This morning we departed for Tostaree but before we hit the rail trail, we decided to complete our ride around the Orbost District and purchase lunch to have on the track as there were no facilities for buying provisions between Orbost and Tostaree.
For a clearer map of the rail trail contact East Gippsland Rail Trail
On the western outskirts to Orbost the terrain is very flat and is susceptable to major flooding from the Snowy River and the train used to pass over the flats on what was called the Orbost viaduct.
Locating the rail trail was not difficult and we settled in for a very pleasant ride through the forests to Tostaree Cottages some 34 kilometres west of Orbost. The trail is a compacted, well maintained dirt track and although there were no hills or mountains of any consequences to deal with, there were a number of long, gentle gradients. The scenery was mainly rural, undulating country scenes and tall fire blackened timber forests. Although it had only been a short time since a major bushfire had raged through the area, the trees had already started sprouting new green growth.
Having consumed lunch on the trail, it was no time at all until we arrived at Tostaree Cottages and were greeted by our hosts Greg and Vicki Geddes and their two playful dogs.
The cottages were set in a beautiful location surrounded by views of undulating hills, stocked with sheep guarded by llamas and cattle peacefully grazing on an abundance of emerald green grass.
There is something serene and relaxing staying on a farm where life is quiet, calm and unhurried, not like the city with it's bustling noise and nervous energy. No doubt the mood was helped by sipping chilled Chardonay whilst esconsed on the deck with friends. Ï can almost hear you asking "Where did they get the Chardonay?" well - this farm has it's own Tavern, operated by Greg. I have stayed at a number of farmstays around the world, none of which sported their own tavern. I think most cyclists would agree that it should be compulsory.
The farm is well set up to cater for small groups of cyclists, the cottages themselves being open planned with a couple of lofts to cater for extra bodies. Married couples within the group are also catered for having the privacy of their own cottage. Individual cottages are self contained with an open fireplace, kitchen, bathroom, separate toilet and deck attached.
A real surprise was a huge barn like structure which served as both dining and recreation hall with the tavern at one end. Leisure activities such as darts, table tennis and pool table are provided along with a small stage and karaoke equipment. There is also a huge stone fireplace, which Greg lit later into the night when temperatures dropped. The fire being a nice warm, ambient touch which added to the mood and character of the night.
We were treated to a real feast that night when Vicki served us with roast lamb, the lamb having been raised on the farm and in a word--delicious!
After dinner Ken our leader and the girls treated us to a dash of karaoke. I don't know what they added to the red wine, but.....................I don't think the pop world is quite ready for them yet.
This story is being told in 6 separate posts with the next part being from Tostaree to Lakes Entrance.
Tour was organised by Snowy River Cycling www.snowyrivercycling.com.au