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Discussion Starter #2
And this is where it aaaaaalllll started..... in Feb 2016 my world turned up-side down since, due to an admin oversight (understatement) I became stateless. Yes, sateless..... Things were going downhill in every part of my life and with the prospect of loosing my house, my job and being deported, I had lots of decisions to make.

Since there was no embassy in the Gold Coast / Brisbane, I had to go in person to either Syd or Melbourne to sort this mess out. Not long I had purchased my Lawnmower 0.1 (Duke 390). I had a hair-brained idea.... if they were going to deport me, I may as well set myself a challenge and tick off something on my bucket list: to ride the Australian Alps and High counrty (on my way to Melbourne).

And so with 3 weeks to learn about long term bike touring, big trips, bike luggage etc I decided to get rid of most my stuff, moved a few belongings to my parentals place, left my job and purchased some touring gear, phone holder (which would act as my GPS and camera) and panniers from India. The cradle of Duke 390 worship.

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I got a bike rack from Ventura, a seat bag, a 'touring' KTM windscreen, a 12v plug, the mobile phone holder, crash bars (which double as my highway pegs) and Dirtsack Panniers.

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Then having to pack as minimalistic as possible, pack your life into 3 bags was a bit of a challenge. This also had to include some tools, first air kit, puncture kit and other stuff that takes up room in your bags for a 'just in case' scenario.

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And had to pack for all sorts of weather, even thought it was full summer in the Gold coast still.
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Voila! The Lawnmower packed. I didn't really weight it but I think the extra weight would have been about 15, possibly 20kgs in total.

And so D-day was fast approaching.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I stretched the trip to 5 days of riding before getting to Melbourne. The weather wasn't the most favourable, fairly constant showers, followed by lower than average temperatures. Not something this hot little potato was liking. But I knew it was going to be the high country and should expect any weather!

I didn't know I was so so stressed from the go go go and the amount of bad news that it was only until the 4th day of being on the bike that i ACTUALLY realised that I was 'doing it'... I was doing it! :giggle: It wasn't until I was up around the Alpine way, that I realised that inside my helmet it was quiet. It was silent and I could hear the normal riding wind noises. I was acutely aware of the smells of the alpine environments and the fact that I had not seen a single person that whole day since leaving my destination. It was then that I realised the value of your mental health and riding.

I was completely out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I was at most peace, just going with the flow. Smelling every smell and trying to absorb every vision and vista. Savour every corner, twist and hump of such an amazing road. This road wasn't about the speed or how to take corners; it was about just being. Not thinking about the future or the past. Just wow.

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Discussion Starter #4
Lets take a step back before getting to the Vic Highlands - there was way too many other nicer places before we get to that!

Going past Grafton and onto Ebor and Armindale Road - wow what an amazing scenery road! Obligatory stop at Ebor falls.
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Another stop at the Thunderbolt's Lookout.
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Must do the Putty Road! No real photos along this route due to having too much fun on the actual road itself!
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Just a great big whopping grin at the end of it and glad the heavens let me ride that road dry! (albeit a bit cold...)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
One other place that I was told was a MUST see, while I made my way down south, was to drop by Jenolan Caves (and the surrounding roads there are just superb!). I went there offpeak and when I got to reception I asked to stay in their bunk bed shared style accommodation. Lucky for me, it was off-peak and the lady at the counter was very susprised I was travelling by my self. She sneakily said that a girl needs her privacy and luxury and she upgraded me to a double room for the same price so I would have space, as well as; the privacy and luxury every girl needs! :D She was amazing!
https://www.jenolancaves.org.au/
That arvo being a little tired I just took in the smaller bush walks around and through a couple of caves. The imagery is amazing, rock wallabies descending into the valley for the night, and even a wombat making an appearance. As I walked along admiring nature I realised, that this place had amazing acoustics. As I walked I hummed along through the caves, and imagined what it would be like if a true professional angelic like singer would bust out an "amazing grace" here....

