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    • Day 2

      Bread, Cheese & Wine .. shopping by bike

      April 21, 2022 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      After a complimentary breakfast in the motel's converted chapel it was off to Milawa Gourmet Region. The day started out quite foggy for the 20km ride along Oxley Flats Road (which as the name suggests is rather flat) to Milawa. By then it was time for a coffee at the Milawa Cheese Co. which has a rather nice bakery. Having caffinated and stocked up on some lovely bread and blue cheese it was back on the bike and off down Snow Road. The bike path is semi sealed and so it's a pleasant ride to Oxley where I took a little detour to John Gehrig Wines for a tasting and a bottle of red before the final leg of the 50km loop back to Wangaratta. Then it was in the car for the just over 2 hours to Tumbarumba. The first 100km or so was straight down the Hume before turning off down a meandering series of roads which gradually started climbing. It was all very pretty but to be honest I was starting to worry that Google maps was having a bit of an episode and just taking me off to the back of beyond but then I spotted some signs for Tumbarumba and I was much reassured. Apparently, Tumbarumba is a small town in New South Wales, about 480 km southwest of Sydney, in addition, according to tourism NSW, it is a divine mix of landscapes, with surrounding mountain peaks standing sentinel over bushland, vineyards, lush pastures and gurgling streams. It's best know for chardonnay (eww!) and pinot noir (not eww) on the wine front. The town seems quite nice, small, although processing at least 3 pubs... hmmm. I was there just after 1.30 checked into the motel (a bit sparce given the rates... no microwave or crockery.. thank goodness I have my trangia!!!) and then went for a wander... I found the local Gin distillery and had a lovely chat and tasting with the distiller - I can highly recommend their signature dry, a bottle of which also seems to have found it's way into my bag. By the time I got back to the motel the Ghost Riders had started to arrive... time for a chat then off to the room to do some work, make dinner and then have a lovely slothful evening in front of the TVRead more

    • Day 2

      An Indian Summer in Tumbarumba

      April 30, 2021 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

      For most of last year Melbournians endure a crippling series of Covid 19 lockdowns, curfews, travel restrictions and toilet paper shortages. It was terrible. During the worst of the lockdown we were not even able to share rides with our Ghostrider friends. All overseas travel was banned and we couldn't even travel more than 5 km from our own homes.

      As our freedoms were gradually restored, I looked for alternative avenues to experience cycling adventures. A couple of months ago I heard about the brand new Tumbarumba to Rosewood Rail Trail that had only just opened. It seemed like a suitable place for the Ghostriders to explore. Although Victoria is spoilt with a surfeit of cycling choices, it is surprising to discover that the Tumbarumba Trail is exactly the first such rail trail in NSW.

      Plans were quickly made to combine the Tumbarumba Trail with the Wodonga to Tallangatta and Wangaratta to Bright Rail Trails. It did not take long for the word to spread and very quickly we had over 25 riders recruited.

      Of course, everyone knows that the Snowy Mountains are called that for very good reason. "It will be freezing", I warned everyone. "You will need thermals, hats, gloves, coats, scarves, leggings, arm warmers, leg warmers, and ear warmers", I added. "And then the really cold weather will set in".

      I figured that it is always better to be prepared than be sorry. Our riders set about packing cases full of arctic gear and snow riding clothes. We were prepared for the very worst that the Snowys could throw at us.

      It was only when the weather forecasts started to come through that we could see that maybe the conditions would not be as brutal as I had anticipated. After a rather gloomy couple of weeks in Melbourne, the clouds finally scuttled away, the sunshine broke through and we were presented with the very best day that we had seen for some time.

      Our riders set out from Melbourne for the 500 km drive to Tumbarumba in high spirits. We all felt like kids on the eve of Christmas. It just felt so good to be finally heading away on a trip.

      The sunny weather followed us all the way to Tumbarumba and the long drive was made all the better for the never-ending kaleidoscope of vivid autumn colours that followed us the whole way.

      We stopped at Yea for our morning tea stop and a chance to meet up with Gordon and Sue and Gael and Gerry. From there we formed a sort of three-car convey to complete the rest of the journey. It did help the long km to flow past relatively quickly.

      Our final stop was at Holbrook. A late lunch in the park, indulgently feasting on sandwiches and cakes, seemed like an appropriate way to punctuate the drive. From there it was only another 80 km of absolutely delightful driving to reach our destination of Tumbarumba. I was glad that we had taken the time to clean the inside of our very smeary windscreen before we left Melbourne as the scenery was breathtaking. There was no doubt that this was absolutely the very best time of the year to explore this region.

      After checking into our motel, 17 of us decided to head for the nearby Tumbarumba Hotel for a pub dinner. Then we enjoyed a short walk back under the stars to our waiting rooms. We are so looking forward to the next few days in this beautiful region.
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    • Day 2

      Free Day in Tumbarumba

      April 30, 2021 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

      Question - What do you do in Tumbarumba when the sun is shining on a perfect autumn day ?
      Answer - Anything you feel like.

      I don't think that anyone in our group has ever travelled to Tumbarumba before, but there is no doubt that we have all been captivated by its charm and beauty. Of course it is possible that it might not have looked so idyllic if the rain had been falling and the biting winds had been sweeping in from the alps. But today it could not have been more perfect.

      After breakfast in our rooms, a few of us decided to walk into the town in search of a real cup of coffee. We soon spied a sunny courtyard which liked like the ideal place for a cappucino and a chat. No sooner had we sat down than we were joined by a very sociable black cat. It stayed with us for the next 60 minutes, enjoying the autumn sunshine just as much as we were.

