We (Johhno, Jeff and Mark) had been planning this for a while – The main reason for the ride (do you really need one?) was for Johnno to get to Canberra to attend the Australian Plant Society Biennial Conference where he was to receive the Australian Plants Award. http://anpsa.org.au/award.html What better way to mark receiving a native plants award than to be immersed in ’em for a week? The route wound its way up and along the Buchan and Snowy River Vally’s, the Snowy Ranges and Monaro High Plains to Canberra.
Jeff and Mark headed off a day before Johnno and eased their way into the ride taking in the rolling countryside of the first leg of the East Gippsland Rail Trail out of Bairnsdale and spent the night at Bruthen Pub! Johnno in hot pursuit met up with them early afternoon the following day. The group was together and the ride started in earnest!
Our plan for the day was to take the East Gippsland Rail Trail to Nowa Nowa and then the old Buchan rd to Buchan. The rail trail out of Bruthen is a steady climb through the Colquhoun State Forest. The scenery was beautiful – mixed eucalypt forest, with interesting flowering understory of wildflowers, interspersed with stands of old man banksia.
Just a few K’s from Nowa Nowa is the magnificent Stony Creek Trestle Bridge.
Stony Creek Trestle Bridge
We met the principal of Bruthen Primary School who was out on his bike sussing out a bike ride for his year 9 students. We had an interesting discussion about how the kids…and perhaps some of their worried parents, would cope with their planned ride from Bruthen to Nowa Nowa.
Past Nowa Nowa we took the Old Buchan Road to the north – its an unsealed road that runs more or less parallel to the main highway through state forest. Quite by chance we encountered a population of the rare Buchan Blue Wattle which for Johnno (the botanising bike rider) was a real treat. This wattle is found only in a handful of sites in and around the Buchan area. (We later spied what we now know to be the largest population of the wattle on the steep south facing slopes just to the north of Buchan township).
The rare Buchan Blue Wattle – Old Buchan Rd
We encounter only one car along this stretch of road…the last 10 k’s or so on the blacktop into Buchan was ridden in soft steady rain. Another botanical highlight was seeing what must have been hectares of flowering bottle brushes (probably Callistemon citrinus) growing in boggy areas on the side of the Buchan road.
A lovely quiet stretch…typical of much of the Old Buchan Rd
There’s no pub in Buchan! It burned down a few years back so our accommodation options were setting up a tent in the rain or looking for an alternative – we were directed by a fella up to the Echo Village Log Cabins – His actual words were “yeah they’re just over the bridge and up the hill a bit…they’ll have shit for blokes like you” referring presumably to their extensive selection of frozen Pizza (Hawaiian and Supreme!) which as it turns out was exactly what we had for dinner that night (even Jeff sneaked in a slice)! So I guess he was right!
Our digs for the night…Echo Village Cabins
They also had wine! So with a glass of wine in hand we were warm and dry, eating pizza and reminiscing (and fully laughing) about Jeff and Marks hair-raising recumbent descents down middle eastern mountain passes. We hit the sack after a great first day together…