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This was one of the only times I wish I would have had a nicer muffler.... no self respecting biker should ever go through a cave of this magnificence without throwing a rev-bomb! lol ;)

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Discussion Starter #6
The next day, much refreshed from a wonderful night's sleep in a warm, warm bed (gotta love electric blankets!), I went for a fresh walk with frosts out towards the caves before al lthe buses of tourists came in.
Grabbed a chick breakfast of dry biscuits and got on to the road. The weather got a bit foul, but thankfully it cleared up and even started getting a bit sunny as I made my way past Collector, NSW and stopped at Lake George for a looksy. I was also taking a rest from being blown at a 45 degree angle all the way along the Federal highway since it's so open and exposed!


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Canberra!

The weather stayed nice for most the way southwards down the Monaro Highway. OMG - I have ridden through some boring roads but this one takes the cake! Jeez! I don't know what it is about it, but had to struggle to stay awake. Only as I was coming into Cooma, I definitely awakened since the sky started threatening again and very very quickly changed into storm clouds filled with plenty of water. I stopped at Cooma for a quick feed, fuel and pulled on wets once again.

Just as I was getting on the bike a group of 3 GS riders rode past me going towards Jindabyne. I decided that heading into the latter part of the arvo, and with threatening storms I would follow them. I stuck on their tail doing about $1.20-25 until the rains started pelting down, hard. My poor lawnmower was not having a too fun time (and neither was I due to the hard rain on the helmet with some fog), so I let them go and their brake lights disappeared into the distance.

I arrived to a very quiet and wet Jindabyne, and found my night's accommodation. The caravan park closest to Charlotte's pass, which had shared accommodation for $35 a night. Jindabyne | Discovery Parks Since it was off-peak, I thankfully had the whole cabin to myself :) Better to dry out and hog the heater. A nice surprise there was that they had in the communal showers, a heated bubble spa!!! :D

One guess what I was going to do later that arvo ;)

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Having a bit more than an hour before skippy o'clock, as well as checking the weather and seeing that more showers were later coming I pelted up Charlotte's pass to see what all the fuss was about. I had been told it is just magical being able to ride such smooth road, with lovely sweepers and amazing views through a national park.... I discovered that first hand, before the rains once again came.


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Discussion Starter #7
It is well worth the $7 entry fee, even for an hour or unadulterated riding fun! I most enjoyed the fact that I had checked into my accom earlier on so I could drop off all the weight off the Lawnmower and feel free and nimble, to give it the berries. Not many really, but still give it some berries.

Slept semi warm (poor heater wasn't coping too well) and again had dry biscuit breakky before getting ready for another day's riding and closer to Melbs. Sick of having wet boots, I got a bit desperate and lined them with plastic shopping bags! Trying a new cactic and new trend ;)
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The weather didn't play nice until past Thredbo, and winds were back. But at least it pushed the rain clouds away, helping me feel more comfy by being able to then ditch the wets.

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Crankenback rest and comfort stop.

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Some lookout along Alpine way... gotta love the tripod!


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My first look at Mt Beauty! I can see why they named it that :) It sure looked like an amazing twisty road from the maps. And a great afternoon of playing in the twisties!

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Discussion Starter #8
And so now this takes me into the eariler post of being up in the high country, past the tree line and with some exciting views. Very different indeed looking peaceful but chilly. Quiet, but broody at the same time. Where the road markings change from white to yellow, you know things can get serious up here. But for now, it was just time to savour the surrounds and every mountain twist!

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Danny's lookout.

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Discussion Starter #9
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Finally getting to my destination 5 days later - Melbourne!
Gosh it was a show arriving not just to a city and civilization but to a major, major city. Completely unused to so much traffic, in an unknown city - having to trust my GPS was a little scary. And not to mention the weird right hand turns in the city! What's up with that? I can't say I've ever gotten the handle on that.... End-trip blues. Since I knew after a day or so of rest, I would have to commence the legal paperwork between the consulates to get all my papers back. ....

