By Linda Laker
Clearly a trick question.
But read on and the answer will quickly become clear.
Every second year – 2022 being one – the delightful small village of Fish Creek in regional Victoria hosts its Tea Cosy Festival. A terrific community initiative which brings much needed tourism into the area, it showcases truly witty and crafty skills – knitting, crocheting, applique and even the use of succulents (yes, really) – to make tea cosies that will make even coffee drinkers smile!
One of the entries was cutely named “Raining Cats and Dogs” … which was appropriate for the day we were at the festival.
But what’s that got to do with bike riding you ask?
Well, very fortuitously, Fish Creek is located on the Great Southern Rail Trail. Staying near Fish Creek provided an ideal opportunity to visit the festival, enjoy the delights of Gibson’s Café and dinner at the Fish Creek Hotel, and then get active on the rail trail.
[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”17″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]Our first ride was west from Fish Creek to Koonwarra, with a coffee stop in Meeniyan, and return after lunch at Koonwarra (around 50km return). The entire trail traversed beautiful rural countryside and blissfully was quite sheltered from very strong winds on the day with trees lining the majority of its length. The path is in excellent condition; a firmly-compacted smooth sand trail making for easy, comfortable riding. And you have to love that key feature of rail-trails – no major hills – with the ‘climb’ out of Fish Creek to Buffalo being a gentle 50 metres over about 3 kilometres.
A second ride a couple of days later, east to Toora, took us, again, through rural countryside with an excellent lookout point about 5 kilometres out from Fish Creek then a very pleasurable 7-8 kilometres downhill to Foster and then onto lunch at the Toora pub. Luckily, after lunch we were able to jump in the car with our non-cyclist companion to drive up to Agnes Falls, looking spectacular after so much rain. (Some readers might choose to ride up to the Falls, but that wasn’t for us 😊.) Returning to Toora, there was time for a cuppa before returning to Fish Creek, this time slogging up that 7-8 kilometres to the lookout – but still, it was only around 125 metres rise over that distance – for a total ride of around 45 kms. The trail was again in very good condition with a smooth, easy-riding surface and clearly marked and well-designed crossing points.
So, think about trying the whole – or part of – the Great Southern Rail Trail. And if you can wait that long, put it in your diary for May 2024 so you can also enjoy the next Tea Cosy Festival!