Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category


“You can’t go there. Forensic are there laying tags. They took out a body.”

Road block

Usually you can cycle or at least push your bike through road closures. This time it wasn’t happening. This was a crime scene – a nasty car accident. It just meant turning around, going back where I had come from, and riding further up and down and up and down through the (beautiful) hills.

Millaa Millaa is really not very far from Atherton, and I wanted to stay overnight in Millaa Millaa. Soooo, I had lots of time on my hands today. This meant I followed signs to things that sounded interesting as well as taking a beeline to Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine – two volcanic crater lakes.

I did some bird watching at Hasties Swamp.

Hasties Swamp
Hasties Swamp

I marvelled at the curtain fig tree.

Curtain Fig Tree
Curtain Fig Tree
Curtain Fig Tree

And I swam in the (rather pleasantly warm) waters of Lake Eacham, followed by a loop of the lake.

Lake Eacham
Lake Eacham
Around Lake Eacham

I had Devonshire Tea at the famous tea house looking out over Lake Barrine. I sat perched on a beautiful balcony looking out over the glistening waters of the lake.

Lake Barrine
Lake Barrine

I was glad when I arrived at Millaa Millaa Hotel. I was knackered.


Today was snake day. I passed a snake lying on the road, warming itself in the sun. Another slithered away from the side as I passed. From then on I heard rustles of leaves everywhere. It’s good having snakes around. It means the road is not busy. Quaid Road from the coast up to the tablelands was closed to traffic, and I was the only one there, cycling through the forest.

Snake number 1
Cycling through the forest

Thanks to the Cairns Cycling Group Rides Facebook group for recommending Quaid Road to climb out from the coast. It was a beautiful bitumen road passing through the dense rain forest which, over time, opened out into savannah landscape.

It joined the main road at a beautiful swampy lake, and from there was a rather uninspiring main road.

Quaids Dam

Five km out of Atherton I was looking at my map when a young lady came up to me and said she was also a cyclist. She recommended I take the Atherton Rail Trail into Atherton which followed an old train line. It was much quieter and pleasant.

Atherton Rail Trail

At dinner I met some more people that like cycling. I have a nice lunch option for the day after tomorrow at a bio dairy.


In French the word for clumsy is maladroit (bad with your right hand). I told this to a friend once in France. He said I was malagauche too (bad with my left hand). It took me two hours to assemble my bike from the bike box. The configuration of the baggage carrier and mudguard flummoxed me. But now the bike is in one piece and ready to go. Croydon and my friend Elizabeth – here I come!

Kilometre 0 in Cairns

I have known about Turtle Cove Resort near Cairns for a long time but have never been. Cycling out to see my friend Elizabeth, Cairns is the obvious place to start and so Turtle Cove – although a detour – was on the itinerary.

Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove

While watching out for the crocs.

Croc warning

And stepping through the cairns of rocks.

Rock cairns

Locked into the resort as the iron man competition closed the road, it was a time to chill before the start of the bike trip proper. Some photos at sunrise and a scramble over the rocks exploring with a couple of Canadians.

Turtle Cove at sunrise
Turtle Cove at sunrise
Turtle Cove at sunrise

 Thanks to the amazing team and guests at Turtle Cove Resort. A lot of fun was had – quite a contrasting experience to the rest of my upcoming trip. I doubt I will be doing any pole dancing further west on this trip.


The stars were extinguished, one by one, as the sky moved through shades of deep blue and then orange. Then the sun burst through as I watched at Waterhole Hut. The sunrise is the theme of my little video – cycling through Namadgi National Park.


I cycled through the gate onto a grassy patch with paragliders waiting to jump over the cliff. Below me were the plains of Lake George and the Federal Highway snaking its way from left to right. I didn’t know I’d have this view, but it’s the unplanned things that are often the best.

Looking over the cliff

On the first day of the cycle trip, my goal was to get to Canberra as quickly as possible to have time to go into the mountains. Returning, I had the whole day and tried a different route – one that avoids the highway as much as possible.

I had time to pass Parliament House.

