The Savannah Way, Normanton to Burketown being my favorite stretch
The Gibb River Road in the Kimberley region
Kakadu National Park, for its rich aboriginal culture, spirituality and spectacular beauty
Karijini National Park, for its colorful landscapes, rich aboriginal culture and the breathtaking gorges
To see and do:
Trek the Daintree rainforest
Visit the lava tubes in Undara Volcanic National Park
Litchfield National Park
Kayak and trek to discover Katherine gorge in Nitmiluk National Park
Stop at Daly Waters pub on the Stuart Highway
Hot Springs in Mataranka
Snorkel in Coral Bay
Trek in Kalbari National Park
Living in Australia for the last 8.5 years, I spent most of my time in the south-east parts of the country. I was based in Sydney but traveled to Melbourne and Canberra a few times as well as driving the great ocean road with friends. I cycled a fair bit around Sydney and the surroundings, visiting the Hunter Valley and cycling to the top of Mount Kosciuszko. I wanted to cycle the far north and been researching for a while before I made the decision to cycle all the way back to my original home in Canada.
After quitting my job in Sydney, I caught a flight to Cairns where the journey began. I didn’t really feel like cycling the East coast and wanted to spend most of my time in the Northern and Western parts of Australia. Planning my journey, I knew I had to do this stretch during the winter months so the temperatures wouldn’t be ridiculously high and the rain wouldn’t cause floods making roads impassable.
Australia is a hot and dry country, especially the north and the west. It is a real challenge for cyclists, even if you decide to stay on the main roads and highways. You can always stop cars and ask for water or food if you really need to but I’d recommend carrying your own… least for a day or two so if a problem occurs like fixing a puncture in 40 degree heat, you can rehydrate and keep you energy level high. I was told stories from grey nomads rescuing cyclists that were dehydrated and delirious. Do not under estimate the climate and distances, they are the toughest and longest you can get on the planet. When venturing off the beaten track, I carried up to 20 litres of water and up to 3 weeks’ worth of food. Unless being within 30 kms from a main town, I carried at least 10 litres of water. Priority number 1 was to get enough water before departing. Get enough of it do you can drink and cook for at least a day.
The best breakfast for me was rolled oats with nuts and dried fruits. I tried quick oats, quinoa and quinoa flakes as well as muesli bars but they didn’t sustain me as long as the rolled oats did. Muesli was also good. Try soaking the oats in water (add powdered milk if you want) overnight, just before going to bed. In the morning add the nuts and fruits. No need to start your cooker and boil water for your breakky! Unless you’d like to have a hot cup of tea. For lunch I usually had tinned tuna/chicken/ sardines with wheat crackers. Dinner was varied; pasta, mash potatoes (those powdered ones like Deb), lentils, couscous or rice. I carried a lot of spices; light to carry, doesn’t take much space and adds heaps of taste to food. I also carried a wide range of tea, always great after a days’ ride and watching the sun go down. During the day, I nibbled on a number of things; muesli bars, crackers with Nutella or peanut butter or honey, nuts, chocolate bars or fruits when I had some – apples and oranges mostly as they can stay good for a couple of days. I tried not to carry too much jarred stuff as it is heavier to carry and vegetables as they perish really fast apart from carrots.
Bush camping is very easy in Australia. Simply pick your spot really. Western Australia has less shade so picking a camouflaged spot could be more of a challenge. Some rest areas are excellent and offer toilets, but in general rest areas are a good place to spend the night. Campgrounds can be expensive for cyclists especially close to major cities.
Below is the route I took in Australia. If you have any questions, please fire away!