A quick check on the wind direction, and I am left in no doubt that I'd be better starting today's trip on the Cycle Trek from the northern Murray Plains town of Sedan, and making my way to the mighty Murray River near the southern town of Mannum.
The Travelers Rest Stop in Sedan, a town that was once a popular stop for travellers between Adelaide and Sydney, is the starting point for the Trek. The map on the wall is scanned into memory, and the first blue triangular trailmarker is observed, and the Trek starts heading through the town of Sedan, past the Obelisk and the Hotel, before quickly reaching the outskirts of the town and a gravel road as we initially track southeast.
The lightly used roads provide evidence that cars are foreign objects in this part of the country side with bicycle tracks and footsteps being more common. The richness of Australian natives and the mallee on the verge is offset by the colour and beauty of the farmlands and creek crossings against the backdrop of the Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges.
Before long the Trek commences one of many straighter stretches where the verge contains raised soil, and the occasional culvert and small bridge, ample evidence of the abandoned broad gauge Monarto to Sedan railway line. This line was opened in 1919, with its operations gradually being cut back before being gradually closed in stages between the 1960's and 2000.
The Trek tracks through the town of Cambrai, where facilities, shade, a general store and a hotel are available for those needing a break. Continuing south, the Trek again follows the rail corridor past some Turf Farms before a detour takes riders past the historic Glen Roy Homestead and the entrance to the Saunders Gorge Sanctuary where a spur trail to the Lavender Federation Walking Trail is proving popular for walkers.
The former railway towns of Sanderston and Milendella are both passed without much fanfare, both having seen better days when the economics of rail were more favourable and travel distances were shorter. Before long the Trek heads east along Long Gully Road, an appropriately named road that follows the gully for almost 10km until it reaches the banks of the River Murray just north of Mannum. From there, a short trip along the bitumen leads trekkers past the bird hides at Lions Park, the caravan park and to the end destination at the Mannum Visitor Information Centre.
The Murray Plains Cycle Trek is 54km long, and with bi-directional signage it can be ridden (or hiked) in either direction. Around 50km of the Trek is off bitumen and on lightly used country roads and lanes, some of which form part of the Mid Murray Self Drive Eco Tour. Further information on the Trek, as well as bike hire, is available from the Mannum Visitor Information Centre or available online.