It’s been a while since we updated the blog. In that time we’ve cycled from Pottsville to Mermaid Waters on the Gold Coast, done a whole heap of tourist things on the Gold Coast (wildlife parks, Sea World, water slide parks, music festivals, watched Aussie Rules Football and more), then completed our cycling in Australia by riding into Brisbane and done more tourist things in Brisbane. We’ve now got four more days in Australia before we fly to Vancouver on Friday 3rd June.
What can I remember about riding from Pottsville to Mermaid Waters? As it was ten days ago not that much, although it was a pretty decent ride. We followed the Tweed Shire cycle route from Pottsville to the NSW / Queensland border, which was mainly along traffic free cycle paths passing by some extremely fancy beach houses. The border was a non-event because there wasn’t a sign anywhere in sight and it’s in the centre of the Coollangata / Tweed Heads conurbation. Once into Queensland we had to dodge the surfers and their boards as we rode along the beach front. Somewhere around here we had our first views of the massive skyscrapers at Surfers Paradise and then arrived in Mermaid Waters to stay with Paul, Katie, Jen & the kids, where a new outer part for our Nordisk Oppland 3LW tent was waiting for us from eXXpozed. Thanks!
We hadn’t planned what to do on the Gold Coast, well apart from a ParkRun on Saturday morning. I worked with Paul in London and we both resigned from the school at the same time. As luck would have it Alex, who’d also been in the same department, had also recently resigned and was now in Brisbane. So we all went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and got our photos taken with kangaroos to send back to our old science department. Saturday, after doing the Varsity Lakes ParkRun (a fast route around the lakes near to Bond University) we went to see the Aussie Rules Football (aka AFL). This didn’t make much sense on TV, but all became pretty clear when we saw a live match. Well it did for me, although Philippa’s focus was more on reading the paper. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great game as the Gold Coast Suns were easily beaten by the Adelaide Crows. We also went to the beach for an afternoon, went to Sea World & saw some impressive sea lion and dolphin shows and had great fun at Wet ‘n’ Wild slide park, especially as it there were hardly any queues (the joys of visiting places during term time!).
From six great nights on the Gold Coast we set off for Brisbane. We’d decided to do this over two days because there would be a lot of slow urban cycling. The first day was along the Gold Coast beaches, passing the skyscrapers at Surfers Paradise and the plush suburbs around Paradise Point. The other bikes that we saw were lightweight carbon bikes, the complete opposite of what we were riding! We spent that night in Willow Vale with Sharon, David & their teenage sons. We’ve been lucky to stay with twelve different WarmShowers hosts in Australia, each of which has given us a different insight into Australian life. However, Sharon & David are originally from South Africa and having spoken to them for an evening we’ve now added another place to the list of countries to visit in the future.
The last day of riding in Australia took us mostly along the V1 cycle path that pretty much parallels the M1 motorway (unlike in NSW cycling isn’t allowed on the QLD motorways). Around Logan the signs disappeared and we couldn’t find the path on Open Street Map and so we followed a different path for a while, picking up the V1 later on again. Philippa was pretty exhausted, despite being a fairly easy day, probably because we did so much on the Gold Coast. It didn’t help that a spoke on her rear wheel then decided to snap just before we reached our destination in the West End district of Brisbane. ARGH! Philippa’s bike is now in the bike shop getting two new wheels built – the mechanics there had a look and recommended replacing all the spokes at the very least, and then when they took a look at the rims suggested we might also want new rims too as these were wearing away. So all that will be kept are the hubs.
We are fortunate to be staying in a great apartment in Brisbane overlooking the river, thanks to someone we know via yacf, the cycling internet forum we both use in the UK. Sandy is letting us stay here and already has picked up bike boxes for our flight and all sorts of packing material so now we just have to dismantle the bikes, once Philippa’s is back from the shop. In the meantime we’ve been hanging out with various friends in Brisbane; done my final Australian ParkRun through the centre of Brisbane with 450+ other runners; we’ve been to some local breweries and to Moreton Island to spend the day on the beach and snorkeling over some shipwrecks.
I cannot believe we’ve been in Australia for over two months already because it has flown by, an indication that I’ve really enjoyed my time here. Our overall route can be seen here: click. Now we need to plan what we’re going to do in North America because so far we’ve got a flight into Vancouver on 3rd June and a flight from Los Angles back to London in early October.