The Day we Rode to TooraMay 5 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C
A couple of days ago I had never even heard of Toora. It was only was I was using Google Maps to study the Great Southern Rail Trail that I first saw its name. It showed up on the map as a location about 15km from Foster. At the time I suspected that it was one of the place names that exists only on the map. Australia has hundreds of those places, bearing all sorts of weird and wonderful names.
We had been planning to ride the Great Southern Rail Trail, starting at Fish Creek and then riding towards Port Welshpool. Since we did not intend to ride all the way to the end, I had been looking for a logical place to stop and U turn. I had absolutely no idea of what a delightful town it would turn out to be.
On the day of the planned ride, we awoke to a rather threatening sight. It had obviously been raining overnight and it looked like it might not be the fine day the Weather Bureau had promised. Never the less, we are eternal optimists, so I packed the bikes on the car, hoping that the sunshine would break through.
About 30 minutes later we had arrived at Fish Creek and the clouds were finally starting to break up. After the torrential rain of the past few days, we were not sure what sort of condition the trail would be in. We were pleased to find that, apart from quite a few fallen trees, the trail was actually in excellent condition for riding.
The first 7 km of the trail is a steady climb up the Hoddle Range, but the effort is well worth it. At the top of the climb you are rewarded with what must be one of the finest views in our state. The view is even better when the sky is clear and the wind is still - just like it was today.
After taking some time to enjoy the panorama, we continued down the other side of rhe range, past Foster and on to the mysterious Toora. I had never ridden this part of the trail before and was keen to see just what it was like. We certainly were not disappointed. It is every bit as beautiful as the section between Fish Creek and Foster.
With fewer trees to shade the sun, we even started to warm up. It turned out to be a perfect day for this type of ride. Since we did not really know what to look for to know when we had reached Toora, we started to look out for any signs that might indicate we were getting close.
We eventually came across an old guy walking the trail (well he was about our age). I asked him if this was the way to Toora. He explained that there were many ways to get to Toora and this was one of them. About 10 minutes later we rode into one of the prettiest little towns we had ever seen. With its single main street and old classic Australian shops down either side, it looked absolutely idyllic.
Even though it was about 12.30 pm, we must have somehow beaten the peak hour traffic. The street was pretty well deserted. We went in search of a place to buy coffee and lunch, but did not hold out much hope. We had packed a couple of muesli bars as part of our contingency plan, but we did not need them.
At the high end of the Main St we discovered a lovely little cafe, bearing the name "Latte Dah". Although the sit down part was closed because of the COVID 19 pandemic, they were still serving take away food and drinks. We took them across the road to eat and drink in the warm sunshine. It had not taken us long to decide that Toora was a place that we definitely wanted to come back to.
The return ride was completed without mishap or puncture, but when we arrived back at our car we had a rather unsettling time. A police car slowly drove past us and then pulled into the car park in front. We expected that we were about to get a thorough grilling from the two young police officers.
A police woman climbed out and looked towards us. I tried to put on my "I'm only a silly old man" look to get her sympathy. It must have worked, because she walked right past us and went off to inspect the nearby picnic ground instead. We took the opportunity to drive off.
While driving back to Inverloch we both decided that it had been one of the most enjoyable rides we had done in some time. Although it was only about 50 km in length, it was certainly a ride will will repeat whenever we are staying in the area.Read more