Herein lies the tales and pictures of my 10 days in the ‘under, down under’ state of Australia. This budget holiday consisted of a mountain bike being converted for long range road usage and me. It began on the 6th of Jan with a flight from Melbourne, i was in Hobart an hour later.
Fast slopes, sugar rush, dividends of enjoyment
30 kilometers and 2 litres of water
This place is too small to explore with cars
1 dozen oysters for 10.90, still not fresh enough
Polite people, lots of little thank you’s
Found embankment to camp at Colleneys marsh, isolated beach
Warm sun, cool breeze
Covered 40km’s used the remaining 2 litres of water.
Had a coffee in the country, along with 2 Tasmanian meat pies, from the general store in Murdunna.
Long windy hills, slow incline, gearing up and down, adjusting the panniers trying desperately to keep them from swinging and creating friction on the back tyre. 1 huge slope at eaglehawk neck down reached 60Km/h bike wobbles from the weight imbalance.
Perfect weather isn’t holding through the night, the days however are mild with a cool breeze. The suns radiant glow warms the skin nicely, likely to repeat tomorrow.
As the sun was setting today, an hour from dusk, i was beginning to worry while searching for a location to camp for the night, the place i had marked on the map was inaccessible. I kept riding up into the hills with the coast line about a kilometer away, i caught a broken old sign reading ‘Shelly Beach rd, No driving at night’ – perfect i thought and as i turned the final corner down the hill towards the water the best camp setting i could possibly ask for appeared, with provisions for a campfire and a bench to eat my dinner and breakfast from.
After several hundred strikes from the flint the night begun.
I was too eager to dry my clothes and i managed to burn holes through several pears of underwear.
**During the night i woke with a freight to the sound of waves crashing only a couple of meters from my tent, the tide had indeed risen and it was threatening my tent, i move my camera and important items to the opposite side and decided to go back to sleep.
Day3 – 8th of January 2010
Legs are fatigued, they’re not used to this as the terrain is varied. Today i overcame a sharp 500+ meter incline, my body crashed asleep on the beach, woke up had a bargain dinner in Dunalley of deep fried seafood, but it was really well made. (later i found out that many would be surprised to hear i made it up that Eaglehawk neck hill without stopping)
Tomorrow is hard going, as the route is uncovered my body is tired and it seems very steep again. Had a couple of beers and i am low on food supplies, traveling south east Asia is easier when it comes to getting a meal. There seemed to be someone always pushing a cart, road side veggie market or cutting pineapple on the beach.
Some classic weather for the whole trip so far, the sun has been getting slightly hotter with a stronger breeze, this maybe because i am now heading further north. The wind slows the riding down slightly but is welcomed for when it blows over, it’s not unlike putting the A/C on, the sweat serves its purpose.
Challenged some hills that felt never ending, the panniers are rubbing on my back tyre and spoke which is slowing me down, especially on the unsealed roads because of all the rocks. I purchased a pannier rack from anaconda which attached at one point on the bike thinking that this would be easy to swap between the two bikes. (it’s rubbish and after a short argument with the shop keeper after i got back he refunded my money)
The payoff is the adrenaline dump coming down the other side it’s fast, shaky and very unstable. At about 50km/h the rear of the bike swings under the load of the panniers shifting left and right, making a fish movement, thin road tyres give very little traction, although i have disc brakes they cant be fully used due to slide that occurs. Yes its scarey, and a hell of alot of unexpected fun.
Made it to orford, after a very relaxing break along a creek, with fish of varying sizes.
Met Adam & Aaron some riders who are heading the same way. We have camped and started a fire, there is beer and campfire on the beech, so its turned into a great night.
distance covered today 50km’s with a top speed of 62.4km/h
Worst toilet ever, scary bugs inside.
Swansea is a great family holiday spot, good shops and facilities.
Had the most awesome meal of rib eye stake, starving after the ride i almost ate my arm off. After doing the laundry have some fresh warm clothes for the night along with my first hot shower for the trip, i really did feel like a hundred bucks.
Found my rhythm today, look forward to doing a bit more of this type of living when i get back to Melbourne.
Helpful Ben is back this morning at Swansea camp site. See last night the trio were setting up camp in the dark, a large young lad came over with a spot light. He also exposed a no camping sign directly in front of our tents, however we were to settled by that stage to move.
Up at 7am due to the hot sun on the tent, feeling as if i have overslept yet realising how early it is was such a great achievement, coming from the 10 am minimum start i was getting use to as a student, from all the late night studying that i had factored into my routine.
Now it seems without any struggle or any special remedies it feels so natural to wake up. I am achieving my personal best each day and being suitably rewarded with my very own flavour sanity.
