I was actually very motivated to keep travelling without another longer break, but the winter in the south of Australia is not the nicest time for riding a bike. For sure it’s definitely not that cold as in Germany in winter, but camping in rain and just 12 degrees is still not that enjoyable.
I loved the endless and challenging outback, but I was a bit over the huge distances here. Between two interesting spots are very often just hundreds of kilometres nothing. And it’s not like in Asia, where the landscapes aren’t super exciting all the time as well, but through the cultural differences it has almost never been boring and crazy unexpected things happened every day. Because of that I wasn’t really motivated to cycle further as Sydney.
My next destination will be New Zealand, before I leave this continent at all. If you know or hear one thing from New Zealand, it’s about the diverse and unique landscape and I was very keen to start riding there. Though New Zealand is in winter even colder and I didn’t want to go there before September, when my visa in Australia expires and I’m forced to leave.
After considering what to do best I decided to work for another two months. Not necessarily for money but for food and accommodation would be good enough, that I didn’t have to touch my savings. After telling my Warmshowers host in Torquay about my plans, she organised straight away a little job. For a week I was painting a few rooms in the house from Caro and Scott and could live in an amazing bus, which they just had bought.
Afterwards I ended through the homepage helpx.net in Rye on the Mornington Peninsula. My hosts Jahna and Nathan own an awesome Mexican restaurant, where they are always in need of help and they had just bought another house, what they started to renovate. For two months my main activities changed between painting and rendering, and cooking Nachos and Burritos in the restaurant. In addition to the actual restaurant they had a little take away shop in front of the restaurant on the street, where I was usually working. I learnt much about Mexican food and improved my renovating skills. But besides of that I haven’t been doing a lot. There are plenty of beaches around Rye, but the weather was constantly bad: A lot of rain, around 13 degrees and just a few sunny days.
After two months I was bursting to hit the road again and to continue my nomads live. First stop was Melbourne, what’s just a one day ride from Rye. There I had to organize a couple of things and finally changed my handle bar. It was the only part of my bike I wasn’t completely satisfied with . When I bought it, it came with a drop down handle bar and end bar shifters, what means I always had move my hands between braking and shifting. Also I hardly used the lower position. Now I have normal flat handle bar, can brake and shift at the same time and the ergonomic is the same for me.
I met a few known faces as well. Ben I met first in India and we travelled there for a couple of weeks together. That was in January 2014, more than one and a half years ago. Crazy how fast the time was flying. Very soon I’m travelling for two years.
Cities are hectic, but without being part of the hectic, I found it quite interesting to observe the busy street and places. Probably because I haven’t spent much time in bigger cities during the last months. Besides of that Melbourne is nice city and I could even imagine to live there for a while, but as a low budget traveller cities getting boring after a while. For me cities are mostly places to spent a lot of money. I was keen to go back into the nature.
Very motivated and in best weather I packed my bike, but it was still more than 40 km to ride until I completely left the urban area. In zig zag I went through the Gippsland, the southeast of Victoria, always trying to avoid the busy highway. I enjoyed it and very often I just smiled while passing farmland or forests or hills, sometimes it was raining, sometimes the sun was shining, but I was just glad to be travelling again.
At one point I couldn’t avoid the Highway, I thought. Somehow I bumped into a rail trail. It was a present. Not just because I could bypass the busy road, it would make it also easier to find a good spot for my tent at night. After riding for few kilometres a sudden ‘swoosh’ next to my head, woke me out of my daydreams. I looked around and saw a bird flying now from the front towards my head. I stopped, but unfortunately totally forgot due to this weird situation to clip my shoes out of my pedals. Of course I fell down. After I’ve survived all Australia’s well known dangerous animals for a year a damn bird brought me to fall. I loved about myself while getting back on my bike. I rode on and just a few hundred meters the same happened again, but I didn’t fall this time. I’ve heard about Magpies before, who attacking cyclists to protect their nests. Apparently cable ties on a helmet should help. Indeed it worked for me. They would still fly over me but wouldn’t my helmet or back anymore. I couldn’t film these incidents, but there are plenty videos of magpies attacking cyclists in the internet.
After 60km the rail trail ended and I had no choice as taking the highway. The farmland changed into an endless forest, which reaches until New South Wales. One day it was raining the whole day. I was completely soaked and then I had flat tyre just 10km before my destination. Luckily I haven’t had to camp that night, as I could stay with my Warmshowers host Dave and Lucia in Marlo. My plan was actually just to stay for a night, but the weather didn’t change and I was more than lucky for their generous offer to stay for another two days till the weather gets a bit better. Dave runs a fat tyre bike tour company. With those bikes you can even ride easily on a beach and Marlo has endless beaches, which I explored with Dave on one day.
The rain stopped and I headed on to New South Wales. Suddenly it was getting warmer and it felt almost a bit like summer. There were lots of hill though and a few very steep climbs. I haven’t had expect that at all, after it was almost everywhere in Australia so flat. The road followed along the coast again and I enjoyed lot of breaks sitting at a beach, what was a good reward for climbing the hills. So I came slowly further and further to Sydney.
I thought a lot about the last year in Australia and where I will be in year. Will I still travel then? Who knows? At the moment I think so, nothing motivates to go back home and travelling by bicycle is the most fascinating I thing I’ve ever done.
Thanks to my Warmshowers host Charlie in Wollongong I knew about a nice route into Sydney. It leaded me along the ocean again and then through a beautiful national park before reaching the city. The 30km through the city traffic weren’t nice though, but I reached the iconic Opera House just before sunset. After more than 6000km I was done with riding in that huge country. If somebody had asked if it I could cycle from Darwin to Sydney I probably would have said no, but at the end it wasn’t that complicated. You just need the will.