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Touring Australia - suggestions?

Old 07-19-10, 11:14 AM
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Touring Australia - suggestions?

I'm considering a tour in Australia, but know little about routes, terrain, etc. It's a new idea, haven't started the research yet. I'd like to spend at least two months there, maybe three. I have relatives north of Melbourne that I will probably stop in and see, other than that, no idea on routes or directions.

Looking for suggestions on resources - books, websites, tour blogs, etc.
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Old 07-19-10, 12:40 PM
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Tasmania! Easily my favorite of the 3 regions I biked in. Atypical climate for Australia, however, being generally cooler and wetter than most of the mainland. Also more mountainous, which is a good thing!
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Old 07-19-10, 01:56 PM
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You could do the CSR... sorry couldn't resist.

https://www.wildworks.co.nz/csr/home.php
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Old 07-19-10, 03:04 PM
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What time of year? What do you want to see?

I spent eight months cycling one lap around outside of Australia including a month in Tasmania: https://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/australia.htm
The winter (southern Hemisphere) is a nice time to be in the North and I really enjoyed my time there in the Top end. Summer would be hot/humid and not a good time. Tasmania would be nice place to visit in summer (southern Hemisphere) but suspect a little cold and wet in the winter...
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Old 07-19-10, 03:46 PM
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I like the two (Australian) suggestions already made:

Tasmania - great around the christmas end of the year. I cycled it in February and still very warm then. Generally short distances, some short sharp hills and lots to see. Some pictures here if you want to see what it looks like - https://www.vimeo.com/2261105

The north - May to Oct best time (ie the dry season) I've had my eye on a route up here called the Savannah Way. Longer distances, less services and more remote. Definitely more full on then riding Tasmania but some amazing landscapes to ride through. https://www.savannahway.com.au/

New Zealand could also be a good option - lots of people I've met really enjoyed riding there.
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Old 07-19-10, 03:56 PM
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Tasmania is definitely on the list of places to see.

CSR? No thanks. I don't do sand. Gimme asphalt.

Time of year, what to see? I don't know. I'm hoping all the research will point that out. Summer sounds too hot, but is that true if I stay near the coast? If so, I'll probably go spring or fall.
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Old 07-19-10, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by simplygib
Tasmania is definitely on the list of places to see.

CSR? No thanks. I don't do sand. Gimme asphalt.

Time of year, what to see? I don't know. I'm hoping all the research will point that out. Summer sounds too hot, but is that true if I stay near the coast? If so, I'll probably go spring or fall.
Do you know when summer, spring, fall, etc. are here? I ask because a lot of northern hemisphere people don't.

With three months, I'd recommend the route I took three months to do back in 2004. Fly into Sydney, cycle down to Melbourne (1 month), fly across to Tasmania and cycle there for a month, then fly up to Cairns and cycle as far north as there is pavement (Cape Trib) and then back down to Brisbane, taking in the Atherton Tablelands, then bus from Brisbane to Sydney. That way you get a month each in three different parts of Australia. Depending on when you arrive, you might want to rearrange that a bit for weather reasons.

Where, north of Melbourne, are your relatives? I live north of Melbourne too.
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Old 07-19-10, 04:14 PM
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porter - thanks for the links and info. Nice slideshow.
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Old 07-19-10, 04:48 PM
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Machka - thanks for the tips. Regarding seasons, if you're referring to the Southern Hemisphere - yes, I know. Been down there several times, just not to Australia. If you're referring to Australian idiosyncrasies, no, I haven't a clue.

My relatives are somewhere in the general vicinity of Wangaratta, which, looking at a map, appears to be more Northeast than North of Melbourne. They are somewhat outside of town, but not sure how far. According to them, they're "in the bush." Actually I have quite a few relatives in Australia that I have only recently learned of. They're of Irish blood but ended up there due to a manslaughter conviction in the mid 1800s (something about trying to collect overdue rent with a pitchfork).

I would prefer to do the trip from point A to point B on the bike, no flights in between, other than whatever it takes to get to Tasmania. I don't have to see the whole country - I'd rather pick a region and just do that. Savannah Way looks interesting too. So does New Zealand. Too many places, not enough time. I'm hoping to narrow this down, decide on one region for this trip, save the rest for future adventures.

Is it feasible to start in Brisbane, ride along the coast down to Melbourne, then do Tasmania? Or do that in reverse?

What about prevailing winds? Any other suggestions? Any good bike-related books targeting Australia?

