Just before the end of last year I went on an overnight bike trip to the Dargo high plains. A friend of mine enjoys going four wheel driving in his Land Rover in the area and had asked me if I wanted to come along.
I was planning to ride in on day one and ride straight back the day after in order to be home in time for New Years Eve. I like short overnight trips because I don't need to pack much food and with less than two days away I don't need to find someone who will look after my cats in the meantime.
I left early in the morning and after a bit more than two hours of riding I met up with my friend in Moe where we had breakfast.
On the way to Dargo we had the craziest weather conditions ever, it changed almost every five minutes. We started with overcast mild weather, later it kept changing between monsoon rain and sunshine with temperatures up to 36ºC. At one point I got soaked wet, but by the time we were in Dargo my clothes were almost dry again. The roads around Dargo are some of the best motorcycle roads in Victoria and I really enjoyed the ride.
In Dargo I queued up at the only petrol station and was rather fascinated watching the various people coming and going while I waited. Without a dirty white ute, a dog in the back, boots, singlet and wide brim hat, one definitely looks like a tourist in Dargo. True hillbilly country and a stark contrast to metropolitan Victoria.
It was only a few more kilometres to the turnoff for the unsealed track down to the Talbotville campsite. It's a popular site for four wheel drive camping and dirt bike riders, because it's located at the Crooked River where there are some popular tracks nearby. Riding down the steep and rocky track on a motorbike was fun, and the Hyperstrada handled it well. However it's wise to take extra care and watch out for oncoming traffic, since we came across some guys in old 4WDs who were driving like absolute fools.
We set up camp close to the river and just tried to stay out of the heat for the rest of the day, before doing some walks around the area and cooking dinner. It was weird watching the occasional cow roam the campground and it's definitely not a wilderness area, several people had their dogs with them.
I didn't sleep well during the night – I always need a couple of nights to get used to my hiking mattress again. At some point during the night I believe I even heard the sound of a deer close by.
I got up at first light around 5.30am and went for a walk to check out the surroundings. I came across ruins of old houses and also found the old graveyard – all remnants of a once thriving gold mining community. It's fascinating to see old grave stones that are sometimes over 100 years old and have been preserved.
I hadn't brought anything particular for breakfast, and Leon was keen to head off early for a trip to Brisbane, so we packed up early and I planned to get something to eat in Dargo.
Riding back up the hill was a lot of fun and I was heaps faster than the Land Rover. We stopped at a lookout to take some photos before parting ways. It was a great view from there, and beautiful weather. Just above the clouds.
Soon after I joined the main road again and began the descent to Dargo, I entered the cloud layer. It was such thick fog I had to open my visor because I could barely see anything. Amazing experience when it had been sunny and blue sky just seconds earlier.
In Dargo I bought some food and sat down in front of the hotel for a while. An older man walked past and told me some of the Talbotville history. There were also a few people admiring my Ducati.
I more or less rode the same way back home and arrived back early afternoon. Overall it was a nice trip of about 950km.