NOT YET OPEN FOR REGISTRATION.
The extarordinary, daring, and amateurish expedition that enthralled Melbourne and Australia in 1860. The expedition set off from Royal Park, Melbourne at about 4 pm on 20 August 1860 watched by around 15,000 spectators. The 19 men of the expedition included six Irishmen, five Englishmen, three Afghan and one Indian camel drivers, three Germans and an American. They took 23 horses, 6 wagons and 26 camels. The wagons included enough food (dried meat) to last two years, a cedar-topped oak camp table with two chairs, rockets, flags and a Chinese gong; all together weighing as much as 20 tonnes. Led by the enigmatic, yet incompetent Burke (who fired and hired along the way) it was a sightseers circus, but also an incredible daily struggle. We track the expedition across Victoria to the border at Swan Hill, where the expedition arrived on 6 Septemenber. The highlight is to find some forgotten places - and to witness the folly of the expedition that led to an extraordinary dash across Qld to the Gulf of Carpentaria, and ineveitably to death and tragedy around the rivers of Menindee and Cooper Creek in NSW. It's an amazing story, and a great ride. Many of the towns along the way have since disappeared - a river punt crossing town deserted after a bridge is built, a town moved to be closer to the new railway - but there are traces! After Swan Hill we'll do a Murray River tour down to Echuca for a rest before heading home. It would be nice to keep going up to Menindee and Cooper Creek, and the Dig Tree, or even right up to the Gulf - but that's another ride...
This is a four day ride with three nights. The cap is 20 people. We are booking 10 rooms at each hotel. For Pyamid Hill, that is the limit.
Registration also requires an upfront accommodation payment. $200. Accomodation is a shared room, either couple or twin share for three nights - Pyramid Hill, Swan Hill, and Echuca on a long weekend. You'll find that the accom starts off as basic day 1, but works up to luxurious by the third night.
Contact us first to ensure that there are shared accom rooms available and ones that suit your gender. After you get the go ahead please pay your accom at the same time you register. We can only confirm your attendance with your payment.
How to pay: (Coming)
There are long roads, and some long days in the saddle. Many roads are 100 kmh. There isn't a Vespa mechanic within cooee. Like the original expedition we'll be avoiding the major towns, and we'll be on our own on the northern plains. So this is for experienced riders only. We're happy to talk it over with you, but we'll let you know if we don't think you should do it.
You are an independent rider. Your bike is recently serviced and roadworthy. You carry your own tools and parts to do minor repairs, including tyre puncture. There is opportunity for some adventure ridng if you want to go off - bitumen. You are insured, and have emergency roadside assist if you seriously break down and need to leave the ride and catch a train home.
Day 1 Sat: The Burke & Wills Track to Pyramid Hill. 274 kms
Meet: Camp 1, Queens Park Moonee Ponds from 8.00 am. Turn from Mt Alexander Rd and park into the forecourt of the Moonee Ponds Bowls Club. MAP We recommend you have a large breakfast at home before departing, but the Cafe in the park 'Curators Collective' serves coffee and light food from 8.30 am. Departure time will be 9.00 am sharp.
Stopping at Camp 2 Bulla, Lancefield for fuel, Camp 4 Deep Creek, Camp 6 Mia Mia, Camp 8 Barnadown, Elmore for lunch and refuel, Camp 9 Kamerooka. Then to Pyamid Hill.
For adventure riders there is a rough gravel option between Camp 9 Kamerooka to Camp 10 Oak Ridge, Mt Terrick, then up to Pyramid Hill. (Map provided)
Accomodation: Victoria Hotel, Pyramid Hill
Day 2 Sun: The Burke and Wills Track to Swan Hill. 150 kms
We leave Pyramid Hill early and stop at the amazing Mt Hope (Camp 11), then around to Tregowel (Camp 12) and the Loddon River crossing. We may then stop in Kerang to refuel the smaller bikes and coffee. The we move on to the very beautiful Camp 13 on Lake Charm, past 'The Clump' and Lake Bolac and arriving Swan Hill at lunchtime, finishing the Burke and Wills part of the ride. The afternoon is free to sightsee. You may want to visit the Pioneer Settlement Museum ($30!), but a walk along the River bank is well worth it.
Adventure riders option: there is a complex system of dirt road track between Mt Hope (Camp 11) and Tregowel (Camp 12) which follows the exact expedition path. Detailed map provided.
Accomodation: Paruna Motel, Swan Hill
Day 3 Mon. Murray River ride. 196 kms
A lovely ride ride along the Murray trying to stay off the main highway, through the irrigation area to Barham and down the Cohuna. The ride behind Cohuna along the Murray is beautiful. We'll visit the stunning Torrumbarry Weir, and then down to historic an touristy Echuca. We will try and push you here by lunchtime so that there's time for a tourist look around the old port area.
3.45 PM (TBC) you are invited for a complimentary 1 hour steam paddle boat tour of the Murray thanks to VCoM Ride Support.
Accomodation (enjoy!) Caledonian Hotel, Echuca
Day 4 Tues: Ride home from Echuca. 154 kms to Heathcote
A direct route homeward bound. We'll stop at the art silos at Colbinabbin for a photo shoot (one more time), and then head to Heathcote, where we suggest the big bakery is a good place to lunch and refuel. Then the ride may split into groups depending which side of Melbourne you need to enter for home.