Kangaroo Island Tour
by Hosko, Rolf, Phil, John, Brett, H, and the Ghost of Peter Ho
This ride report was originally published in the May 2010 issue of the Motorcycle Tourers club magazine, ‘Chain Lube’.
- Over 2500km of roads covered
- Cost $150 petrol (R6)
- Over 4 casks of red
- Over a dozed bottles of red
- A few beers
- 15 bike riders (at varying times) and 1 motorcar
- 8 days of sun with a short shower or two…
20 intrepid Riders braved the Great Ocean Road on Saturday 13 March for a fun-filled ride to Port Campbell (Kate/Justin/Adz and Brett stayed the Sat night with the rest of us and took their own way home Sunday). Rolf took us via Deans Marsh to Lorne and on to Port Campbell for the night…
A nice Pub dinner after a little mix up with the table booking… For some reason they got confused with the sat following and a birthday booking.
Sunday took us to Robe, again via GOR with a quick stop at Tower Hill, H ended up doing a few more kilometress with his tool kit for David’s bike and Peter Ho’s bike. Oh well… 50% strike rate is pretty good (the Fireblade retired for a few days at Warnambool for bit of R&R, so Pete decided to keep Nunnsy awake in the car for a few days till the Fireblade could recharge its battery… lol)
Robe again had us dine at local Pub… the next morning a nice latte breakfeast at the local cafe for all… Here Peter Ho decided to try before you buy ride on my R6( going cheapish now pete!!!)… and i kept Nunnsy awake. On to Victor Harbor via a local punt had us land in about 4pm… a local Greek restaurant provided a HUGE banquet for the majority of the group… accommodation was in the centre of town but a bit run down… but it had a pool!!!
An early leave (7.30am) from VH to get to Kangaroo island ferry by 8.30am took us through some fantasic roads to Cape Jervis. Plenty of eye candy for Rolf and the boys on the 45min Ferry as well. Thanks to H for ride leader as well…
Kangaroo Island had plenty of seals, seals and more seals… but not many kangaroos (a few trophies beside the road though) sighted…
Ed: …not forgetting these cute little buggers at the KI Wilderness Retreat:
Accommodation at The wilderness retreat provided some heated discussions between the group… Eg. where should the sewage treatment plant be located if not next to the kitchen? Or why should the shower not flood the entire bathroom? Or why did they get air con and we only got the TV? Perhaps a little over-priced, but location determines this as well…
Dinner was excellent the first night, and the BBQ cooked by Glenn and Adam the following night was enjoyed. A late afternoon swim down a 4 km corrugated dirt track was sort of enjoyable but the next days surf swim was great (2 km of good dirt road)… Kangaroo island has only a circuit of made road, the rest dirt.
Another early start to get back on the ferry and onto Mt. Gambier for the night. Except this took a little longer than expected… arrival for some was about 8pm after Ross K (assistant mechanic to H) fixed David’s chain that was thrown off. A little rain and darkness did not help the group of five who rolled in late. Thanks Evan, Ross and Tim H (ride leader for the late group) for letting me chase them home with my tinted visor. Nothing better than a KFC/McDonalds and Hungry Jacks competition re tasty food and service for dinner…
A quick service to David’s bike the next morning, oil refill, chain tighten, tyre air check, mirror adjustment and it was almost brand new.
The group decided a late start would be advisable as Terang was not that far away, so a look around Mt Gambier and some back roads saw us arrive about 4pm. Local pub again for dinner and was nice, again H the ride leader.
Terang to Melbourne via Lavers Hill area and up to Colac by Rolf provided some entertaining windy roads. A quick trip back to North Melbourne for coffee and cake at Pete Ho and Tim’s newly finished converted warehouse (or is it the Taj Mahal?)
Many thanks to H, Phil, Rolf and Peter Ho for ride leaders and to Ross, adam as rear riders, and to nunnsy for that extra car support.
A special MV toy was given to H for services rendered over and above the call of duty as the trips head mechanic.
