Saturday, November 24, 2007

Australia's best motorcycle roads. G.A.R





The Great Alpine Road.


Top to bottom the Great Alpine road starts more or less at Myrtleford and runs all the way to Bairnsdale. If your heading south from Sydney or Brisbane then you may arrive on to the road just south of Bright having traveled across the excellent Tawonga Gap road. The lead in roads from the north are the excellent Murray Valley highway and even better Murray River road after the Snowy Mtns (see my other posts for further info)


Above and below - The town of Bright.

Continuing south then from Bright the road is pleasant enough until Harrietville where the climb begins. You first commence a steep, very tight corner mountain climb right up to the snow gums. Once there you travel along the edge of the mountain on a longish section of road with a mix of corners that are not always well surveyed and have a special Alpine road tar that is uneven due to it being very soft to deal with the winter temperature. (read comments below) Look around for great views over to Mt Hotham before you climb up steep again up to the top in a mixture of sweepers with dramatic mountain drops either side (some loose road surface so take care). This section is perhaps unique in Australia, a true very high alpine pass road that I am sure will delight most regardless of conditions.






Do not underestimate how cold the alpine roads are - this photo taken in October...

There are a couple of lookouts and its well worth stopping as the views are indeed spectacular, you can see for a vast distance over the series of ranges. Beyond here lies Hotham ski resort village and then you will ride the plateau for some way before you start to descend gently.


Wonderful art deco motel in Omeo.

Now begins what I feel are the best sections of the road. Going down the range you will encounter most every kind of corner however mostly they are the more flowing type with excellent surveying. I really enjoyed the section that runs down into Omeo and the next descent south of Omeo, beautiful sweeping corners, this type of road is really the rarest kind in Australia and unfortunately for readers, I was enjoying it so very much I forgot to stop and photograph.


From about Ensay you will start to follow the Tambo river. The road now travels along a lovely scenic valley that twists and turns hugging the river. And just when you think its over you have one final twisty section over some final hills. What a road, what a ride! These photos simply do no justice to it at all as I was mostly too busy enjoying myself that I didnt notice the better photo spots.

Highly recommended motorcycle ride.

Map

2 comments:

  1. Gday Ironchef
    I did the GAR down to Omeo and back in January and found that they used a very soft asphalt from Hotham to about halfway to Harrietville. This stuff just turns to goo with a bit of heat and is quite slippery. A mate highsided when the road surface just let go.
    Spring or Autumn would seem to be the best times to travel this section.

    Fozzy

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  2. Hi Fozzy,

    I was lucky it was cold and firm but upon reflection I did stop and inspect it and wonder how soft it was as it felt funny at times. Now that the buzz of this tour has died down I probably am going to revise my review slightly downward as Hotham to Harrietville isnt really anything special.

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