More amazing WarmShowers experiences

010. Food at Peter & Vicki'sIt would seem that most cycle tourists leave Sydney via the Northern Beaches and catch a ferry to Manly, whereas on Tuesday we’d ridden to Wisemans Ferry, which is a very different route.  Whether this was the right decision we’ll never know, but we had a great time. From the campsite where we’d stayed on Tuesday night we caught two chain ferries to get onto the road that hugs the Hawkesbury River.  Catching ferries always adds something fun to the day.  The road surface was pretty awful, but it was devoid of cars and a fantastic route.  After Spencer the road heads inland and over Mangrove Mountain, which was a gentle climb from sea level up to around 300m.  We sat in the sun at Mangrove Mountain while eating lunch and thinking about how great it is cycling through NSW during autumn.  Not too hot, not too cold.  If only the sun didn’t vanish at 5.30pm!  After lunch we swooped downhill, dodged the Sydney – Newcastle highway, dropped into Lisarow and found our amazing WarmShowers host. Continue reading

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To Sydney and beyond

194. Sydney Harbour BridgeApologies for the radio silence over the last few days but we’ve been spending some time in Sydney doing normal ie non-cycling stuff with some absolutely fabulous people who kindly offered to put us up (put up with us) as we passed through Sydney, despite never having met us before and us only knowing a family relation back in the UK. We’ve been fed, watered and well looked after and the weekend passed way too quickly. But more of that later… Continue reading

Husky Ferry & rail replacement buses save the day

150. Philippa piloting the Husky FerryAll bad days eventually end and fortunately the day of meh ended with us camped somewhere decent. We stayed at the Milton Valley holiday park, which was great because it had a massive kitchen that provided everything we needed to cook dinner, plus tables, sofas & even a TV. This meant we had somewhere comfortable indoors where we could sit once it was dark at 5.45pm. From Milton we had another 35km along the Princes Highway, but riding this section over two days felt easier because it would be a new day. Continue reading

The day of meh

139. First cyclotourist we've seen since MelbourneIt rained pretty much all night in Batemans Bay; big ploppy rain that made loud noises as it landed on the tent. We somehow also attracted a load of the local spiders to come and have a party in our tent so as I got into the tent on Sunday night I spent quite a bit of time with Adam’s thong, sorry flip flop attacking any little beasties and shooing them out of the tent – I’m sure most, if not all, of them were harmless but you never know, so better to be safe than sorry. It was still raining when we woke up in the morning but Adam needed the loo so he left the tent; about 5 minutes later he shouted at me, “Philippa, my Garmin’s been stolen from the bike and someone has been through our stuff”. And so the Day of Meh ensued. Continue reading

Dodging the highway between Bermagui & Batemans Bay

127. Gravel part of the Old HighwayThis weekend we’ve spent our time riding from Bermagui to Batemans Bay and doing our best to avoid the Princes Highway. It is possible to pick up the highway north of Bermagui and follow it through Corunna, Narooma, Moruya, and all the way up to Batemans Bay. It doesn’t feel particularly dangerous to cycle on the Princes Highway as there’s a decent hard shoulder, but the smaller roads are more fun and sociable as it’s easier to chat as we ride along, so we decided to avoid it wherever we could. Continue reading

Crossing the VIC / NSW border on the Monaro highway

094. Border of VIC & NSWOver the last four days we have made great progress northwards, crossing over the state border from Victoria into New South Wales (NSW), which feels like a small milestone has now been achieved and Sydney now feels within reach – we’re hoping to be there in about a week. It is already a lot warmer (although it got a lot colder first) so camping should be easier. Rather than following the Princes Highway near the coast we decided to head inland to Bombala, over some hills and far away. Continue reading

Wild in Victoria

070. Koala bear on Raymond IslandWe left Sale on Thursday morning under blue skies. We needed to get to Bairnsdale for Friday night as we’d arranged to stay with some more Warm Shower hosts, but that was less than 80km away and so John (our Sale host) suggested going via Raymond Island to see koala bears in the wild, which sounded like a good plan. As per normal we didn’t have any accommodation booked for Thursday and changing plans to go via Raymond Island was very easy. In fact the only accommodation we normally have arranged in advance are when people have offered to host us for some nights. The longest European tour we’ve done together was just over a week in length, which isn’t really enough time to have a huge amount of flexibility, whereas now we can easily change plans on a whim and it’s great. Continue reading

The world is a good place

047. Owens Lane on the way to SeasprayWhen we’re on the road our days involve a standard routine of decamping, making breakfast, cycling for 70 kilometres or so, putting up the tent on a new campsite, finding a supermarket, making dinner and then sleeping. Monday was our day off, so it was a bit like a weekend back in London as we didn’t need to perform our normal tasks. When we’d arrived in Yarram we’d been told about the various touristy things one can do nearby, but for us Monday was about not doing anything. Tourists probably wouldn’t even visit Yarram, but for us it was great because the campsite was fantastic, there were supermarkets in town and we had unlimited WiFi in order to complete some admin jobs. So like a Saturday at home I got up and went running (which in the morning autumnal light along the empty rail trail was fantastic) while Philippa stayed tucked up in bed. We had time to make a decent breakfast opposed to the normal affair of tea and porridge and we spent the rest of the day enjoying what Yarram had to offer. We made an unsuccessful attempt at getting the tent zipper fixed, we used the WiFi to read about the possible routes from Orbost (where we aim be on Sunday) into New South Wales and in the evening sat around the fire pit. (For a country that appears on the international news on an annual basis because of the latest bush fires they don’t half seem to like a good camp fire. We’ve both decided we’d like a fire pit as and when we have a house with a garden.) Continue reading

Snaking around the coast

SnakesFirst of all – thanks to those of you who have been in touch in various forms to offer words of encouragement following my last post – they have meant an awful lot and have spurred me on. Things have been a lot better in the last few days and suddenly the road ahead doesn’t seem so daunting. The homesickness (and I agree that’s what it is) is much improved (there will always be a bit there though I suspect) and I’m not in floods of tears all the time. Yay! Since Inverloch we have wiggled our way, like a snake (which, if you read on, you will find is apt) and have had a rest day today, just mooching around before hitting the road again tomorrow (Tuesday). We pretty much have the next week planned out, which does again conveniently involve staying somewhere on Friday night where there is a ParkRun on the Saturday morning. Continue reading

On the road again

011. Road signsWe have now been in Australia for a week and a half and got back on the road again on the Tuesday after Easter. After a great time being well looked after in Hamilton we had another few fabulous days in Melbourne with some old family friends and I really struggled to get back into the cycling routine as I was feeling very low after saying goodbye to them; they had reminded me of home and family and friends and all the people I am missing. It also didn’t help that having not been on the bikes for about the last 20 or so days we have lost a bit of cycling fitness so it seemed like a rude awakening to be back on the road again, and without all the enthusiasm that normally spurs you on at the start of any trip. This just felt tough, with a long road ahead to Brisbane and I wasn’t happy. I still haven’t completely cheered up and I’m not sure what to do about that – plod on I guess and hope for the best? Continue reading