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Discussion Starter #10
Once I got to Melbourne, and began the legal paperwork, I started checking out the bike scene. I came across a group called NetRiders Netrider and got invited to a weekly skills session, run entirely by volunteers every Saturday. From there I met more people and in particular one chap called Uncle Greg who led advanced rider groups every Sunday into the Vic hills.
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At this point I only had one day 'rest' and off the bike since arriving. Bit my butt was already itchy and wanting to get out and explore. This UG fella was impressed that the little Lawnmower had just arrived from Qld (on a non-tourable bike). So he asked me to come along for his Sunday leg ride. It was so nice to be amongst people again, but my kinda people - the bike people. All types of bikes, of course much more powerful than mine, and with local knowledge of the roads. But never mind, I knew I could slice & dice amongst the big boys...
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We went through areas I wasn't even able to name, but for once I was enjoying having someone else lead and since everything was new to me, it was nice to see. I do remember we stopped at the Noodge Pub, which had a very curious creature out the side. And I"m a sucker for BIG things... so this went into my collection.

The BIG T-Rex!

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Another pub/cafe that I do remember is the InLine4 Cafe. Lots of memorabilia inside, lots of famous biker peeps had passed through those doors!

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Since I visited it, it has now moved to a new location - https://inline4cafe.com.au/
 

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Discussion Starter #11
From here things commenced to snowball... it's not what you know, it's who you know!
From that Sunday ride, I met a few more riders, that became inspired to go do those overnighters that they'd been saying they were meaning to do, to explore the Vic surrounds - and there are just. SO. MANY! So 3 other riders organised an overnight-er the following weekend to: Mt Tassie (Not in Tasmania!).
During the week, I sent the Lawnmower for some mechanic TLC, got washed, my own clothes all washed from the trip and re-packed for the weekend ahead.

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Mt Tassie, VIC


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Reflecting on the end of a wonderful day through Melbourne's south-east areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Next day we got a little deeper and away from Melbourne to see the Tarra Yarra Valley. It was magical! Like the vegetation hinting that there were prehistoric creatures hiding behind the next corner ready to jump out. Mythical creatures at the base of the fern trees. The imagination ran wild!

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But all good things must come to an end, and Sunday arvo we all stopped for a final coffee, did a de-brief and went our separate ways with a smile on the dial and new roads seen!
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Discussion Starter #14
After a few weeks in Melbourne city, and more advanced paperwork, I was told that I had lodged all I could and it was up to the authorities to do their investigations before I could move onto the next stage. It just happened that around the same time one of my brothers had moved to Adelaide with my niece and nephew. Without a moment’s hesitation the planning for the ride over to Adelaide began. Especially if I had a couple of weeks up my sleeve of waiting, waiting. So within a couple of day’s planning, I decided a trip down towards Adelaide via the coastal road, the Great Ocean Road was a must!

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First stop was Geelong. For a warm drink, and a pastry from a local bakery. Since it wasn't too windy I thought a stroll along the foreshore was a nice free activity. Looking at the history of the port and water-side village.


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Making friends with the local lifesavers! :)



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My first glimpse of the Great Ocean Road! You know you're getting to it with so much guadrail, tighter carriageways, more buses and the road starts to squiggle, almost tickling the sea.


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There were quite a few signs of the massive bushfires in the region a few month's prior. One of the very bad areas hit was Lorne. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Gorgeous seaside 'villages' all thrown through out the windy road. Enough of them to make you slow down a bit through it, looking at the little seaside cafes, and little businesses looking out at the sea. Seeing small boats bob in the calmer waters of the bay's nooks and crannies.

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Until, eventually.... You get to one of the better known locations along the Great Ocean Road - the 12 Apostles! :D
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I don't quite think it's 12... but anyhow. Reminds me of the saying: "there are 2 types of people in the world. Those who can count, and those who can't." (I'm the latter!) lol

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It's the money shot!

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This is soon where I would be... having ridden all the road between Melbourne and Adelaide.

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1598672801932.png
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Leaving behind the tourist buses and the crowded areas, I kept going along the GOR. I had to make Waarrambool that night so I best not dawdle too much. I was also keen to get off the bike and away from the incessant winds coming from the cold sea. That night I stayed in a relatively cheap airbnb, that was 5 mins walk from a nice little Thai restaurant, and 10 mins walk from the pretty port.

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The next day I would be leaving Victoria behind and jumping the border into South Australia (SA).

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Goodbye (for now) Victoria, and Hello SA!


