Monthly Archives: May 2011

The last few days in Sydney and around

Its hard to remember what I have been up to the last few days but I shall try and remember in some sort of rough order now, which will be just a random list of things I have done over the past few days.

One day was spent sorting stuff out, drying tents etc. Speaking very briefly about Japan, as with all good plans we have yet to make them.

We went to a beech called Dee Why beech and went swimming this was good fun in the waves and there were a lot of surfboards flying around, but they mainly kept out of the swimming part of the beach.

We eat a BBQ which was good.

We got a bus to Chatswood where we could get a train to central sydney got distracted by the shopping centre and Boarders bookshop closing down and the 10 books for $10 dollars deal. In the end we caught the train walked over the harbour bridge hung out at the opera house and walked around an area called the rocks. We then got a ferry to Manly this gave good views of the city, eat some fish and chips good but pretty small portion size, before getting a bus back to frenches forest. I just remembered that we also walked through the botanical gardens.

It is hard to describe, how I feel about Sydney it seems like a relaxed city. General like the rest of Australia which seems relaxed but yet still enthusiastic about things. This might just be because we are mainly speaking to people who are on holiday. I am not sure if Sydney was how I expected or not, I think this is because I was not sure what to expect.

We got a train to the blue mountains, so named because they look blueish because of the oils that come out of the trees and form a sort of mist. Katoomba is the name of the town we are staying in for a couple of days. Flying Fox is the name of the hostel. It has one of the coldest log burners I have ever experienced, it seems like the fire is sucking heat out of the room apart from this it is very nice.

We went on a walk around the three sisters three rockie cliffs. It raining quite a lot but this doesn’t really matter. I best get on with reading some of those books I brought! I am currently reading Sean and David’s long drive. It is not very good and I would not recommend it to anyone.

Made it

Yesterday evening we arrived wet and tired at our friends house in Sydney.

It seemed to rain all night and this didn’t ease up for much of the day. There were also some very high winds.

Now the day seems like a bit of a blur but we cycled over some hills to where we thought we could get a ferry to find the time table had been covered up with a notice saying that due to bad weather only some of the ferry route was running. This meant cycling back over the big hills to the road we had been on earlier and heading over some more hills.

In the end we got the ferry to Palm Beech where Home and Away is filmed. It wasn’t as sunny as on the show, I guess they weren’t filming today.

Despite the weather we past through some lovely places, Wagstaff seemed nice and had friendly general store staff.

We are now going spend a few days in Sydney and start planning the next leg of the trip.

The updates might be slightly less frequent for the next few days, but who knows.

Rain then ferries then rain

Yesterday we were on the road by 7 in order to catch a ferry that was 40kms away by 10:00. It was raining and not all that nice but by the time we got to the ferry it had brighter up a lot. The Tea Gardens to Nelsons Bay ferry was a bit of a gamble on four counts 1. It was 10kms down a dead end road 2. We were not sure completely sure of the times, the website was not very good 3. They might not have taken bikes 4. The next ferry indicated was a 14:30 meaning if we missed the 10:00 it would have been a very long day.

We got to Tea Gardens in good time but it took ages to find where the ferry left from, we found an information board, that provided little information. In the end we headed to the water and found the ferry, and chased it until in docked. We actually caught the 9:30 ferry we didn’t know existed, before we got there. The ferry had a very small door through which we had to carry our fully laden bikes, not an easy task and I was a bit worried about ripping of the steering wheel, but the ferry staff were very helpful.

The ferry went pretty slow stopping at one other place before our destination to pick up two people.

We chatted a little with a couple on the ferry from Nelsons bay they get the ferry every few months have a meal out and get the ferry back the next day. The ferry was so and I was pretty wet and I think smelly.

We arrived in Nelsons bay had an average coffee did a bit of shopping. Rode on and had lunch just out an military airbase and Newcastle airport it was very noisy.

We head on to the second ferry of the day the Stockton Ĺ“Newcastle ferry this was a much bigger affair than the first ferry and much easier to take bikes on. Although it was equally poorly signed.

When the ferry docked we were only a few minutes away from our hosts house. As she was still at work her brother let us in and we had a chat and shower etc.

We had a lovely meal that was kindly prepared for us. In between meal preparations we went a little walk around the area near the house. We saw an obelisk the southern cross was pointed out to us, the stars that are on the flag. We saw the boggie hole which was a salt water swimming pool cut into the rocks by convicts.

We went back to the house had the lovely dinner before heading to bed.

It was strange how the day started in a soaking wet tent and ended with a good meal in a very comfortable house. I guess that’s the joys of cycle touring, or maybe the website warm showers!

THE NEXT DAY (today)

After breakfast we left the house with our host, she cycled to work so she led us out of the city to a bike path that took us in the right direction. It was a very nice bike path along a disused railway line, there was even a tunnel to go through.

Not much happen after this apart from some more cycling, lunch on the beech, it was fairly cold on the beach and starting to get dull. It rained just after we left the drive throw bottle shop, where we got our dinner beers from. We sheltered in a bus shelter before pressing on not very far before finding a camping spot.

750 x 2

So the pies sort of worked, if we had had more rice I think it would have been better, 2 out of the 3 pies that were warm. By warm I mean not cold.

We left the rest area and headed back onto the highway. We were not on the highway for 10kms to head into Taree for a supermarket stock up. Taree was of the highway and added a few kms to the journey but this was the only place with shops. Strange town seemed a bit dead maybe that’s sunday morning but there was a garage sale, a go cart for sale as well as a boat.

Back on the highway and there were a few hills. There was a lovely downhill but this was followed by a massive up hill. It seems that nothing in cycling is for free.

Lunch was a low key affair at a petrol station that had a lot of lorries. The picnic tables were located in a bog, the heavy bikes sank nicely.

We refuelled our petrol cooker bottle at a cost of 65 cents. I asked the lorry driver how big his fuel tanks were he said he had 2, 750 litre tanks, but he could only fill up to $999 dollars on one refuel.

We headed off again, to find that the rest area where we planned to camp was shut due to some massive road works in the area. So we headed into Bulahdelah and found a park behind a library. Hopefully nobody will mind us camping here.

Early start tomorrow as we have to make a ferry no coffee for us not sure how this will go.

Tom cat creak rest area

A slow start today as we didn’t have to far too go and two cups of coffee made us drink them. And the sun was drying out or stuff so nicely it seemed a shame to leave.

There were a few curious magpies and other birds that were fighting amongst themselves. Lucky the magpies did not attack us.

The ride was along the highway and fairly uneventful, the road was nice an smooth. Normally when in a car I don’t like concrete roads that much but on a bike they seem to be fine.

We stopped in a small town, called Kew for lunch were we brought some bread refilled our water bottles and got 5 of yesterdays pies for $5 we are not sure how we are going to cook them yet but they should be okay to eat cold or slightly warm.

The rest area seems fairly good so far. I do have to say that the rest areas in Queensland seemed to be a lot better equipped than those that we have stayed in so far in New South Wales, there a few more we have left to stay in so I will keep you updated. NSW also have this annoying habbit of putting toilet roll on square holders meaning the roll does not roll.

The pies are warming on top of the pasta pan I think we will heat them up on a bed of dry rice.

It could be a while until the pies are cooked. I shall let you know how they go tomorrow.

Another puncture and another 120kms

We left our hosts house early, we were on the road by 7am, this was because he was riding in the same direction as us to join a bike group ride at about 8ish. We made good time and got there in time for us to have a chat with some of the cyclists, help jump start a car at the petrol station before saying our goodbyes.

We carried on riding fairly quickly till we came to a supermarket. I got a nail in my tyre which was a bit annoying but not the tyres fault that the tube went down, I am still fairly impressed with the new tyre I brought.

We brought a subway foot long pizza sandwich to share, our first extravagance and our first lunch of the day. The purchase of the sandwich, or sub as some would call it gave me access to the staff toilet, allowing me to wash the oil of my hands from the earlier repair. We headed on and by about 1pm we had covered 100kms I am not sure how we did it so fast, I think it must have been the early start and good road and weather conditions.

We stopped for a pie just outside Kempsey, a famous pie place, the pie was pretty good chicken, honey, chilli and garlic our second lunch followed by chocolate spread and peanut butter. There were two very out of place and cheap statues of Marylin Monrow at the pie cafe very strange.

Kempsey seemed like a strange town, it seemed like there was not that much money there and after picking up food we headed to a rest area that was pretty hard to find as it was meant for people travelling in the other direction. We past what looked like a fake rest area and there was a plug socket in a tree, it was pretty strange and pretty temping to see if it worked or not but I couldn’t be bothered to get my charger out to find out if it did or not.

Well that’s all for today. No kangaroos.


Just a very quick update, as I am wanting a early night.

We cycled on the highway for a bit then headed onto some backroads, through forests and what seemed to be up and down endless hills.

We saw a few Kangaroos which apart from on a golf course in Cairns is the first we have seen.

We had lunch and a dog seemed pretty interested but was not that pushy and it seemed to run about a lot then just sit in front of us. I wonder how many people thought it was our dog.

We carried on after lunch and the hills got a bit wearing, but the route was nice then it opened right up to slopes of banana fields, and a view to the sea.

We arrived at our host in Toormina were we went on a little tour around which was good, we went to a good look out point. We headed back for a kindly provided dinner before doing a bit more route planning and heading to bed.

Road to another truck stop

We woke up to the sound of lorries. After sleeping at the truck stop/rest area before heading off.

After about 15kms we left the highway and headed down some quiet roads to McLean along the river Clarence. McLean was a smallish town with a lot of scottish references well two a scottish shop and a recipe for haggis handing from a lamp post.

We headed to the spar to purchase a simple lunch. Bread and english style marmalade and two apples for desert.

We pressed on along some small roads until we reached the Lawrence ferry a chain ferry across the river. It operates 24/7 apart from a bit of time I think on tuesday when it is closed for maintenance. It is a free service, we had a brief discussion on whether or not it would be worth building a bridge or not, it soon ended. The ferry operates on a cable system.

The road continued in much the same way along the river until we go to the town/city of Grafton, at first this town didn’t seem too nice, this might have been because we were under the Aldi store, in the car park. After buying dinner we headed into the town centre it was a fairly good town from the brief ride through. Generally there seem to be a lot more independent stores than in england.

We rode on to another truck/rest area were we have had our dinner.

I forgot to mention earlier in the post that yesterday rest area was so called because of the fact that slightly to the south the direction we are cying there was a house with a lot of bee keeping equipment in the garden. And on that thrilling note I am going to call it a night! We also stopped another cyclist with a magpie helmet on.


We awoke earlier than normal as we wanted to go undetected, I am pretty sure quite a few people saw us but they didn’t seem to mind.

The surfers had beaten us to it and according to reports from Cliff were already in the water at 5:30. Coffee and breakfast over the surfers was good. The sunrise was not as good as the sunset, not really sure why this was.

I forgot to say that last night we could see the lighthouse we were at earlier in the day, across the bay.

Today was fairly uneventful in terms of cycling we headed back to highway 1, Bruce has now turned into the Pacific Highway. The oversized loads have got smaller, but apart from that much is the same.

On the way we stopped of at the New Italy Museum Complex. This was a very strange place, it was free its main attraction. The cafe looked fairly good, and the gift shop was reasonable priced. The rest of the museum was just full of stuff and lots of writing.

The very brief gist of the museum was that some Italians got conned into coming to Australia well in fact New Ireland which is East of New Guinea, by a French noble man Marquis de Rays who promised good land etc etc, the boat was rubbish the land was not good, a lot of them died and in the end they made it to New Italy where we were earlier.

After the museum we cycled onto a rest stop. The rest stop called Beekeepers, I am not sure why. The rest stop is basically a layby very close to the highway but separated by a small band of trees, there is a table under a shelter and a clean but rather smelly composting loo. This single loo was used by a coach load of children coming back from a sporting event. It took quite sometime for them all to get through.

We are now cooking dinner listening to the sound of passing trucks.

Pat Morton Lookout

We are currently at the look out names above. The land was donated by Mr and Mrs Easter and family to honour HON P.H. Morton former minister for local govt. and Highways 26 March 1977.

We had a good days cycling, and made out first real detour of the trip. This was to see Byron Bay. A lot of people told us that it was a lovely spot so we felt we should go there. My first thoughts on arrival were that all the people who recomended the trip here should have seen Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast a much nicer spot! Only jesting Byron Bay was lovely. We rode up to the lighthouse which gave us great views up and down the coast.

We had a little walk to Australia’s eastern most point, before have jam and ginger nut sandwiches, it was a waste of good ginger nuts.

After this we cycle down from the lights house, it was a good downhill section. I forgot to mention that it was hard climb up to the lighthouse.

We headed to Woolworths to get dinner. As we were packing up to leave a man said so you made it then. This was a little confusing but made sense in the end when he explained that he saw us earlier in the day. We suggest that we head to Lennox Head, and that there would be loads of rest areas with camping. We are at this look out, and it doesn’t seem like they invite campers to stay but we will hide away.

We have seen a lot of surfers today, I want to find out about the origins of surfing so would be intresting, if somebody could tell me.

We are now both sitting on a beach over looking a moon lit bay. Its good, and going to be a full moon tomorrow if you believe what a poodle walker says! The sunset was special too but impossible to describe in words.

Well I suppose we should put up our tents, it really seems like a lot of effort though, well probable best to do it.