Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Veni. Vidi. Vici! Princetown to Apollo Bay

Well, we knocked the 'b' off, as Sir Ed would say. After an early start and kms of walking, we conquered Lavers Hill - 30kms of hills actually!

Arrived at Lavers Hill Roadhouse at 11.15am and, after a toasted panini and a flat white, decided to continue on to Apollo Bay. Had a long, flat run along the swampy Aire River basin then yet more hills (and more walking) through the Otway National Park. We were rewarded with a lovely downhill run into Apollo Bay.

Arrived around 4.15pm and raced to put up the tent and get supplies before dark.

Did 79kms today - and feeling very chuffed!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rain and more Rain! Rest day at Princetown

It rained heavily most of the night and today. We've done lots of 'resting' and are impatient to get out of our tiny cabin and explore.

I hijacked a radio from the camp kitchen and we've wandered over to the General Store a couple of times for a change of scene. There's little else here.
A field below the store is full of 40 or more kangaroos of all sizes grazing happily in the rain. Needless to say, the farm is up for sale!

The weather seems to be improving. Still plan to head for Lavers Hill tomorrow. All packed and ready for an early start!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Great Ocean Roller Coaster! Peterborough to Princetown

Overcast and chilly this morning. Sun rises around 7.00am and it's dark by 5.45pm.

The Great Ocean Road is relatively hilly so far and we got off the bikes and walked a couple of times. En route we stopped off to view The Gorge, London Bridge and The Apostles, amazing sandstone rock formations sculpted by the waves and by land erosion.

We passed through Port Campbell and, as heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow, we decided to take a budget cabin for 2 nights in Princetown - a tiny hamlet on the coast.

On Wednesday we face the infamous Lavers Hill - 16kms of uphill! Only did 30kms today.

Some of the 12 Apostles
London Bridge

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Great Ocean Road begins! Port Fairy to Peterborough

Left our warm cabin at day break and headed into an icy wind. Followed the B100 through rich dairy country. Met up with our cycling buddies several times along the way.

Saw a fence strung with shoes yesterday. Today - a fence strung with several dozen foxes!

Followed the coast to Peterborough, stopping off to see the awe inspiring rock formations at "Bay of Islands" and "Bay of Martyrs".

Staying at the best equipped park yet - the Great Ocean Road Caravan Park. Going to be a cold one tonight! Did 80kms today.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Airy Fairy! Rest day at Port Fairy

Heavy rain last night followed by a strong, chilly wind this morning. We walked around this historic harbour village, which is now a haven for yachts and fishing boats. Situated on the Moyne River, it has sea on both eastern and southern boundaries.

Had a lovely lunch at "The Hub" then spent the afternoon hunkered down in our cosy "cabin" planning the Great Ocean Road stage of the trip. Exciting stuff! So far we've covered 660kms!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Train to Nowhere! Portland to Port Fairy

Left the busy port, Portland, and had another good day's cycling -fairly flat road past green pasture and healthy stock - a reasonable shoulder and lots of tail wind! Met up with the other cycling couples at rest stops.

Arrived at pretty Port Fairy and decided to stay two nights. Found a quaint park with a converted railway carriage as accommodation. Couldn't resist! Two more nights in a bed! Really spoilt!!

Did 75kms today.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hills and more trucks! Nelson to Portland

We were kept awake with a howling gale and heavy rain last night. We thought that it would be too windy to cycle, but conditions improved and we got off to a late start.

Hill after hill and heavy trucks most of the way. Passed through 40kms of pine forest. Arrived in Portland cold and tired and decided to reward ourselves with a nice warm cabin. It's even got TV!

Did 70kms today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Scary Stuff! Mt Gambier to Nelson

Only did 38kms today but oh what a hazardous highway! Heavy trucks in both directions - logging, petrol, stock - you name it! And no shoulder for protection! We were hugging the white line and shooting off into the rough whenever a truck screamed past.

Crossed the border from SA into Victoria. Arrived safely (and white knuckled) in Nelson- a pretty, sleepy fishing village at the mouth of the Glenelg River. No kitchen at the camp so it's dinner at the local pub tonight.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Wet Start - Millicent to Mt Gambier

It rained heavily last night. The tent passed the test with flying colours. Farewelled Laurie and Kay from Nelson NZ - an inspirational couple cycling Adelaide to Melbourne on a tandem.

Traffic was heavy as anticipated on the Princes Highway. The area is heavily forested in pine and logging trucks thunder past regularly.

