In our last blog entry we were a bit stuck and in the tiniest of villages called Darlington Point. And yes we luckily made it the following day to the next village.
A few days later we found our self in the proper outback. With a bit of imagination it was possible to see the curvature of the earth. There was absolutely nothing blocking the view, no hills, no trees, no farmland just a lot of nothing. I was surprised that there can be even more nothing than the nothingness we experienced in the US.
An unfortunate side effect of the fact that nothing blocks the view, this same nothing is a horrible wind stopper. And since we had the ingenious idea to head west instead of east (like every other cyclist that has (or will ) ever cycled around the world) we had a decent headwind. This breeze gets significantly stronger if you cycle along the coast. Let’s say for example the Nullarbor Plain. A short stretch just shy of 1300 km. It got very clear to us we would only be able to move very very slowly through it. So slow in fact that we would need approximately another month to Perth. As we had lost about a month in Sydney we had more or less two options. Either finish our plan to go to Perth and fly straight back to Zürich or to chicken out and still do the Leg in Europe that is fly to Athens and cycle back. The second option was especially intriguing as we have had the experience of being in the cold and in rain. In contrast, Europe is currently a bit warmer (while writing this maybe too warm, there is a ongoing heat wave in Greece). Probably, we are just too picky because we think its often either too hot or too cold.
We of course decided to do the latter. At this point we were about half way from Sydney to Adelaide. To also have a bit of tailwind and to do still a bit of distance in Australia we decided to head for Adelaide and then cycle along the coast to Melbourne. So in theory we should have tailwind (for once) on the stretch between Adelaide and Melbourne.
With the motivation to be able to leave the cold wet weather we deviated in Adelaide from our original course and turned to north east. This didn’t stay unnoticed due to our tracker and we got a few messages asking us if we would know that we are going the wrong way.
The next days were fairly straight forward. Cycle through the outback to the next village. Look for a RV park get some beans and rice and set up your tent before it gets dark and get woken up the next day by the very unique sound of magpies (a bird that makes the most ridicules sounds. If you are unfamiliar with their sounds, I encourage you to go now to Australia and listen to them. Alternatively youtube should also work).
When we crossed into Victoria we got stripped of our fruits which was about half the food we carried. Apparently it is illegal to bring food due to fruit flies. The person taking them away from also wouldn’t let us eat it on the spot. Suspiciously she didn’t threw them into the designated bin but took them with her. I hope she enjoyed eating them as much as we would have.
Occasionally we would see kangaroos or Emus jumping or running next to us. We could also witness a wide variety of aussie birds some of them actually bombarding us with seeds or other small objects. Not quite sure why they did that though.
When we finally arrived near Adelaide we turned around and went east to Melbourne. On the first day we had such a good tailwind we did 190 km with little sun. Definitely the furthest we have managed to go in Australia with winter sun.
Having finally a tailwind was definitely more fun than heading into it and a boost in moral. The only little complain it would get wetter and wetter as we closed in on Melbourne.
The last stretch was to cycled along the great ocean road with so much tailwind (and rain) that we were uncomfortable to get off the bikes at the designated lookouts were all the tourists would stop as we were afraid that our bikes would get blown over. Never the less we witnessed the amazing landscape Australia has to offer. Our last day to Melbourne was completely rain free.
The only thing left for us to do was to disassemble the trailers one last time. One and a half days later and a broken screw that made the disassembling a bit more tricky to say at least, we had everything wrapped up and delivered it to the airport.
This ends our Australian chapter and we will leave Melbourne in about 4 days. We cycled over 2000km here instead of the anticipated 4300 km.
This stretch has probably been the hardest one for us so for due to the low temperatures, rain, sickness and the strong winds. It was quite an adventure but we promised to our self that we will never try again to cycle in winter from Sydney to Perth. Just do it a bit later during the year or at least the other way around.
Maybe we should also mention, we have decided to skip all of Asia. Ironically the reason why we have decided to go west instead of east was, so China has more time to open up its boarders. First this hasn’t happened and second due to the whole headwind situation we have experienced we are slower than anticipated. So we will skip Asia and continue in Athens, Greece to arrive back in Zürich in time.
One last observation I actually find quite amusing. From our point of view most of you reading this are literally upside down.