Tag Archives: Australia

being in Australia

Stage 93: Sydney Opera – Finish Line

Bulli Beach to  Sydney Opera House
Date: 12-19-2014 Time: 4:19 h Σ Time: 516:50 h
Distance: 95 km Σ km: 10995 km Temp: 14/31°C
Up: 896 m Σ Up: 92504 m Down: 923 m
Calories: 1946 kcal Σ kcal: 232457 kcal    
Conditions: A fantastic end of a long and exhausting cycling tour.

G1928253It was a fantastic ride in the morning, along the Great Pacific Road, partially built on pillars into the ocean, and through a very scenic Forest National Park, before descending down to the first ferry. Later the ride continued on endless bike paths DSC_0131along the ocean and rivers into the city and the ferry port. We were not taken the direct and shorter route, to avoid the busy rush hour traffic on this Friday morning. On the first half of todays distance there were two short, but partially steep climbs, but very scenic in dense forest. Two ferry rides were injected to avoid highways and shorten the remaining riding distance a bit, as we wanted everybody G1998292to arrive at the Opera House on a bicycle at 3pm. Eric decided to be the ‘sweep’ today. Unlike all other days of the tour, when he wanted to be first to camp, competing with all the other racers, the last day is his ‘I want to finish last’ day. However, he immediately failed his ‘sweeping’ task, when Lydia and I fell far behind him after leaving camp, without him to notice. Only when we eventually closed up at a scenic lookout, where fellow riders were taking photos, he became last again. For me it was a ‘camera day’. I went ahead on the climbs to take photos and videos of the ‘struggling’ riders and fell back again until the last in the group passed me.

DSC_0150The first stunning view of the city skyline opened shortly before lunch stop. It looked so close, but was still 45km away. Chelsea was waiting in a park with a special lunch setup. No car and no canopy anymore, just she, her bicycle and a few plastic containers and plates with food and sweets. I was leading the final 45 kilometer G1988274to the port, from where we will have to take the ferry to the Circular Quay, right at the Opera House. I ‘challenged’ my group (Terrie, Bryon, Matthew and Lydia) twice, when ‘intentionally’ taking a wrong turn, just to see, if they are not sleeping or daydreaming behind me. They immediate corrected me proofing their attention and trust in me. The bike path was quite ‘tricky’ and led us in a big loop around the busy city center. We arrived at the ferry at about 1am and soon enjoyed  the long ferry ride in the inner harbor. Happiness increased, when the first view of DSC_0197the Harbour Bridge was visible and revealed the unique shape of the Opera House in the back. A few more turns and landings, before we finally reached the Quay and departed the ferry, to PUSH our bikes the final 700m to the Opera – no I understand, why Australians call a bicycle ‘push bike’. At the Opera we were greeted with bright sunshine. DSC_0227_02Here we are, the end of the tour! 4 months of cycling for the full tour riders ended here; or a bit less cycling, for those who joined the tour at later stage. With still plenty of DSC_0244time the few of us took some quick photos and headed for a Café to refresh and prepare for the group meeting, at around 3pm, when the ‘sweep’ and the final riders are expected to arrive.  And with a bright smile, Eric swept everybody shortly after the hour onto the Opera areal. Even ‘Sponge Bob’ who disappeared after the mishap in the Bromo crater / Java made it to Sydney and was happily welcomed by the cyclists.

DSC_0256After congratulations, hugs, some tears and kisses we posed for some group photos, before everyone disappeared to our hotel to get ready for the final tour dinner, at 7pm.DSC_0285

DSC_0281Unfortunately it was not a ‘parade’ style of arrival. Almost unrecognized we made our way from the ferry to the Opera. Only our new tour jerseys made us a bit ‘special’. No group/convoy riding into the city celebrating our trip. No tour banner, no champagne reception, no music, no local cyclists to welcome us, no press; only a very small number of relatives or friends waiting for individuals, where around, as well as our  two Australian riders, Stirling and Daryl, who rode with us in Indonesia.

DSC_0293Soon, everyone will leave for home to rejoin with family and friends for the Christmas Season.

