It wouldn’t be an RACV Great Vic without a bit of wild weather, and that’s exactly what we got for a time yesterday. After a hot day’s riding, the winds picked up over the course of the early evening, with thick grey clouds towering ominously in the sky over camp. There was a relatively brief period of heavy rain but then the skies cleared again, the dust settled and the temperatures dropped to comfortable sleeping temperature.
It was, consensus suggests, the best night’s sleep for most of our riders. Just as well, too, because today was the longest day’s riding—a leg-testing 103 kilometres. Paired with more windy and warm weather, it was a challenging day on the bike for our intrepid adventurers.
Departing Dunolly, we travelled along long, straight roads. To our left and right, we had a slowly unfolding tableau of hayfields and scrubby forest, interspersed with small towns. The first section of the day’s ride was quite exposed, bringing us alongside ancient flattened hills, turning around the back of them and looping north again. After the first rest stop, we continued to the comparatively leafy lunchstop of Bealiba, where a community group did a roaring trade in hot-dogs and apple pie and riders relaxed on the footy oval enjoying their supplied Mexican chicken wraps.
After lunch, the route revealed more scenic delights, with a couple of tough pinches and well-deserved downhills to coast down. We passed Moliagul, where the world’s largest gold nugget was discovered—a 70kg behemoth called the Welcome Stranger. All around us are signs of the region’s gold-mining history. Stretches of roadside are pocked with dig sites, and each of the larger towns that we visit have impressive gold-rush era buildings along the main street.
So it is with Inglewood, a well-preserved town that’s known as a standout example of the period’s architectural style. The main street is lined by double-storey hotels (past and current). The two that are still trading will doubtless do a roaring trade this evening. There’s also a broad selection of antique stores, eucalyptus distilleries, and entertainment on offer, putting the seal on another great day on the Great Vic.