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Adelaide to Melbourne
via Princes Highway & the Great Ocean Road

Coorong National Park
The first leg of this trip follows the striking shoreline of the Coorong National Park where a long peninsula of sand dunes runs about 200 km along the coast of south east South Australia. The Younghusband Peninsula encloses the Coorong lagoons, lakes and salt marshes and the Princes Highway follows the shoreline along with several unsealed roads that add variety and an element of remotness to the route. Strange bonsai trees, incredible birdlife, countless lakes, empty roads between few communities all characterize this region.

Day 1
Murray Bridge to Long Pt.
105 km

From Spencer's St. station in Melbourne I took the overnight Overlander train west toward Adelaide. I confess I didn't go all the way into Adelaide to start my ride but instead got off the train in the eeriely quiet dark of Murray Bridge. The train pulled in to 'the Bridge' at 6:15 am setting up a full day to begin my journey.

The ghost town feel of Murray Bridge awoke rapidly as I rode through the town following directions for Tailem Bend on the A1 Highway. Crossing the River Murray bridge pushing my bike on a skinny sidewalk while the early morning rush hour of truck traffic whizzed by made me wonder what the hell I was getting into. But after a couple of hours I had made my first grocery shop and coffee stop in Tailem Bend and the highway had diverged and the traffic volume plummeted as I started down the Princes Highway.

Near Ashville I left the highway heading west around the shore of Lake Alexandina on a quiet unsealed (sandy) road to Narrung. I passed Malcom Point lighthouse, the only lighthouse in Australia to have been erected on a body of freshwater and took the short cable ferry across 'The Narrows' to Narrung.

Sunrise over the River Murray
Malcom Point lighthouse
The first of many cow encounters
Pelicans at Long Point, note the dunes of Younghusband Peninsula behind
The road was paved once again from Narrung and I followed it around Lake Albert before leaving it as the daylight was obviously fading following signs to a camp site in the National Park called Long Point. The camp was deserted and I set up tent and cooked supper while a couple of local fishermen drove their trailered boats at breakneck speed into the water, launched and disappeared across the lagoon. The fishermen brought a large flock of pelicans calling and I watched them milling about waiting for the boat's return. One guy pulled in and after a quick chat left me with three Coorong Mullet to clean and steam for supper. I actually kept them for breakfast which was a fine way to start the next day.

Day 2
Long Pt. to Wreck Crossing
115 km

The day started out nice enough and I made my way back to the road and continued toward the Princes Highway. I left the paved road to take an unsealed road through Noonameera and (I think) Coorong bypassing the large town of Meningie and replacing it with a very scenic run right along the shoreline. No traffic at all until I hit the Princes Highway which was lighter than the steady rain that then set in.

The flat road and my early trip enthusiasm gave me one of the best mileage days of the whole trip and I kept my spirits up with coffee at Policeman's Point and a laugh at Salt Creek which I had been told was the 'next major place you'll hit' which turned out to be a gas station and a memorial to the first ever oil drill in Australia that never actually hit oil in years of trying.

Soaked, I left the Princes Highway and took the parallel unsealed Old Coorong Road to another National Park campsite at Wreck Crossing.

The eerie shoreline at Wreck Crossing
Day 3
Wreck Crossing to Robe
105 km

This day was one of my favorite of the whole trip. It began with cloudy but dry skies and a long ride out to the Highway taking about 40 more km of the Old Coorong Road. I saw only one car the whole way and they looked lost. What I did see a lot of was kangaroos with some great encounters riding alongside them in the mist in a bizarre landscape of marsh land ghostly black swans drifting on red rimmed lakes.

A quick coffee and postcard stop in Kingston, the first town of any significance since Tailem Bend and it was off the Princes Highway and on to the much quieter Southern Ports Highway, a scenic tourist and local route. I stopped for the day at Robe a charming seaside fishing town turned tourist mecca.

Robe waterfront Old Robe Customs House
I really liked Robe it was a great little town and of course although it was obviously firmly on the tourist route this was the off season so it was quiet with only a few visitors like myself among the mainly local crowd. I enjoyed a long chat with the manager of the local wine shop who seemed happy to have a customer eager to sample some local vintages before making an educated purchase.

A nearby National Park, Little Dip, had a great campsite which yet again I was the only resident for the night and at $2.50 a true bargain. The morning was beautiful and I went for a walk out to the beach to start the day although the crappy batteries I had bought for my camera didn't work so I missed some great photo ops of the beach, a sea lion and a gorgeous misty sunrise.

Next - the Limestone Coast

National Park

Day 1
Murray Bridge to Long Pt.

Day 2
Long Pt. to Wreck Crossing

Day 3
Wreck Crossing to Robe

Limestone Coast

Day 4
Robe to Southend

Day 5
Southend to Nelson

Day 6
Nelson to Portland

Day 7
Portland to Warrnambool

Great Ocean Rd.

Day 8
Warrnambool to Port Campbell

Day 9
Port Campbell to Cape Otway

Day 10
Cape Otway to Lorne

Day 11
Lorne to Geelong

Last modified Sat, Oct 8, 2005
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