabyne.


jwg wrote:Rode the Monaro highway in the summer, but only from Cooma.the shoulder was pretty good [...] looks like NSW has much more to offer in the way of side shoulders. Pretty much as soon as you cross the boarder one appears...


Thanks for that, chaps. Currently in a cute little cafe in Yarram, and heading on towards Sale after a wee break. (Well, to Woodside, anyway, where a local lady tells me I could probably camp in the oval.)

My rule of thumb is I get as far as I can in a day, and if I run out of time before I have to get back to work, well, there's always a bus! The higgledy-piggledy route I've gone so far has been quite lovely, especially the Great Southern Rail Trail.

No problems with gravel! My bicycle can handle it, and despite that I'm travelling with a bit more stuff this time around, i.e. netbook and winter clothing, it's not totally unwieldy. I'll let you know, jwg, how the shoulder is along the Cann Valley/Monaro Hwy, should I go that way--will squiz at Barry Way when I get at my maps and look at deciding factors: whether it's going to be extraordinarily colder, or pelting with rain, or very windy from the wrong direction.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby KenGS » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:31 pm

owlrigh wrote:and heading on towards Sale after a wee break.

Possibly too much info but it could have been worse :wink:
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby il padrone » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:47 pm

Pretty cool (climatically speaking) to be out touring in this part of the world, owlrigh. Must be a fair culture shock for you :?:
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:06 pm

KenGS wrote:
owlrigh wrote:and heading on towards Sale after a wee break.

Possibly too much info but it could have been worse :wink:


SMALL! I meant small! :lol:

il padrone wrote:Pretty cool (climatically speaking) to be out touring in this part of the world, owlrigh. Must be a fair culture shock for you :?:


It is freezing! I'm trying to get used to strange road signage and stuff. Blogging as I go:

http://owlrigh.livejournal.com/tag/bicycle:melb2canberra
Last edited by owlrigh on Sun Dec 12, 2010 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby KenGS » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:07 pm

owlrigh wrote:
KenGS wrote:
owlrigh wrote:and heading on towards Sale after a wee break.

Possibly too much info but it could have been worse :wink:


SMALL! I meant small! :lol:

Well that will be down to the cold weather
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby RonK » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:31 pm

owlrigh wrote:What's your opinion on doing it up through Albury->Wagga Wagga->Bathurst?


I took this route by motorbike returning to Brisbane from the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix (won by Mick Doohan) at Philip Island in 1998. I was determined to avoid the Hume Hwy and found the Olympic Hwy from Albury to Wagga Wagga and the Olympic and Mid-Western Hwys on to Bathurst a lightly trafficked and pleasant alternative route.

Assuming you would want to avoid riding through Sydney, then from Bathurst (after a lap of Mt Panorama) continue to Lithgow, take the Bells Line of Road across to Colo on the Putty Road and then head north to Singleton. From here you could cut straight across to Dungog and Gloucester skirting the Barrington Tops (hilly), or go first to Raymond Terrace and take the Bucketts Way to Gloucester. Then take the Thunderbolts Way to Walcha and on to Armidale.

After Armidale there are quite a few options: - you could take the Grafton Road and Waterfall Way through Wollomombi and Dorrigo to return to the coast near Coffs Harbour, and then take the Orara Way to Grafton, or head north near Ebor and cross directly to Grafton via Nymboida (hilly). From Grafton there are many choices, but a favourite route of mine would be the Summerland Way through Casino and Kyogle connecting with the Mt Lindsay Hwy to Rathdowney and on to Brisbane via Beaudesert.

Other options from Armidale would be to continue along the New England Hwy to Glen Innes then cross to Grafton on the Gwydir Hwy across the Gibraltar Range, or continue further north to Tenterfield and then cross to Casino on the Bruxner Hwy. A bit too much NE Hwy for mine.

I have ridden these northern roads many times by motorbike and can recommend them as prime routes for quality scenery, and as good as any in the south. North of Bathurst however, much of the route follows the spine of the Great Dividing Range and there are plenty of ups and downs. I'm not sure if you could do it in 4 weeks, but I think it would be shorter than a route closer to the coast, so it should be doable.

A memorable feature of this inland route is the many country pubs that have comfortable accommodation at very cheap rates. At this time of year it's still likely to be quite cool inland, but I prefer cool weather for touring.

Now that you've got me thinking about it, I will add this 2000 km route to my list of prospective future tours. 2000 kms / 30 days = 66.6 kms per day. It should be a piece of cake.

Good luck with your choices!

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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby owlrigh » Sat Sep 11, 2010 1:04 pm

KenGS wrote:
owlrigh wrote:SMALL! I meant small! :lol:

Well that will be down to the cold weather


For you, maybe, but I'm female, so: no :)
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Re: Melbourne to Brisbane: 4 weeks.

Postby Peteandian » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:32 am

We cycled from Brisbane to Melbourne over two months from Dec 2011. The coastal scenery is fantastic but, without doubt, the best part of the trip was heading inland to Jindabyne and cycling the unsealed “Barry Way” to Buchan – tough and fairly remote but strongly recommended. Our full trip log and route can be found at: http://www.peteandianhittheroad.co.uk/2012/01/cycling-australia-brisbane-to-melbourne/
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