Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Jenolan Caves via Bells Line

Saturday morning came around and i had been planning on a ride for a couple of weeks now. After all those brilliant roads i drove on in New Zealand i was eager to get out on the bike again. It turned out that everybody was busy with other things so i decided that i would be going it alone today. It was probably a blessing in disguise. All the stops to take photos would have annoyed the others no end. Also i cant believe how rusty my riding was, i would have embarrassed myself in front of everyone else. It doesn't take to long to lose your riding skills when you haven't been out for a few weeks. I checked the weather and it was going to be 29°C today. It was a nice cool start as i headed up Kurrajong into the Blue Mountains. I stopped at bell bird hill for a photo but there was to much fog and smoke in the air from Hazard reduction burning in the mountains, so i would stop here again this afternoon for another photo attempt.
Lookout at Bellbird Hill Towards the City

Continuing along the Bells line the road climbs up to Mt Tomah and Mt Bell with some superb twisties along here with brilliant views of the blue mountains. It was nice and cool up in the mountains today perfect for riding. On the downside there was a lot of traffic up until i passed them near Mt Bell in the overtaking lanes.
Mt Tomah

Bells Line

It was a bit on the hazy side today and it is easy to see why the blue mountains got their name. The pic below is just past Mt Bell towards Lithgow.

Bells Line

Bells Line

Turning off the Bells line once reaching Bell i then headed up towards Mt Victoria along the plateau. There i followed an R6 along and we were going at a nice clip. This section of road is virtually empty. Reaching the Great Western Hwy i then turn right and head down Victoria Pass. Victoria pass has some great views but has far to much traffic to make it much fun, still its better than having a straight piece of road through here. At the bottom of the pass i soon turned off the main Hwy again and onto Cox River Rd.

The road surface along Cox River Road had it all. Spectacular views, smooth hot mix surface, rough patched up road and even 3 kms of good dirt. I saw 2 other bikes along here pulled over taking photos as well.
Cox River Road - New Hot Mix
After turning off Cox River Rd it was then onto Jenolan Caves road. I have never been down here before and was wondering what was in store for me. Not far past the wind farm i came up on the back of 2 slow moving cars. I was going to shoot by but i could also see a 50 zone just ahead of them. So i back off and cruise down to their speed. Just as well i did as just round the next corner was a Highway Patrol car sitting up on a ramp on the side of the road looking down to the road, perfectly visible this way but completely concealed if you were travelling in the opposite direction. The sneaky bastards. Saved by the cars. Whew!
Wind Farm on Jenolan Caves Rd
After that i decided to just cruise down the hill towards Jenolan Caves. This section is very steep and very narrow as you can see in the following photos. There were great views all the way along this section. I really enjoyed this bit as i pulled over several times to take some photos.

It was also getting quite warm now so stopping for any length of time in the sun in leathers was getting uncomfortable. I did notice however the ventilation system in my new boots worked a treat as i got underway again i could feel the air circulating in around my feet cooling them down.
Jenolan Caves Road

The road suddenly gets to the bottom and the cave entrance looms up straight ahead and the road goes through the cave. How cool is that. I never expected that the caves would be so big. Riding the bike through there with the echo of the exhaust sounded great. Out the other side of the cave is Jenolan caves village. There are lots of tourist here today enjoying some lunch.

Jenolan Caves Village
After leaving the caves i headed up towards Oberon. This is also a fantastic bit of road that once out of the Jenolan caves twisties opens up into some big sweepers over the crests of hills. This reminds me of the roads in the snowy mountains. Its easily ton up territory in mph here. I stopped in Oberon to refuel both me and the bike. Not a bad lunch at the royal hotel.

Then i headed off back to Sydney down Duckmaloi Rd. This was another superb bit of road winding its way across the hills both up and down.

This was a fantastic day out of riding, i have ridden the bells line many times just not recently but i have never been down to Jenolan Caves and now i am wondering why i haven't done it before now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RIP Marco Simoncelli

As me and my wife sat down to watch Motogp last night we were both horrified by the sickening crash that we saw on live TV.  We have lost one of the great up coming riders who would have surely held the title one day. He was such a character in the motogp paddock and will be sorely missed. Condolences to family and friends.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Aussie Ass Kicking

You bloody rippa.  Casey Stoner has handed an ass kicking to the rest of the motorcycling world by winning his 2nd world title at Philip Island today.

