Our Route Choice

We landed in Sidney in late October, 2004. Nothing was planned. We decided to escape working for a while and refuel our adventure juices. We brought our own bikes with us on the airlines. The policy at the time did not charge the exorbitant fees of today. We simply boxed them up, along with a Bob’s Trailer, panniers and camping gear. It was the kind of preparation we were accustomed to.

Go when the moment strikes.

Anne had just been diagnosed with Alpha 1, an inherited lung disease that destroyed lung tissue the same way as emphysema does by smoking. We looked at this trip as the last big fling before who knows what.

We had hardly even enough time to look at a map before we left. We had no idea where to bicycle. The weather was still very cold around Sydney, so that drove us to looking more southward for options. We decided to fly to Albury in  New South Wales and begin our bicycling following the Murray River west. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river at 1,558 miles. It starts in the high mountains and, for most of its length, meanders across Australia’s inland plains, forming the border between the New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest, before turning south for its final 310 miles into South Australia. We left the river at Murray Bridge in order to go to Adelaide.

 

Adelaide sounded like a fascinating town to visit. From there, we could head eastward towards Melbourne along the scenic Great Ocean Road.  We decided to go to the Australian Tennis Open in mid-January which is held in Melbourne. That would put the finishing touches on our ride. So…off we go bicycling Southern Australia.

The Murray River meanders west and north through immense open country.  Much of the land is used for grazing cattle and growing hay. The roads tend to be straight and quite flat!. But, the strong winds that blow through such open country can turn flat cycling into a major challenge. We experienced mostly strong winds from the west all the way to Adelaide.

What a mistake it was to assume that when we turned back eastward, we would get a push. Ha! Seems the winds along the coast wanted to blow from the east. All the Aussies would say, “oh, November is a really windy month.”  In December, it was “December is a really windy month. In January, more of the same comments.

Bicycling Southern Australia
Bicycling Southern Australia-camping

Camping

opportunities come in many interesting forms. We found many places for tenting in rustic settings with no facilities to manicured lawns surrounded by duck ponds. Kitchen facilities were available in the private parks for the most part.

The inventive caravans with expanding tent tops were everywhere. They do not have water and septic tanks. I don’t recall ever seeing a dump site.

Bicycling Southern Australia-camper tents
Bicycling Southern Australia-camper vehicles
Bicycling Southern Australia-camping areas
Bicycling Southern Australia-camping places
Bicycling Southern Australia-camping places

Lodging

also offered a wonderful variety of choices. 

We preferred staying at the old pubs.

 They were the least expensive and definitely the most interesting.

The bird life

is simply amazing.

As plentiful as anything we had seen in Africa.

 

The squawking, chirping, screeching, chatter was constant.

One could spends hours with binoculars, but they were so plentiful, we didn’t need them.

Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life
Bicycling Southern Australia-bird life

The Roads

Most of the roads we traveled were secondary arteries with little traffic.

 

The paving was generally good, but shoulders were infrequent. 

Bicycling Southern Australia-the roads
Bicycling Southern Australia-the roads

We never had a incidents of rude or aggressive drivers on this tour.

 

Although we had heard that near heavily populated areas, they drive just as insanely as our U.S city drivers!

Wine growing is a national art.

Wine tasting is a national sport.

The Australian wine is the finest we have ever had, although Argentina runs a very close second.


A tour of any winery is free.


Wine tasting is free.


Just watch out how many bottles you buy before you leave…especially if you are carrying them on a bike!

Bicycling Southern Australia-wine tasting
Bicycling Southern Australia-kangaroos

What is Australia most known for? 

In addition to wine is it…

…As a Criminal colony? 

…The Outback?

…Crocodile Dundee?

How about Kangaroos!

Bicycling Southern Australia-kangaroos
Bicycling Southern Australia-kangaroos
Bicycling Southern Australia-Kangaroos
Bicycling Southern Australia--kangaroo baby
Bicycling Southern Australia-Kangaroo Baby

And don’t forget…………………………………..

The Cute Koala Bears

Bicycling Southern Australia-Koala Bears

 The remarkable Jacaranda and Eucalyptus Trees

Mother Nature rivals the animal community for attention

Bicycling Southern Australia-Jacaranda blossoms
Bicycling Southern Australia-Jacaranda Blossoms
Bicycling Southern Australia-Jacaranda Tree
Bicycling Southern Australia-Eucalyptus Tree
Bicycling Southern Australia-Eucalyptus Tree
Bicycling Southern Australia-Eucalyptus Tree

Adelaide

had to be our favorite city/town. Charmingly friendly, it is modern and clean and hardly feels like a city at all. Bicycle paths lead everywhere. Don’t forget, a cyclist is required to have a bell!

Bicycling Southern Australia-Adelaide
Bicycling Southern Australia-Adelaide
Bicycling Southern Australia-Adelaide
Bicycling Southern Australia-Adelaide
Bicycling Southern Australia-Adelaide

South and East from Adelaide is the……………………

….Great Ocean Road.

An incredibly scenic route all the way to Melbourne, it attracts cyclists and motor tourists. There is camping, caravan parks, pubs, and charming towns along the route.

Bicycle Network Victoria has a very famous annual cycle tour along this route: nine days/610km/fully supported. The last event attracted over 5000 riders!

We rode with Bicycle Network Victoria Tour in Tasmania which you can check out on our Tasmania page. It was the best of cycling times we have ever had!

Great Ocean Road Map
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road
Bicycling Southern Australia-Great Ocean Road

One more thing needs to be said about bicycling in Australia that you will never find out about in the tourist brochures.

Flies!

The Aussies have a famous hand  wave, and a famous brimmed hat with corks attached to strings to keeps the little devils at bay.

The buggers would walk on our face, into our ears, under the sunglasses and even into our mouths if we breathed with them open…while we riding the bikes!

Our solution was more direct than the Aussies; although we drew a few laughs and stares, we were happy.

Bicycling Southern Australia-Flies
Bicycling Southern Australia-Flies

THE END!

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