1000 Miles of Outback Australia by Pushbike


P1010581bFirst Bush Camp

We left Alice with three days worth of water and five days of food. The bikes are very heavy and a challenge to control the first day even on bitumen. Hills and headwind didn’t help anything. Elevensies (late morning snack in Australia) helped. By late afternoon we were knackered and found a quiet acceptable spot for bush camp, built a quick little fire and put our first billy to boil, set up the tent and were chowing down on beans, tinned chicken and raw yam and two cups of tea laden with sugar and milk powder.P1010590b



The MacDonnell Ranges

The MacDonnell Ranges are a bit like your average SW linear range, turning redder as we head west. Not spectacular, but lovely, a more mellow Four Corners. Long straight road with many small hills making our heavy bikes very very slow, at least mine (Bob). We were getting accustomed to the handling of the Ritcheys on the second day, and hope they handle well on the corrugations to come. We will see.

Glen Helen Homestead

After one night bush and two hard first days, we’re camping at Glen Helen Homestead. We had steak and kangaroo last night, a glass of wine for Claire and a XXXX Bitter for me. We’ll try and get some water carried on the track so we don’t have to carry a full three days of water on the coming very bad hilly track. And we’re a week away from beginning the real difficulty, the Great Central Road.

We were well-and-truly shocked to find internet here, there are no wires, but there is no cell signal. Go figure. It will be three (we hope) hard days to Kings Canyon from here, and we don’t know what we’ll find there. We’re maybe a week from Uluru.

We met a French girl Julie, who is working at the homestead to save up for further push bike travel. She’s come a fair piece and has no end in sight. Two blokes arrived late, one French, Clement Thiepel (afleurdeselle.wordpress.com) and one Aussie, Matthew Harris (arctic-cycler.com) both wih around 38,000 ks under their belt in the last two years. They have each been in some of our favorite places, Ladakh, Central Asia and Tibetan Sichuan. Claire has there names and will insert here later; their blogs are great reading.



Sturts Desert Pea, one of Australia's mose beautiful flowers. Large.

Sturts Desert Pea, one of Australia’s mose beautiful flowers. Large.



1000 Miles of Outback Australia by Pushbike — 5 Comments

  1. Thank you Bob and Claire for writing this beautiful blog.
    We’re about to start riding (on bikes) the Great Central Road – from Laverton (Perth) to Yulara and then on towards Townsville on the Plenty Highway. Not easy as you’ve described but so much looking forward. Your stories make me want to leave tomorrow instead of mid April..

  2. We loved the Plenty on our year long trip around and into the middle of Australia. You’ll find that here also. We started in Cairns and got on to the Plenty via the Urendangi cutoff. You should find the Plenty much easier than the Great Central, but still very remote feeling. You might want to read that section of our year also though we were going the opposite direction and it was like 19 years ago! Oz has changed a lot since that first trip, but we’re still besotted. Will you be posting?

  3. Thanks Bob! We’ll be using Twitter for infrequent updates of our trip: @zwerffietser
    That means wandering cyclist in Dutch :-).

  4. Hi Claire and Bob. Thank you for sharing! I loved the pictures and descriptions. Your interaction with the young woman in Laverton was both heart-wrenching and uplifting. We camped next to you in Wetmore CG during the eclipse. I hope all is well with you both. Do you have an adventure planned for this year?

  5. I had a total knee replacement seven weeks ago. Not knowing how that would go we didn’t plan anything. Its going extremely well, I’m able to bike, even up to 3,000 ft. elevation gain yesterday, and 103 miles a couple of weeks ago. I have cataract surgery in two days, and may do another medical check up later since we are in Tucson at least through July. After that we’re not sure, maybe some motorhome travel in the Four Corners, with bikes of course. You probably remember Mark and Sandy Doumas who shared our campground. We biked with them Saturday. Hope all is well with you.

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