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Being a scuba diver and marine ecologist, I was keen to see some RAMSAR wetlands / protected ponds that I was told about. These freshwater ponds are formed into the surrounding rocky limestone landscape and can create some interesting areas for divers and nature refuge. Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park


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These ponds can be incredibly deep as well as clear water.

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Discussion Starter #17
These ponds can stretch many many kms throughout the region but there are many that are at the end of dirt roads, and in private properties. Most the area's land is owned by dairy farmers.


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Riding through this area, it gives you some visual stimulation since just above the vegetation line, there are rocky limestone areas that have crevasses and caves. I wonder what animals live in there?

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As I said there are many ponds and most are freshwater, while there are others that are brackish water and then eventually connect to the sea in king tides.


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Getting closer to Adelaide, I had to stop for a crab sandwich at Kingston SE. And most importantly, to see; the BIG LOBSTER! :D Ain't it grand?? :)


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At the end of the day, I crossed one of the ferries on the outskirts of Adelaide and finished up at the city. Nothing like a welcoming party of little people with outstretched arms, wanting their cool biker chick aunty, with the bike that sounds like the mower their dad takes them on rides on ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
In Adelaide, the Lawnmower was able to get a good clean from salty water spray, sand and other road grime :)
The chain needed looking at as well so it was a good time to do some TLC.

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Adelaide is synonymous for having koalas right at their doorstep, and I was privileged enough to be able to experience this, with a koala popping up at one of the local kid's parks nearby. Pity my camera is a bit meh and doesn't have a good zoom.... but then maybe it's a good thing otherwise it's just taking photos of furry butts!!
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There's some awesome bush walks quite close by with striking rock formations and lots of koalas!

After a few days being babysitter, the Lawnmower was packed once again and this time instead of heading the coastal way back to Melbourne to see how the paperwork was doing, I decided to take the inland route.
During the days within Adelaide I was told of some nice places to go visit on the way, and in particular some national parks that had fossils and other natural curiosities.


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So I left and made a beeline for Tailem Bend. Unfortunately the mush-talked about new race track was not completed yet, so no track days for this little Lawnmower, but there was one other thing of interest for me there.... the BIG OLIVES!! :D I like the fact they've put in both the black and green one. ;) Both just as nice as each other.


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Naracoorte Caves National Park is South Australia's only World Heritage site. It preserves Australia's most complete fossil record for the past 500,000 years.
www.naracoortecaves.sa.gov.au
www.naracoortecaves.sa.gov.au

From the Naracoorte Caves website insert " The Naracoorte Caves are part of the 800,000 year old Naracoorte East Range. They are World Heritage listed, and one of the world’s most important fossil sites.Of the 28 known caves in the park, four are open to the public. Other caves are set aside for scientific research or to protect the caves and their contents.
For half a million years the caves acted as pitfall traps and predator dens. Animals would fall in through a hole in the ground and not be able to escape. Bones collected – layer upon layer, year after year – creating a rich fossil record of the ancient animals that roamed the area. The fossil record covers several ice ages and the arrival of humans in the area
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As soon as I saw the welcoming sign and the lovely sculptures at the entrace, I know I would see some awesome fossils. To have bones from several eons that span Megafauna and overlap with the early Australians, would be tops! Don't get to see that everyday!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
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The entry fee is well, well worth it for what you get included, the information that's available, how well run this place is and how nice the guides are. Before I knew it, the whole day was coming to a close and I had to think about finding accommodation in the nearest town.

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Wonderful stalactites and stalagmites.



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One of the open pits where scientists are currently sorting through bones to classify them into species groups. This is one of the areas where the roof of the limestone cave had collapsed and essentially created a trap for fauna above to fall into, and perish inside the cave unable to get out. Layer upon layer of this; there's hundreds of animals and even some human remains in the pile!!



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Who said Australia didn't have drop bears?? THEY DID! This was the carnivorous koala relative to the koala today....


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Be careful of those drop bears!!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Nice write-up Valv. (y)
How many km's you averaged per day?
Hmmmm not too sure since it varied a bit. Some days I would just do about 200kms since it was mainly to travel for the day to get to some cool stuff to see. However to get to between some capital cities in different states it could be anywhere between 500-700kms. As it was the trip that I spent 5 months on the bike, I ended up doing about 45,000kms.
 
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