Phew!!! we all made it home..sort of in one piece, apart form evan who lost a few of his… oh and the R6 rear sub frame cracking… oh and The $1400 fireblade bill… oh and the few Oops!: no names but BMW (not Ross), Honda ( not pete’s), scooters (hmmm the only one)…
Till next time… maybe
Ride Report: Day 1 – South Yarra to Port Campbell
Stunning clear blue skies and a blazing sun welcomed the Tourers gathering on Domain road for the start of the (allegedly) last-ever Hosko Tour, this time to Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Mostly familiar faces and bikes, Tim and striking blonde pillion debuting the new Kwacka ER-6, but who was this tall stranger on the beaten-up black BMW? Helmet removal revealed Evan, finally, on a bike that fits him. After a few lattes and last-minute panics (the cat was already “out”, John), Hosko led 16 (?) bikes west across the Westgate Aerial Roadworks Zone to Geelong where we met with Phil and Juz to make up the full compliment of 14 (?) serious tourers and 4(?) day-trippers.
Heading ever west, we soon turned off the traffic-choked A1 to revisit the early part of last August’s Otways ride through Moriac to Deans Marsh. Empty curves over emerald hills seduced us south to Martians Café and the first latte stop of the trip (mental note – must drop in on that Hari Krishna enclave with a large group one day!). Down through the hills to join the famed Great Ocean Road from Lorne to Apollo Bay, as always a hugely gratifying ride, albeit with abundant mobile chicanes. A fuel stop while admiring elements of the passing pedestrian parade, then entering less familiar territory as we headed away from the coast up to Lavers Hill for lunch. Corners became wider and faster, allowing Juz plenty of corner-marking practise, even managing to get a few quick phone calls in between traffic directions.
We were an impressively diverse group of bikes and riders filling the lunch-stop pie shop carpark, to the evident bewilderment of two passing GSXR riders who stopped in briefly. Never mind the riders they were thinking, just how did a CB250, a beastial K100, a tasty Daytona 675, a Fireblade, an MV Augusta, and an antiquated 1980s GSXR all come to be acquainted? And that scooter?? Just how did this all fit together? “We’re all members of the same Family, mate”.
The sun-dappled roller-coaster ride led us onwards back out to the coast on fairly empty roads until thickening tourist traffic volumes heralded coastal scenery hotspots around the Twelve Apostles. The buzz of helicopters and roar of tourist coaches marked the spot as we all obediently filed through the underpass to the designated viewing areas. Several members of the group revealed their Grumpy Old Men credentials, reminiscing about how you used to be able to park your bike by the edge of the cliff for a photo with the twelve pillars of rock in the background. Back when there used to be twelve, that was!
After dutiful exposure of gazillions of pixels, we headed down into the disturbingly twee little baby-boomer settlement of Port Campbell. After checking into our spacious, deluxe accommodation (probably best of the trip, although we didn’t know that yet), the group split, with a soft core stopping at the pub and a hard core continuing to the beach, ice-creams, and, yes, a swim! Those of us who remained on the grass were treated to the sight of a local lad emerging from the water butt-naked and striding confidently up the sand towards us. Sadly, the Southern Ocean had evidently made it’s presence felt, with not much on show behind the token cupped hand. Never mind, it’s the thought that counts!
Rendezvous back at the pub led to dinner and an opportunity for Hosko to show off his pool-playing acumen. Miss-spent youth, anyone? All in all, not a bad way to end a damn fine Day 1 . . .
Ride Report: Day 2 – Portland to Robe
Following several incidents earlier in the day and an enforced few hours at Port Fairy to perve on the local talent (there wasn’t any) we rode from Port Fairy to Portland where I took over as leader of the pack (alright, I’ll get my hand off it). The road from Portland to Nelson was a nice eucalyptus lined road for most of the way with a few curves here and there. Being a hot day and feeling very dehydrated, we pulled into a BP servo at Nelson to fill up our bikes and ourselves. A few kilometres out of Nelson we crossed the border into SA and stopped at the “Welcome to South Australia” sign for the obligatory photo.
Riding along at about 120kmh on the road to Mt Gambier, I was surprised when I looked to my right to see a black Suzuki pulling level and my photo being taken by Rolf. The photo actually turned out pretty well although you can’t sense any motion in the picture and it looks a bit like I’m sitting on a bike in a paddock.
