25/3/16. It was a tough day! A third 60+ km on the bounce was made tougher by hills (probably relatively minor but worse than we had experienced for a while) followed by a long, straight stretch into the wind.
BUT we got it done and are now about 100 km from Melbourne – although we will go on a more circuitous route than that so we take in the penguins on Philip Island.
The campsite on Thursday night was located close to where the Prince’s Highway morphed into the Prince’s Freeway and became even more unwelcoming (and probably illegal) for bikes. Regardless of the legality, it was not for us and so we headed north west which, unfortunately, was towards the hills. Initially it was on quiet roads, but after about 15 km we joined what appeared to be a shortcut avoiding where the highway/freeway dipped southwards. The positive aspect of this was that, because it was the start of the holiday season, the majority of the traffic was heading away from Melbourne inthe opposite direction to us.
We reached Yallourn North to be greeted by a sign that said its former name was (wait for it!) Old Brown Coal Mine Township. Now there’s a name that trips off the tongue and is very appealing.
As we left town we passed the Yallourn Power Station which offered the intriguing prospect of a viewing point – for all those of you who are fed up with looking at lovely forests and beaches! We declined the invitation as we could see quite enough from the row.
A little further on we got onto another rail trail, this time only a short one but it took us into Moe (that’s a bit shorter than Old Brown Coal Mine Township isn’t it?) by a flat and more pleasant route. We refueled at sone picnic tables next to the horse racing track and then set out on a dead straight road that ran parallel to the railway and the motorway – obviously the old road – into the teeth of a strong, blustery west wind.
It was quite a tedious ride to be perfectly honest – traffic noise and a headwind do not make for enjoyable cycling – but the alternatives of hills to the north or the (probably illegal) motorway (but it is a motorway with occasional traffic lights and many more junctions which are almost but not quite roundabouts – so unlike UK motorways) were much less appealing so we just gritted our teeth.
After more than 20 km of this, the old road sort of fizzled out and we had to take a less direct (a kind interpretation of the zigzag route we followed!) path to our destination of Warragul.
As soon as we hit the outskirts it was plain that, as we get close to Melbourne, we are back in “civilisation” with many commercial premises and prosperous looking residential areas. The campsite is an unusual mixture of retirement homes (small, well-loved prefabs which are surprisingly appealing) and cabins and sites available for “day hire”. We are quite taken by it – so much so that we have booked in for a further two nights. If truth be known, this is partly to avoid a fourth consecutive long day on the bike now that we are so close to Melbourne (we are now about 100km/60 miles away although we will be taking a more circuitous route to see the penguins at Philip Island).
And it has excellent, free wifi!