I’ll stay in Sydney and around for another 12 days to enjoy a restful and hopefully dry and warm yearend in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer time. Winter in Germany must wait for me …


The tour dinner and post tour updates, as well as more photos and videos from the tour will follow in the days to come.


the distance includes the 17km ferry ride to the Opera

Stage 92: New South Wales

Nerringa to  Bulli Beach
Date: 12-18-2014 Time: 6:35 h Σ Time: 512:31 h
Distance: 161 km Σ km: 10899 km Temp: 10/33°C
Up: 846 m Σ Up: 91608 m Down: 1412 m
Calories: 2907 kcal Σ kcal: 230511 kcal  
Conditions: Cloudy and cold in the morning, getting warmer in the afternoon, getting back to the sea.

DSC_0047_01We are leaving the hills of the Snowy Mountain region and eventually ‘dive’ back down to sea level again. However not before having a final short, but steep ascent through some stunning rock formations. Eric, didn’t want to ride with us again today, he needs to race again, to warm up for DSC_0051_01the final. So I was in charge to make the pace for myself and Lydia. Only a few kilometers into the day, Lydia spotted a baby Magpie next to the road in the grass and asked to stop. The poor creature had obviously fallen off its nest, but was unhurt. It would not survive so what todo? We can’t leave thDSC_0077_01e little ‘cotton ball’ to its destiny. Another one was unfortunately already dead.  So we emptied Lydia’s handle bar bag – you won’t believe how much chocolate it can hold! – to carry the fluffy bird until we find a place where it is being taken care of. With the bird in Lydia’s bag and me carrying additional ~5kg of her chocolate and energy bars in my backpack we continued the long ride. It was not before another 60 kilometers before we would ride into the next town, Norwa. The little one obviously enjoyed the ride in the bag. Like human babies, it fell asleep shortly after we were DSC_0071_01in motion. We only stopped once to take photos at a lookout with a waterfall going over a deep drop off. Reaching Norwa we went straight to look for the Wildlife Rescue Service, which we googled on the way. Unfortunately it was only a postal address, but on the phone they advised us to leave the bird with a Vet in town, for them to pick up. So we handed it over to a nice assistant. Thereafter we could join some of  our fellow riders, who already had their second breakfast in a Café in town.

DSC_0065_01It was a long cycling day and because of the high and dangerously dense and fast traffic on the Princess Highway, we were to take a short train ride to skip the most busy part of the highway. We met Eric again at the train station. He was unlucky to find an alternative to riding the train. He should have listened to Andreas the night before at the riders meeting, when he explained, that it would mean to carry the bicycle along the beach and through swamps, which was not recommended by experienced local cyclists. After a short ride on a train five of us continued the final 45 kilometer to Bulli Beach, the others stayed on the train until to the camp. The continuation of the ride was most of the time on nice bike paths and along the coast line. After being delayed by fixing a hopefully the last puncture of the tour on Lydia’s bike, we reached camp past 5pm. It was probably the longest cycling day for Eric of the whole trip.

DSC_0090_01Today is the last camp night of the trip, with only Eric and myself being ENT (Every Night Tenting), all others preferred the comfort of a ‘cabin’ or hotel room, whenever possible . Our camp is located between the ocean and a huge cemetery! What an outlook!

The next day will lead us to Sydney, were we will finally end up in a hotel and real beds. Although time was short to dinner, I wanted to have a swim in the ocean. As a ‘gentlemen whom I am’ I helped Lydia with my tent and did not insist for her to fulfill her pool game loss duty on her own. The day faded out with Eric, Lydia and me sharing a bottle of wine at the beach. With only one short cycling day left we went to a final rest in our tents.


Stage 91: ACT / NSW

Canberra to  Nerringa
Date: 12-17-2014 Time: 5:22 h Σ Time: 505:55 h
Distance: 120 km Σ km: 10738 km Temp: 11/26°C
Up: 1211 m Σ Up: 90762 m Down: 1202 m
Calories: 2341 kcal Σ kcal: 227604 kcal  
Conditions: Wind and hilly. The last ‘bush camp’ of the tour.

The final 3 riding days to Sydney have begun. Too sad, that Gerald had to leave the tour in Canberra and couldn’t continue to ride with us to Sydney.