Thanks.
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Old 07-19-10, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by simplygib
What about prevailing winds?
Thanks.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has a good set of climate maps:
https://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averages/maps.shtml
You'll also find wind roses there:
https://www.bom.gov.au/climate/averag...wrselect.shtml
I seem to remember the direction I went (anti-clockwise) as being slightly more favorable on average - though I had my share of days with strong headwinds as well.

As far as riding Brisbane to Melbourne along the coast, I did the same the other direction and it was a reasonable ride. You'll want to do some extra route planning near the largest urban centers of Melbourne/Sydney but once you are 100km away, it gets quieter.
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Old 07-19-10, 07:56 PM
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Check out this website:

https://lunky.com/

I followed the blog while the guy was making the trip. Pretty amazing stuff.
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Old 07-19-10, 09:02 PM
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There's a fairly decent cycling community in the Wangaratta/Shepparton area. That area is flat farming country - reminds me of Manitoba - so for me, I like cycling up there. They call pretty much any area that is over-run with Eucalyptus trees "the bush".

You could fly into Melbourne, hop across to Tasmania for 3 weeks or so, and then return to Melbourne and spend some time cycling around Victoria ... I've lived and cycled here for a year now and it's lovely ... beaches, bush, mountains, etc. etc.! You could head south to Wilson's Prom, then hop across Mornington Penn., south of Melbourne, and then get on the Great Ocean Road (which, incidently, has been recently repaved with wider shoulders in many places) ... and if you felt particularly energetic, you might want to head all the way out to Adelaide. I haven't been to Adelaide yet, but want to go. I've only been as far west as Portland.

On your way back, you could travel inland to the Grampians, then across to Bendigo and up to Wang. From there you might want to head into the mountains and over to Canberra and up to Sydney. I would still recommend a hop (by bus or plane) up to Brisbane or Cairns if you wanted to experience a very different side of Australia than what you would experience in Tasmania and Victoria. From Port Douglas (or other places along the way) you can take a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef ... that's nice!!

Glad to hear you're aware of the seasons. As for general specifics ... here in Victoria, it starts raining early in April, and keeps raining until toward the end of October, then it gets warm. Tasmania is quite similiar. Queensland is apparently the place to go in the middle of winter because it is often warm and sunny, but not as hot as it gets in summer.

As for books, Bill Bryson has a couple. I read one of them before I came here in 2004.

Here's a collection of photos I've taken in Australia ... various parts, but mainly Victoria and Tasmania ...
https://www.flickr.com/photos/1430288...7602419256784/


Also check out my first post in this thread ... it's all about visiting Australia, but particularly visiting Victoria, complete with travel tips, etc. ...
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...t-of-the-World
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Old 07-20-10, 04:31 AM
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I would fly into Sydney then ride to Melbourne, visit family, then ride up to Adelaide. It would be a stellar trip. Like others have mentioned, come fall(March/April) or spring(Sept/Oct). I would fly Air New Zealand. Much better than Qantas(less expensive, newer planes, better food, shorter airport lines). You could also arrange a layover in NZ. We did that for our honeymoon, after getting married in AU.

If you wanted you could fly from Adelaide to Taz then onto NZ. Airlines outside the States do not typically charge for bicycles. Unfortunately they will whack you before you get out of the States.You could spend 2 months in AU, 2 weeks in Taz, and 2 weeks in NZ.
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Old 07-20-10, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by simplygib
My relatives are somewhere in the general vicinity of Wangaratta, which, looking at a map, appears to be more Northeast than North of Melbourne. They are somewhat outside of town, but not sure how far. According to them, they're "in the bush." Actually I have quite a few relatives in Australia that I have only recently learned of. They're of Irish blood but ended up there due to a manslaughter conviction in the mid 1800s (something about trying to collect overdue rent with a pitchfork).

I would prefer to do the trip from point A to point B on the bike, no flights in between, other than whatever it takes to get to Tasmania. I don't have to see the whole country - I'd rather pick a region and just do that. Savannah Way looks interesting too. So does New Zealand. Too many places, not enough time. I'm hoping to narrow this down, decide on one region for this trip, save the rest for future adventures.
Another idea would be a slight variation of the one I mentioned above ...

Fly into Melbourne, cycle down to Wilson's Prom (Wilson's Prom is beautiful and full of fascinating wildlife such as emus, kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, etc.) ... and then hop across Mornington Penn., south of Melbourne, stopping in at French's Island. If you're lucky, you might see koalas on French's Island ... we saw several there. French's Island is not paved, however ... we were going to spend a couple days there on a tour in 2008, and ended up taking the next ferry back to the mainland.

