|Today’s Distance: 0km||Total Distance: 647km|
Today we are relaxing in the pretty village of Bombala. After the two big uphill days then the shorter day yesterday, we felt we needed to give the legs and body a rest. Tomorrow will be a big day so having a break sets us up for the ride ahead. We plan to bike 84km from Bombala to the tourist town of Merimbula on the coast. Although it’s a long distance, it is mostly downhill which will be nice. The weather today is cold and overcast and it is forecast to be slightly colder tomorrow with a high of only 12 degrees. We’ll have to dress warmly as hours of downhill will be cold. We are looking forward to getting to the beach again.
As we are having a day off today, we thought we’d reflect on cycling in Victoria. Most of our riding was flat, very flat. Gippsland has a reputation as an industrial area but we saw very little industry. If your route doesn’t go near a desalination plant, coal mine or power station, all you see is farmland. Mostly we saw farmland and forests as we made our way across Gippsland. Victoria is very well endowed with rail trails, cycle paths and facilities for cyclists. In some respects it’s sad so many railway lines have closed but Victorians have made full use of them as cycle paths. We found drivers were almost all very considerate of us and we felt safe cycling in Victoria.
We developed our route as we went. Originally we planned to follow the Lonely Planet route but this is over 10 years old and things have changed. Most of the rail trails seem new and many of the cycle paths are the same. So each day we would look ahead, consider the LP guide, local advice, Google Maps and any other information before deciding on our route. In general Google Maps routing for cyclists does a good job of providing a route. It includes rail trails and cycle paths so we generally follow Google Maps unless we get local advice to the contrary. Sometimes Google wants to send us down gravel roads but we generally prefer to stick to the seal if possible. Our touring bikes and posteriors thank us for not cycling on gravel.
We enjoyed Victoria and found people friendly. We are a bit of a novelty cycling at this time of year. It seems we are also a novelty that we aren’t Germans as most cycle tourists seem to be. We haven’t seen a single other cycle tourist and only seen a handful of other cyclists on the rail trails. Probably most Australians think it’s too cold at this time of year, but we think the day time temperatures are perfect, although it’s cooler up on the plateau in NSW. Temperatures between 15 and 18 have been normal with suits us fine.
So tomorrow, we head down to tourist land. Most towns we’ve stayed in so far have one Caravan Park. Merimbula has five which is a sign of it’s touristiness. We’ll have to dress warmly for the descent!!