G1918248It was windy this morning out of Canberra. The wind already picked up the day before and changed its direction. Instead of being pushed, we are heading a long time into it. Eric wanted to ride with us today. However, he was going a bit too fast for me, considering the amount of climbs and the very long distance to follow tomorrow. However, I  could convince him to not push us to hard and ease the day for us. So he switched intoDSC_0028_01 a kind of hibernation mode, investing just enough energy to not fall asleep on his bike. We had a fabulous day together riding through the hilly country side. We left and reentered ACT twice to NSW before we finally remained in NSW. The route contained several steep climbs and beautiful rivers to cross on wooden bridges. Some take it slower with less risk, others ignore the warning to be careful and …

Nerringa is more or less only the local ‘hotel’, which does not have rooms to rent, but a good pub, beer garden and food. The shower DSC_0044_01was the usual ‘bottle shower’ that you will have to use in the bush. The campground was the lawn behind the beer garden, with chickens and a turkey running around – and there were still running around the next morning, and didn’t make it into one of Mark’s pots for the dinner!

The weather was nice during the day, but with the setting sun it turned really cold. Leaving the pub I felt very cold and tired and left seeking shelter in my tent, to avoid getting a cold. I fell asleep over reading my book and if Eric hadn’t missed me at dinner, I would have missed it, warmly cuddled into my sleeping back.

Today Lydia challenged me for a pool match while I was waiting for my devices to be charged in the pub. And she didn’t want to play just for fun. So it was decided that the loser of the match was due to pack the other’s tent the next morning. She was very confident in her pool skills, because winning would mean, that she wouldn’t have to struggle for 15 minutes as usual, to pack up. And she was quite good, or just lucky? The victory was hers and I had to set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier, to have enough time to pack tents for both of us. Nevertheless of my disastrous defeat, I asked for a second game. This time the winner would get tent pitching service in the next camp. I was soon 4 balls ahead of Lydia, when she started her hunt for the win. With a bit of luck I pocketed the black ball just in time when she had only one more of her colors left. Yeah, an unexpected victory, I would be able to ride straight into the pub in Bulli Beach the next day, as my tent will be made ready for me when I get to camp at night!


Stage 90: NSW / ACT

Cooma to  Canberra
Date: 12-15-2014 Time: 4:44 h Σ Time: 500:33 h
Distance: 110 km Σ km: 10618 km Temp: 4/35°C
Up: 920 m Σ Up: 89551 m Down: 1165 m
Calories: 1820 kcal Σ kcal: 225263 kcal  
Conditions: A quick ride into Canberra, or better a suburb of Canberra. Cold morning start turning into a very hot and dry day.

Again a very cold night in the Snowy River region. Fog in the morning, until the sun burnt it away. We were riding on the main Highway to Canberra and the ACT (Australian Capital Territory). It was quite busy, but had a wide shoulder to stay off the road for most of the distance. The traffic was fast, but mostly respectful with us. A bike lane was available for the last 10 kilometers to the campsite.


The campsite is basic and quite a distance outside of town. In my opinion far too basic for a rest day campsite. Rather unexpected for the very last rest day before the tour is over, and a caravan park in the countries capital city.

Today I was cycling again with Lydia. I was more or less staying behind her (not drafting) all morning. After lunch I took the lead. Obviously I was too fast for her and she started to drop all kind of ballast from her bike, to be able to keep pace with me. First she dropped her Garmin, then she started to  leave more stuff behind her, littering the beautiful country. Time for me to slow down and stop this process. Other riders following us where also not amused about this and picked up her belongings and cleaned up behind her … (part of this is fiction, but losing the Garmin and searching for it, is the truth).


Stage 89: NSW

Delegate to  Cooma
Date: 12-14-2014 Time: 06:38 h Σ Time: 495:49 h
Distance: 134 km Σ km: 10508 km Temp: 3/35°C
Up: 1692 m Σ Up: 88631 m Down: 1584 m
Calories: 2724 kcal Σ kcal: 223443 kcal  
Conditions: Very cold night and morning, hot day. Roads quiet on this Sunday morning.

