Another epic journey riding from Adelaide to Melbourne and then to Sydney, covering 3 states with a distance of 1751km and a 13,011m of elevation gain. I missed a few days’ rides from Cooma to Wollongong, ~370km, due to terrible weather and persistent heavy rainfall but I’m still incredibly grateful for the whole experience! This post will cover only stage 1 (Adelaide to Melbourne) of the tour.
As always, huge thanks and great appreciation to the All Trails crew (Richard, Lou and Doug) for everything! Especially the logistics (which were a HUGE task!), amazing food and accommodation wherever possible and making the tour as smooth as possibly can.
Some say the group makes/breaks the tour…our group definitely makes the tour! Another wonderful group of cyclists, whom are full of wisdom and so generous in sharing with the “baby of the group” (me 😆). I felt very well taken care of (being the youngest has its perks 😉). A huge blessing to ride again with a few cyclists I met in Tassie and Perth tours. Truly appreciate and treasure my time with these very motivating and inspiring group of people! 🙏🏼🙏🏼
1. Best views day would be Day 9 Port Campbell to Apollo Bay. Riding into that magnificent sunrise beats everything else.
2. Best riding day would be Day 6 Dunkeld to Port Fairy. I was riding well and able to stay in Andrew/Glen train with ease mainly because it was mostly downhills 😆
3. Best hotels are Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld (great room and lovely view) and Lancemore in Milawa (the best BED ever! I just want to lie there all day!).
4. Food has been incredible too! But the best of the best would be in Dunkeld (Parker St Project in Royal Mail Hotel), 360q in Queenscliff and Brown Brothers Winery in Lancemore Milawa.
What an incredible experience! It’s hard work indeed but truly rewarding. I’m already looking forward to the next one and itching to book for more in the future!
Day 1 – Adelaide to Goolwa
☀️🥵🙏🏼 Grateful for the dry sunny weather although it gets really hot after Morning Tea (M. T.), as long as it’s not raining, there’s no complain.
The first 47km until M.T. were mostly on bike paths which were very well maintained. The famous Willunga Hill climb (3km, avg 7%, 220m gain) was challenging because of the heat! Last 30km was also mentally challenging as it got hotter and wind also picked up. Roads were rougher too – it’s bumpy and sucked onto the wheels. Nonetheless, it was an amazing start to the tour! 👌🏼 First day of riding was always the most nerve-wrecking! I’m thankful we all ride smoothly and made it safely!
Also, there’s a little reunion with some riders I met during Tassie & Perth tours last year. I was very excited and grateful to be riding with these inspiring and amazing friends again!
Dinner at Goolwa Motel where we also stayed for the night
“It’s on! We spend the first part of today’s cycling hugging the coastal beaches that stretch south from Adelaide city. These popular city suburb beaches are always a hive of activity during the summer months and sunny weather. As the city fades away we head inland through McLaren Vale, which will need no introduction to any wine appreciators out there, and through these vineyards we roll until the township of Willunga. This name again will need no introduction to anyone familiar with the Tour Down Under – yes, it’s the infamous Willunga Hill (3 km long, 222m elevation, avg gradient 7.4 %). For those who wish to take on the climb, clip in and go for it. For those happy to watch, we will take you to the top of the hill ready to cheer on the winners at the finish line. From here we roll downhill (mostly) through the quiet backroads and pasturelands into Goolwa. A lovely town right on the beach and just a stone’s throw from ‘The Murray Mouth’, where the Mighty Murray River meets the sea after a long journey from up near Thredbo, where we will be in a couple of weeks’ time.“All Trails
Day 2 – Goolwa to Meningie
☀️💨💨🥵🙏🏼 The first of many 100kms DONE! Smooth bunch riding until 72km 👌🏼 The wind started picking up before lunch and I couldn’t keep up with the group.
