Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

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Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:19 pm

I arrived home Friday from what was undoubtedly the best cycling experience of my life, probably the best holiday I've ever had and also one of the the best things I've ever done. Thanks are largely due to the inspiration and advice received from this forum.
I left home in Metung (East Gippsland, Vic) about two weeks ago and wheeled the bike back through the front gate thirteen days later.
Basically I hopped down, across and then up the coast taking back roads and rail trails wherever possible. The idea was to camp at coastal locations and have a swim at each site. I succeeded in this plan, swimming at every location other than Cowes on Phillip Island where I arrived late and too tired to bother.
The list of swimming spots also covers my campsites. I stayed in caravan parks which although they were close to capacity were largely very clean, neat and quiet (at night) and catered mostly for young families and retirees. I was very impressed with the pleasant and friendly atmosphere in these places that was created by good helpful managers and inquisitive and happy park campers. The only poor experience was Hollands Landing on the first night; a noisy diesel generator that ran till 11.00pm and started at 6.00 am, shabby looking park and feral looking township eg. abandoned car bodies in front yards, rubbish and tumbled down houses. I should have taken Graeme's AKA Vintagetourers advice and stayed somewhere else. After Hollands Landing every other town and campsite looked luxurious.
I swam, ate and cycled to and from; Metung, Hollands Landing, Seaspray, Woodside Beach, Port Welshpool, Walkerville Nth, Cowes and Sandringham. Tent accommodation apart from one night in a cabin at Cowes and two nights at my brothers families place in Sandringham. I only cycled for eight of the thirteen days, spending two nights at Port Welshpool, it had a very good pub, five nights at Walkerville Nth, it was the long weekend and I feared not being able to get a site elsewhere plus it is a beautiful and interesting location.The maps below show the route and side trips into the beachside camp sites. I covered just over six hundred kilometers, fifty was the smallest day and one hundred and fifteen the largest. Averaged about sixty to seventy a day but had plenty of rest stops along the way. I caught the train back to Bairnsdale and rode the last thirty K's home.

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I was very lucky to have had mild weather throughout the duration of the ride, rain on only two nights, east/south-east tail winds for about eighty percent of the time on the road and relatively flat topography.
The bike and all the gear ran faultlessly. I'm glad I had geared down the Vivente from stock standard. The lowest combo of 24 x 34 got me up all the hills with relative ease.The dyno hub kept my phone, GPS and AA and AAA (Radbot tailight and Silva headlamp torch) batteries fully charged. Most of the time I just kept the Minigorilla storage battery topping up and recharged everything else from it. It is a good system. I only ran a flashing tail light on the sections of busy highway that I could not avoid. I used the FM radio on my phone constantly. The Garmin 800 GPS had a seizure just out of Walkerville, (hence the two maps) but I managed to retain most of the trip data.
The Hilleberg Soulo tent worked extremely well, easy and quick to pitch at the end of a tiring day. I carried a Hilleberg Tarp (roughly 3m x 4m) and extra aluminium poles which I used on the multiple night stays. It was well worthwhile carrying the extra weight, about 1.5 Kg's, for the shade and UV protection for the tent. The tarp provided more shaded living space and cover from the rain. I will definitely take it on the next tour.
I really regret not taking a decent camera, the phone cam is just hopeless. The only extra things I will take next time will be an old toe-clip strap to stop the front wheel from turning when I'm stopped and a better quality tripod stool. The stool only just lasted the distance, an earlier one tore after only two nights. All in all an excellent tour. I can't wait for the next one. Sorry about the lack of photos.

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Port Welshpool

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Bass Coast Rail Trail

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Cape Paterson
Last edited by Tim on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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by BNA » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:26 pm

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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:26 pm

Bugger, no photos. I don't get it!
Last edited by Tim on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby RonK » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:27 pm

Congratulations, you have earned your wings.

Now you'll experience withdrawal and the long wait until you can get away again. :)
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Apple » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:30 pm

I need the photos, :evil: :mrgreen:
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:37 pm

Already suffering withdrawals. I get the sweats in a normal comfortable bed. I NEED a Thermarest
Next small fix in a weeks time for a few days up to Cape Conran.
An unloaded racing bike feels dangerously unstable and flimsy compared to 40 odd Kilos of touring gear.
Photos are not too good. Will buy a decent shooter this week.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby KenGS » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:18 pm

Well done Tim and good luck on the next tour.
At Cape Conran, don't eat cheese around the picnic spot. There's a !#(AT)$$!! kookaburra there that will snap it right out of your fingers.
Please also get a bike stand. It pains me to see a faithful bike lying on the ground :cry:
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:39 pm

