From Port Augusta it wasn’t far to Adelaide anymore. But I was a bit confused. After all those months in the outback I it wasn’t so easy to deal with the busy traffic, even it wasn’t a big city. In a bigger supermarket I found myself wandering planless through the shelfs. But eventually the normality of those things is getting you back faster than you want.
To avoid the busy highway I turned off towards the southern Flinders Ranges. It was a pretty steep climb as I was just used to the flatness of the Stuart Highway and it was probably the first time at all in Australia that I had to use the lowest gear. But as I reached the top I enjoyed to roll downhill with nearly 50 km/h. Suddenly the landscape changed. No barren dried out vegetation anymore but farmland. A nearly forgotten colour came back as well. The grass was deep green everywhere. It was definitely a pleasure for my eye and motivated me a lot to keep pedalling.
This area is known as important farmland Australia’s. I passed endless wheat fields and sheep pastures. I didn’t have to worry about water anymore, as there were villages every few kilometres and the tap water didn’t even taste badly.
Maybe distracted from this new environment a little misfortune happened. After refilling the petrol bottle of my camping stove at a gas station I forgot to return in the bottle cage and left it behind. 25 kilometer later I started preparing my dinner till I recognized the missing bottle. Shit. I was definitely not in the mood to ride back. It was getting dark soon and I found a good camping spot. There were some other campers on the car park, so I asked them to watch my bike whilst I started hitchhiking back to the gas station. Luckily it worked out perfectly and just returned before sunset.
While I was enjoying the landscape I got closer and closer to Adelaide. The last 50 km into the city were boring, as it was just going through suburbs, but riding was surprisingly easy thanks to an extra bicycle lane.
Over the last weeks I just had reaching Adelaide in my head and I wasn’t really thinking about what to do afterwards. First I needed a few days break anyway. My body felt tired and even more important was to recover mentally pedalling every day. Through the cycling hospitality community ‘Warmshowers” (www.warmshowers.org) I found a host. Maya let me stay at her lovely place for almost a week. It was a cool time. I really missed to experience the great hospitality of people, what’s one of the best things of travelling.
Besides of relaxing I explored a bit of Adelaide. It’s nice a city and despite of a one million population not too stressful. But I find cities in general not so exciting anyway. Being at the beach again was awesome.
After a few days it was time to move on again. Melbourne should be my next milestone and I was looking forward to ride all the way along the ocean. The weather forecast though didn’t say anything good. Already on my first day strong rain made me struggling and from the Adelaide hills I could hardly see anything, as they were full of clouds and fog. I wished the Southeast Asian climate back and hoped it was the last day raining. Fortunately that was the case. I even had tailwind and before the weather changed again I reached my Warmshower hosts in Mount Gambier.
The last few hundred kilometres till Melbourne leaded me along the Great Ocean Road. I was keen to camp at the beach, but the countless ‘no camping’ signs let me doubt for a moment. However, nobody would check the beaches in winter for wild campers I supposed. So I had some nights with the sound of the sea in my ears and awesome views on the ocean in the morning.
The first part of the coastal road passes high limestone cliffs. Due to erosion through the ocean around two centimeter from the cliffs disappear each year. Impressive towers and arches staying behind, as the rock is different in its solidity. The most famous formation are the twelve apostles, in fact they consist only out of eight towers anymore.
Every few kilometres signs announce a ‘scenic lookout’. The size of the car parks shows how busy it must be during the peak season. Luckily it was winter and at most places weren’t too crowded. While I was enjoying the impressive views I watched what travelling means many people nowadays. Parking, walking straight to the lookout, taking a couple of selfies and then driving probably to the next one. Just a few people were staying for a while to enjoy the scenery. That’s really weird to me and I can’t understand it.
During the last two days on the Great Ocean Road it was unfortunately raining again. The windy road was now just next to the ocean and I always had great views onto the ocean. The steep slopes of the hills were covered in fog and mist, what wasn’t perfect photo weather, but it was still an interesting atmosphere. I heard from a free camp spot not far from the road, but when I came to the turn off, I still had to ride two kilometres uphill over a muddy dirt road. It was raining the whole night and the noise from ocean was drowned by noise from train dropping on my tent. It stayed dry, but the dirt road was so slippery now. Slowly I could manage to get downhill, though I was covered by dirt. After all I was glad to be able to sleep in a dry place at my Warmshower Host Karla in Torquay.
From there it would have been just a day ride to Melbourne, but it came differently