The Nullarbor was long and basically didn’t change until Port Augusta: headwind and an open and long road. I started to get pain in my neck/shoulders, I was done with the dead kangaroos and the number of plastic bottles on the side of the road, and I could use a change.
Cycling into Port Augusta was a bit of fun. 15 kilometer downhill / flat, a soft shoulder, and roadtrains coming from both directions. I was so happy with my bicycle that I could jump on the soft gravel shoulder with 34 km/hour, and jump on the road again once they were passed – I love my bike!
Port Augusta was a refreshment, a bit of civilization, trees and nice restaurants. A really nice place for a rest day. And Port Augusta has a very cool botanic garden. The garden was established in 1993 to research, conserve and promote a wider appreciation of Australia’s arid flora zone (the Nullarbor may seem barren and lifeless, the opposite is true). Here are some pictures of awesome plants that are adapted to thrive in an environment where temperatures are extreme and drought can last for decades:
Oh, and did I mention that there is a nice cafe as well?
The ride out of Port Augusta was a 30 kilometer long uphill (1-3%), and once over the pass, the world changed. Literally. From dust and dry desert, to green farmland once over the pass. There were farms and villages here and there and I was cruising through the country side. Melrose is a nice place with a cool bicycle shop.
What do you do when you need to get out of the saddle and need a 5 minute break? Yep, stop and have a nice conversation with a few cows!
After 3 days cycling (400 km) we cycled into Adelaide. And to be honest, I didn´t see much of town. My legs desperately needed a rest day and watching a movie, reading a bit and hanging around in the hotel seemed a perfect do-nothing strategy. I did went to the Waite Arboretum – 800 species / 2,500 specimens (trees and shrubs) from around the world, growing under natural rainfall, in one place. Cool place!
From Adelaide it was only 1.100 km to Melbourne. Initially land inwards: more cows! On our section from Kingston to Beachport we had a ‘coke’ stop (beer tasting) at a local brewery in Robe. Rob Town Brewery is a small family-run boutique brewery striving to make use of traditional and sustainable methods of brewing. And we tasted an exquisitely, smooth, sweet and strong amber ale, which has been made with a piece of ambergris found on the beach near Robe!
From Lake Albert (one day after Adelaide) we cycled mostly along the coast all the way to Melbourne. Beautiful!
Places like Port Campbell, Appolo Bay and Torquay are tourist beach towns with cafes and restaurants, as well as beach activities. For some reason, the day from Cowes to South Duddley was only 40 kms. So our tour leader came up with a team challenge:
#1 The creative group picture – it was the first time I was in jail!
#2 This was a night to remember with Barb, Rinda and two aussie bikers!
#7 Not our best performance but we got points for it
#9 Chelsea our Tour Chef on a bicycle
#10 Don’t ask what’s in the watermelon 🙂
Obviously we won! 😉