We rode straight through Mt Gambier and onto Millicent where we for some reason stopped in the main street for a few minutes. The countryside after Millicent down to Beachport and Robe is very flat with long straight stretches along scrub lined roads. Being fairly tired from a long day, it seemed to take ages to reach the shaded glades of Robe but reach them we did about 6pm. I hadn’t lost anyone and it hadn’t rained: so an improvement on last year!
Ride Report: Day 2 – Port Campbell to Melbourne (the splinter group ride)
The morning had come where the ‘splinter group’ as we were affectionately to become known would part the main group after a hearty breakfast at Waves Cafe and head back to Melbourne. With 3 of us unable to join the rest of the group on the other side of the weekend, and Adz opting out from the main tour and joining the splinter group just before the tour, we decided to close off membership as it would have turned into a fizzer of a tour for Hosko’s last last last ‘Johnny Farnham One Night Only’ like tour away if we kept accepting more members. Just joking, as it was a real regret that I did return to Melbourne for a peaceful… um lonely week on my own without John.
So with the main group heading west, the four of us started back east along the Great Ocean Road. As it was such a beautiful day that lay before us, we tentatively arranged for a few tour points of our own. STOP THE PRESS. Did you just read that the Tourers actually stopped and looked at something that wasn’t a cafe come smoko come loo come fuel stop? You bet ya!
We pulled in for a quick look and photo shoot at Loch Ard Gorge before we continued on in our way for some sweeping corners along the Otways and the ever excitable twisties before a regroup, and photo opportunity just before Lorne where we stopped for a quick lunch break.
For lunch, Juz and I opted for a cooler soft ice cream as it was getting quite warm, Kate wanted another sample of what the ocean waters had to offer. A bit over it all myself, as I am not much for exposing my true identity in the flesh. Juz was also wanting to take the opportunity of a high speed cornering exercise on his favourite inlet bend between Lorne and Apollo Bay before the ‘tourists’ started to head back towards Melbourne at a third the advised speed limit, so we became the splinter groups splinter group.
Even though our part in the overall tour was somewhat short, I think we managed to pack in loads of excitement on the roads, and sight seeing opportunities which I always love. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, which allowed some to have a paddle in the water, and for others to see some other sights that you don’t see every day… please refer to Rolf’s Day 1 report in the section about Port Campbell.
Ride Report: Day 3 – Robe to Victor Harbor
by the Ghost (writer) of Peter Ho
Gosh, this must be a first! Has anyone ever led a ride through South Australia while their motorcycle sat dead in rural Victoria?
Hosko found the kilometres were taking their toll, the poor thing. So he handed me the R6 and instructed me to lead the ride while he rested his weary bones in the hydro-pneumatically suspended air-conditioned luxury of Grahame’s Citroen.
Hosko’s R6 has many fine features. A gloriously revvable engine. A working electrical system. A marvellously bouncy rear sub-frame! The kilometres simply whizzed past as we rocketed along through the Coorong.
We stopped for lunch and afterwards inspected a gigantic lobster at Kingston that apparently has both male and female reproductive organs!
A quick punt ride across the Murray River, which actually has water in it at this point, and we were soon on our way to our final destination for the day, Victor Harbor. We enjoyed a fabulous greek banquet, and while in town some took the opportunity to visit the laundrette and wash their clothes, some using detergent, others using araldite.
Day 3 – Victor Harbor Spin Cycle
by John H
I didn’t lead a ride, but I did manage to create what Julian Clary used to refer to as Sticky Moments.
After a day of long straight flat roads along the Coorong, we finally drew into Victor Harbor and checked into our ultra ’70s motel. A few of us decided to hit the laundromat and get a few things washed. With only an hour or so until dinner, there wasn’t a lot of time to spare so I just emptied my Ventura bag, threw a bunch of the smellier items into a plastic bag, and rushed off to the trusty Maytag.
Unfortunately, in my haste to throw everything in the machine, I didn’t bother to check pockets or otherwise ensure that I was only putting clothing and detergent into the machine. The error in not doing so became apparent to me about half an hour later when I opened the lid and discovered a burst tube of super glue sitting on top of my wash. Everything (including the impeller on the washing machine) was decorated with swirls and blobs of browny coloured glue!
