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Edwins Bicycle Tour Downunder
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Wednesday 7 February. Mount Gambier Rest Day

Today was a rest day with no moving on, based at the town of Mount Gambier 20 miles from the coast close to the Victoria Border. The town is built on the edge of an old Volcano with 2 major crater lakes and volcanic caves.

Weather was cloudy at first soon clearing to sunny with temperatures reaching 21C.

We had shopped the previous evening for breakfast and I cooked everyone porridge. After breakfast Martin rode his bike down the 40ft length of the Apartment lounge.

We rode the bikes up through the town and then up to the Blue Crater Lake. This is a deep blue due to minerals in it. We rode a route round the Lake taking in lookouts en route.

Then across to the other main Crater Lake, Valley Lake and a scenic route round to the Wildlife Park. This is a large area of woodland which is fenced off with wildlife roaming free and paths through the area.

Our first encounter was an Emu which was quite close and curious and Martin got Video up to Beak for a close encounter of the Emu kind.

Further on we saw a mob (Australian for group) of Kangaroos relaxing in the shade of a tree. There were about 10 of them and we were able to get within about 15 ft of them.

We searched for the one Koala supposed to hang out in the area but could not trace it. Later we saw 2 Wallabies in the woods. Peter T had a puncture as we rode away from the park which he soon fixed encouraged by the local flies.

Then on into town for lunch. We also visited the nearby Cave Garden made in a deep hole in the ground by volcanic action.

8.7 miles for the day and 741ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 6:59 PM EADT
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Wednesday 7 February. Martin takes a ride in the Apartment



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Wednesday 7 February. Martin Video to Beak with Emu



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Wednesday 7 February. Wallabies in the Woods


remote Posted by Edwin at 6:46 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007 7:13 PM EADT
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Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Tuesday 6 January. Beachport to Mount Gambia.

Today weather was sunny all day but cool? at only 21C. The wind was again a strong 25mph SE headwind all the way. The days ride may have been only just over 50 miles but due to the wind the effort was like climbing a hill for 50 miles.

Very wisely Peter W decided to get the bus and was able to book his bike on and all went well. His bus left at 1.30 and his bus passed us at our tea stop.

We started the day with breakfast in Beachport at a restaurant called Bompas. They produced our best breakfast of the trip to date. I had Museli drizzled with honey and covered with fruit and cream. Second course was Pancakes with maple syrup and cream!

We headed back across the Beachport Causeway and along a flat straight road exposed to the fierce wind. Further up the road we spotted 2 more Emu and stopped for pictures. As we rode on I noticed a lot of trees at the side of the road bent to one side by the force of the wind (we were starting to feel the same!!)

After 20 miles we reached the town of Millicent and stopped at a takeaway and caf? for lunch. The entrance had the common Australian door system of strips of plastic hanging down to keep out the flies. We started an after lunch conversation on the coolest way to get thought them and watched the locals in action.

After lunch it was more hard riding into the wind until we gained a little shelter among pine forests and hills up to 200ft.

After Millicent we joined the Princes Highway and came across a lot more traffic. One big difference between Victoria and South Australia was the wide tarred hard shoulders in Victoria which were good for cycling while
in South Australia outside main towns the hard shoulders were rough and gravelled and could not be cycled on.

The big road train lorries generally gave us plenty of room. However they seemed to have no idea where the brake was. When they overtook us if traffic was coming the other way the other traffic drove onto the gravelled verge to get out of the way. Another part of the system seemed to be that if a smaller vehicle noticed a Road train coming from behind they would drive onto the gravelled shoulder to let it past.

Today this combination led to a situation where we were cycling on the edge of the tarmac on the white line when a road train came past on the road. A smaller lorry meanwhile had pulled into the hard shoulder, saw us at the last minute and came by us on the gravel and verge at the same time that the road train passed us on the road. Braking didn't seem to occur to the driver of the smaller lorry, Durrr!!!

When we got to Mount Gambier we checked into the Motel Avalon and a gigantic 4 bedroom cottage with a very large lounge.

52 miles for the day and 666ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 10:25 PM EADT
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Tuesday 6 February. Peter and Martin riding alongside wind torn trees



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Monday, 5 February 2007
Monday 5 February. Kingston SE to Beachport.

Today weather started sunny but clouded over late afternoon (clouds? we hadn't seen those in a week) Temperatures dropped dramatically to only 21C. Peter T found this distinctly chilly. Wind was again a strong SE headwind and probably the worst day of the trip to date for wind.

