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It's time again for a new and special bike adventure! Do you want to be on our mailing list? Send me a message via Contact or Email. Then you will receive an email when there's a new blog.
Above you will see our intended route. We want to start this
fall in Perth and hope to finish in Sydney. The
Our trip from Perth to Sydney is divided into five sections:
Part 1. Perth - Norseman
Well, we have been granted a visa for 6 months from Aussie, so we can get on our way. The visa procedure took quite a lot of time and money; it makes you want to leave twice as much.
A question that we get regularly: Where is this route from? Is that an existing route?
In Australia, there are actually not many 'existing routes'. You will have to make the route yourself. That took some research: Where to bike in Australia? It's such a big country with so much 'outback' (a beautiful word for endless desert where you die if you're careless).
Our route is a 'combination' of self-assembled pieces, and
routes that people have already cycled, plus some input from Australian
cyclists. Important question for me was: can we do it? In Australia, there are
Allright, so we are in Perth, where we are picked up by the shuttle bus from our first hotel (so I'm assured at least).
As long as the bikes have arrived, we will start a few days later. Whether the bicyles arrive is always exciting again. It's always hoping and praying. (And rather keep some breathing exercises and tranquilizers at your fingertips.)
Do you have any influence on whether or not the cycles arrive? asked the dentist this morning, when he checked me for the last time before departure.
No brother, you haven't.
After Perth, we will be bicycling in the bush surprisingly
quickly (the bush is the friendly form of the outback), and we also have to stealth
camp because the distances between settlements will be far beyond
This stretch from Perth to Kalgoorlie is a nice exercise for what I think will be the hardest part:
2. The Nullarbor Desert: Norseman - Ceduna (on the map just before Port Augusta)
Here we cross the Nullarbor desert. Nullarbor is a kind of Latin for "zero trees" (null-arbor). Yet there are apparent trees on the Nullarbor. So in fact, it's a silly name.
This is a stretch of of about
Practically speaking: in Kalgoorlie (the last 'big' city) we buy food for 16 days, which we supplement with food in roadhouses.
What are we buying? Mainly this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal - Stir with water and milkpowder and banquet.. - yek! But: we have to. It is lightweight and it's good cyclefood.
Lunch: Tortillas and a Huge Pot of Peanut Butter. And jams and cheeses.
Dinner: Spaghetti, Tomato Puree, Tuna in Bags, instant soup. Furthermore: muesli bars. Some coffee. Dried fruit. Chocolate. Tea. Sugar. Peanuts.
And then sometimes dinner in a roadhouse (if you do not camp in the desert). Road houses are the only places you encounter, towns and villages are non existent. Roadhouses are a in fact a kind of petrol stations with a restaurant attached (many hamburgers and fries I think) plus, if you're lucky a shop with snacks and cakes and candy. Plus a few motelrooms.
Sometimes these places are
In addition to food, water can be a problem on the Nullarbor (sometimes you have to take water for two days). Now we've experienced that before in the deserts of the US (especially in Texas and Nevada) so we are experienced. We will be fine. We carry good waterbags. Another problem is wind. It can be terrible stormy on the Nullarbor plain. Tailwinds are good off course. Statistisc say, the dominant wind direction is 'west' in September. But I am old enough to know that weather statistics are the work of the devil. They are meant to scare you or calm you, depending on the circumstances. But they do not have any predictive value. The temperature in September is at the Nullarbor between 15 and 35 degrees Celsius. So no suffering from the cold in this trip. At least, according to the statistics...
Nights on the Nullarbor will be a mix of camping under the stars (and between the kangaroos) and roadhouses. There is a lot of emptiness and loneliness out there. I love that. And Aimée too. Yet we will curse sometimes, that much is certain, about wind, insects or heat. Even at home already, I am regularly struck by the thought of all the effort that our trip will cost us, especially this stretch. Sometimes I think of all the days full of wind, the dirty bathrooms, all the crawling insects (into your eyes, nose and ears), the primitive tent-life. For a moment, I sometimes feel a big sadness about our decision to make this trip. That confuses me. Didn't I think that this tour would be great? A big adventure?
