Short 4-day Victoria Christmas Run (Melbourne > Goldfields > Grampians > GOR)

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Hi all,

I just got an add from one of the admins who asked me to share a post. I'm new here, hopefully we can get some sub-threads going as adventure riding's a big topic!

A short adventure ride for Chrissy.

Day 1 - Mt. Dandenong > Bendigo

I had a quick squirt up to Bendigo for Christmas after work @ 3pm. It was the first time the bike was fully loaded up and the 250 struggled. It eventually gets up-to-speed but doesn't have the torque. It would've been fine putting around Asia/Europe but maybe not big freeways/interstates.

I came up through Kinglake looking for dirt roads on the way. I didn't have time to plan but I found a few sneaky nice spots up Yarra Glen.

Eventually I found myself riding past Mt. Disappointment and decided to check it out after watching an episode of Russell Coight that mentioned it was named after the explorers wife 🤣 I passed a couple of dirtbikers resting and pushed the loaded Rally up some rutted track. It was a bit of fun and handled it well. I got to the top and asked a lonely 4WDer if there was a lookout. He said no and I understood where it got its name.

It was getting late so I followed the freeway up to Bendigo. I found some trails off it before dark around Lake Eppalock called The One Eye State Forest, Knowsley State Forest and Spring Plains Nature Reserve off the Northern Hwy. I saw some roos and took care all the way to Bendigo.

Day 2 - Bendigo > Mt. Alexander > Castlemaine > Maldon > Bendigo

I explored the goldfields surrounding Bendigo.

I started at the wonderful Bendigo Regional Park 5 minutes from where I was staying. It's a great little motorbike/4WD/mountain bike park filled with a range of tracks and tights. Nothing too extreme as there's no hills out there and super dry. There's enough ruts and bouncy bit to keep you occupied though. If you go further you enter Bendigo National Park. No motorbikes allowed but I ended up in there and it was pretty quiet and people obviously go in there.

I checked out Mt. Alexander. No great trail riding but some great spots to camp with a view. There's plenty of old mining equipment and rubbish dumped 🙄

I entered Castlemaine through their heritage park and there were some good trails to be had. You had to search a bit. I found a bunch of mines on some unmarked tracks as well as a few prospectors with their metal detectors out.

I continued out to the lovely heritage town of Maldon and stopped up at the fire tower. There's some 4WD tracks up there and had a chat to the guy manning the tower. Apparently, Australia's oldest hillclimb is there.

Day 3 - Bendigo > Kara Kara NP > Grampians NP > Port Cambell > Otways NP

I left Bendigo and discovered the bar-end bolt fell out of my barkbuster. I couldn't find a bolt at Bunnings so I just cable tied it. A couple of kids admired the bike, one stopped for a chat about the WR450 he wanted to get roadworthy. It was more attention I've gotten in all my time riding it in the city!

I cruised out via the Regional Park and basically followed dirt farm roads all the way to the Kara Kara National Park. I almost got blown off from the impeding storm doing 100km/h down a marble like dirt road to Stuart Mill.

The Kara Kara is a beautiful National Park. It was quiet and offered some challenging tracks with steep climbs. You need a 4WD just to use the main road through it. Plenty of campsites and information and few tourists! I had lunch on top of one of the mountains before continuing to the Grampians.

The Grampians is great. It's packed full of tourists and offered little in terms of trail riding. I just rode it top to bottom. I think I'd like to stay there for a couple of days and do some hikes. I decided to try to get home by the following day to I high-tailed it out by 4pm. A cool change came through followed by rain at 4pm.  

I put on some layers in Dunkeld, it dropped from 30 to 10 degrees. I couldn't believe it, I wasn't prepared for rain. I rode the highways to Port Campbell and it was cold. I grabbed a potato cake and warmed up in the servo. I searched for a campsite in the Otways at around 8pm. It was getting dark. There was little options on Google to my surprise.

I trundled down the Great Ocean Road (GOR) as it was dark. The coast was lovely but it was cold. I eventually made it to the edge of the Otways by nightfall and went to the Aire Crossing campsite. To my dismay, it was tiny and filled with people! I spotted a girl at the entrance and asked her if there was space. She looked at me stunned and pointed unenthusiastically "there's space over there". I looked to where she pointed and it was a tiny 2m between her car and another.. I wondered why people wouldn't clear the space for others. A group of people were playing cards under a marquee. One of them asked if the marquee was mine, I said "yes" to test her out, she replied "Oh sorry" and the group didn't move. It was the most awful display of camp etiquette I'd ever seen. They basically took over the campsite with little regard for others. I had to get the **** out of there. I didn't want to wake up surrounded by these people.

I tore out and searched for a campsite off the road. There was nothing. I rode around and around the Otway and found nothing but road and dense rainforest. Every other park I'd been had plenty of spots. Nope. I surrendered to a side road off a plantation. It was wet, cold and about 12 midnight. I had blisters from my poor choice of socks. It was awful, I should've camped with the international tourists who took over the campground.

Day 4 - Otways NP > Mt. Dandenong

I woke up to peace and quiet. It was a great sleep and I was glad I didn't camp in-between the cars of the young people.

I set off and up through the Otway following the GOR. I checked out the stunning Blanket Bay Campground (6 month advanced booking required). The tracks there were closed off to bike so I continued up the North forests above the GOR to escape the tourists. The tracks were uneventful but I found a great one called 'Gentle Annie Track' near Lorne. There's some good riding to be had there to Anglesea.

Watch out for potholes, they're huge and brutal. I hit one straight on, it fully compressed the forks and sent a shutter up my arms and spine. I thought I'd dinted the front rim for sure or at minimum damaged something. To my surprise, nothing. They make these Honda's tough!

I trundled to Torquay, met an old friend for coffee and headed home.

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Awsome!! Thanks for sharing that much appreciated it was a good read.. I have had a DR650 for a while now and just started getting all the gear to do some adv riding/camping so this is great to read all kinda stuff it gets me pumped up to get out and do it myself! We should get a dirtriderz ADV ride/camp happening

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