Story and photos contributed by Ju K. Wong (Melbourne, Australia)|
It’s been a very long time since I’ve picked up a pen and wrote about anything. So much time has passed, where do I begin? Where has all the time gone? Well since this is about my riding experiences, let’s skip to the essentials, shall we?
First a little about myself. I’ve been riding since I turned 15 when my dad bought me my first “kap chai” aka Honda Cub 70. But in reality I have been riding long before that. Occasionally “borrowing” friends/dad’s/uncle’s bikes and riding around my neighbourhood was a source of great adventure and fun. I remember the sense of freedom that I felt when I finally had my own bike. I was independent now! I could go anywhere I wanted! Wow.
Over the years I’ve ridden many different bikes, in different countries. My current steed is a Honda CB1000R in the style of the current super naked streetfighters. Don’t ask me why I chose this. I’m not sure myself other than it looked cool. I mean, taste is a very personal thing, isn’t it?
Any-hoo, back to the ride. This trip is one that I’m familiar with. Korumburra is a lovely country town about 120 kms south-east of Melbourne whose primary industry is milk farming and processing. Rolling hills, windy roads, tight switchbacks and deep gorges make this one of my favourites. It’s an ideal 3 hour round trip that is not-too-near nor not-too-far but just right. Just like Goldilocks.
I started my ride from Rowville and headed eastward down the Monash Freeway towards Warragul. After a quick stop to fill up at the petrol station on the highway, I continued on my journey. I exited the highway at the Koo Wee Rup exit and pointed my steed towards Phillip Island. The riding was smooth but the highway was covered with yellow daisies further exacerbating my hay fever allergies and a few gross sneezes in my full face helmet. Unperturbed I connected with the South Gippsland Highway (M420) turned off towards Wilson’s Prom/Korumburra. The scenery gradually changed from flat featureless farmland to rolling hills that looked just liked the Windows background of vivid blues and green.Traffic was light and I settled behind a car that was travelling approximately my cruising speed. It’s always a good idea to sit behind a car (at a safe distance of course) when driving down country roads (especially at dawn or dusk) due to the high incidence of kangaroos/wombats dashing across the road with little or no warning. A collision with one of these animals can write-off your car and can certainly kill you if you are on a bike. So better use the car in front as a barrier!
I arrived at Korumburra and promptly headed to its famous bakery on the main street. This is my usual rendezvous place with my beautiful wife and partner in crime. The cappuccino was aromatic and the meat pie was sumptuous. The weather was absolutely amazing as the sun finally came out to play after weeks of clouds and rain.
Korumburra is the heritage centre of South Gippsland. It is located in the scenic rolling foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges in South Gippsland. It’s the home of the Coal Creek Community Park and Museum. This village depicts life in the area over the period from the 1870s to 1920s, as the town rapidly expanded following the discovery of a coal seam.The outdoor museum covers 12 hectares of bushland, including 60 exhibits. These include the Giant Earthworm, National Bank, Anzac exhibit, Mining exhibits, Dairy exhibit at the Boston Carriageworks and Railway Museum. The Park is free entry and open Thursdays to Mondays during term time and seven days a week during school holidays. Korumburra Botanic Park is a worthwhile stopover. It’s a lush little bush park with walking trails that meander through the trees, little streams and creeks that beckon you to linger for a while. The sound of running streams is breathtakingly tranquil and a great place to pause. Just follow the signs after the BP station at the top of Bridge Street.
After lunch, I decided to take the scenic route home. This took me through the Strzelecki Ranges north of Korumburra towards Warragul. Some of the most beautiful riding country can be found on this route. Sweeping views with lush rolling meadows, beautiful twisty country roads, stunning scenery that on a clear day, you can almost see the sea. There are little villages along the way that don’t look out of place in the Swiss Alps! All along route, stunning views of the valley below and beautiful green paddocks.
On the way you pass by quaint little farm houses as you ride on a ridge with drop-offs on both sides. Don’t ogle too long at the scenery though or you might find yourself riding off the ridge! The roads here are two-way and are decent. They are rough/bumpy in places but are well sign-posted. What I found really handy was the yellow speed advisory at every corner. This helped me decide at what speed to approach each corner and whether the corner is actually tightening or straightening out. Very helpful when you’re channelling Valentino Rossi at each corner!
Midway between Korumburra and Warragul, I took a detour toward Poowong. Like much of the surrounding area, it used to be covered by dense rain forests, early European settlers spent many hard years clearing the giant trees, ferns, sword grass and undergrowth until the township was established in 1870. Today Poowong is a small dairying village of approximately 600 people and surrounded by dairy farms. There was nobody on the streets so I made a quick stopover to take some pictures before continuing on my way. Accommodation can be found at the Poowong Hotel and you can’t miss it.
All too soon it was time to head back. I once again mounted my trusty steed and pointed toward Drouin. Drouin was established in the early 1870’s and today is a trendy little town with sidewalk cafes and parks. Gourmet deli shops line the streets and after a quick rest stop saw me on the M1 highway again and on the way home.
South Gippsland is wonderful riding country and if you take the time, there are many treasures to be found. The friendly locals, stunning views, rich history and excellent roads make this one of my current favourite rides. There is so much more to discover and no doubt I will be back to explore this wonderful region again.
Ju K’s adventures can also be read at