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Old 09-09-08, 02:53 AM   #1
Alrocket
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One month in Australia - where to go?

I'm setting some business targets for myself for the next few months and want to create a nice reward if I hit them: I'm thinking about a 4 week tour in Australia, around January timescale. (But if I don't go in January I'll definitely still do it sometime in the next 2 years)

Some random thoughts:
- That's during SH summer so it'll be hot
- 4 weeks isn't a long time in such a big country
- I've heard Aussie drivers are extremely unfriendly to cyclists on highways (source: about 5 different Aussie cyclists I met touring the last couple years)
- Rather than bring my tourer all the way down there, I might buy a bike down there.

So I'm just starting out the research phase. Any recommendations on route or stuff to see? Any other thoughts?
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Old 09-09-08, 03:20 AM   #2
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Tasmania!
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Old 09-09-08, 03:42 AM   #3
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What else can I say as a born and bred Tasmanian?

But Victoria is pretty neat, too, whether it's the coastal areas including the Great Ocean Road or around the Gippsland coast, or going north and inland through the old goldfields to the Goulburn and Murray Valleys.

I haven't done much in NSW, and it's a State that I don't feel all that comfortable in for some unfathomable reason.

Queensland is hot and humid at that time of the year, even on the Tablelands up around Cairns. And despite its fame, and the fact I lived in or near Cairns for well over two years, I didn't get to see the Great Barrier Reef -- regarded as one of the great wonders of the world.

Multiply the heat and humidity factor two or three times for Darwin, although it gets drier the further inland you go in the Northern Territory towards Alice Springs -- but no cooler.

Western Australia to the south, in the wine country and down around the coast is nice. North of Perth, I would consider Broome about the limit (heat and huimidity again), with Kalbarri possibly a nice compromise in terms of getting to by bike and local environs (mind you, that may have all changed since I visited there more than 10 years ago).

And South Australia has its attractions, particularly around the Gulf of St Vincent (from Adelaide around to the western side and on to the Great Australian Bight for whale-watching). Adelaide is a city I feel comfortable in, the the surrounding hills are notorious... err... famous... for their wines.

Internally, air travel is quite cheap these days, so conceivably you could plan half the trip in one state, hop a plane and do another state for the second half. I'd recommend Virgin Blue for its bike-friendliness and therefore quite generous luggage allowance. Avoid Jetstar. Qantas falls somwhere in the middle.

What else? Bike shops can usually be found in the major regional cities, and sports stores in smaller towns usually have some cycling stock. We are civilised enough to have presta-valved inner tubes (in case you were wondering).

If you do decide to do Tasmania, a month is about the minimum to effectively see many (but not all) its sights. There are the tourist traps (Port Arthur comes to mind), but on the whole, it can offer something for everyone.

One of the most majestic and undeveloped areas, in my view, is the Central Highlands, with myriad lakes and magnificent mountains. It's a region rarely on people's itineraries, because they prefer to do the coastal circuit, and there is (was?) a gravel section on the main highway to the north of the lakes.

Be aware that the terrain anywhere in Tasmania can be tiring (it's HILLY!!!) and if you are overly ambitious with your daily distance targets, you could be well and truly stuffed each night. Distances between services aren't excessive, and there are plenty of campgrounds, and a few youth hostels. Old country hotels can provide very basic but cheap accommodation, except I'd avoid Friday and Saturday nights for the loud music from downstairs! Oh yeah... watch out for the log trucks. I

Bruny Island is a must-see for its charm. The Southern forests offer plenty of hiking opportunities. The East Coast has many almost deserted beaches (if you go swimming, even in January, you will soon discover why), the north-east has challenging but inspiring scenery, the north-west is a bit ho-hum, and the West Coast is in a world of its own with rainforest almost everywhere you look.

Gee... I'm homesick now.

Do you have any particular interests?

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Old 09-09-08, 03:47 AM   #4
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Hi,

I made 4 weeks ride Perth - Albany - Perth. I really can recommend that.

Thomas
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Old 09-09-08, 04:17 AM   #5
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Even better if the route goes out to Esperance, then north to Norseman (stepping off point for crossing the Nullarbor Plain), then to the mining town of Kalgoorlie and back to Perth. There's real variation those landscapes.
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Old 09-09-08, 07:40 AM   #6
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Hi Rowan,

it was only rough. Esperance I had to cancel, because of injury. And Kalgoorlie I exchanged with the Pinnacles. The nice Munda Biddi Bike Trail costs two much time (I needed 4 days for the 331 km).
But via Norseman you'll miss Buff Knoll and the Ponrongurups (or written similar).

Thomas
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Old 09-09-08, 08:07 AM   #7
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This page has 11 links to information about bike touring in Australia. The links point to a discussion site, several for Tasmania, and some general Australia bike touring sites.

Ray
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Old 09-09-08, 08:13 AM   #8
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take a ride on the Great Ocean Road...not quite a bike road...but it's worth getting a car for the ride. I would plan an overnight stay.
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Old 09-09-08, 11:14 AM   #9
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You could do Great Ocean Road plus Tasmania in a month.

