Where to begin? 5 and a half weeks riding… Sounds a lot longer when it’s said like that.
So as I mentioned two days ago, the turn around between Australia and New Zealand has been very quick (I’ve already started riding and the update for today will go up after this). Because of this, I don’t have time to do such an extensive summary as I may have done otherwise.
Distance: 4115.56 miles / 6623.35km
Riding Time: 290 hours (Approx.)
Av. Speed: >14mph / 22.6kph (Approx.) – not bad considering a week of headwinds and a week of mountains
Punctures: 2 (in the same day)
Wildlife: Lots of roadkill and lots of living things that I couldn’t identify… I recognised the kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras though
Weather: It hasn’t really been what I expected. Throughout the country, I kept being told “it’s much colder than normal this year”….. Yeah, as if I hadn’t noticed. There were a couple of days of absolutely perfect weather but it was largely quite cold and often wet. I never got too hot mind.
Australia has been great. Being able to speak the language and drink the tap water made things a fair bit easier. The people have also been amazingly generous and hospitable… without being forceful like in some other places I’ve been.
Getting over half way has made a huge difference. Thinking further than the next day has been something I really try to avoid doing. I still can’t get my head around the distance I have left to ride but reaching that milestone has made it easier.
With so many miles to cover, I had to split Australia into sections in order to cope mentally. Sometimes it was simply getting to the end of that day, but for the sake of writing it, I’ll split it into four.
The first week of Australia (before the Nullarbor) was relatively straightforward with reasonable weather and still enjoying the novelty of English speakers.
The second was not so. The infamous Nullarbor plains would have been very manageable if it weren’t for the wind. I think people generally worried too much about it. As long as you plan ahead and know how much food and water you’ll need before your next stop you should be fine. The wind blowing into my face for the majority of it didn’t necessarily complicate the logistics, but just made it one of the hardest weeks of the whole trip (excluding Europe which I shall disregard as I seriously hope I never go through anything like that again).
Ceduna to Sydney was a long way and Sydney didn’t really come into my head until 2 weeks into this stretch but I can’t be bothered to write about each 4 or 5 day segment. This is where the weather turned for the worse, but throughout I was amazed by people’s generosity. Since leaving Perth (and I guess Albany), this was where I saw the first signs of real civilisation and it was a welcome change.
The final stretch from Sydney to Brisbane was good but very, very hilly. The end point was in my mind and whilst it was hard, I spent the majority of the time in good spirits (unless I’ve suppressed it and can’t remember).
Travel advice for Australia: Stick to the cities… ok so there are a few other things to do and I have many very good memories from a previous trip 9 years ago; but based on this ride.. I’d say aim for the populated ares. Being in the middle of nowhere can be very liberating, but if the novelty wears off too quickly, you may find yourself a long way from anywhere with a rather tedious journey ahead of you.
I could go on, but won’t because I’m tired, so I’ll leave it there. Australia is on the list of places to go back to though… And there aren’t many places I’d say that about so far. (Oh and some pictures are now up)