Then the last 40ish km was BRUTAL! Headwind at 22kph with gusts of 28kph + rough roads + heat = NO ENERGY 🥵🥵 It really took lots of perseverance and determination to keep riding! Thanks so much team! Glen&Leah, Sally, Michelle, Carol and especially Andrew for literally pushing me up that little hills (the small hills were only ~3-5% but the wind were pushing me back, it felt like 8% or more!). Today’s ride would be much much more challenging without you all team! Very thankful 🙏🏼🙏🏼🤗😘
Dinner at Meningie Waterfront Motel, where we also stayed for the night
“As the crow flies, we are only about 55km from tonight’s destination, however Lake Alexandria and a number of other creeks, lakes, lagoons and islands block that direct journey, leaving us with a much longer ride around the mass of water fed by the Murray River in its final push to the ocean. It’s at Wellington East that the Ferryman takes us across the mighty Murray, then it’s south to Lake Albert, an area steeped in Aboriginal history, for a siesta in the sun at Meningie.”All Trails
Day 3 – Meningie to Kingston SE
☀️🌪🥵🙏🏼 BRUTAL. BLOODY WIND. EXHAUSTED.
Very rough road and windyyy the whole day but the first 100km was manageable. I tried to stay on few bunch rides that helped me got to lunch. Then the wind just went crazier and crazier after. The last 15km or so was indescribably hard. Headwind turned crosswind at 28kph with gusts of 34kph, very narrow shoulder, kerb and gravel to the left. The crosswind kept beating us from the right, shifting us toward the left. There’s only few centimetres between the bike and the kerb and became increasingly dangerous to ride on. My head was nagging at me to just stop and jump onto the support van (+my Wahoo died so I don’t even know the speed I was going and how many kms more to Kingston SE). I’m surprised how I just kept pedaling eventhough it felt forever and somehow managed to arrive safely in destination 🙏🏼🙏🏼
“Gliding pelicans and wild ducks add interest on another big day as you cycle alongside Coorong National Park – a haven for wildlife and the location for the film ‘Stormboy’. Sand dunes, lakes, swamps and dry salt pans pass you by as you push on and savour the rewards of perseverance pushing into Kingston SE, another lovely beachside town of South Australia’s south-east corner, famous for its lobsters. It is in fact the home of the Larry the Big Lobster, one of Australia’s “Big Things”. Head down to the Bay, you might catch a glimpse of seals, dolphins, or sea lions.”All Trails
Day 4 – Kingston SE to Penola
⛅️🌪🥵🙏🏼 EVERYTHING HURTS! SO TIRED.
An easier day today compared to yesterday but still hard though! Headwind for 130km! I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it today as I was already exhausted from the last few days…
Today’s ride was only possible because of Carol & Andrew and Leah & Glen. Thanks so much for leading Andrew and the push (literally!) when I fell behind the peloton. Smooth ride with Leah for first 30km, taking turns every 3km. BUTT HURTS! Legs hurts! Can’t feel my body anymore.
Great dinner tonight at Hollick Estates Coonawarra.
There was wine tasting as well but I don’t drink alcohol,
everyone else enjoyed the tasting.
“Today we leave the coast for a while and trek across a new scenic inland route over the wide-open expanses and rolling hills into Penola. It’s a lovely ride on the backroads and country lanes with limited traffic and a destination worth the effort. Penola is one of SA’s most productive wine growing areas with 30+ wineries nearby, and also famous as an important location in the life of Mary McKillop, Australia’s first saint. Tonight’s dinner will almost be a religious experience in itself as we sample the produce from this unique, cigar- shaped strip of terra rossa soil.”All Trails
Day 5 – Penola (SA) to Dunkeld (VIC)
☀️⛅️😪🙏🏼 It’s amazing how resilient the body is at withstanding fatigue. At all the stops, I was feeling extremely exhausted and so very sleepyyy but incredibly, the legs could still keep pedaling whenever I got back to the bike. The coping mechanism of the body is just incredible.