Mt Gambier is a busy little city. We bought Del a new computer for his bike (the other one died suddenly) and a heavier sleeping bag for the  cooler nights. Had to post several items back to NZ to make room for the extra weight and bulk!  58kms today.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Short, Sweet Ride! Beachport to Millicent

To avoid the exodus of homeward bound holidaymakers, we decided to avoid the major highway and instead head for Millicent, 38kms away.  En route we came across a recently deceased kangaroo. Some ratbag had souvenired its tail - the bounder!

Hill Vu Caravan Park in Millicent is a gem - small, clean, few campers and has every amenity - even a TV! We feel very spoilt!


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday - Good Wind (Robe to Beachport)

Fab cycling conditions today - overcast, warm, a flat road and a Tail Wind! Got off to a great start, whistling along at 20 - 25kms p hr Wheeee! Then, at a rest stop, my bike stand collapsed. Del fixed it and 30 minutes later the Orewa  Express was off again. Wheeee!

Had a lovely lunch and a glass of red at Beachport before heading back to camp. Limited facilities here and toilets a mile away. Blowing a hurricane by nightfall. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Relaxing in Robe

Imagine a busy day in Queenstown - that's Robe on Easter Saturday! Traffic and pedestrians bumper to bumper.

Had a relaxing day though walking through the town, enjoying several flat whites, visiting the local school's fair and strolling on the beach.

The day began quite chilly but by afternoon the sun was shining and our washing was dry. What more could two old bikers ask for!


Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday - Bad Wind!

Had a restless night after all! Strong winds and heavy rain combined with noisy teenagers didn't help. Had strawberries and yoghurt for breakfast then set off for Robe into a strong headwind . Only did 45kms but heavy pedalling all the way.

No shoulder for most of the way so we had to trust the drivers to be considerate - and they were!

Robe is a popular seaside town. Our caravan park is full of families on their Easter break. Not an empty site anywhere - but kids everywhere!

Booked out for Easter at Robe!
Taking our first rest day tomorrow!

Robe coastline

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A long day! Salt Creek to Kingston

Set off at 7.00am and headed south into the mist. Cycled 85kms without seeing a living thing - except for a kangaroo that bounded across our path. Saw our first dead kangas on the road and several massive wombat holes in the banks.
Wombat holes everywhere!
Arrived at Kingston with tender rears. Will sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

On the Princes Highway! Meningie to Salt Creek

Took off at 8.00am - an early start for us. Fab conditions for cycling. Mainly flat, bendy roads through Coorong National Park. Followed the coast to Salt Creek. Nothing there but a Roadhouse! Took a budget cabin (pretty rough) as we'll need an early start tomorrow to cover 85kms to Kingston.
Laurie and Kay also took a cabin here. We all went on a short walk around the salt lakes and creek. 

A very basic cabin - Salt Creek Roadhouse
Did 61kms today.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Into the Coorong! Wellington to Meningie

Took the ferry over the Murray River this morning - a free service for everyone -

Wellington ferry
A selfie on the ferry!
 and headed through the Coorong district to Meningie. Mainly flat with dry brown tussock for miles. More traffic to contend with - trucks and caravaners mostly. The draught from one nearly blew my helmet over my eyes!

Meningie is a sleepy little village on the edge of Lake Albert.  From our tent we can see the pelicans fishing.


Only 45kms today. Yay!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easy Peasy! Strathalbyn to Wellington

Relatively easy cycling today to Wellington. 49kms. The old legs felt weary towards the end after yesterday's walkathon.

Seems to be a white parrot invasion  here, with a bird scarer booming every few minutes.

Flocks of white parrots roosting in the centre of the village.
Plan to join the other cyclists for a meal at the pub tonight. Taking the Wellington ferry across the Murray River tomorrow to Meningie.

Checking out Wellington's history.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Onwards and upwards! Adelaide to Strathalbyn

Did 60kms today, much of it uphill on the Crafers Cycleway, so lots of walking. Many young cyclists on their Sunday outings raced past us up the hills, calling out encouragement and often sympathy at the sight of the laden trailers. But what goes up eventually comes down and we had a lovely long downhill run from Stirling to Strathalbyn.
Morning tea in wine country

Two other couples at the Strathalbyn Caravan Park are also heading for Melbourne so will catch up with them along the way. One pair are on a tandem, Laurie and his blind wife, Kay.
Laurie and Kay - an inspirational couple.

Set up camp quickly then bought basic provisions (for dinner and breakfast) at the local IGA.  After a simple salad meal, we showered and were in bed by 7.30pm.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Goodbye innersprung!

