A list of the most livable cities in the world has recently been published. Vienna is on 1, Melbourne and Sydney are on 2 and 3. In this blog we describe cycling from number two to number three. It is the last stage of our adventure down under. From Melbourne we first cycle south to Philip Island, then - often over old railroad tracks - to the east through Gippsland. After entering New South Wales we follow the coastline to the north with quite a few altimeters every day and without ever really getting up high: a lot of "up and down". Sydney awaits us at the end.
In contrast to the outback in Australia, the choice is huge when it comes to choosing a route out of Melbourne and that immediately leads to overchoice when we close the door of the Airbnb apartment in Melbourne CBD behind us in the morning. Do we cross this or the other bridge over the Yarra River, cycle on the F1 course of Albert Park or not, do we ride through St. Kilda or along the St. Kilda coast? Besides, there is some time stress: it is 85 kilometers to the ferry to Philip Island that runs twice a day, once at am and once at pm. The afternoon ferry leaves (today) at 2.35. Should be possible but we are likely to have a headwind the whole day. On the other hand we left early and soon enjoy the excellent cycle path (Bay Trail) along the coast of Port Philip.
Cycling from Melbourne via the Bay Trail
At Frankston we cross the peninsula and follow different cycle paths such as the Long Beach Trail, the Peninsula Link Trail and the Western Port Bay Trail. It is a wonderful day of cycling and well in time we arrive at the windy pier for the ferry. Luckily there is a coffee shop and we seek shelter and drink a cappuccino. The lady behind the counter scares us for a moment by telling us that the ferry is not sailing in bad weather, especially when the wind is too strong. We check the internet and it is true: with too much wind there is no sailing. We look outside and check the sea and see the foamy heads of the wind-driven rough waves. Oops!
At a certain moment we see a handful of people walking up the pier. We cycle behind them and are very happy when we indeed see a small catamaran sailing over those foamy high waves. It becomes indeed quite a boisterous trip and it gets an unpleasant character as at the first stop at French Island - where all (an estimated 10 'locals') fellow passengers alight - an army of mosquitoes flies inside. The rest of the crossing is dominated by a fierce battle between dozens of bloodthirsty, sneaky, and clothing-piercing mosquitoes versus the murderous hearttobeat duo: let's say that we are ultimately very happy when we can disembark.
There is a cozy atmosphere in the harbor village of Philip Island. The sun is shining and there are relatively many people on the street. Philip Island turns out to be a tourist attraction, according to the internet thanks in part to the "Penguin Parade": in the evening penguins come ashore on the east side of the island. To watch it, people can buy a ticket and take a seat with a thousand other tourists to catch a glimpse of a penguin in the dark. We let that spectacle, or actually lack of spectacle, pass us by. We cycle a little over the island and we are delighted to see another koala in the tree. Great fun! Less than 100 meters further we cycle past an entrance with a large sign: "Koala Reserve". Hahaha, so that one lives here in a kind of care home. We cycle across the bridge and down the island to the town San Remo on the mainland. This, absolutely non-Italian but quite nice village, is no longer on Philip Island and offers much cheaper accommodation options (funny how a 300-meter-long bridge lowers rates by at least 30%). The odometer has now gone over 100, it is getting colder and the wind continues to scourge us and after some consultation we choose the easy way: let's spend the night here in a motel with a takeaway pizza for dinner.
Bass Coast Rail Trail
A few kilometers outside of San Remo a cycle path starts again. The Bass Coast Rail Trail of 23 kilometers through the hills to the coast. Great cycling: rolling meadows with a striking amount of (Frisian) dairy cows, sheep and kangaroos, a lot of rabbits and a (probably spoiled) fox on the path and above us the scratch of magpies, cockatoos, parakeets and parrots in bright colors . After the cycle path we unfortunately have to cover approximately 45 kilometers along a quite narrow B-road into the wind to connect to another cycle path: the Great Southern Rail Trail. This path on a former railway cycles so nicely and is so varied that we ignore all possible stops and set up the tent after 50 km in the little town of Toora. The only drawback of this long cycling is that the next day there is only 10 kilometers left on this beautiful Great Southern Rail Trail. We thereafter find a short track path of less than 10 km on the road to the village of Yarram, where we drink coffee and cannot resist the temptation to try a scone. It turns out to be a somewhat tasteless compact white bun with a little cup of fig jam and whipped cream, which does not make it much better. This will not appear on our delicacy list.
