VRT : Alexandra to Bonnie Doone

Alexandra to Bonnie Doone: A misty start with a clear, warm finish

Sunday March 26, 2017, 55 km (34 miles) – Total so far: 165 km (103 miles)

Woke to a thick mist enveloping the Showgrounds. I packed up, deciding to get an early start and breakfast along the way.

The initial climb out of Alexandra was on chert. I thought the overnight rain may have made it a bit soggy but no, not at all. Climbing up through the mist was enjoyable. A decent temperature and no glaring sun. Magpies were chortling away all around but that was OK too – not the dive-bombing season.

After 5 kilometers of winding my way up through cuttings and over embankments built to carry the rail, the lookout at the top came into view.

From there it was 10 kilometers of the finest downhill and flat riding on solid bluestone gravel down to the junction with the main rail trail. In places the trail runs through long stretches of avenues formed by gum trees on either side of the track. Going up to Alex I had noticed them but only because of the shade they gave. I wonder if they were in place when trains used the track. I should not think so as gum trees that close would be a tremendous fire hazard in summer – even if the engines were fitted with spark arresters.

At the track junction my morning muesli was taken in to fuel the upcoming climb. Off I set expecting a stiff climb to Yarck but no, it was a gentle climb on more blue metal with the track running alongside paddocks dotted with really attractive eucalypts. Don’t know the type but very different to the Tasmanian temperate rainforest types.

So, into Yarck and Buck’s Country Bakehouse where I discovered the pie of the day and the first of this trip. Chicken Satay homemade pie – good for a second breakfast!

Spoilt for choice of a cafe in Yarck.

Didn’t go to the Giddy Goat – they are anti-cyclist

After Yarck the track was flat for a while until it started to kick up and up and up heading for Merton.

Climbing – booty from the Yarck bookshop
What a trail – so enjoyable even if a bit frustrating

The people planting the distance signs need a boot up the whatsit. How can a kilometer sign have 6.5 ks to Merton and another a few measured distinct ks on be 4.0. Where did the .5 go (or get added on). To add insult to injury a 5k to go sign appears when by your calculations it should be 3 to go. Perhaps the heat scrambled the brain?

All the above happened on a steady, sweaty climb and you can perhaps imagine how I was dreaming of the next coffee to take away the plastic water taste coming from the water bottles.

Still Climbing – temps in the 30°Cs

And so to Merton. Where is it? Didn’t explore too much and found only a roadhouse with cold water and an ice lolly. No camping obvious here but refreshed I set off to Bonnie Doone for the night.

Stop for a drink and continue on. A bit saggy due to heat.

The Bonnie Doone caravan park is on Lake Eildon and it felt very much off season already. The charge was $10 so it must be. I must stink a bit ‘cos Mr Reception mentioned his nice showers several times. After setting out the tent to dry, I indulged in their (free) showers and did indeed feel refreshed.

Spotting a Cafe in the caravan park, it was disappointing to find it closed at 2.30pm. Yes, it’s the off season alright.

Gradually as evening approached, the light and shadows changed to something special and I tried to capture it with several pictures.

Tent up – a lovely calm warm evening. No other campers around.

This place buzzes in the summer as it’s very popular with water skiers. Tonight though it’s perfect.

Author: antc1946

Born in 1946 I learnt to cycle about 10 years later. On a bike with rods connecting brake levers to the brakes - anyone remember those? I emigrated to Australia (from the UK) in 1974 and moved to Tasmania in 1984. Bicycles were in my life for most of that time although sometimes they were replaced by motorised two wheels for a bit more excitement. On reaching 70 I decided to stick to pedal power but in 2019 an electric recumbent made an appearance. it's now 2023 and I have 3 bikes. 2 e-recumbents and the Brompton.

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