It was very cold this morning. 3°C and the fog covered the valleys into a ‘winter’ dress. The sun DSC_0910_01quickly burnt it away and heated the air. I did a short (distance), long (time wise) detour to the Platypus Resort, a National Park at the river. I spent about 90 minutes in the park to get a view of these shy creatures. And my patience was awarded. I did not only see the Platypus swimming and diving in the river, but also a Cunningham Skink, sunbathing on the rocks. DSC_0969_01It was a long day for me, due to the stop at the park. The long climbs, hotter temperature and the tired legs from the previous day, made it a bit slower than usual. But there was more to see, like an Echidna and a fox in a large rock field.

DSC_0999_01 DSC_1022_01



Stage 88: Victoria / New South Wales

Orbost to  Delegate
Date: 12-13-2014 Time: 06:18 h Σ Time: 489:10 h
Distance: 123 km Σ km: 10374 km Temp: 5/27°C
Up: 1882 m Σ Up: 86939 m Down: 1135 m
Calories: 1790 kcal Σ kcal: 220719 kcal  
Conditions: Very scenic ride through the fern and eucalyptus forest. Only 13 cars and 4 motor cycles all day on the road. 20 km of gravel.

I must have left my climbing legs in Indonesia. It wasn’t an easy day, after 8 weeks of almost no climbs in Australia and  more than 10000km done so far. However the route through a green forest, with almost no traffic, was so peace- and beautiful.  Although a huge part of the forest was recently destroyed by an immense fire, it was already shining in 50 shades of green. DSC_0886aHuge tree-ferns, giant eucalyptus trees and lower plants competed in who can produce more shades of green, like the tea plantations on Indonesia. The climbs were very gradual and with only 17 motorized vehicles passing us all day, it allowed a very relaxed cycling. The road was a 115 km roller-coaster, which means countless corners and curves, as well as ups and downs. The weather was fantastic. It started cold in the morning, but clear skies indicated that the sun will heat up the air quickly, allowing to ride short sleeved for the first time in weeks. Shortly before reaching delegate we crossed state boundaries from Victoria to New South Wales (NSW).


Delegate is a very small town. There was only one store open this Saturday afternoon to buy food and drinks. The camp ground is an unmanaged public camping space along the Snowy River. Lush green, but myriads of annoying flies. Tonight we will sleep with the sound of the running waters and the songs of the frogs instead of the engines of passing cars, passing by the former camps located next to the highway.

Tomorrow will be another long day, with 135km and 1750m up. The 5 remaining days to Sydney will by no means be a ‘Walk in the Park’!


Stage 87: Victoria

Bairnsdale to  Orbost
Date: 12-12-2014 Time: 04:22 h Σ Time: 482:52 h
Distance: 90 km Σ km: 10251 km Temp: 8/26°C
Up: 749 m Σ Up: 85057 m Down: 766 m
Calories: 1738 kcal Σ kcal: 217929 kcal  
Conditions: A nice rail trail, if you are willing to ride it – otherwise the main road, less busy as the day before. The weather turned fine today.

What a treat today. We stayed dry all day. Sunny and warmer than the past weeks. It was a short riding day, if you decided to take the main road. Optional, but unofficial, the rail trail could be taken. Because it was loose gravel, sand and rocks, and a bit washed out, after the rain of the past days, the rail trail was not recommended for the road bikes. After the Great Ocean Road, I wanted to ride at least a few kilometers on the Great Alpine Road. Therefore I stayed the first 20 km on the main road, before I switched to the rail tail. Not a bad idea, as the start was quite scenic and the low clouds covered the hills and green fields into a nice picture. It  was a beautiful ride on the trail. Only myself and dozens of kangaroos/wallabies, a wombat and a giant water dragon were on the trail this morning. Henry, Ursula and Rae were far behind, as they also cycled the first 20km. The kangaroos were almost on every corner, starring at me before they hopped into the forest. At the Stony Creek Trestle Bride, a giant water dragon appeared out of the deeper grass and slowly founds its way around me to walk deeper into the woods. It was definitely harder to ride on the trail than on the road, but worth every inch. Mostly far away from the road, there was only the sound of the birds and wind in the trees. Although I was one of the latest in camp, it was still early in the day to enjoy the warming sun and stroll through the small town.