Parliament House

I have discovered Camberra’s cycle path network. There are at least 7 long routes. I followed C4 into the city and C1 out. Nicely marked, they keep the cyclists out of the traffic and make it a pleasant experience for cyclists.

The Canberra cycle network

Filling up with water, I started talking to a cyclist who was resting in the shade. He had a good tip of a side road to Gundaroo.

A peaceful gravel road rather than the busy main road

Getting from Gundaroo to Collector involved a bit of climbing on a dirt track. It was beautiful, quiet bush, and I took it slow. On one of the climbs I realised the bike has gone 81,000km.

81,000km

I had had enough by the time I got to Collector and decided on taking the highway to Goulburn. Not pleasant but mostly flat and quick. I quick stop to take a photo of the Goulburn sheep and then into the town for a celebratory meal. My short Christmas biketrip in the mountains was at an end.

The giant sheep


Everything was covered in an early morning frost as the sun burst over the neighbouring hill to announce the start of the day – a day of lots of pushing, some river crossings, and a beautiful, remote feeling.

Waterhole Hut at dawn

I spent a few hours playing around at the hut, including flying the drone around.

Waterhole Hut

And poking my nose in Westermans Hut.

Westermans Hut

Then it was off to continue the ‘challenging’ route along the Naas Valley. The challenging part was the constant steep up and down. Often it was a case of inching up the inclines, two steps up and one slide back. I loved it though.

Naas Valley
Naas Valley

I was quite looking forward to the river fords up to your waist. Today they were up to my shins. One was up to my knees. The waters from the recent rains have subsided.

Now I’m back in civilisation. Yesterday night when I was looking up at the night sky, I saw the glow coming from the north. Now I’m inside that glow. Canberra.


“There’s the challenging route and the less challenging route.” If my cycling friend says its challenging, it is. I like challenges, and so I did a lot of pushing in the glorious weather on the most beautiful roads.

A steep drop into the gully.

Steep, pushing up and sliding back down, cramp, beautiful wide grassy valleys, kangaroos galore and a shooting star. And some beautiful huts. The road along the Naas Valley was beautiful.

Naas Valley – easy bit
Naas Valley – easy bit
Turn off out of the valley

The push up to the Brandy Flat Hut was a struggle. Once, I realised I just wasn’t going to make it, and I carted up the luggage separately.

Up to Brandy Flat Hut
Brandy Flat Hut
Spot the road up on the other side.

The road out of the gully took some time as I had to stop to let some cramp subside. Then onto the Old Bobayan Road which was stunning. Rolling hills through alpine fields.

Old Baboyan Road
Old Baboyan Road

And the kangaroos were everywhere, jumping along the road and in front of me. So beautiful.

Kangaroos

It was a dash in the failing light to get to the hut. I’m now lying in the tent listening to the crickets and frogs.

Waterhole Hut

“We can chuck it under there,” he said jovially, pointing to under the bus. There was noone else in the bus anyway. I was just happy I could get to Goulburn in daylight and have time to cycle to Canberra.

In the train replacement bus she goes.

The goal was to get to Canberra by public transport. The journey through the mountains starts from there. It was a bit grey and it drizzled a bit. Fine for knocking off some kms after lunch through the undulating countryside.

Thistle en route
20km to Queanbeyan
Molonglo River

After a quick dash through an outer arm of the Australian Capital Territory, I’m back in New South Wales for the evening, snug as a bug in a rug.


“What’s that highrise building on the top of that hill?”

“It’s the highest private residence in Australia.”

I looked a bit stunned. This high rise building was in the middle of nowhere. The guy just shrugged and chuckled.

Today was sticky and warm with the ever present threat of rain that didn’t eventuate.

Time for a day off. Tomorrow will be wet with thunderstorms.

https://www.strava.com/activities/6303746141


“The track might be muddy but you should be able to get through.” The track was lovely but not the adventure I was expecting.

Old Gibber Track

The road today started through koala country – or so I’m told. I cycled with the eyes up in the branches. Didn’t see any koala but I did see long stretches of sandy beach.

The road to Bulahdelah was a bit up and down, and I arrived quite early, all ready for an early dinner.

 

https://www.strava.com/activities/6299611300