Thanks Ken. I know the kookaburra you are talking about. I was at Conran in late Nov. It is a very annoying critter.
I've been considering a stand for some time now. That was one of the few occasions that the bike lay on the ground, out of the rain. Believe me, I am very anal about my bikes. It is at least lying derailleur side up, on soft grass and was lowered very delicately. :)
The guy that put the bike together for me talked me out of a stand. He reckons they often fall over on soft soil or when fully loaded. I still think I will fit one sooner or later.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby RonK » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:06 pm

I don't like side stands either. Get a Click Stand.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:17 pm

I like that idea Ron. I could also use it for catching snakes. NOT. :D
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Apple » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:25 pm

Nice Tim,
Very nice.
what a feeling of freedom and nature. :D thanks for the pics, they help me connect
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:41 pm

It sounds very cliched but traveling on a bike provides the best sense of connection that I can think of. You become a part of the environment. You are there but not intruding. Early one morning, just out of Seaspray I rode to within about 5 metres of a family of Bandicoots, Mum, Dad and junior. I've never seen a Bandicoot up close in the bush, even on foot, and then only a glimpse. That same morning I spotted several Black wallabies. This was in a stretch of Saw Banksia and Paperbark coastal woodland, beautiful country.You see, smell and hear things you just don't in a car. The wildlife don't hear you coming. I lost count of the number of Wedge-tailed eagles, Little eagles, hawkes, kites and falcons I spotted along the way, awesome birds.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Apple » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:40 pm

Tim wrote:It sounds very cliched but traveling on a bike provides the best sense of connection that I can think of. You become a part of the environment. You are there but not intruding. Early one morning, just out of Seaspray I rode to within about 5 metres of a family of Bandicoots, Mum, Dad and junior. I've never seen a Bandicoot up close in the bush, even on foot, and then only a glimpse. That same morning I spotted several Black wallabies. This was in a stretch of Saw Banksia and Paperbark coastal woodland, beautiful country.You see, smell and hear things you just don't in a car. The wildlife don't hear you coming. I lost count of the number of Wedge-tailed eagles, Little eagles, hawkes, kites and falcons I spotted along the way, awesome birds.

:) :D :D :D
thats just the things I love
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Baalzamon » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:12 pm

And then you see a fox.....
Yep there I was cycling on the Kep track and out trots a fox parallel to the trail then starts to cross it. Must have smelt and looked towards us the group I was with and just bolted out of sight

Good first tour tho, sounds like you enjoyed it very much. Keep it up
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:48 am

I met all sorts of interesting people on the tour including a detective from Victoria's Mornington Peninsular who was a mad keen mountain bike enthusiast and had completed a supported bike tour of Vietnam last year. He was delighted by my dyno hub and gadget kit. I camped next door to he and his family and didn't worry about stuff being pinched that night.
The most inspiring person I spoke to was at Cowes whilst waiting for the ferry to cross Westernport Bay. He was Japanese, 71 years old and riding a fully loaded Giant steel framed mountain bike. Dressed in denim jeans and ordinary runners, his normal cycling gear, I asked him where he was going. He replied that he was nearly finished, just had the last leg of his tour to go, to Adelaide. Taken aback, a bit, I asked where he had come from. Darwin, via Cairns was the response. He'd left Darwin in October of last year, ridden through fires in the N.T, storms, mountains, desserts and extreme heat. Very friendly, with reasonable English skills, he then pulled a packet of cigarettes out of his bar bag, offered me one, lit one up and then told me about his 2009-2010 tour from Perth to Sydney. He's also ridden across the States, Asia and Europe. His one complaint about Australia was the cost of smokes, otherwise he'd had a terrific tour. When we got off the ferry at Stony Point a council worker saw him light up another cigarette and yelled out "do you have a drink too?". He fired back with; "I love beer. Only one though. Two makes me go all dizzy". Amazing character. Aside from the smokes, he has become my new role model (Keith Richards [Rolling Stones] was the last one, about thirty years ago).
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby RonK » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:30 am

Tim wrote:I met all sorts of interesting people on the tour.

This what I most enjoy about solo touring - you become more outgoing, you end up interacting with people that you might not have talked to if you were travelling with a companion.

And that delicous but slightly daunting sense of the unknown when you set out is what makes a solo tour a real adventure. You get a much greater sense of this when you venture to regions unknown.

So - when is your Giro Tasmania?
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Vintagetourer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:42 am

"Hollands Landing on the first night; a noisy diesel generator that ran till 11.00pm and started at 6.00 am, shabby looking park and feral looking township eg. abandoned car bodies in front yards, rubbish and tumbled down houses. "

Yes ... It really is the oddest place. The waste of a perfectly good wetland by a misplaced development that seems to have gone wrong for some reason.

The campground seems to be on its last legs, or is just trying to get back up on its legs. Either way it is a bit so-so and not worth the side-trip.