Casey lead from start to finish and most of it by a fairly big margin of around 5-6 seconds. It wasn't all easy sailing as it started to rain 3 laps from the finish and Stoner slowed considerably. Lots of other riders crashed out in this period but Casey kicked some butt. Needless to say there was plenty of beers drunk around our house today in celerbrations.
2011 MotoGP World Champion - Casey Stoner

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Riding New Zealand - Otago Peninsula

The Otago Peninsula is located near Dunedin. The Portobello Road flows around the cliff faces of the Otago Peninsula with the Harbour on the other side. The first 10kms of this has hotmix surface which is very smooth. After that the surface ranges from good to average with a few places near the end being very rough. The road end at the headland where there is a Albatross Colony and Fairy Penguins.

There was a fair bit of traffic on the Dunedin end of this road. If you get if wrong here you will be either getting fished out of the harbour or pulled out of a cliff face.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Riding New Zealand - Queenstown to Kingston

This road is another piece of motorcycling paradise. Leaving Queenstown we headed down south towards Kingston. The road here goes out in between the Remarkables mountain range(aptly named) and Lake Wakatipu. This road is also much like the Glenorchy road with sweeping bends around the fore shore of the lake. The road rises up and down all the way along with great views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
Remarkables at back, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown at bottom.

The road surface along here was pretty good and not much traffic. This is truely God's country, and i am sure that on the 6th day when God created the harley, he saw this and on the 7th day he traded it for something lighter and faster.

Its only another short ride at around 48kms but it is an awesome piece of road, probably worth doing a couple of times.

Riding New Zealand - Queenstown to Cromwell

Heading out from Queenstown to Cromwell after passing through Frankton the road winds it way into the Kawarau Gorge. The road follows along the Kawarau river with its lovely blue-green waters. It soon passes the world famous AJ Hackets bungy Bridge.

After the bungy bridge the road follows through the gorge. The road here is of pretty good quality but is very busy with lots of tourist traffic. All the same it would still be a good ride at around 60kms.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Riding New Zealand - Queenstown to Glenorchy

The road from Queenstown out to Glenorchy is an absolute cracker. Its a very short ride at only 46kms but what a hoot of a road. It reminds me of the Great Ocean Rd but with much better views. It's a dead end as well so you will need to return the same way, what a shame to have to ride this again. We nearly didn't make the trip because it was late in the afternoon being around 4:30pm but i'm glad we did it.

The road out of Queenstown follows the shore line of Lake Wakatipu. It leaves the shore line briefly to go through a narrow forested section before returning to the lake again. Road surface here was excellent and was nice and wide except one section where it was single lane along a rockwall.

Before long the winding lake side views are over and you are coming into the small town of Glenorchy. There's not much here, a pub and cafe and not much else. It would be a nice place to over nighter and have beers......
It was just as much fun driving back to Queenstown as it was getting to Glenorchy. Oh how i wished for my R1 today.

Here is a short 1m 20sec video i made on the way back from Glenorchy. As you can see this is a sweet ass piece of tarmac.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Riding New Zealand - Lindis Pass

Lindis Pass is a Mountain Pass in between the town of Omarama and Cromwell. We travelled this road from Omarama in the north to Cromwell in the south on our way down to Queenstown. The road is only moderately winding as it has much more sweeper type bends even when it gets to the High point of the Pass it only tightens up a little as it crests the mountain and comes back down again. After this its lots of straights and sweepers down to Cromwell but with great mountain Scenery. Road surface is quite good.

Riding New Zealand - Queenstown to Wanaka

All roads from Queenstown are superb motorcycling roads no matter which direction you travel in. It's hard to go wrong here really. Leaving Queenstown and heading out to Arrowtown via the Gorge Rd is a great start, just have to watch slow moving tourist traffic as the shotover jet, canyon swing and white water rafting is conducted up this road. The pic below shows the Gorge Rd from the Gondola.
Its a short 20km trip to Arrowtown through the country side with mostly straight bits with a few sweeping bends. Arrowtown is a quiet but beautiful little place on the banks of the arrow river.
This was the Ford of Bruthien in the Fellowship of the Ring

Leaving Arrowtown we head south towards the main Highway between Queenstown and Cromwell. Its no far till you turn off onto the Crown Range Rd which climbs dramatically winding its way up into the mountains towards Cardrona Ski fields.
The road here is pretty good but can have a bit of slow moving traffic on it. Also quite a bit of grit on the lower end of the road. There are spectacular lookouts points along here as well. You can see the road rises very quickly here.

Looking out towards Queenstown

After climbing up over the range the road steadily winds its way down through the valley to Cardrona. This would be superb riding in warm weather After this the road follows the valley floor till it comes down to Wanaka on the Lake shore.
Above - Cardrona township
Above - Wanaka

At around 80kms this is a short but brilliant ride, just need to be careful of grit and slow moving vehicles. You can see the elevation change on the map below the steep climb is 700m in 11kms.