Still quite a tough day as fatigue has built up for the last 4 days…can’t wait for the rest day in two days’ time in Port Fairy. Roads were better and quieter. Chilly 🥶 in the morning but quickly warmed up as the day went. Couldn’t keep up with the Andrew/Glen train in the morning before water stop…But they kindly go at slower pace after so I could keep up. Thanks so much again Andrew/Carol & Glen/Leah! And literal push from Andrew when I started falling back ~10km before M.T. 🙏🏼🙏🏼
Then it was rolling hills till lunch. A 100m climb after lunch with ~1km section of roadwork (which was gravely and rather nervous to ride on). A few of us got a bit lost and rode an extra 17ish km. There was an option for a shorter ride so I opted for that. My butt couldn’t take another 40kms.
Dinner at Parker Street Project at Royal Mail Hotel, where we stayed for the night.
“It’s goodbye SA and hello VIC just over 15km into the ride today as we cross the border and into the hills around Casterton and Coleraine of beautiful Western Victoria – the sheep capital and birthplace of the Australian Kelpie. Finally it’s into the Southern Grampians at Dunkeld. Even though we are just at the foot of the Magnificent Grampians and National Park, you do not miss out on the majesty as the striking views of Mount Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt are present whichever way you turn. A wander down Dunkeld’s main street will also prove that it’s not just the natural attractions but the gourmet reputation that bring visitors here. Our dinner at the Royal Mail Hotel is a destination in itself, where the restaurant sources fresh produce locally and from its expansive organic kitchen garden, and the onsite accommodation comes with inspiring views of the Southern Grampians.”All Trails
Day 6 – Dunkeld to Port Fairy
☀️☁️😊🙏🏼 Much easier day
Nicer roads! Although there were ~1.5km of dirt road after Penshurst and 2km of unsealed bike path heading towards Port Fairy. Both were nerve wrecking to ride on! Mostly backcountry riding, hardly any vehicles passing especially the last 40km stretch after lunch, there weren’t any vehicles! 🙏🏼
Few variations in views today…rode through Lava Fields and Wind Fan Forests. Very cold start, ~6 deg C 🥶 but sunny then clouds took over soon after M. T. Cruising speed at the start of the day to warm up the legs. Then joined the usual gang with Andrew/Carol & Glen/Leah from M. T. onwards. Thanks so much again for the tow! 🙏🏼 Great ride today team! Finally the only day that I could keep up with the group because it was mostly downhills.
We’ve been blessed with great weather for the last 6 days of riding! Mostly sunny and no rain! So grateful 🙏🏼🙏🏼 I hope the weather stays this way for the rest of the ride but Great Ocean Road (GOR) is known for its finicky weather (windyyy + rain). Look forward to day off bike tomorrow and rest that bums.
“After a few big days of cycling and a lovely dinner last night, today is a little less demanding as we head back to the coast. Make the most of the shorter distance, and enjoy the quiet country lanes that divide productive dairy farms for most, if not all, of today’s ride. Ah, the serenity. We continue the zen by spending the final leg on a traffic-free rail trail that will bring you to your arrival in Port Fairy, satisfied and ready for a rest day.”All Trails
Day 7 – Port Fairy REST DAY
A slow and relaxing day to recover and recuperate the achy muscles. Also did some work so that my boss stays happy and let me travel often 😆😛
“The beautiful little fishing village of Port Fairy is an excellent choice for our first rest day of the tour. Our accommodation is at one end of the main street and the perfect base from which to wander up and down, searching for a coffee, bakery, a few trinkets, mementos or just to pass the time. Port Fairy has a good range of restaurants and eateries so lunch and dinner today is at your own choice and expense. We also recommend a visit to Griffith Island to marvel at the nesting area for Shearwater or Mutton Birds. It is quite a sight to see the masses of birds returning to their burrows at dusk each day between September and April (check with the locals to see if the birds are still there). Port Fairy also has strong links with the cycling community being the finish point for Woody’s ‘Murray to Moyne’ annual charity cycle relay in March.”All Trails
Day 8 – Port Fairy to Port Campbell
☀️🌪🥵🙏🏼 The most scenic ride so far, after all we’re entering GOR.