Saturday and there's a chilly breeze at 7.00am. We'll definitely need to wear thermals tomorrow.

Took a last walk into the city to the central markets - a massive network of produce and goods stalls all undercover.

Central Markets - Adelaide

Did a final check of the bikes and packed the trailers.

Goodbye innersprung! Hello bedroll! Tomorrow we hit the road!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Raring to go!

Friday and it's a cool, cloudy day. Visited a bike shop to quiz local cyclists re best route south out of town. As we suspected, there's no avoiding the Adelaide Hills. Did a short cycle along the south eastern route - a gradual uphill climb all the way! We're both raring to go!
Interested to discover that cyclists in the city centre not only have their own cycleways but also have their own traffic lights at busy intersections. The lights allow them to make their turns before the main stream of traffic. A great idea!

Walked to Rundle Mall via the Central Markets. People everywhere collecting their fresh produce in their trundler bags. Every sort of fresh produce imaginable - and all undercover. Spending the           afternoon catching up on washing, journals etc and doing a preliminary trailer pack.                          
It's all on tomorrow!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bikes assembled, ready for test run!

Woke at 5.30am revived and ready for the day.

Walked to Rundle Mall for SIM cards for the phones. The Mall is a shopper's paradise with myriads of arcades and buskers galore. Back at the motel we unpacked and assembled the bikes. No damage, thank heaven. Tomorrow we'll take them on a test run.

Buskers - Rundle Mall

Del - Bike mechanic!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

We've arrived!

Big black crows are calling from the roof tops and a couple of lazy flies are dive bombing us. We're definitely in Oz!

Had a 3.00am start in Orewa and arrived in Adelaide at 10.20 am. We watched nervously as our taxi driver proceeded to squeeze our very large boxes into his very small taxi. He looked bemused when we told him our plans, then he told us his own amazing story. As a young man, he fled from the violence and bloodshed in his homeland Eritrea and trekked 3000+ kms at night on foot through the desert to Cairo, eventually migrating to Australia. Made our trip sound like a walk in the park!

Settled into our motel, bought a few stores and assembled the trailers. By 6.30pm we were both pooped and collapsed into bed.

Assembling the bike trailers.

Monday, April 7, 2014

All packed and ready to go!

Only two sleeps to go and excitement is quietly brewing. We spent today dismantling and packing the bikes and packing our gear into the trailers.

Poor Del was on and off the bathroom scales multiple times as we checked the weight of each piece of baggage and juggled the contents around to just under 23kg each. We're getting this down to a fine art!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Only 4 days til take off!

The bike boxes are ready to be filled and we've invested in a roll of bubble wrap for packing up the trailers. Del's raring to go and plans to dismantle the bikes on Monday! Hope they fit in the boxes!

Bike boxes and bubble wrap - ready for packing. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Here we go again!

Celebrating our 50th at the Mud Brick Restaurant - Waiheke
After the success of our trip from Perth to Adelaide, we were keen to try another cycle in Australia. We spent a fabulous month cycling in Provence during the winter months of 2013 and, with our 50th wedding anniversary looming in February 2014 we decided that the Australia trip should be now or never. This time we would start the trip from Adelaide and take the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, carrying on to Sydney and Brisbane.

Planning began in August 2013, researching routes, camp grounds etc. The first thing we decided to do was to upgrade our bikes to 27 gears (having done the previous trip with 24 gears). We already had all the other accessories, but decided also to update our old tent to a 3 man tent so that there would be more space to store the trailers.

By December 2013 our flights to Adelaide had been bought, the motel where we planned to stay while putting together the bikes and trailers was booked and our travel insurance was paid for. We would fly out on March 7th 2014.

A broken arm, cut nose and bruised right hand! A not so merry Xmas this year! 

On December 23rd plans came to an unexpected halt when, on a cycle training run, the chain came off my bike, I was thrown into a ditch and suffered a broken arm! When the cast was removed 8 weeks later, it was obvious that I would need weeks of physio to get my hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder into action again. Plane tickets, motel and plans were cancelled much to our disappointment.

But - what a difference a month can make! By late March I was able to ride my bike and with an ingenious adaptation I was able to operate the gears and brakes with my wonky hand.

We decided that, at 73, we shouldn't wait another year. The trip was on again!

The computer is a wonderful thing. Air fares, motel booking and travel insurance were completed in the blink of an eye. Training runs with a gradually increasing weight load on the trailers began in earnest.