We completed the rest of the route and got back in time for a short rest before the night’s briefing. I even found time to check out a movie at the Lorne Cinema that night. What a blast, the cinema still has its Art Deco charm and just sitting there was nearly as good as watching the film.
Each day is different in length but BMW Australia tries to keep distances to around 300-350 kilometres. This allows riders to stop and check out the areas and still enjoy a decent length ride. And as many riders cover long distances just to get to the start of the Safari, it makes sense to do so.
The next day was back along the GOR to the ferry at Queenscliff, across to Sorrento on the east side of Port Phillip Bay, arriving at our overnight stay at Traralgon, via some fantastic roads through Leongatha and Mirboo North.
Each day you get a route sheet which has comprehensive route instructions, and tips on where to eat, what to see etc. The route is fully tested by BMW prior to the event so you learn from their mistakes so to speak.
Part of the attraction to an event like this is meeting other people, and at Traralgon we must have had 20 people at our dinner table enjoying some fantastic Thai. A great night of stories, food and wine. Brilliant.
The last day was probably the highlight for me, not so much for the road conditions, which went from sublime to very average at times, but the route from Traralgon to Healesville included the historic mining town of Walhalla in the Gippsland alpine region. It was founded in around 1863 as a gold mining town, peaking to around 2500 residents.
Those who have been to Hill End (one of my favourite places) will have a bit of a clue as to what Walhalla is about, but Hill End had double the residents of Walhalla in its peak. That said, Walhalla is a more vibrant place than Hill End as it is now, with more shops and a fantastic feel to it. I can’t wait to get back there for a long weekend.
Healesville being the last stop on the tour is also where the goodbye dinner is held. Buses picked us up at various points and another fantastic night of great food, beverages and everything that goes with it, was had.
The very next morning I procured a BMW R 1200 RT and headed south to the Phillip Island World Superbike Round, so you could say I had an awesome week away. The cost of being a part of the TS Safari is $590 and $1165 with a pillion, which includes three dinners during the week, the route sheets, and back-up mechanics and paramedics who also ride the entire route.
All you need to do is get yourself there on your BMW, book your own accommodation, buy your meals (except for the three supplied) and enjoy yourself. And I can tell you it’s pretty hard not to enjoy yourself. This is the third or fourth Safari I’ve been on and they are always well organised and top fun.
There’s no set times to do anything other than each night’s briefing, so leave when you want in the morning, and take as long as you want to complete the ride. Easy.