Second time riding through GOR, first was during the Great Vic Bike Ride 2019! A bit of chill in the morning but very sunny so the day got quite hot after lunch. Smooth cruising speed for the first 17km to get to Tower Hill (M. T spot). Beautiful views entering/leaving Tower Hills 😍🙏🏼
Then legs and speed were on with Andrew/Glen train. Tried my best to stay on with the group and managed to do so. The 40km stretch to lunch was on Princes Hwy A1 (traffic travelling at 100kph) so it was much easier to ride in a bunch and got it through as quickly as possible. Thanks so much for letting me on the train again team! Very much appreciate the tow! 🙏🏼🙏🏼
Wind then turned crazyyyy with headwinds/crosswinds of at least 20kph and gusts at 30kph for the last 50km. Is it ever not windy in Australia?! The riding conditions were more manageable today compared to day 3 (the bloody windy day from Meningie to Kingston SE). The roads weren’t as rough and it’s a two-lanes traffic (one for each way) so no shoulder (stupid narrow shoulder). I was able to ride on the road itself thus there was more leeway to be beaten by the wind left and right! 😮💨😮💨
Magnificent views along GOR (Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs, The Grotto, London Bridge & Port Campbell Scenic Lookout) 😍🙏🏼
Amazed and in awe with Leah’s determination to keep pedaling even with sore foot! Incredible efforts Leah! 💪🏼💪🏼
“We depart Port Fairy and weave our way through back roads and small towns with a distinctly Irish flavour, with names like Killarney and Belfast along with Irish flags waving in the wind. The early settlers here clearly leaving their mark. Passing through Warrnambool, the biggest town we’ve seen for some time, and out into the lovely dairy country, before you know it you will be cycling the world-famous Great Ocean Road. The grandeur of the Bay of Islands is stunning with sheer cliffs of limestone and rolling surf that will awaken your senses and fill you with exhilaration, the roar of waves battering the limestone walls at London Bridge, before arriving at Port Campbell in the heart of the shipwreck coast. Tonight we enjoy an evening meal together as you absorb the magnificent sunset over the sheltered bay.”All Trails
Day 9 – Port Campbell to Apollo Bay
☀️💨🥵😮💨🙏🏼 Big day! Legs are DEAD!
Another scenic ride! Continuing GOR then entered the Otways and finally descending into the coast. Views change from limestone formations to forests to ocean 😍
Beautiful weather today, sunny, light winds to start the ride but as always wind picked up soon after. The wind is kinder today compared to yesterday though. It just got very very hot 🥵 after lunch! It was abit hazy/smokey in the morning too…could smell burn smoke. Traffic is light and nice until lunch. Became quite busy after lunch.
Incredible views along GOR again.
Perfect lighting with the sun illuminating the Loch Ard Gorge
and 12 Apostles this morning.
Own efforts today as there are lots of climbing. Second time doing the Lavers Hill Climb. It’s still a challenge after 800+kms on the bike for the last 8 days. Misty descending into Castle Cove Lookout. Legs are dead after the Maits Rest Rainforest Walk. Lovely descent into Apollo Bay! Amazing views! 😍
“Leaving Port Campbell early, you rise above the cliffs to the unforgettable view and golden colours of Loch Ard Gorge and then the legendary Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. This is truly one of the most iconic locations in Australia and we will have plenty of time for a photo in front of the famous rocks before you pedal on past Princetown where the road leaves the coast for a while, cutting across the southern tip of land, Cape Otway. As you leave the ocean you begin climbing through the forest to the renowned Lavers Hill, deep in the Otway Ranges – this hill is a challenge for most riders, and it is your choice to ride it, try it, or hop in the bus. Lunch at the top of Lavers Hill is a good refuelling stop with a few more ups and downs to come after lunch. The roller coaster ride on today’s route will allow you magnificent views of the ocean before descending into Apollo Bay – a hub of activity on the coast known for its great seafood, surrounded by tranquil beaches, rolling green hills and the Great Otway National Park.“All Trails
Day 10 – Apollo Bay to Queenscliff
🌥☀️🥵🥵🙏🏼 Nice temperature, abit of humidity to start the ride. Hazy again, smell of smokes, makes my eye stings.
Incredibly beautiful riding from Apollo Bay to Lorne along the coast,
the oceans on the right and hills on the left.