Great Southern Rail Trail
After Yarram we cycle on a quiet road that for the most part leads through state parks. Roadside signs repeatedly warn of wild animals that can cross. We see many who have not made it across. A lot of kangaroos in a often far-reaching state of decomposition and with a disgusting cloud of odor around it and some of the gas-inflated wombats, lying on their backs without exception. The only living creature is the echidna (a big hedgehog) which, after hearing us approach, tries to dig in along the side of the road. Hoping that we can have a glimpse of that cute little nose, we stop and have a look but are immediately found by those oh so miserable mosquitoes. Quick back on the pedals again to Sale, a town that despite the name is not for sale and also does not have a Big Sale. It is Sunday and the stores are all closed. Except for the supermarket, thankfully. In the supermarket, as is often the case here in Victoria after cycling, we get really cold: the combination of open refrigerated show cases and totally tired cyclists is not good this time either. When we come out shivering again, we also see dark clouds approaching. We decide to cycle to a motel to find out if there is a room, but it is just too expensive for us. The sweet lady sees our disappointment and she throws the price down considerably further and also upgrades the room. The result: a great apartment / studio with super kitchen and…. Netflix! It is still slightly above our daily budget, but we cannot resist and succumb to temptation and flop on our couch a little later and watch a film with a plate with food on our lap before we fell asleep before the movie ends. Another day of cycling far, another day with a cold headwind, another wonderful day enjoyed!
After Sale we want to do a somewhat shorter stage and enjoy the lovely studio extra long in the morning and check out at 11 am. We hope - the weather forecasts have promised us that for a few days - with a breath of wind in the back. Unfortunately, that hope turns out to be vain, the forecast is again not reliable and the wind comes again from the opposite direction. The shortest route turns out to be a busy and quite dangerous highway, with the beautiful name the Princess Highway, and we don't like that very much. We joke that this princess has to wipe the dandruff from her "sholders" a bit better: it is full of loose pebbles, glass, branches and other junk. It often forces us to cycle on the road and that is not really safe. Moreover, we do not hear the traffic coming from behind due to the strong head wind, which sometimes leads to shock reactions when another hasty Sammy passes us with one or two decimeters of space between us. We see on the map that we can turn to a C-road after 15 kilometers. That makes today's route 12 kilometers longer, but everything better than this part of the highway from Sale. We end the day in Bairnsdale, a town of relatively reasonable size and the first thing we encounter is a Visitors Center. We have found a cycle path in our route app that starts in Bairnsdale, but we can't find any information about it. Does the cycle path exist? Yes and indeed a brochure has been made for it: the East Gippsland Rail Trail, which is almost 100 kilometers long. It looks great and we are already looking forward to the next stage.
At the campsite we are approached by Job. Job was 17 when he had to leave Noordwijk in 1956 to join his father, who had taken the boat months earlier, with his mother, brothers and sisters. After the six-week boat trip, he set foot ashore and, thanks to his father's "front work," he immediately started working the next day. For the first two years he lived with 18 people, his family and the family of his uncle, in a small house near Melbourne. But yes, better than the immigration camps where most Dutch emigrants ended up.
Job never dared to return to the Netherlands, because he was always homesick for his homeland and was afraid that he would never want to travel back to Australia, where he had built up a good life with hard work in floriculture. When his wife became incurably ill, they went anyway, but unfortunately had to return early because of his wife's health condition. "We cycled together in the Netherlands though," Job adds. She died seven weeks after returning. We talk further with Job and meet Nel, his second wife (also with Dutch roots) who also lost her husband at the time. Job is now 81 years old and still does not know if he should be happy with the emigration to Australia: his memories as a 17-year-old at the Noordwijk Beach are still intense, "and the beautiful girls there" he quips.
