Our first reason for coming to Australia was to bicycle The Great Central road, Australia’s longest. At over 1000 miles of outback Australia with up to five days of riding between minimal services, it was right up our alley: requiring planning, adaptation, moderate risk and considerable but not extreme physical effort. The Great Central runs from the middle of Oz near Uluru, to the Western Australia outback town of Laverton, most of it dirt, rocks or sand, with minimal water and food availability.
Done. It took us five and a half weeks, a week and a half longer than we thought. Why? Because it was much rougher, much more of a challenge than we thought. Oh well. Things happen. We adapt, and people always show up to help when we need it most. We’re lucky that way.
We had expected to throw our bikes on a bus east across the Nullarbor plain to the eastern states. Guess what? No bus service, and you can’t even rent a car to go out of state without going to Perth. There is a luxury train that requires booking way in adance and costs $1800 AU each person. Uh no. Most people fly, requiring us to find someone to pack our bikes for flying… Uh, no
We decided to look into renting a car in Perth to drop off in Sydney, and balked at the huge drop off fee. One last shot. A backpacker simple camper van. Bingo! No drop off fee, and a reasonable cost for 29 days. We still had to take a commuter train to Perth to pick it up. Nice ride.. But a young friend of ours, Erika Waalkes, is doing a five month semester abroad, and we were able to meet her for dinner, a real treat.
Our first night of bush camping in a van instead of a tent went well, though the temperature dropped below 0C, freezing, and we had to do some major snuggling to keep Bob warm; no worries
We hope to get in some riding in the eastern states if it ever stops raining and flooding there, and visit some friends from our tandem ride around Oz 16 years ago.
We’ll let you know how this backpacking by van thing goes, but so far so good.
Check out these gray nomads who invited us over to enjoy their pig fire, and watch the Rugby quarter finals. Aussies are sport crazy, and they haul a complete sat system and a generator with them. They have been at it for 20 years, as long as we’ve been bike touring. Nice visit. Aussies are friendly.