Archive for June, 2010

Winter is here

SYDNEY  to MERIMBULA

Winter is here – it’s getting chilly and the days are much shorter.  It takes a super human effort, just to climb out of our warm sleeping bags in the morning.  We have to though, to cover the distance, and to make sure we get to Melbourne on time.  And it’s not a party we are going to be late for!

Aside from winter closing in, the past weeks cycling has actually been quite pleasant.  The Princes Highway is relatively quiet, and the coastal towns along the South Coast are incredibly quaint and picturesque.  You get the feeling nothing happens here quickly though, unless of course the fish are biting or the surf is up!

In between the towns, and backing right onto the coast, are state forests, national parks and rural farmland.  Here, the cows have the best views!  Maybe that is why the cheese is so good?  Or maybe it is all the exercise they get, catching waves and running along the beach, while we are not looking??

Just north of Narooma, we saw our first road sign to “Melbourne”.  It was a very special moment.  For over 17 months Melbourne has been our unseen destination – now it is right in front of us, in reflective silver and green.  It’s hard to believe, but we have only two more weeks to go!!

From here we leave NSW, and ride through the East Gippsland region of Victoria.  We’ve given up saying “It’s all downhill from here”, it never is, but at least we are getting closer.

Enjoy the ride

Jules & Jess

On the Manly ferry, bound for Circular Quay

No fireworks, but still impressive. The Opera House and Sydney CBD.

2 bikes, 2 Aussies, with 2 "famous" Aussies in the background

Coastline south of Sydney. Views from the cliff not good enough - get a parasail!

Sea Cliff Bridge just north of Wollongong. We rode along it... Woohoo!!

Picnic lunch in picturesque Kiama. The start of the South Coast (sort of).

Its getting chilly in the mornings. Lake Burrill, just near Ulladulla.

"Melbourne", we are getting close!

Sleepy Narooma, on a bright and sunny winters day

Cows with views. Stunning rural coastline near Tilba Tilba.

Severe weather warning

TAMWORTH  to SYDNEY

The absolute worst weather for cycling – is rain.  Water has a knack of finding its way in everywhere, plus the constant damp will eventually test even the toughest resolve.  Hmm, Frank arrives by train from Sydney tonight, there is a severe weather warning issued for the Hunter Valley, and rain is forecast all week – let’s just hope he is still talking to us by the end of it!!

Pleasingly, we made it through the stormy night, but as expected, it was a rather wet tour around the Hunter Valley wineries.  It didn’t matter though, our spirits were high, and a bit of rain wasn’t going to spoil the party – even if we had to roll our pants up, to cross the flood waters, getting to the toilet block in the Cessnock caravan park!!

The ride down to Lake Macquarie was a lot more pleasant, and gave us a chance to dry out.  Jess’s friends Megan & Matt were waiting for us, and we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, before sitting down to feast fit for a hundred kings!!  Thanks folks – it couldn’t have been more perfect!

It was then a long and hilly ride along the Central Coast to Bouddi National Park.  Unfortunately, it rained again, but camping right on the beach, we were all amazed to think, this “wild and rugged” place was only a stone’s throw from the CBD!!

Forget the Harbour Bridge Walk, if you want the ultimate adrenalin experience in Sydney – catch the Wagstaff to Palm Beach ferry.  For under $10, they’ll take you in a small catamaran, out over the bar and through the rolling Pittwater swell – even Frank was glad to get back on his bike!

A short ride along the Northern Beaches, then one last hill, that was so steep it nearly claimed us all, and we were home, at Frank’s place in Fairlight.  Well done mate, against the odds you proved yourself and surpassed all expectations.  Again, top effort!!

From here, after a short break, we push out alone for the final run down to Melbourne.  It’s all getting very, very exciting now!

Enjoy the (last of the) ride!

Jules & Jess

Jess roo spotting, enroute to the rendevous with Frank

 

Camping out in the Branxton Rodeo Grounds, preparing for Frank's arrival and a night of wild weather.

 

Frank and I, soaked to the bone amongst the Hunter Valley vines.

 

Spirits were high - a little rain wasn't going to spoil the party. De Illuis winery.

 

Drying out on Lake Macquarie.

 

Compliments to the chef! Dinner with Matt & Meaghan

 

No rest for the wicked - saying goodbye 7.30am Sunday morning!!

 

Frank, settling in and enjoying the hills

 

Once perilous, now safe! Norah Head Lighthouse c1903

 

Enjoying a short sunny break...

 

...before a tough afternoon - lots of hills

 

Little Beach, Bouddi NP - wild & rugged but only a stones throw from the CBD!!

 

Bit chilly this morning - Jess & I delaying the inevitable...

 

The adrenalin ride - Wagstaff to Palm Beach ferry

 

Yeah baby! Frank, home in Fairlight, Sydney.