Stage 86: Victoria

Yarram to  Bairnsdale
Date: 12-10-2014 Time: 05:39 h Σ Time: 478:29 h
Distance: 142 km Σ km: 10161 km Temp: 11/21°C
Up: 361 m Σ Up: 84308 m Down: 376 m
Calories: 2495 kcal Σ kcal: 216191 kcal  
Conditions: A too busy road. No rain, but sky always covered with a few sun rays peaking through the clouds.

After yesterday’s fantastic ride on the rail trail, we stayed all day on the busy Princess Highway. Too many trucks, and fast going cars, very noisy. It was not very enjoyable, but obviously no alternatives to get us to Bairnsdale, or next rest day location. The first 100km I did a solo ride, with Lydia slipstreaming me for the last 60km. Then I made a joke and said ‘I am on strike’ and let me fall back a bit.  Lydia obviously took this very serious and went ahead, leaving me back on my own.  However, I soon closed up with her again, when she stopped to help an injured bird. I stayed behind her for a while. Not soon later she asked me ‘are you still on strike’? I confirmed that the German Cycling Union had called off the strike and took over the lead again. Along the highway there we signs, telling the motorists ‘to not tailgate and to keep a 3 seconds distance to the previous car’. Lydia asked me if this also applies to cyclist, to what I replied ‘in principle Yes, but if a someone tailgates you for 100+ kilometers, this combination is called a tandem for which the rule does not apply’. We arrived at the new campsite at 12:30pm. I did laundry, shopping and bike and equipment maintenance, and prepared for a real rest day. There is not much to do in Bairnsdale, especially being trapped in the tent on another rainy rest day.

Getting ready for the grand final – 7 cycling days left.

It may look, as if the final cycling week into Canberra and Sydney could bring us back a bit of the sun and dry weather we liked in the outback. Enough of the cold and wet weather that we have since we arrived in Southern Australia, about 3 weeks ago!


Dry Weather Road Only!

DSC_0622_01You often find this kind of road sign in South Australia.

Why do you think a road in some parts of Australia is only passable during the dry season and not recommended to be used, once it has rained? 

Sure, the road might be flooded, but most 4×4 can run though it, if not too deep. Usually there are depth marker in flood areas, which indicated the water level. So there must be some other reason.

Well, it was all dry when I cycled passed it, thus I could not check it myself.

DSC_0551_01_01However the following road sign, which I saw soon after, may explain why it is dangerous to enter the road in the rainy season!

Can you see from what the motorists are being warned?hammerheadSo better don’t leave the car, when you get stuck in water on a flooded road  Winking smile

Stage 85: Victoria

Inverloch to  Yarram
Date: 12-09-2014 Time: 04:19 h Σ Time: 472:50 h
Distance: 100 km Σ km: 10019 km Temp: 11/24°C
Up: 409 m Σ Up: 83947 m Down: 400 m
Calories: 1663 kcal Σ kcal: 213696 kcal  
Conditions: Cold but dry in the morning. Fantastic rail trail ride away from the main road.

10000 kilometers done! Shortly before our current campsite, the 10000 kilometer EFI marker was passed.

It was a fantastic ride today. Although still cold but not raining anymore, with good supporting wind it was nice to ride. Everything covered in green and in numberless shades. Huge ferns along the trail and frog concerts wherever there was water. The old Southern Railway track is transformed into a bike  & hiking trail, with a sandy, but compact surface that lets you fast advance. Too fast for a second breakfast in Fish Creek, as we arrived too early. I considered a detour to the most southern point of Australia, that we passed today. However, adding an extra ~70 kilometers on a cold day was too much to enjoy, thus I skipped this thought. The ‘signs’ at lunch indicated rain. A local farmer explained: “If all cows are standing it means ‘fine weather’, if there is a mix of standing and resting cows it means ‘drizzling rain’. However if the majority is resting in the grass it means ‘rain showers’. I asked Bob, who wasn’t riding today, but supporting Doug with lunch, to make sure that the majority of the cows will get on there feet! It seemed to work. On arrival in Yarram the sky opened and sunshine broke through. I did not go straight to camp, as the odometer showed just 98.5 km. Instead I continued to town, found a bakery and had tea and cake, before I turned and got to camp, ensuring I made another century (100km).