Cycle Touring in Australia
The thing to realise about Australia is that it is huge! When I look at where we cycled on the map, I'm always a little disappointed as it looks like such a short ride, despite it being 3000km. However if you've ever driven the east coast of Australia you'll know that it is a fair old distance!
The east coast, unlike much of Australia, is not flat or yellow, it is hilly and green, pretty much the whole way after you leave Cann River. The roads are lined with gum trees, almost all of the time, and it can be a little monotonous as you cycle. On the plus side, there are many beautiful beaches along the way and it's easy enough to stop off and have a swim. Australians think nothing of driving long distances and there are regular rest areas which often have free barbeques, picnic tables and shades and toilets. We regularly camped overnight too, although there are no camping signs in some places. For more on free camping in Australia see the Camps 5 book and website.
Many people stressed to us that we needed to carry lots of water, however on this route there are garages at least every 50km so you can resupply with water or fuel with ease. (Cycling elsewhere in Oz is a little different and you will need to carry water.)
The Australians are very easy going, friendly people who will welcome you and happily chew the cud on any given subject, better still if it involves fishing! I know that's a stereotype, but we really did meet a lot of people who liked fishing! As you cycle you'll also encounter Aussies travelling by campervan or RV. Many are older couples and retirees, and are also known as 'Grey Nomads'. We met some wonderfully sweet people, excited to be exploring their country, living life to the full, keen to chat and help us out.
Meeting Aboriginal people was much harder, especially going this route, however there are 'Keeping Places' along the way, which are like working museums storing Aboriginal artifacts and telling the stories and histories of local Aboriginal tribes. You can visit, watch films, see and buy artwork, talk to the people there who run the Keeping Place. Many of the stories of the British arriving and the massacres, and diseases brought by the white man, are very shocking and distressing. It was quite a sobering experience, but interesting and we were keen to learn more about the Aboriginals situation in Australia now.
East Coast: Melbourne - St Kilda - Sale - Bairnsdale - Orbost - Marlo - Cape Conran - Cann River - Mallacoota - Eden - Batemans Bay - Mimosa Rocks - Nowra - National Park - Wollongong - Sydney - Palm Beach - Newcastle - Stroud - Gloucester - Nowendoc - Walcha - Guyra - Armidale - Tenterfield - Warwick - Cunninghams Gap - Brisbane.
- Bairnsdale to Orbost Rail Trail
- Visit to the Blue Mountains
- Sale wetlands
- Grey Nomads & other travellers
- Sydney - the city that has it all!
- Amazing Wildlife
- Inland route: Newcastle to Cunninghams Gap
- Fantastic free facilities - rest areas & bbqs
- Macdonalds have free wifi
- Glass on the roads
- Accommodation prices
- Spiders and big biting ants!!
- Hills and more hills
- Noisy birds - white parrots mostly
- Flies - get some Bushman
- Internet access can be expensive
- ...eating too many macdonalds!
Liz and Chris cycle touring in Australia photos from Nov 2009 - Feb 2010.
Things to do
Beaches, rainforests, cities, rail trails, blue mountains... there's loads to do!