Day 6: Last night at Melbourne. I decided at noon yesterday to do an unplanned run from Sydney to the Victorian capital.. because why not?! Huge thanks to my good mate AridersLife for being a fantastic and hospitable local guide. You made my short visit a really worthwhile one!
Due to work commitments, I had to stay in Sydney between QLD leg that I’ve done in the past 5 days, and the VIC part that has yet to be completed on the Grom. Although my working hours prevented me from getting all the parts required for a full service on the Grom, a quick oil change was urgently needed to keep it running without issues until I returned from Melbourne.
I was rather reluctant to actually embark on this trip, because public holidays are the only time that I ever take off from my regular 7-day weekly work schedule. Even though I got up much earlier in the morning, it took some time for me to motivate myself. The fact that this would be my last chance for a multi-day road trip until possibly 6 months later brought the message home to my head: Dave, you’re just being a lazy arse if you don’t go for this one.. (I bloody hate being called lazy 🙂 )
The Big Merino in Goulburn is my compulsory stop whenever I take the direct route on the Hume Highway to Canberra and Melbourne. The distance between most Sydney suburbs to Goulburn works out to be under 200km, enough for most road bikes to make it on one tank of fuel. Taking around 2 hours on average to travel, it’s an ideal place to fill up and consume a small meal before continuing on with your way. On the Grom, though, that ETA of 2 hours practically translated to a 3 hour ride on the Grom due to its lower average pace on the interstate highway.
Dog on the Tuckerbox in the outskirts of Gundagai, on the Hume Highway, was the next fuel stop after Goulburn. The distance between Goulburn and this part of Gundagai is approximately 175km, so its both a good place to both fill up and observe a part of post-Convict era history. The historical monument attributes its origin back to the Australian colonial period in 1830s through the experiences of the early European pioneers, and a subsequent poem that was then used as inspiration behind the current legend. Legend has it that a dog would guard the lunch box of its master whilst out at work. The monument stands as an icon of the Australian Bush.
The bike ran out of fuel in the outskirts of Albury, sputtering to a halt at just 500 metres from the closest service station! Luckily, I was prepared for such an occurrence. Every one of my multi-day road trips are supported via a spare fuel can. Due to the limited storage space on the Grom, as well as the fact that it doesn’t really need much fuel in the first place, I specifically bought a 700ml gas bottle which extends my fuel range by around 30-40km, enough for me to stay out of trouble in most situations on the road.
My remaining journey to Melbourne from Albury, the NSW town on the state border, consisted of a late-night ride on the surprisingly isolated highway. As it was the New Years Eve, everybody must have gone either home or to the big city for their celebrations. My outrageous plan for the journey on the Grom was to make it to Melbourne before midnight, when the New Year strikes. If I were on my Panigale, or any other bike that could comfortably sustain the highway speed limit, this would have been possible. However, leaving Sydney at noon, and with an ETA of 10 hours and fuel stops and meal break that haven’t been directly accounted for, it was impossible on the Grom. No matter what I could do, there was no way that even a speed of 100km/h can be maintained with all the luggage that I had.
Eventually, I arrived at Melbourne by 2am. Surprisingly, the city was dead-quiet for a night of NYE celebrations. Whereas Sydney would usually be clogged up with people all across the city, Melbourne was as quiet as a cul-de-sac can be in the suburbs. This might be an indication that the traffic flow and public transport options in Melbourne are so good that everything clears off in very little time. That, or it prefers a restful sleep than to make a big deal about a night that comes and goes.
My mate, Peter from AridersLife, was more than happy to show me around the city and lead me out on a kebab run to one of the best available in the city; the first meal of the new year 2017. More so than that, despite giving him an abrupt 6 hours notice, he willingly offered me a spare bed at his place for me to sleep over for the night. What a top bloke! Definitely owe him one. Melbourne; first time ever to be spending my New Years Day in a different city. Not bad start to 2017, I say!
Basic Statistics for the day:
- Route: Sydney, Goulburn, Albury, Melbourne
- Total distance: 917km
- Range of ambient temperature: 15°C to 30°C
Expenses for the day:
General map route: