Like many, travelling to New Zealand has been on my bucket list since discovering the country’s natural beauty as a teenager watching the Lord of the Ring trilogy. Having a few weeks between our cycling trip from Adelaide to Melbourne, and the Christmas holidays, and a bit of time left on my travel insurance for some crazy adventures, Rich and I decided it was time for us to make the trip over to the land of kiwis and hobbits.
Last day! Last day! Last day! Oh what a feeling. Another 63.5 kilometers and we’d be finished. We’d be able to go home, crawl into our own bed, and never have to get on a bike again.
Still grey. Rich and I woke up this morning to find ourselves trapped in a layer of mist. It was surprisingly chilly so we shoved our Patagonia‘s on and headed across the street to enjoy a breakfast of pancakes and jaffles before heading out of town, almost ready for the 76.8 kilometers and over nine hundred meters of elevation gain waiting for us.
Waking up this morning was not nice. Grey skies seem to have a habit of following us around, and even though they had let us be the previous day, we saw nothing but grey as we climbed out of our tent. I really hoped it wouldn’t rain today. Today would be one of our shortest days, coming in at 49.6 kilometers, but the hills were going to be horrendous. We were looking at an elevation gain of 1030 meters over less than fifty kilometers, with one seriously massive hill and lots of steep little ones.
Rich and I had been waiting for this day of riding since the moment we started out of Adelaide. Today, we were going to leave the normal, boring old roads behind and start up on the Great Ocean Road. To get to Port Campbell, one of the first towns on the Great Ocean Road, we were going to have to travel 95.6 kilometers and to climb some pretty massive hills.
Overnight, it pissed down rain, and we awoke to a cold chill and grey skies as far as the eye could see. As now seemed customary for me, I spent the morning packing up and chowing down on Pop Tarts (apparently that’s all I wanted to for breakfast and lunch this trip). Rich had gotten sick of this diet and resorted to something neither of us were normally able to stomach – McDonalds. Considering we never eat the stuff, I took it as a bad omen when we showed up in the McDonalds parking lot and a local decided to drive into the back of our trailer. Luckily, there was no damage, but we were really unimpressed by how little caution the driver exercised around cyclists.
Rich and I were so incredibly happy to get out of town today. Everything about Mount Gambier I found irksome. Since we were in a place with ample cafes, we had considered venturing out for coffee in the morning, but neither of us wanted to start off the day in an awful mood and decided it’d be best to avoid the locals. Over dinner the previous night we got stuck listening to a group of fourteen year olds who were sitting across the outdoor patio from us loudly discuss where they could find some Ice (crystal meth). According to these kids it is quite easy to get… Lovely. Contine reading
The 85 kilometer ride from Beachport to Mount Gambier would mark our last full day of cycling in South Australia before crossing the border into Victoria. The plan for the day was to head out of Beachport and then continue westward to the town of Millicent for lunch before heading to Mount Gambier.
Finally – the sun is out! After a fun-filled and very wet night, we woke up as early as Rich and I could muster. We packed up everything as quickly as we could and we were ready and waiting outside the Cottage Coffee Shop just as the two women running the shop were putting together the final touches for opening. They were quite intrigued by us, with one of the women telling us of how she had recently hosted a Dutch family that was cycling around Australia – a couple and their two toddlers. One of the parents had pulled a trailer full of their gear, while the other pulled a trailer with the kids. She said that the kids seemed to love the adventure, but how someone travels on a bicycle with toddlers is beyond me. I can only imagine all the poopy diapers that they had to drag around with them… Now that’s impressive, and nothing I’m as of yet ready to attempt. We had a really great breakfast though while we were chatting with the owners. The coffee was awesome and the egg and bacon rolls were to die for. Wish we had done this the day before too! Contine reading
I would have loved to have used our rest day today, but considering that Salt Creek was in the middle of absolutely nowhere, the stink of fish was overpowering, and the much larger small town of Kingston SE was just a few hours ride away we chose to keep moving and potentially use our rest day there.