Caught a lift across a small channel from Swansea to Coles bay, enjoyed a fabulous view(see left), pizza and some jazz from Rod Stewart. At this point the other two have chosen a different restaurant several kilometers away and i figured it was a good time to cut em loose, they ride slow and move about and decide awkwardly. I prefer to have a nice flowing holiday.
I camped outside of coles bay heading north. Later i would find out that the ‘spirit of tasmania’ actually departs from devnport and not launceston like i had originally thought, thus adding an additional 50+ km to the trip. I am roughly half way now and i am a little behind schedule, so i have decided to take the lake leeke / midland hwy route rather than st helens. I am ready to journey home. must remember to pack some witch hazel for my face next trip.
Here’s some tips for those who are having sleeping or waking up in the morning difficulties:
- No computer usage
- More quite time
- No time constraints
- Physical exersion
- Priorities focused on daily intake ( planning out meals, drinking water regularly etc..)
- Next location i sleep at is something new and unexpected each day
- Beautiful, big – open landscapes to look out at for hours
It’s easier to say a holiday like this does good and i could see myself doing this in other parts of Australia.
Left Coles Bay at 8:30am arrived in Cambell town at 8pm, 10 minutes before the restaurant closed.
Hard to belive i made it; ran out of water 20 km’s before lake leeke (50 km’s before final destination) lucky for me i still had 2 cans of bourbon and coke left over from last night.
While riding at several hill tops i could see my orginating position of the days journey getting smaller and could not believe what i had accomplished.
For 30km’s i climbed 650 meters, into a very strong head wind. When i arrived at lake leeke i was fairly drunk i’d had 4.8 standard drinks in about 30 minutes which actually helped my endurance along with the black eyed peas i was bumping too.
I drank about 2 Litres of water from the lake i used tablets to purify the water, so it should be fine.
Had a beautifully long 10km decent, which i had been longing for about 4 hours. Gliding down the mountains i got to an open dale, and watch the huge wheat harvesters create dust plumes out of the grain, it was such a sight i wish i had stopped to take a photo, but i was simply too exauhsted and the momentum to keep going is just so important. The terrain flattened, the vista was now visible compared to riding in the mountains, with all the tree’s blocking the horizon. The sun was threatening to leave i only had about an hour or two to go.
2 km’s before final destination i almost passed out, my body was neglected as it protested of the lack of food and rest, i was dizzy and could hardly peddle a small slope helped get to the main road. The smell of dinner in the air gave me some motivation. My heightened sense of smell, picked out a BBQ from about 500 meters away. Any more hungry and i would have committed to a breaking and entering charge, just to get to someones leftovers.
One last incline leading to the shops, so light headed. The kitchen was closed at the pub i became desparate, was advised to try further along up the road. Found success however the lady was just about to flip the open sign around as i smashed through the glass door with my foot and suffocated the finest table in the house. The waitress thought she could leave me the menu and come back, wrong. I ordered Demanded soup of the day, potato wedges, greek salad and lasagne. The meals arrived after about 20 minutes of eye balling the manager, i realised the problem. I looked as bad as i smelt, so i placed my oversized wallet on the table with a few pineapples sticking out. It seemed to take eternity. All that was left was a small hand full of wedges. The waitress had a very nice smile i told her this and she paid me another. Sat and watched the pink sun set while i ate.
One thing i desperately need to change in my kit is the bike seat, after so many days riding it is unbearably painful. Later i found out from another cyclist (who traveled great distances from south Australia to Melbourne), That this could cause problems for a mans privates.
The ride 60km’s north to Launceston out of Cambell town was flat, windy and boring. But i eye the mountains of St Helens and i feel that i made a good choice to wind down, considering my time constraints. I arrived on a huge high as i smashed my top speed, after finally getting some down hill payoff. My new max speed is 69.4 km/h, if only there wasn’t so much head wind.
Arrived in the city, very clear minded. And for the first time i noticed peoples single minded bliss which not limited to Tasmania alone thats for sure. However cities seem to harbour the fake smiles, over enthusiasitc & weak body language of indifference.
I feel that the sacrifices people make to do the right thing are genuinly happy with life, shine through the ages. Great people are remembered through time and are true to themselves and others. Where as the others who try and scam people do so with conviction written into their very being.
I rode 8km’s out of the Launceston city, after a spa and sauna in a gym that looked like it was still in the 80’s( Reebok pumps still being advertised on the shower room walls). Found a caravan / camp grounds to tent in, tame rabbits hopping about the place.
Took the Tamar west Fwy to Exeter had a café style coffee and berry slice. The terrain N/W is fairly similar to the majourity of the trip. The weight I am pulling is much less obvious now, my muscles must have grown. The bike itself needs some parts replaced, the sprokets maybe bent.
Arrived early in davenport, too early. It’s a small city, not much to do, probably exists mainly for its port.