We headed south from Kingston with rush hour traffic amounting to none at all! Then it was the first of the days long flat straight roads exposed to the stiff 25mph headwind. Ahead of us we could see a fogbank over the coast which almost looked like a range of high hills. We did come to some hills eventually all of 90ft high through a forest.

We stopped for elevenses at Mt Benson Winery and we all had soft drinks. Then on to the seaside town of Robe for lunch. Martin popped out of the bakery cafe for 5 minutes and returned having been to the Barbers for a quick haircut.

Peter W decided to try to get a lift at Robe so the rest of us went on taking turns to battle against the wind at the front. On our right we passed 3 big lakes in the distance between us and the sea. To our left large fields were bounded by bushland and forest. This scenery with flat straight roads and little traffic continued for 30 miles with no signs of habitation.

I saw 2 Emu in the distance in a field between us and the forest. They spotted us and made off at quite a clip but ran in line with us for about a mile.

There was no sign of Peter W at the Motel as it transpired he had been unable to get a lift and didn't arrive until 8.30pm after the Pub nearby stopped serving food at 8.00 so he had to make do with a snack for supper. A general comment is that we found all small Australian towns seemed to close down by 8.30 p.m. with nobody at all about. We had gone back to the Pub for drinks but were thrown out when they closed at 9.40!!

58 miles for the day and all of 164ft of climbing. We have now been cycling in Australia for 3 weeks and mileage to date is 1130.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 11:29 PM EADT
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Monday 5 February. Peter T and Martin on minor hill near Mt Benson



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Monday 5 February. Emu in field



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Sunday, 4 February 2007
Sunday 4 February. Coorong Wilderness Lodge to Kingston SE

Weather today was again clear blue skies all day and temperatures up to 40C. Wind was SE and a head wind or side wind.

I got up early and took some pictures of the dawn and of the Moon setting over the Coorong lagoon. We had an early 7.00 am breakfast at the lodge restaurant of full English. Peter W had a head start while the rest of us chatted with the Aboriginal owners and watched a short video about the area and Aboriginal legends.

We set off along the track with long shadows in the early morning light. The day produced a lot of wildlife sightings which can best be summarised as follows - " One live Kangaroo on salt flats, 6 dead roadkill Roos, 2 pairs of emu and 20 Cockatoos up a gum tree" The last is artistic license and were seen on another day but the rest were all seen today.

Martin who should be called "Martin of the eagle eye" spotted a Kangaroo on the salt flats half a mile away as we rode the track from the lodge.

I caused a little confusion in the pack by taking a short cut to the road which ran alongside the track and nobody noticed me riding alongside. When I got to the point where the track came out on the road I saw Martin and Peter T heading back up the track looking for me. They soon saw me and caught up.

On the road Martin took the lead at time trial pace to our elevenses stop at the Salt Creek Road House. I amused myself by taking pictures of 2 bush fly's hitching a lift on Peter Ts back.

Peter W had arrived at Salt Creek 5 minutes before us. There followed wilderness roads for 50 miles with no food stops. We stopped for lunch in shade by the roadside. The afternoon was notable for 2 Emu spotted in the distance by Martin. Then later I spotted 2 more Emu in a field near the road.

With the heat and the headwind we collapsed exhausted and very sweaty into the first caf? we came to on the outskirts of Kingston.

Peter W was following on at a much slower pace and very wisely got a lift for the last 16 mile.

75 miles for the day and 436ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 11:34 PM EADT
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Sunday 4 February. Peter T riding the track from the Lodge



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Saturday 3 February. Tailem Bend to Coorong Wilderness Lodge.

Today was again clear blue skies but a little cooler than yesterday at only 36C!

We 4 set off south across desolate plains flat as far as the eye could see under a searing hot sun and roaring headwind. (We had stoked up first with a less than satisfactory breakfast at a Subway!)

The flat plains gradually gave way to rolling low hills. We then descended alongside Lake Albert one of the system of lakes into which the River Murray flows to the Sea. Alongside the lake shore there were about 12 penguins. We stopped for lunch at Meningie a small town on the lakeshore.

One point of interest which we noted especially today but also on other days of the tour was the large number of motorists who gave us friendly waves and toots. This seemed to be an acknowledgement of the effort required to cycle long distances in remote areas especially on hot days (and the very small number of cyclists attempting this) Motorists generally treated us well and gave us plenty of room. It was all a refreshing change from UK attitudes.

We continued along to Magrath Flat, only a few houses and then into the Coorong National Park. This area is a 60 mile long lagoon with a peninsula of sandunes sheltering it from the sea. We saw a number of dried lakes forming salt flats some with pink and red colouring caused by magnesium deposits.