Do the Great Ocean Road, and make sure to stop in at the outlooks. You can't see it all from the road, unfortunately, you've got to go and look. And if it were me, I'd go all the way to Adelaide. Then if you want to take in a bit of the outback, on the way back, head for Mildura. I haven't been there, but Rowan has spent some time up there, and you'll get a hint of the outback up that way.

Then make your way down to Wang, and down to Bright and Mt Beauty (very pretty area). And then up to Tallangatta and on eastward to Jindabyne (brace yourself for a lot of climbing as you travel between Khancoban and Jindabyne). Then up to Canberra ... and if it were me, I'd be very tempted to head for Sydney, then follow the coast south back down to Melbourne. Then take that hop over to Tasmania.

Something like that would basically be a loop around Victoria (except for the Tasmania bit, of course). If you wanted to do anything more toward the middle of Victoria, you might do a loop from Wang, south to Mansfield and Eildon (the general area where I live). It's really pretty around here, with quite a varied terrain and scenery ... foothills, mountains, the lake. Then make your way west through Yea, Lancefield, Castlemaine, Maryborough, Avoca, Ararat, Hall's Gap (in the Grampians), then maybe up to Horsham, across to Bendigo, over to Shep and then back to Wang.

Just keeping it to the area described above, you'd experience the coast, the beaches, the mountains, the flatlands, the outback ...


This is the story of Rowan's and my 2008 tour of southern Victoria - we went from the Marysville/Eildon area down to Wilson's Prom and back.
https://www.machka.net/2008/2008_Australian_Tour.htm

Last edited by Machka; 07-20-10 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 07-20-10, 05:40 AM
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I spent 3 months up near Mildura, at Red Cliffs, picking oranges as a backpacker. My memories are of a lot of flat, semi-decent roads and not much scenery, but then again most of my travel was just from the hostel to the orange groves in a beat up old car. The cliffs for which Red Cliffs are named are definitely worth an afternoon to see though, we walked over one day and spent the time walking up and down the river a bit.
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Old 07-20-10, 06:04 AM
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Rowan worked up that way for a while too, before making his way down to the area where we currently live ... and here he stopped. He came over to Victoria from Tasmania with a bicycle and touring gear back in 2005, and cycled up to the Mildura area where he got work for a bit in Robinvale working with table grapes.
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Old 07-20-10, 05:10 PM
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I rode up Australia's east coast, Sydney to Trinity Beach near Cairns. It was their Autumn. Lucky timing. The winds were predominately behind me. I could sit up straight and sail. Though the main road was narrow. A lot of tight rope walking the line at the edge sharing with cars. At that time of year, shows days (or county fairs) were moving from town to town. I'd pull over to let the convoys pass and pass and pass...

Here are my photos in a video:
https://veloroo.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html
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Old 07-21-10, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by simplygib
I would prefer to do the trip from point A to point B on the bike, no flights in between, other than whatever it takes to get to Tasmania. I don't have to see the whole country - I'd rather pick a region and just do that. Savannah Way looks interesting too. So does New Zealand. Too many places, not enough time. I'm hoping to narrow this down, decide on one region for this trip, save the rest for future adventures.

Is it feasible to start in Brisbane, ride along the coast down to Melbourne, then do Tasmania? Or do that in reverse?

What about prevailing winds? Any other suggestions? Any good bike-related books targeting Australia?

Thanks.
You might want to check Mev's BOM links but from my experience I think the wind is predominately from the south along the east coast (especially around the Sydney region) so you might get some headwinds heading south. The two major highways along the east coast are the Hume (slightly inland) and Pacific (coast) Highways. The scenery is OK along these two but I'd try an avoid them, the Pacific is still very narrow in places and both carry a lot of traffic.

I've never riden (only driven) Bri-Mel but I think you could find an OK enough route - the further west you go the less traffic you will see and the better (in my opinion) the scenery will be. I think there are plenty of blogs/journals out there of people who have riden this region (with better ideas for routes then I have) - but if it was me I think I would ride west of the Great Dividing Range for the Brisbane-Canberra leg and then spend some time up in the mountains for the remainder of the trip south.

Cheers

Matt

PS Unless you want to visit the worlds most boring Capital City or you have a museum/art gallery fetish you can probably avoid Canberra...

Last edited by porter; 07-21-10 at 03:43 PM. Reason: Addition of Canberra comments
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