      We had heard about a nearby waterfall with the exotic name "Paddy's Falls". How could we resist that ? It was only 16 km outside of Tumbarumba and the drive was cerrtainly worth it.

      Although the falls were not exactly spectacular, we had to agree that they were really quite charming and the walk down to the base of the cascade was not overly taxing. That was also a great bonus.

      After admiring the falls, it was back to town for a late lunch at The Nest Cinema Cafe. Another couple of hours slipped delightfully through our fingers. Such moments really are like a precious medicine and we could all feel our souls being rejuvenated as we sat, laughed, chatted and ate.

      Tomorrow's forecast is for another superb day. That is just as well as that is when we will all be climbing onto the bikes to ride the rail trail we had come all the way from Melbourne to experience.
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    • Day 3

      Riding the Tumbarumba

      May 1, 2021 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      I am not sure when I first heard the name "Tumbarumba", but I suspect it might have been many years ago when I listened to the haunting sounds of Smokey Dawson singing "Ghosts of Old Khancoban". The evocative words certainly stuck in my mind, and painted mental images of rough bush country. The sort of place where men were men (and probably smoked a pack of Marlboros a day) and women worked all day in the kitchen, preparing meals and darning socks.

      One line in the song goes something like "we rode a 100 miles for a lady's smiles at the dance at Tumbarumba". It is certainly a name that rolls off the tongue, the problem is that it rolls off the tongue differently every time someone tries to pronounce it. Ever since I first announced that I planned to ride the Tumbarumba Trail, its name has been distorted into a multitude of strange permutations and combinations - so much so that I have now found myself calling it anything from Tummamurra to Tipperary.

      Whatever the place is called, it certainly is a spectacular location, made all the more beautiful by the palette of autumn colours that have painted the hillsides so vividly. Of course, every place also looks better when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. That is exactly the sight that welcomed us when we gathered at the start of the rail trail this morning.

      After the obligatory group photo shot, we were soon on our way to Rosewood. I explained that we needed to split into smaller groups to avoid the chaos that would undoubtedly ensue if 25 riders all descended on the Gone Barney cafe at the same time. The large group progressively separated out into a succession of smaller pelotons (minitons ?) and one rider quickly disappeared into the distance, riding in his own uniton. (Yes it was David).

      This gave us a chance to see just how good this brand new trail is. The smooth sealed surface, regular distance markers, clear signage and incredible scenery certainly combine to provide a wonderful riding experience. It is little wonder that hundreds of riders travel large distances to ride this trail every day. We could certainly see the boon it has already provided to local businesses. That should serve as a clear example that such trails do not constitute a threat to the local population. To the contrary, they can be just the sort of stimulus that struggling country towns need to thrive again.

      One unique feature of the trail was a succession of cattle bridges, constructed over the trail. These allow the cattle to safely cross over from one side of the trail to the other. It was something of a strange sight, seeing a large bovine calmy walking overhead, while I rode underneath.

      Although the trail is not very long (around 23 km) it is certainly a joy to ride. At the current time it terminates at the small town of Rosewood, where we were welcomed by the thriving Gone Barney Cafe and a nearby host of gnomes (I am not kidding).

      After a cheap and delicious lunch, we climbed back on the bikes and headed back to Tumbarumba. Although it is a rail trail and has no serious climbs, the final few km back to Tumbarumba is a steady ascent (great when riding an e-bike).

      At the end of the ride, I asked several of our riders what score they would give the trail. They agreed that 10/10 would not be an exaggeration. It had been a marvelous day, and one that we will remember for a long time.
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    • Day 3

      Riding to Rosewood

      April 22, 2022 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      It was a leisurely start to the day... we by my standards anyway.. exercises.. a jog around the lovely riverside park... yoga .. some breaky and a bit of work before stepping out to join the Ghostriders for our venture down the rail trail. And what a lovely day for it.. mild and sunny with only very light winds! The rail trail is rather new and is in fact the first to be opened in NSW.. the literature bills it as "21 kms of vistas, serenity, gentle gradients and sweeping curves". It is certainly a well put together trail... bitumen surface with good infrastructure (eg signage and toilets (at stations)). It is also well integrated with the local agricultural industry with on trail cattle grids (surprisingly smooth to ride over... particularly with a bit of speed up... I'm sure there is a scientific basis to that), fencing, bridges and underpasses. It took only an hour to get to Rosewood where a coffee was in order at the "Rail Trail Cafe". Not bad coffee either (although they hadn't heard of a "Magic" ... perhaps it's a Melbourne affectation....?) and a complementary mint slice biscuit... how nice. I was a little concerned that the return would be a slog with about a 7km climb to look forward to and being almost (there is one other) the only non e-bike rider in the group I thought I might be slow.. so I headed off a little in advance but surprised myself with the relative ease of the return which took about 1 1/4 hours ... it really is a lovely trail! Back to the motel for a shower, lunch and a meeting with my PHD supervisor .. then it was time to relax (and read a few papers) before dinner at the Union Hotel. A typical "country pub", the seafood "basket" (sans basket???) came with a surfeit of chips and there was a distinct lack of anything approaching a decent dark beer or stout (ok ... I know... I'm fussy) but it was a cheerful place and the company was great... now I think it's time for bed! What a great day.Read more

    • Day 15


      February 16 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

      Stopped here for a late brekkie - recommend Nest Cafe whenever in Tumbarumba.
      We then drove straight through to home by about 5.30pm.

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Tumbarumba, Тумбрумба

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