But New Zealand South Island is way nicer. Less traffic, more variety, better scenery. But more wind, too.
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Old 09-09-08, 06:24 PM   #10
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If you've only got a month, I'd vote for either Tasmania or along the coast in Queensland (if you like the heat).
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Old 09-09-08, 11:57 PM   #11
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My first bike tour ever was in Queensland - including poor planning, etc. The heat and humidity didn't bother me in February since I had been living in Thailand the year before. http://www.briandesousa.com/bicyclin...g/austtour.htm

Here's some info on touring in Queensland. http://petergo.customer.netspace.net.au/
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Old 09-10-08, 03:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrocket View Post
I'm setting some business targets for myself for the next few months and want to create a nice reward if I hit them: I'm thinking about a 4 week tour in Australia, around January timescale. (But if I don't go in January I'll definitely still do it sometime in the next 2 years)

Some random thoughts:
- That's during SH summer so it'll be hot
- 4 weeks isn't a long time in such a big country
- I've heard Aussie drivers are extremely unfriendly to cyclists on highways (source: about 5 different Aussie cyclists I met touring the last couple years)
- Rather than bring my tourer all the way down there, I might buy a bike down there.

So I'm just starting out the research phase. Any recommendations on route or stuff to see? Any other thoughts?
Your best bet at that time of year is Tasmania. Cooler temperatures, relatively uncrowded roads and relatively (compared to the rest of the country) well-behaved drivers. The South Island of New Zealand is another worthwhile option.

I'd be very wary about numbers of other tourists (and accordingly increasing prices) in January in Coastal NSW or Victoria. If you're considering Queensland, beware that you'll cop the worst of the heat and the tropical storms in January.
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Old 09-10-08, 04:18 AM   #13
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Hi guys, thanks for all the feedback!

How easy is water to find when on the road, say camping? If heat is an issue I'd imagine that I'd need quite a lot.
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Old 09-10-08, 06:00 AM   #14
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Speaking as a South Australian, I would love to recommend a tour in my home state ( Mawson Trail plus Kangaroo Is. would be good ), but I hesitate to do so for January purely because of the heat. Spring and Fall would be the best time to ride there. So, I will join the bandwagon and vote for Tasmania in January. Having said that, people tour in the most extreme conditions at times, and if you don't mind the heat, and are carefull with water it is possible.
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Old 09-10-08, 04:59 PM   #15
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Tassie or WA.

Tasmania is small enough that you can go around the whole island in a month and do some bushwalking around Cradle Mtn if you want. Pleasant, hilly but otherwise easy except some parts of the west and crossing between Hobart and Queenstown where it can be both difficult and some distance between services (not too bad though).

Southwest Western Australia will give you more of the classic Aussie outback (some moderately long stretches through red-soil areas). Perth to Albany or beyond is a fantastic trip.

I think both are doable and rewarding, minimal risks (although longer between water on some parts of the WA trip), offer good forests and beaches, wineries, wildlife. WA gives you some opportunities to see some semi-arid areas like you see in all the movies; Tassie has the mountains and lakes and convict heritage.
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Old 09-10-08, 05:17 PM   #16
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If you buy a bike locally, some easy-to-find bikes include Cannondale tourers (Inc. the MTB style one), Surly LHT (which you may need to order), Vivente, Allegro, and as many hybrids as you could want. If you decide on Tassie you can fly into Melbourne, buy a bike from Brunswick St Cycles in Fitzroy or St Kilda Cycles, do a shakedown ride around the bay (overnight trip, or a little longer if you do some of the Great Ocean Rd) then fly or ferry to Tassie.
+1 about flying Virgin and avoid Jetstar at all costs (actually at a cost of almost $200 excess baggage for the bike).

Local costs for LHT complete is about $1600, the Cannondlaes are $2500 or so, the Vivente is a good buy at $1700 including dynohub and lights. Check out the StKilda cycles webpage.

http://www.stkildacycles.com.au/inde...com_virtuemart

If you want a bike you will leave here at the end, just get a Shogun hybrid with Topeak or Tioga or Axiom racks and bags, you can get by with maybe $800 that way for bike gear.

Last edited by Cave; 09-10-08 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 09-10-08, 05:31 PM   #17
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+1 for Tasmania

if you need some inspiration here are some photos from my 2007 tour

http://picasaweb.google.com/matthewj...iaOnABike2007#

It will still be warm in Tassie at this time of the year but there are plenty of small towns to pass through each day (so no water/food issues) plus plenty of great places to camp. Traffic isn't to bad - mostly.
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Old 09-10-08, 07:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrocket View Post
Hi guys, thanks for all the feedback!

How easy is water to find when on the road, say camping? If heat is an issue I'd imagine that I'd need quite a lot.
If you're in Tasmania, it shouldn't be a problem at all. There are a lot of little towns all over the place ... and Tasmania is cooler.
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