FUN ON WHEELS
I got invited to cycle in Australia from a friend of mine. I had been home for 6 months from my first walk through Sweden and I was eager to get out on another adventure. My mountain bike and I landed in Bamaga in the beginning of December 2004. My highlight on this bike ride would definitely be the ride from the tip of Cape York, south to Cairns. Sand, jungle, heat and camping! Can’t be any more adventurous. I also loved The Rocks in Sydney, the highest point Mt Kosciuszko, the gravel roads and Wilson’s Promontory in the South, just to mention a few. It was my first long cycling adventure abroad and it was an experience in every way imaginable. I biked around 5,600km (3480 miles) on that continent and I spent 115 days on the road.
To bike through Australia is fun but also hard. You have the sun, the heat, heavy rain, narrow shoulders but also great gravel roads and friendly people. I started this trip in beginning of december and you cycled between the creeks. Sat down in the creek for a while and then cycled to the next one. In the afternoon you had the heavy rain. I loved this “struggle”. There is a lot of good maps and for me is was easy to communicate with people. Overall during travels like this I don’t really trust people when we talk about distance and time, but you can have an idea about the road ahead.
Maps and preparation
I planned my route in general from my computer back home. I used maps from internet and different forums to gather information. I looked at the continent and the most northern point looked interesting. I made a big X on the most eastern, the highest and the most southern point as well and then I focused on the first stretch to Cairns and wrote all my questions down on paper. Distance, places to see, places were I could stay, highlights and the possibilities to resupply and more.
I had a three month visa and in the end I stayed 115 days. Didn’t cost much and I fixed it when I bought my ticket. For Swedish people the Visa is easy to get.
I looked at different airplane companies, some of them charge you if you bring a bicycle and some don’t. Choose the right one! I called my local bicycle store Mc-Center and had a cardboard box for free. In Melbourne I peddled to a bicycle store close to the city center and asked if I could have a box from him and some coffee.
I started my trip from Bamaga in the beginning of december. I had 35-40C in the shade and sometimes you’re out in the sun for hours in a row and the water on you’re bike become piss-warm and unpleasent to drink. I sat down for 10-15min in every river crossing and the afternoon rain felt like a lifesaver. Drink water and powerade to keep hydrated.
I did see a lot of “dangerous” animals. In the beginning I didn’t walked or cycled in high gras, had my shoes inside the tent etc but during the trip I cared less everyday and after i while I didn’t think about it that much. Snakes, spiders, sharks, humans, they can all be both lovely and dangerous.