On clickstands, I am also a fan but I did manage to absent mindedly ride off and leave mine behind somewhere between Jacobs River campground and Suggan Buggan. So if anybody is planning a ride through the Barry Way route from the Monaro to Gippsland, keep an eye out for a clickstand. It's yours if you can find it :)

The Gippsland cycling experience we had last year was superb. It is a gem of an area for cycle-touring.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:35 am

Vintagetourer wrote:Hollands Landing...

Yes ... It really is the oddest place. The waste of a perfectly good wetland by a misplaced development that seems to have gone wrong for some reason.


I know a lot of land down there and around Loch Sport was subdivided in the 60's and 70's upon which a building permit can no longer be issued. That land is very prone to flooding and now with issues of rising sea levels and increased extreme weather events is basically privately owned wasteland (in terms of development). It would be nice to see it returned to its former natural state and managed accordingly. But who pays?

RonK wrote:So - when is your Giro Tasmania?


Funny you should mention that. I traveled by car around Tassie for the first time a few years ago and loved it.
I have several friends that jumped ship from the mainland and live at the northern and south-eastern ends of the island.
I am thinking that at the end of the Uni. year I might have earned a holiday.
Do you know if a bike can be tied down and secured on the Spirit of Tasmania?
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby RonK » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:53 am

Tim wrote:
Vintagetourer wrote:Hollands Landing...

Yes ... It really is the oddest place. The waste of a perfectly good wetland by a misplaced development that seems to have gone wrong for some reason.


I know a lot of land down there and around Loch Sport was subdivided in the 60's and 70's upon which a building permit can no longer be issued. That land is very prone to flooding and now with issues of rising sea levels and increased extreme weather events is basically privately owned wasteland (in terms of development). It would be nice to see it returned to its former natural state and managed accordingly. But who pays?

RonK wrote:So - when is your Giro Tasmania?


Funny you should mention that. I traveled by car around Tassie for the first time a few years ago and loved it.
I have several friends that jumped ship from the mainland and live at the northern and south-eastern ends of the island.
I am thinking that at the end of the Uni. year I might have earned a holiday.
Do you know if a bike can be tied down and secured on the Spirit of Tasmania?

Did the Giro as my first solo tour, and it was great. I'll do it again in reverse sometime.

I don't know what facilities the ferry has for bikes, but there seems to quite a few on CGOAB who have used it without making any comment, so it must be ok...

ip will probably know...
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Mike Ayling » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:32 pm

Re Spirit of Tasmania.

In 1995 I facilitated a tour of the east coast for our Venturer Unit and the bikes were lashed to rails on the car deck so I assume that that is still the case.

At that time we were able to stay in very basic YHA hostels which were dotted around Tassie but alas the YHA seems to have gone upmarket and now seems to concentrate on the capital cities and a few tourist areas.

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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby il padrone » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:33 pm

RonK wrote:I don't know what facilities the ferry has for bikes, but there seems to quite a few on CGOAB who have used it without making any comment, so it must be ok....

Roll-on/roll-off. The loading guys will secure your bikes (they laughed at our suggestion of using the occy-straps to secure them). If there is just a few bikes they may put yours in a little room way down aft of the car deck that keeps them well out of the way. No gas canisters or fuel. If you declare them, gas canisters can be handed to the ship's staff for safe storage and returned later. Metho gets poured out.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby maxknott » Fri May 17, 2013 7:06 pm

great to see another tourer tim :D
can you provide a link to the tarp setup you used??
been looking for something similar myself
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Vintagetourer » Fri May 17, 2013 7:47 pm

I've just bought a Mont Batwing 3 tarp for my next tour which is The Gibb River Rd.
The practice run in the backyard went well :)
Looks promising.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby RonK » Fri May 17, 2013 11:10 pm

Another tarp option is a Wilderness Equipment Overhang. WE are a Sea to Summit product and are available from most camping stores.

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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby Tim » Sun May 19, 2013 11:00 am

maxknott wrote:can you provide a link to the tarp setup you used??


My tarp is the Hilleberg Tarp 10 XP.
The XP model is heavier polyester and apparently more UV resistant than the UL version.
The poles came from Hilleberg too.

http://www.hilleberg.com/home/products/tarp/tarp.php

I haven't weighed them but the poles and tarp probably add about 1.5 kg to my load.
I'm not a weight weenie and I figure the extra is worth carrying in summer for the greater level of shade around camp if I stay in one spot for more than one day.
There are probably cheaper, just as good quality tarps (and poles) around but I bought the whole lot including the tent on a pre-Xmas splurge the year before last.
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Re: Eating, Swimming (and cycling) thru Gippsland

Postby DanielS » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:56 pm

Hi - I was cycling from Melbourne through the Gippsland region in April. Around the middle of April I was just outside of Metung and rode with a chap for a few kilometres who said he'd done a trip just like the one you describe in this post - was it you? The rider I met was on a road bike (maybe a Cannondale?), I was on a Surly Crosscheck with a fluro jersey and four panniers.
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