Next morning, things went from bad to worse. After a marvellous spirited ride from Victor Harbor to Cape Jervis to board the ferry, I realised that I hadn’t remembered packing my mobile phone. Or should I say, Brett’s 3G handset with the Telstra 3G SIM card from work that I had borrowed and promised to take good care of! A quick search of my bag before boarding the ferry: no phone. I’d also turned the handset off to save power, so there was no way to hunt it by ringing and listening out for the ring tone.
So began a very depressing ferry ride for me, wondering how I’d avoid getting the sack for such carelessness from work (and worse still, Brett!) Fortunately the Tourers were very understanding, and did their best to cheer me up by making jokes about whether or not the phone was currently glued to the inside of the washing machine back in Victor Harbor.
After a quick blast through Kangaroo Island we finally made it to our accommodation for the next few nights, the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Resort. Ross and I found ourselves in one of the rooms with air conditioning (which meant that we didn’t have a TV – that would just be TOO much luxury!) and I emptied out my bag to get a change of clothes. And in one of my socks, what should I find but the missing mobile!
Rolf, who had earlier listened to me endlessly retracing my steps to where I had last seen the phone, spoke for everyone when he greeted the news of the phone’s discovery with a loud and heartfelt exclamation: “You Idiot!!!”
Ah well, all’s well that ends well.
Ride Report: Day 4 – Victor Harbor to Kangaroo Island
I always thought Hosko was a good friend, someone I could rely on and trust, someone I who would be there if I needed a hand. After years in the Tourers I thought this was true, until the Kangaroo Island trip. You see for some reason the MV has a knack of attracting Kangaroos to hit. It happened on the Tassie trip while I was leading, I hit a small Kangaroo, then the next day I was following Rolf who stopped suddenly and I almost hit a Kangaroo. On my first MV I hit a kangaroo with David P on the pillion while riding back from Cowes to Ventor one GP night.
So who did Hosko ask to lead from the ferry to our accommodation on “Kangaroo Island”??????
He asked me, who has had more close encounters with our furry friends (not those furry friends but the kangaroo variety) than I care to remember, yes, my good friend Hosko asked me and the Kangaroo attracting MV to lead the ride on the Kangaroo Island stretch. What is Kangaroo Island most known for I ask????? Kangaroos of course!!!!!
I can’t refuse of course, I have my pride after all, and everyone knows I’m actually fearless when it comes to such things, well that’s the image I try to keep up!!!
It was about 10.30 when the ferry reached the Island and while we were regrouping, I casually wandered into the local servo. The premise was to “buy smokes” but it was really to ask the locals if Kangaroo Island was really known for it’s Kangaroos. The conversation sort of went like this…..
“Pack of B&H mate,” I ask (I do try to sound butch at times)
“Sure,” KI servo bloke.
“Um what are the Kangaroos like on the Island?” I asked quietly
“Real friendly mate,” he said, “you on the bikes?”.
“Yesss thatssss right. Many of them about?” I ask (I’m not really that butch all the time!!!!)
“All I can say is there’s no way you’d get me on a bike, you guys must be mad”, KI servo bloke.
I wandered casually back to the group to talk about the route we’d be taking, calm as ice of course but just knowing what Hosko has put me through!!!!!
We headed off from Penneshaw on the main road into the kangaroo infested inland of the island, heading for Kingscote the main town on the island for our morning tea and to buy some supplies for a picnic lunch on the way to our stop for the night at the Eco Lodge. Hearing the servo guys words over and over inside my helmet I set a cracking pace as usual on the trusty, Kangaroo attracting MV and actually hit about 80 kph at one stage. We made it safely to Kingscote and dispersed to different cafes for a snack and a look around the town. I managed to find a few locals and casually asked about kangaroos. I am becoming just slightly fixated by now. (thanks again Hosko) Tim and I managed to sneak away from the group while they were all looking around the town to explore one of his great passions. Unfortunately it isn’t me, rather his endless quest to make sure he finds that Barbie bargain that no-one else could find. He had spotted a Toyworld store as we were riding into town.
