Recently the RACV ran a survey to find the 101 Must Do's in Victoria—our best tourism experiences. Last night a special episode of Channel 9's Postcards revealed the top ten:

  1. Drive The Great Ocean Road
  2. Audax Alpine Classic
  3. Ford Discovery Centre
  4. Wilsons Promontory
  5. Walhalla
  6. The Blues Train - Queenscliff
  7. Skandia Geelong Week
  8. Grampians National Park
  9. View Mt Sturgeon From The Royal Mail Hotel
  10. Great Victorian Bike Ride

Yep, you read that right: two cycling events were listed in the top ten.

A broad hint on the Audax web site suggested that the Alpine Classic might have made it in. So I watched, thinking that it might've just sneaked in at position ten. But when the Great Victorian Bike Ride turned up in that spot, I thought that there couldn't possibly be two cycling events in the top ten—someone at Audax Central must have got their wires crossed. But you could've bowled me over when the Alpine Classic cropped-up in position 2!

But the whole list is full of some really interesting ideas, suggesting that there is plenty to see and do in this compact and diverse little state—and not all of it is the glitzy and pricey five-star luxury that those tourism lifestyle shows often promote. And it was good to see other cycling experiences were also listed, including "cycle the east gippsland rail trail" (position 22), "Around the Bay in a Day" (49), and "cycle the murray to the mountains rail trail" (99).

I note that the list is largely devoid of "major events": The Melboune Grand Prix came in at 186 and the Australian Tennis Open was at 108. The Melbourne Cup, Moomba, the Royal Melbourne Show, and the AFL Grand Final weren't listed at all as far as I could tell (although "aussie rules football" made it in at a respectable 35). It might be that Victorians think of those things as just stuff to do rather than "tourism experiences", but perhaps it shows that we're not as in love with major events as their promoters would have us believe.

Anyway, I wonder if the results of the survey will have any influence on how seriously cycle tourism is addressed in this state?


Treadly and Me

As I understand it, everything on the list was nominated by respondents to the survey, so the definition of what makes a "tourism experience" would be pretty organic. That said, I can see that participation in the Alpine Classic isn't everyone's cup of tea. But when you take into account that there is a variety of distances of offer, that it is undoubtedly a spectacle, that the locality is gorgeous, and that there is now a cultural festival attached to the event, you can see that there is broader appeal than just riding in the event.

Audax's survey results back this up: this year more than 90% of attendees made a trip of two or more nights away from home and more than 60% travelled in a party of three of more people.

And for what it's worth, the survey also estimated the 40696$ at 14,176.44 "net economic benefit to the Bright economy" (whatever that really means).

Whatever way you slice it, I reckon the Alpine Classic is most definitely a "tourism experience".

[Come on arcadiagt5, let's see you there in 2009—if you can pedal-power yourself around Canberra, you can handle a few piddling Victorian foothills! :-) ]


ChrisS wrote: You forget all the family and friends who make the annual January pilgrimage to Bright with the participants. That alone must inject a lot of 40699$ into the local region.

Fair point - I've never actually been to the Alpine Classic but this alone would move it into the realm of a spectator event.

Plus there appears to be a range of shorter rides on the day that would attract more riders.


I'm not sure that a gruelling 200+Km ride across that many hills qualifies as a tourist experience though.

Unless it has been included as a spectator event...

The Great Victorian Bike Ride I can understand given the camping holiday image that the promoters associate with it.


You forget all the family and friends who make the annual January pilgrimage to Bright with the participants. That alone must inject a lot of 40705$ into the local region.

For example: try getting a parking spot (sorry about the car reference, but it must be mentioned) at the Miliwa Cheese Factory the Monday immediately after the AAC.

I rest my case.