New Zealand and Sydney to Brisbane
Brisbane Travel Blog› entry 39 of 86 › view all entries
October 16th, 2009 – by: roadtrampz
As time had been cut short we only had one week in New Zealand and decided to rent a car. We drove around, exploring waterfalls, national parks, volcanic landscapes, sitting in hot mud pools, washing in freezing rivers and sleeping on the roadside. All fine, but the best part of New Zealand, and also the main purpose of being there, was to visit Daren's family. We meet their newborn son and picked up our bikes which they had been kind enough to keep over the summer.
Eventually, in Sydney airport, we assembled our bikes for the first time. This was going to be fantastic, a much talked about moment. However we realized that what is much worse for mountain bikes than off roading along a beach or bumping into major potholes, is just to be left alone. Everything seemed to be broken and we spent a fortune in bikeshops. Me mostly, i felt, being lectured by big men on how to maintain a bike. Now my panier is tied on with a rope system invented by Daren. The inside of the bike clicks a lot from somewhere, mostly so, when we meet serious cyclists, who in turn find it hard to keep their eyes from wandering to the criminal bottom bracket.
Not much worry about the odd noise or wobbely wing mirror or wobbely bag though. We had about a 1000 km to do in 14 days. To begin with we off-roaded in beautiful national parks. We saw crock-sized guanas and very small kangaroos. We stayed either at stunning beaches or in eukalyptus forests. Unfortunately this sort of riding adds a huge amount of kilometers and as we didn't have the time we decided to stay on the pacific highway/ motorway which in New south wales appears to be were cyklists are supposed to be anyway.
With the highway though it became more difficult to find camp spots. We would ride on until darkness fell and then as we don't have biklelights and the highway is mainly a motorway we'd just have to make do. Once in some ancient, shrubby forest full of rotten branches that threatened to fall down in case a wind would blow and with ground that would no doubt flood if it decided to rain, another time on the high edge of a swamp 2 meters from the road. Both places seemed to be guarded by their own army's of large ants and small spiders and we had to take it in turns to cook and to be on creature watch. Daren did appear a tad paranoid to me about the small spiders. Surely the poisonous ones would be fat ones, easily visible or at least easy to feel if they made their way up you leg, i thought. I was somewhat stunned when we did find a red-back spider in a bike shop. It was so small and looked like any other little house or wood spider... apart from that very red back. Rumor has it, it can kill you.... And the white back which we found under our tent one morning is the same, all small and insignificant, until it lays eggs under your skin and small spiders crawl out. According to aussie legend anyway....
But the ride was nice. We averaged 83 km pr day, encountered no major headwinds and had mostly sunshine. Only problem was that Daren's back wheel rim suddenly split and cracked, leaving him with an un-rideable bike. Luckily in this part of Oz nothing seems to difficult. we camped up in a nice spot, enjoyed an afternoon of and then hitched 30 km into the next town the following morning. Jim who gave us a ride was fantastic. He was about 50, had a very nice, white leather interior car and a skateboards in the boot. He saw no issue in putting our oily bikes, our scruffy bags and us into his nice car and to drive us to the bike shop. That seems to be the Aussie way though. Incredibly helpfull all the time!
During this ride we had one day off in Byron Bay which was lush. It's very laid back. So laid back so a lady in a gallery pointed to three brown dots on a black canvas, one looking mostly like a very abstract depressed cow and almost tearfully declared "That is Australia"...??? After about a minute or so:"You must FEEL the pictures" as she must have noticed my instant confusion. hm.....
But it was very nice. Our only paid for accommodation since Sydney and therefore also the only shower that didn't involve stealing Daren's clean socks to use as a flannel.
Anyhow, we arrived in Brisbane just in time to find bike boxes, get hugely ripped of by quantas airlines and to get on our 17 hour flight to Bali, with a nice 7 hour city stop over in Kuala Lumpur to look forward to.
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