After morning tea it was into the dreaded inland of the island. Very cautiously I set off, sitting in the middle of the road, constantly searching out escape routes and trying to pick out the Kangaroos on the side of the road. I saw on the map that we enter the national park about 100 kms from Kingscote so thought that would be a good stop for our picnic lunch. I was travelling at a very safe 80kph on the MV constantly scanning for movement. There was none!!!! On we droned, still at 80kph and scanning the roadside. Nothing to see, but my wrists and arse were beginning to ache. Another 30 kms on and I’m up to about 90kph, still scanning the roadside and still seeing nothing.
In fact the interesting thing about this part of Kangaroo Island is that there is nothing. The road is wide and flat, the country side is wide and flat and the Kangaroos are nonexistent!!!! I couldn’t even find the national park, there was really just nothing!!!! In fact there was one thing about this part of the ride, it was hot. The temperature suddenly jumped up to over 30?C. Low speed and heat, just the environment for a comfortable ride on the MV whose temperature was now sitting at about 110?. Poor Tim in his full waterproofs on his first big ride was now dripping in sweat. It was actually running out the sleeves of his jacket. By this stage we were about half way to the Eco Lodge and I was over it!!! I through caution to the wind and cranked it up to a much more sensible 120 to 130 kph, still no kangaroos to be seen.
Having failed to find the national park, a suitable picnic stop, a kangaroo, or any wild life whatsoever we arrived at the Eco Lodge. Hosko had found us a fantastic place to stay, although it was a little bit on the nose!!!!
Ride Report: Day 8 – Terang to North Melbourne
It seemed barely a moment since the last drop of chateau de casque had been accounted for, but yes, that was definitely an alarm clock going off. What? What?? Already? Urghhh!! A peep out through the motel curtains revealed blinding sunlight and a disgustingly chipper-looking Ross with his head in a cloud. Cracking the front door open soon explained all . . it was cold out there! That cloud around Ross’s head was, err, his breath. Dressed, packed, and after David and I borrowed the spare pillow to soak the dew off our bike seats, we were off to the centre of Terang for breakfast. Nothing like a good fry-up, eh Glen? Quietly digesting, the group chatted and smoked outside the cafe, drawing curious looks from some curious-looking passers-by. Meanwhile, in response to my innocent “where’s the turn-off to Cobden?” query, I was the centre of attention inside, getting a stream of very complex directions (and warnings) from at least 3 well-meaning locals. I walked out head whirling with confusion, until Pete helpfully noted “The Cobden turn-off is 50 metres up, around that big obelisk, by the big green sign that says “Cobden”. Ah. Thanks Pete!
Brisk country air, blue sky and slanting sunbeams showed off the lush green countryside to full advantage as we wound our way south-east. It was good to be on the road, and how lucky we are to live in this gorgeous corner of Australia called Victoria. The sights, sounds and smells of south-eastern South Australia were a fading memory already.
Zig-zagging onwards we passed through Simpson before entering the Otway Ranges. Thick forest, ferns and the odd patch of pasture. The road tightened up as we dropped down across the Carlisle River, then – the bitumen ended. Just like that. Not so much as a courtesy warning sign. Leading the group onto gravel, was, I had been told, a cardinal sin punishable by lots and lots of wheelspin. Hmm. A few kilometres of average corrugations and a Y-junction later we were back on the black, twisting north-east to Colac.
Arriving in this surprisingly pleasant rural dormitory centre we were reminded it was mid-morning on a Saturday. Throngs of suspect-looking teenagers poured across the road in front of us while we waited at our first set of traffic lights in what seemed like weeks. Multiple lanes of traffic hemmed us in on all sides. Intimidated by the bustle, I skulked off down a side-street, leading the group to a quiet park where we could collect our thoughts, after another latte of course.
John peeled off to the north and the rest of us continued east along a mighty fine back-road paralleling the bumper-to-bumper A1. The cool air, fine roads and possibly the “horse’s head turned for home” effect apparently saw some new personal bests set in the motorcycle velocity department. We picked up our outbound track near Moriac, soon enough arriving at the M1 terminator BP outside Geelong. Ride end. Near enough to 2,700 kilometres of companionship, hilarity, scenery, sunshine, drizzle and the odd mechanical challenge, was over. Backs were slapped, earplugs rolled the one last time, sidestands kicked, and we scattered, mostly to coffee and cake at Casa del Pete y Tim in North Melbourne. From Tourers back to induhviduals, until next time of course . . three roots for Hosko!!