The life story that we hear about Job is unique, but stands not alone. Along the way we meet remarkably often Dutch emigrants who left the homeland in the 1950s. In downtown Melbourne we saw on a bridge full of immigrant statistics that there are 267,000 Dutch inhabitants in the state of Victoria, many of them still by birth. The story of Job, of others and of our own aunt Mary from Perth, makes us realize again how hard it was for these Dutch people to leave everything behind and sail on an old boat for six weeks and end up here in Australia to come (so often first in a relief camp), to ground, to work, to build a new life. Many families were torn apart in that difficult time after the Second World War by members who stayed behind, those who departed, this who returned and those who followed their relatives after some time. In Australia they (and of course the immigrants of other nationalities) were seen as foreigners, often quite discriminated and/or - as new, cheap labor - distrusted by the already present "English" population. But most Dutch people knew how to assimilate quickly and well: "it was adaptation or buzz off".
The East Gippsland Rail Trail is a 98 km long cycle path and we are celebrating today that we are crossing the 25,000-kilometer milestone on this adventure. Under the guise of "have fun with toilet paper" we put the paper numbers on the ground and quickly sprinkle gravel over them before they blow away. Fortunately we have the bike path to ourselves and we have all the time to take a selfie with a self-timer. In the middle of the bike path, stacking stones, putting a tripod on it, setting it up and running (back): after half an hour of "messing around" with paper and jumping up and down, we have a satisfactory result.
East Gippsland Rail Trail
We also take many photos and videos of the old timber railway bridges. They have been weathered and aged over the years and have certainly not been reliable for a long time, but the skeletons still look impressive. Unfortunately, the last bridge went up in flames in 2011 during a "bush fire" and a photo of the burning bridge can be seen on the spot. We are encouraged by the information sign to look for remaining rivets and other remains, but we are too tired to respond to this souvenir hunt / cleanup.
Fortunately we are sleeping again in the tent in Orbost. The campsite has a kind of covered barbecue space and we can cook reasonably sheltered, although on our own stove. We have seen a few times that there are asparagus, the green ones. We cook pasta and make a sauce from cream, Parma ham, Parmesan cheese and green asparagus. We have cooked far too much for the two of us, but as hungry cyclists we of course eat everything (and actually still need more calories).
Next morning Roelie stays infinitely long in the toilet. Harry starts looking troubled and then she just comes out the amenities block with a lady with Dutch roots again. Nothing wrong, just another smalltalk. The lady came to Melbourne 67 years ago and worked for a butcher. On Friday she delivered meat packages to customers (yes of course only Dutch immigrants). She did the round by bike and that was about 75 kilometers long. She knows what it's like to cycle with a packed bike and she wishes us a great continuation of our journey.
Next we have to go onto the Princess Highway again. The choice is no longer that big. It is whether you continue inland towards the capital Canberra or follow the coast (but unfortunately not the coastline) and continue on this highway. We do the latter and are pleasantly surprised that there is actually very little traffic on the highway and that the road is simply beautiful: lots of altimeters, lots of curves, lots of dense woods and unfortunately only a few possibilities to have a break. Actually, the only place for a break is the Bellbird hotel, which clearly had its best time and is apparently now for sale. The lady at the bar and owner is also of an advanced age and we hope for her that she soon can have a nice pension from the sale. Coincidentally or not: pretty much from the Bellbird hotel on, everywhere around us and all day long we hear a special and for us new, rather monotonous "ringing-bell-like-call" from a bird: indeed the Bellbird. While the lady of the hotel picks up her crossword puzzle booklet again, she pretends she knows a lot about weather forecast. Rain has been predicted, but she is pretty sure that it will remain dry today, "yes yes certainly to Cann River". Full of hope we go outside where the first drops fall down. The art of telling exactly what people want to hear, or something like that.
While it only rains a little bit now, we can already see that worse is coming again. When we reach the township of Cann River we see behind us and above us that we have been lucky and that staying in a motel would be a good idea. There is a campground, free of charge, but it is without a shower, hot water, drinking water and without camp kitchen where we can hide from the predicted and approaching crap from above. So again we check in at a motel with in mind that we might have to stay two nights because the weather forecast for tomorrow looks really lousy: storm, thunderstorms, hailstorms and cold. So we book an extra night if this expectation is still being delivered in the morning. This is how it happens and how it becomes: the weather is indeed awful and how nice it is then to have a roof above your head where you can make a cup of coffee or tea and heat the room. We are not allowed to cook in the room and maybe that is not so bad when we look at the very limited but high-priced assortment from the local general store. The motel offers affordable meals and we order a "homemade" lasagna, which is served in Australian style as if it were a piece of meat, where the main constituent are the fries, vegetables and salad that are served with it. A temperamental Italian would abhor this, but we cyclists are not that critical, are always hungry and enjoy it.
After these hopefully last convulsions of winter a perfect early spring day follows: plenty of sun, still a bit fresh and windless, at least that's how the day starts. Around noon - we have just crossed the border from Victoria to New South Wales - an unpredicted strong wind blows from the completely wrong angle: headwind. It doesn't make the 110 kilometer stage with 1300 altimeters easier, but it remains a beautiful day. About 40 kilometers before the goal of the day, the coastal town of Eden, a car with a folding trailer is parked on the roadside and two people seem to be waiting for us. They are our neighbors at the Toora campsite from a few days ago. He, Simon, 69 years old, is from Dutch lineage Dutch, speaks very 'Civilized General English', but he was only two years old when he came to Australia. She is Liz and together with their a bit timid but good dog they now live in Melbourne, after having lived in Canberra for a long time. We chat, say goodbye and predict that we will meet again later today at a campsite in Eden. Eden has three, but of course we meet each other again that evening at the same caravan park.
Simon & Liz
Eden is known for whale watching, the best months for that are September to November. We didn't know that, but on the rainy day in Cann River we had time to read and now we know. Before we go to the caravanpark we visit the Visitors Center and ask where, when and how we can see whales. There seem to be several lookouts around Eden where they can be seen and that is possible throughout the day. The road to the main lookout is steep, the lady behind the counter warns us. Well we are getting cold again and the prospect of a possible long seat on a windy corner loses it from the desire for a hot shower. We decide that we stay an extra day for whale watching and we book two nights. That will be three because that whale-spot day is a wonderful day. We walk along a lake full of black swans and other birds, we walk along the beach and through the town and plunge down at several lookouts. And yes indeed we see different whales even though they are somewhat far away for our iPhone cameras, with the naked eye good to see them and impressive. We want to experience such a day again and we have the time: we prefer to cycle 100 km a day rather than a 50 km half leg; so five more stages to Sydney, we calculate. Before we go whale watching on that (second) extra day, we first compete with each other on the table tennis table and the tennis court. The infinitely gallant Harry makes his wife feel invincible by closing the table tennis feast with 3-0 and stepping off the tennis court at 3-2. He let her win of course and / or else the fault in his shoe is to blame. Anyway, a wonderful day!
Direct north of Eden are two pretty nice towns: Pembula and Merimbula, which are connected to a cycle path. That is great because it means that we have to pay less attention to the speed of traffic on the Princess Highway. Later in the day we cycle on a quiet road through the Mimosa Rocks National Park. Occasionally there is a wallaby on the roadside that jumps in shock when we arrive silently. About 10 kilometers before Bergamui, today's goal, we leave the forest and get a view of the coast again. Our eye immediately catches the flapping tails of a whale with juvenile. At the "Blue Pool" in Bergamui we see even more whales and they are now swimming close to the shore. The Blue Pool itself is a concrete tank that fills with seawater as can be found in many places along the coast of New South Wales.