A few weeks ago, Aimée and I were in the car together. We stopped for a traffic light. The only sound came from the idle spinning engine.
"I think it's gonna be horrible in Australia," I said suddenly without further introduction to Aimée.
'Indeed. It probabyl will be horrible, "she said almost immediately. I let go of the steeringwheel and turned my head to the right. Aimée continued to look through the window.
I was a little bewildered. From Aimée I was expecting comfort and encouraging words and now she also thought it would be horrible overthere!
"It will be awful sometimes," she continued, "and yet I'll love it."
'WTF?' I replied.
'Yep. I'm serious. It all belongs to a trip. Without setbacks and wind, such a trip isn't a real journey. Then it's a holiday. But not a journey. '
And crazy enough: she's right. During this trip we will cross a continent again. Just like before, when we crossed the USA. From Miami to San Francisco. A journey that changed our lives forever. A fantastic adventure. But: with all things that belong to that.
And that's the strange thing: once you've made a long bike ride, really long, you'll find car holidays a bit boring.
Cycling trips are addictive.
And I mean, what's more boring indeed, then to spend hours on a road in the desert while staring out of the window of a car or train? I remember that from our cartrips in the US. At the end of the day, you finally turn off to a dusty car park of some motel, where you eat a greasy meal and sleep in an uncomfy bed. You're annoyed by the noise of the old air conditioning, by the dust - well, by everything in fact. But if you arrive by bike instead! Then that same accommodation is suddenly a paradiseous haven of food, peace and coolness! Finally, no wind, but a very desirable shower, followed by a warm meal and some relaxed human interaction. What a comfort. You're feeling great: you've biked 100+ kilometers away, you've heard birds and felt hot sunshine on your skin. You have enjoyed the flowers (deserts are regularly full of beautiful flowers) and you have stopped wherever you wanted to enjoy the views. You have felt like the king of the desert. Once at this motel/restaurant you eat a big, indeed a bit greasy steak, with greasy frites, after which you finish with a formidable icecream. You're feeling great. You look at your wife with her wet hairs from her shower and you love her.
Ahum, so far for the unrealistic romance. When this crossing of the Nullarbor is done, an "easy" stretch follows.
3. Ceduna - Port Augusta
Here we will be cycling partly along a touristy coast, where the beach-feel prevails. It's October, the hot Australian summer is on its way. Just cycling from 'Haamstede' to 'Renesse' and then on to 'Knokke-Heist'. All this "so to speak". In reality it will undoubtedly be as hard an tough as allways. Romance often only exists prior to your trip, and looking back on your journey. That's the way it is folks.
This stretch is a bit of warming up for:
4. The Murray River Trail - 1900 km.
This trail starts at the border of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. It finishes in the capital of Australia: Canberra (close to Khancoban on the map).
This is a a trail, sometimes asphalt, sometimes gravelroad,
which follows more or less the Murray River. This cycle route is about
This is a trail that combines adventure with little or no danger,
because hotels and other forms of civilization are never far away. It is near
the Barosso Valley, the famous wine region. We really think it's a trail for
us. The route ends via the mountains (a pass of
If we succeed, the rest is a matter of a few days cycling:
5. Canberra - Sydney (
In our slowest schedule, we arrive two days before our return flight in Sydney.
In the fastest schedule we have three weeks left.
If the latter is the case, we are likely to travel by car, for example, to visit the Great Barrier Reef. Or visit the Uluru rock. Or spend three weeks at the pool. Just what we're in the mood for.
Ok. We have our road maps, we have a route, we have plans on how to arrange food and water in the desert. We got Australian dollars, our bikes are overhauled and our workstuff is taken care of. We got a Garmin GPS with the map of Australia, we even have a satellite phone, yes we do folks, and a camping-app for the I-phone. We are trained - physically at least. Now the only thing left is to pack our waterfilter and then we can get on our way.