Hawkesdale to Warrnambool - Beaufort to Warrnambool - CycleBlaze

March 10, 2019

Hawkesdale to Warrnambool

Rain go away

Awoke to a cold overcast day with a dewy tent at the Hawkesdale golf club, a relaxing quiet place with no artificial light to distract my sleep. Someone had left a 10L container of water so was able to fill up as the rain water at the apex park didn’t taste any good. The general store was open by 8am so was able to get some fresh milk for breakfast before setting off south taking the quickest route I could find as it was still cold.  

Always strange when road signs are different distances.
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If it had been a sunny day I may have cycled to Port Fairy and then taken the rail trail back but since it was cold went directly to Koroit joining the rail trail on the edge of town as it’s takes an arch around the northern part of town, going past the fenced off former junction wth the railway north to Penshurst. The railway station which now houses the local landcare group and has a playground and skate park incorporated in its facilities, along with toilets and local information.

Former junction with rail line to Penshurst
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Koroit railway station, with toilets, playground and skate park
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Koroit’s Main Street is found by following station street to where there is numerous business including a bakery and IGA supermarket, so was able to grab some supplies before travelling south to where Tower Hill is. Tower Hill is a volcano that drops away creating an around rim area and inside is some smaller hills surrounded by a moat of water. Lake View road goes around the northern and western sides with a few lookouts and with only one entrance to access the inner part of Tower Hill. Sadly by the time I got to a lookout the weather had deteriorated with a colder strong wind that was mostly a tail wind but as well light rain began. So I checked the Mount Gambier radar and noticed a storm was coming, so made the decision on this cold day to head directly to Warrnambool, as it was not worth it. If I was overseas I may have gone for a look but I can go back another time. Didn’t take any photos as it was a dark day that got worse and my focus was on cycling out of the rain.

Mt Gambier radar
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It’s down hill to the rail trail as you leave the volcano behind, however the route to Warrnambool leaves the rail right of way just before meeting the Princes Highway as the bridge across the Merri River has been removed, so instead the cycle route takes a more southern route initially following a road on a paved section beside the road with just a fence in between cyclist and traffic before you take a less desirable route past horse farms, wetlands and a stinky factory before following the Merri River into town. It was a constant light drizzle for the hour long ride, so was glad to get to the railway station and dry off. Worrying my rain jacket I purchased in France in 2013 didn’t keep me completely dry. On a Sunday there is only 3 trains from Warrnambool and since I arrived an hour after the middle one, had to wait for 5 hours for the next train. 

I did go for some short rides around Warrnambool, seeing places I have visited often as this was a semi-regular summer holiday spot with my family when I was younger so know it well. There was a life saver competition on at the beach and I did ride the cycle path that connects the pier with the railway station on a former railway siding. The rain did stop and I did see the sun occasionally so I may have left Tower Hill prematurely but it was still a cold wind most of the time, so spent most time finishing my book on the Spanish civil war and catching up on podcasts.

Getting on the train is easy, as this style of train has a half luggage van attached to one carriage so plenty of room to store my bike inside. I did make one mistake with my connecting train at Footscray station near Melbourne, as I just missed the train to Ballarat, and I thought there would be another one with in the hour, however I had been looking at the Monday public holiday timetable for Ballarat, as I had originally thought I was coming back the next day. On Sundays there is a 2 hour gap between trains heading towards Ballarat, after 9pm. So instead of getting back to Bacchus Marsh just after 10pm it was instead closer to midnight by the time I got back to the car.

This was only a short ride to test out some gear and I will say my sandals went well and I felt fine so hopefully my trip to Europe starting in April will be successful.

Today's ride: 57 km (35 miles)
Total: 341 km (212 miles)

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