You will find creative letterboxes everywhere in Australia
The planned 100-kilometer stages to Sydney are more difficult than we thought. Certainly also because it is sometimes a bit boring and there's always a headwind. We go up and down hill and up and down, and the same trees are everywhere. We cycle long distances on the Princess Highway because alternatives do not exist. Neither in NSW do they sweep the shoulder of this highway so it is also full of branches, stones and a remarkable amount of glass from bottles, car windows, headlights and mirrors. We also see many pieces of car tire with sneaky iron wire as we know it from the USA and where we have had to stick a tire many times; we try to bypass them as much as possible. Sometimes the shoulder is completely missing and even though it is not that very busy with traffic here, it is constantly paying attention and looking in the mirror: the motorized traffic can overtake us at 100 km/h and usually does not want to hold back as the space by us in combination with an oncoming vehicle is limited.
We are therefore very happy with the cycle path from Narooma to Dalmeny and regularly stop to take pictures of the beautiful coast. Before we turn back onto the Princess Highway, a big iguana of at least one and a half meters cross the cycle path while being attacked by a magpie. The iguana runs up a tree and the magpie gets even brighter, probably his nest is in the same tree. It is a spectacle that will keep us going for at least half an hour but which doesn't get any more exciting than having an iguana hanging on the tree and a magpie that shrieks a lot, throws with twigs and regularly attacks. We're familiair with these attacks ourselves and we allow the iguana to steal the nest from the magpie. Oh that's really not nice to say! Well, the magpies aren't nice either, at least the males, at least less than half the males, at least during the spring...
Roelie cycles 'like an old newspaper' (literally translated from Dutch) because her calves are still protesting about walking and playing tennis in Eden. At some point, she blames the material: there is something about the rear wheel and she has no idea what. Nevertheless, she complains about the rear wheel to the management of Heart to Beat, being Harry. Screaming (she is far behind) she shouts that something is wrong. Harry looks at the rear tire and immediately pulls out two pieces of iron wire. "You have a deflating tire." That is a long time ago! Apparently the feeling of a slowly deflating tire was too long ago for recognition. Fortunately, we have not forgotten to replace an inner tube yet, that goes smoothly and we can continue quickly.
With about 20 kilometers to go to the intended camping spot, we arrive in the town of Moruya. Looking for the visitors center to get some more information about possible bike paths, a lady speaks to us. There is no visitors center, but there is indeed a bike path a little further away at the airport "and then to the left". But it is already quite late, half past four, we still have to go shopping and we are tired. We decide to spend the night in Moruya on the caravan park and to preserve the cycle path of supposedly a total of 35 km to Batemans Bay for tomorrow.
The next day we see no bicycle lane on the left at the airport. Just after the airport we take a road to the right, assuming that the lady may have confused left and right. That can happen to the best, we know from experience, because Roelie often confuses them. Harry's clue that the left is where the thumb is on the right does not help her so well. Anyway, we arrive at a nice trail through a coastal forest but after five kilometers it is unfortunately over. In the village of Broullee there is still a cycling / walking path along the road, but when that also stops, a small disappointment begins to arise. Up to Batemans Bay there is no longer a cycle path and the route runs over a wide road, although no highway, but here too the other traffic is allowed to drive 100 km/h. It is quite a deception because the rest of the day we also have to go over that # * @!-Princess Highway… However, we still see a possibility on the map: the old highway. The route is a little longer with slightly more altimeters, but if we "sniff around" on the internet, it seems like there is no cyclist who did this stretch. Hmmm, the question then is whether we are going to pioneer. We check with the petrol pump, which is about to be at the junction, and people know to tell us that it is an unpaved road that is much longer and that we really should not try. Ok then, we continue on the Princess Highway to Ulladulla, our day goal.
Nice (but unfortunately also short) start of our journey after the airport of Moruya
Pelicans waiting patiently behind the kitchen at the fish restaurant in Batemans Bay
At the Ulladulla campsite we look up in surprise when we hear monkey sounds. They don't have monkeys in Australia, do they? We find the origin of the noise and spot three thick fluffy kookaburras in the tree. We have only seen it once at a great distance in South Australia. Earlier today we have seen our first possum, the (in our eyes) cute raccoon-like creature that many Australians regard as vermin, as a sort of rat. Unfortunately that possum was again another road kill.