Our accommodation for the night was a remote wilderness lodge run by the local aboriginal community and situated on Hack Point a peninsula running into the lagoon.

At the peninsula we turned off onto a rough track alongside a multicoloured salt flat and continued for several miles to the end of the peninsula and the lodge. This was a large Accommodation unit with a central common area and 4 rooms round it. Ours was a room with 2 single beds and 2 beds in a bunk bed. Accommodation was of a good standard.

We had the place to ourselves and had an evening meal provided by the owners at the Lodge Restaurant with outstanding 180 degree views across the lagoon as the sun set onto the sandunes. It was a unique location to stay and very memorable

51 miles for the day and 436ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 8:26 PM EADT
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Saturday 3 February. Salt flats of dry inlet at Coorong



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Saturday 3 February. Coorong Wilderness Lodge Accommodation



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Friday, 2 February 2007
Friday 2 February. Victor Harbor to Talem Bend.
Today weather was clear blue skies all day and a little hot at 39C, 100F !!

I had a hot chocolate on the rooms balcony as the sun rose across the sea at Victor Harbor. After Breakfast we packed the bikes and set off east along Encounter Bay. We were able to follow a well signed cycle route called the Encounter Bike Route for 11 miles along the coast to Goowa. The route was made up of a combination of signed back roads with linking cross country paths.

We stopped for elevenses at a supermarket caf? in Goowa. Then north to the Wine fields of Currency Creek. Then back roads through quiet bush territory to Milang on the shores of Lake Alexandrina where we stopped for lunch at a caf?. The lake is a very large bay into which flows the River Murray.

We stopped for a sort of tea break at a winery near Langhorne Creek. The proprietress had a slight sense of humour failure when 3 of us ordered cold soft drinks. Martin saved the day By ordering a glass of red wine.

We continued to Wellington on the Banks of the Murray. The route there was through flat desolate scenery with dried up salt lakes. We stopped in Wellington for our second tea stop. It was by now past 6.00 and as Peter W was slowed by the heat I stayed with him while the others went on ahead to secure the Motel Booking.

The route to Talem Bend included a ferry crossing of the Murray River at Wellington.

69 miles for the day and 770ft of climb.

Edwin


remote Posted by Edwin at 11:05 PM EADT
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Friday 2 February.Leaving the Anchorage Hotel, Victor Harbor



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Friday 2 February. Martin and Peter on the bike path near Victor Harbor



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Thursday 1 February. Mclaren Vale to Victor Harbor.

Weather today was clear blue skies and temperatures up to 32C. Adelaide just up the road was 34C the hottest place in Australia today.

From Mclaren Vale we took the 5 mile paved Shiraz bike trail among vine fields to Willunger. We spotted at the end of the trail large numbers of White Cockatoos which conveniently stayed still for photos.

Then a long straight downhill on the Aldinga Beach road and some back roads to avoid the main road south before joining it for a long climb to 750ft. Then down to the town of Myponga for elevenses at a Bakery Caf?.

We continued SE on an undulating road to the town of Yankalilla for lunch at another bakery caf?. Then it was a long climb on the Inman Valley road to the head of the valley and we had a rest on the verge at the top to wait for Peter W.

Then a long gradual descent along the mainly dry Inman Valley with scenic views of parkland like fields dotted with large gum trees. Part way down we came across some very good tea rooms run by a Liverpuddlian who had been in Australia for 25 years who entertained us with his stories. We visited the Glacier Rock next to the Tea Rooms.

Further down Martin spotted a distant Kangaroo. There was some talk about Kangaroo shaped rocks but then it moved and 2 others hopped about among grazing Cattle.

We descended to Victor Harbor and checked into the Anchorage Hotel with a balcony room looking out on the sea across the esplanade and bowls greens.

48 miles for the day and 1856ft of climbing.

In the evening we all walked across the Causeway to the famed Granite Island home to a penguin colony. We saw 2 penguins among the rocks but then the area was closed for guided tours. Martin and Peter T decided to go back but Peter W and I joined the guided tour from 9.00 till 10.00.

After dark the penguins really came to life with territorial and mating calls and the guide showed many penguins to us in and around holes in the rock. At the end of the tour we saw 2 penguins very close to a path under a light. Cetain late night amorous Penguin goings on occurred. I got a few pictures with a time exposure when they were not moving about too much.

Edwin


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Thursday, 1 February 2007
Thursday 1 February. Riding the Cyclepath from Mclaren Vale



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Thursday 1 February. White Cockatoos



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