We’ll be honest with you – it has been a long hard week.  Plenty of hills, cold, wet, and to top things off, a persistent head wind too.  Tamworth had never looked brighter – even when it was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get street lighting!!  Luckily, we were not alone, and had someone to share our discomfort with…

Ryan, the lean, mean, PT machine, joined us for the ride out of Brisbane to Bangalow.  Crossing into NSW via the infamous Lions Rd, we then passed over the range four times in a single day, from Kyogle to Bangalow – you couldn’t have dreamed up a tougher introduction to cycle touring.  Ryan, you road like a champ, and it was great having you along mate – but are you really sure you don’t want to keep going??

Our relatively flat ride, along the north coast and rich farmland of the Clarence Valley, was plagued by wind and rain.  Did we do something wrong to deserve this??  The low point was reached, changing a flat tyre on the side of the Pacific Highway, in pouring rain, getting drenched by passing trucks.  Maybe we should have gone with Ryan??!!

From Grafton, it was a sneaky 90km climb up the Great Dividing Range to Ebor at 1350m.  Cold and wet, we crashed through the doors of the local coffee shop.  We’re not sure exactly what the startled staff thought, but thank you anyway – that hot drink saved us folks.  Looking back, it was an incredible ride, and rivaled anything we’d ridden in the Alps – just next time, we’ll remember to pick a sunny day, and go in the opposite direction!!

Armidale sits at around 1100m and is bone chillingly cold in winter.  With chimneys smoking, and leaveless trees lining the streets, it’s no wonder this region is called “New England”.   But pleasingly, what goes up must come down – and the steep descent off the Moonbi Range into Tamworth was a welcome relief – even if our faces were too cold to form a smile.

Next, we team up with Frank, our good friend and website king, for the ride down the Hunter Valley and into Sydney.  Don’t be scared Frank – be very scared!!

Enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

Final preparations. Ryan with his parents in Browns Plains shopping centre carpark.

Easing into things. The infamous Lions Rd to Kyogle.

You've got to be kidding - is that the road ??!!

A good but tough day. Camping out in Wiangaree.

Looking back over Kyogle. All downhill hill from here apparantly...

Apparantly NOT, still climbing. Jess & Ryan, just outside of Nimbin.

Northern NSW - very hilly but great cycling!

Second breakfast on the beach at Byron Bay

Tez and Matilda enjoying the views and having a rest too!

Goodbye Sunshine. View north from Lennox Head.

Clarence Valley. Just past the quaint scottish town of Maclean.

No more smiles. On the 90km climb from Grafton to Ebor.

No comment. Cold & wet at 1350m.

Riding into Armidale. Scenery is different on this side of the divide.

Golden grassy, sheep country.

A cold New England morning on the highway.

Morale food. What to do in Uralla? Hey look, a bakery!!