The next day we have another long hard journey ahead of us and we start half an hour earlier. We want to get to Kiama because we have an appointment there with the American Scott. We met him before, eight months ago in northern Thailand when we cycled in the opposite direction. Since then we have kept in touch and agreed to stop at a campground or caravan park so that we can chat a little longer this time. So that place to meet is Kiama and with 113 km and more than 1090 meters altitude it is by far the toughest leg of our five days to Sydney. Scott is already there when we arrive and we chat for hours that evening.
'Hang Loose' with Scott, with whom we shared a small but ridiculously expensive (AUS $ 66) spot
We share a (ridiculously expensive) camping spot with Scott and when we break down the tent the next morning, he quickly comes outside his tent and we continue our conversation where we left off. We are therefore a little later than normal on the saddle and Scott waves us goodbye and records our first climb (just like our arrival) with his camera. The first part of todays stage is a cycle route to Wollongong. The Warmshowers host where Scott spent the previous day has put it together for him. All we have to do is turn it around, but our route app has some difficulty with that: okay then we will read the route in the opposite direction. But apparently we follow that reverse route with a little too much enthusiasm and we almost end up at the front door of the for us completely unknown host. We recover and cycle on the "cycle paths" back to the coast. They are not real cycle paths, but pedestrian sidewalks that are constantly interrupted by side roads, entrances and exits and other undesirable things; nowhere do we have priority. Quite annoying cycling and Harry doesn't like this at all and becomes rather recalcitrant.
We try to motivate ourselves again at a coffee shop on the boulevard of Wollongong. That is also a perfect moment to further orient ourselves on the rest of today's route. The goal of the day is Bundeena but that is still very far with a lot of altitude meters and it's already getting late. We then find out that the Bundeena campsite is closed during the current low season and that is reason enough to reject Bundeena as its final goal. A little closer, there is a campground in the national park, but there is no water and it is not clear whether we can get there by bike. It seems intended for hikers and this option is also rejected. A little closer to Stanwell Park lives a warm show host. We call him and are told that he is visiting friends and unfortunately cannot host us. He advises us to go to the campsite in Coledale and that works out well for us because it is only 20 kilometers away and so it will be a relatively easy day today (or a tough day tomorrow).
Breakfast with a view at the campsite in Coledale
Slowly the weather changed. We have left the cold far behind in Victoria and meanwhile the temperature has risen to such an extent that the flies are back. Here, too, on the east coast, it turns out to be extremely irritating beasts. They fly in front of you for some time and look for the best place to land/attack. What will it be, eyes, mouth, nose or ears? The temperature is not only high, but it is also a lot more humid, the wind is improving and the clouds are increasing. Occasionally there is a drop of rain. But we will not be discouraged because after Coledale we get a lot of beauty: the Sea Cliff Bridge is a road built around the rock. It is a pity that we have to cycle on the left, the rocky side, which limits the view a little but is still very beautiful.
Not much later we cycle up the Bald Hill, a fairly long and steep (between 10 and 14%) climb with an amazing view of the coast and the Sea Cliff Bridge which is already far behind and below us. We soon realize that the road is popular with cyclists (and motorcyclists). We meet a lot of racing cyclists and we are overtaken by a few.
Sea Cliff Bridge
Looking back at the Sea Cliff Bridge from Bald Hill
Nice descent through the forest of the Royal National Park
After the summit of the Bald Hill the road winds through a beautiful old Royal National Park (second oldest of the world) with a winding good asphalt road through a dense rainforest. Around 11 am we reach Bundeena, the village where we wanted to arrive yesterday. Harry receives a call from an unknown number and answers. The man on the line introduces himself as Nolan and close friend of Bruce & Cathy; he would like to meet us in Bundeena. Bruce & Cathy, living in Sydney, we met four times in the outback and have surprised us time and again with hospitality, good advice, help and mutual ... yes how can we interpret this: 'cycle love'? Thanks to our tracker, Bruce has seen that we are close to Bundeena and quickly (from Albany, south of Perth) called his friend Nolan that we are on our way to his village. A few minutes later we are having coffee with him. He soon invites us to stay overnight and that offer comes as a blessing. We wanted to try to cycle to Henry in north Sydney but actually knew that that would not be achieved and the alternative purpose of a caravan park in the south of the metropolis was not really attractive (expensive and not good reviews).