Third time riding from Lorne to Torquay and third time charm! No rain and was given a super hot day! 🥵🥵 It was drenching the last two rides. Then the experience just went downhill from Lorne onwards (M. T.). The triple threats: traffic, heat, hills. Not pleasant to ride on. Then triple + 1 threats, more winddd after lunch! Three very steep! And unexpected hills after Bells Beach that shook almost everyone except maybe Glen/Andrew/Carol.
Legs & speed were on again so I could catch the usual Andrew/Glen train. Great riding with the team again. Thanks so much for the tow for the last 40kms! 🙏🏼🙏🏼 Quite alot of climbing than I expected. Glad I (we) got it through another big day of riding.
Dinner at 360q was really good!
Had the fried calamari and Korean gochujang pork.
Calamari was perfectly cooked and pork tasted very good too! 🤤
“This is it! The last stretch of the Great Ocean Road is squeezed between massive vertical cliffs and thunderous waves. Get into your rhythm and keep pushing as you take it all in; the hang gliders overhead, breath-taking views all around, and koalas making their home in the gum trees (sometimes crossing the road for a new tree and a better view). This is a very exciting ride as you climb up and down around the cliff faces, marvelling at the scenery, punctuated by inlets and villages like Lorne, Anglesea, then our lunch-stop Torquay, famous for their world surfing championships. Torquay is the official end of the Great Ocean Road and after lunch here it’s 40km to Queenscliff through Ocean Grove and Point Lonsdale where you can view the dramatic scenery from high points along the ocean foreshore overlooking The Rip. We finish the day in Queenscliff, a charming and cosy historic seaside village on the Bellarine Peninsula, with its elegant Victorian-era hotels, stately churches and quaint fishermen’s cottages situated on the mouth of Port Phillip Bay.”All Trails
Day 11 – Queenscliff to Melbourne
☁️🤩🙏🏼 Distance should be shy of 100km – forgot to turn off Wahoo during ferry ride.
Ferry across from Queenscliff to Melbourne. Melbourne welcomed us with its classic moodiness and cloudy sky but that means less heat. Finally one day with light winds! Yay! Roughhhh roads in Frankston (need to fix the roads!).
Cruisy start with Leah until Mt. Martha. Then hop onto Andrew/Glen train after M. T. in Mornington Park. Oh My Lord!!! It was an express train to lunch at Rickett’s Point. My legs were screaming for that whole 40km 🥵🥵😵 How do Carol/Andrew & Leah/Glen ride at 32kph minimum all day everyday for the last 10 days?! 🤔🤔 I hope I can ride like them one day haha. Glen was more civilised after lunch and towed Leah and I to Southbank.
Many many thanksss to the two most awesome riding couples I know! No words could express how grateful I am for looking after me, helping, encouraging and towing me everyday! It was a great blessing to ride as a group again 🙏🏼 Special shoutout to Andrew for rescuing and his gentle encouragement whenever I got dropped off so I could make it back to the bunch! Grateful all of us made it to Melbourne safely with smiles still on our faces and finishing stage 1 of the tour! 🙏🏼😌
Couldn’t believe I rode avg 100kms/day for the last 10 days! I thought there’d be at least 1/2 days that I would jump onto the bus and have more rest time. All thanks to the team! 🙏🏼
“Starting with an early morning ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, we ride the hugely popular eastern side of Port Phillip Bay on our last 100km push to Melbourne. On the final stretch along Beach Road, you will be a part of Melbourne’s thriving cycling culture as you glide up the bayside where scores of eager cyclists ride every weekend, stopping for famous Melbourne coffees, meeting new people and chatting to each other about all things cycling. It’s a great ride past the beaches and bathing boxes into Port Melbourne where you leave the beach and head to the CBD on a city bike path past the Casino, along the thriving Southbank with its outdoor riverside dining (and even on-river dining), and to our hotel, situated perfectly near all of this action. A final, very special celebratory dinner tonight together at ‘Melba’ to thank everyone for their participation and effort in cycling from Adelaide to Melbourne.”All Trails
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