Nolan is a talkative, interesting, world citizen with roots in Whales. He has worked and lived as an expat throughout the world, including in Rotterdam at the beginning of his career . With this enthusiastic man, with the heart in the right place and blessed with a good brain, we immediately feel at home. He is a stopped IT project- and interim manager and lives in a big house that he offers through airbnb. In that big house we meet his son Morgan and the Malaysian Daniel, who lives with him temporarily. We chat with Nolan as if we have known each other for years and with the musical accompaniment of Bruce Hornsby's 'The way it is' we say goodbye in the hope of meeting again someday.
A ferry leaves from Bundeena to the Cronulla district in southern Sydney. From there we cycle to the city on cycle paths, on quiet roads and sometimes on the sidewalk when the road is busier. It is a very beautiful day with about 25 degrees, less wind and plenty of sun. We end up in the shade and coolness of the skyscrapers of the CBD and cycle back into the sun at the foot of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Apparently more people think it is a beautiful day because it is incredibly busy on the square. We look for a place with a view of the Harbor Bridge and the Opera House and get a beer at the Opera Bar to celebrate that we have arrived in Sydney, our last stop in Australia.
In addition to the view of the opera and the bridge, we look at all the posing tourists. The Asian are the best. They have the best poses, weirdest outfits, thickest makeup and one girl plays a short tune and starts dancing fanatically several times, while her girlfriend films her. What is so nice about that? Well often the result is viewed immediately afterwards and the photo (or video) is disappointing and then they do it again, and sometimes again, and again. It is very entertaining and we stick for about an hour until we are told that it is not allowed to sit there with our bike. We take the ferry to the Manly district and call Bas, the brother of Roelie's girlfriend Adrianne. He and his girlfriend Karin have been living in Manly for 14 years and now have three children Izzy, Kiki and Fin. They happen to be home and we are overwhelmed with this surprising visit, but that seems no problem at all: the "no worries" culture at its best. Then it's a short bike ride to the Wheeler Heights neighborhood where our friend Henry lives.
Fast ferry to Manly
Karin, Bas, Kiki and a friend of Kiki's
Two months ago we met Henry at Kunanurra and although we generally did not cycle together as a group, we always stopped at the same places for a break and to spend the night. In those ten days, a warm friendship developed and the reunion is great. Finally we meet his wife Heide, son Oliver and daughter Jennifer about whom we have already heard a lot. We will stay with Henry for a few days before flying to Auckland, New Zealand. We are enormously 'pampered' and enjoy immensely these wonderful people and their wonderful house, which is visited by all kinds of beautiful animals in the morning and in the evening. Thanks to the large balcony of Henry and Heide, we saw a lot of possum's and a few bush turkeys at the last minute. Goodbye Henry and Heide, you'll be forever in our heart (and pssst Henry... see you in New Zealand ;)
We cycled in total 3 months and 7,000 kilometers through Australia, the 27th country on our worldbybike tour. Australia is definitely added to the list of favorite countries on this world bike trip because of the beautiful people we met and the ability to easily communicate with them. We have missed that in many other countries and reminds us that we have to spend more time in our Spanish Duolingo lessons in preparation for South America. Australia also means impressive nature with many special wild animals where the birds will probably stay with us the most, simply because they have accompanied us throughout the journey: the silent mighty birds of prey, the shrieking cockatoos, the incredibly colorful parrots and parakeets and of course the attacking magpies . We want to forget those other wings that fly, but love to land on our heads, as quickly as possible.
Again we get countless valuable memories to cherish and store in the gray cells. Fortunately we keep a blog ...