All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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Hi everyone I am an 18 year old American and ever since I rode across America, touring Australia has been in the back of my mind. I want to do it this summer (winter for you) but I need some help. I have all needed gear, but i don't know weather, where to start/finish, elevation issues, everything! I would like to ride near/along the coast (best part of Australia) but ocean everyday is not needed. I have been along part of the east coast but I really don't know a lot about what the land is like. Any websites about touring down under or routes would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
I am doing a fair bit of research myself with the goal of a round Australia tour starting from Sydney about this time next year. Whilst I have not done a great deal of touring and don't ride off road at all, here is some info that may assist you.
For weather information you should check out the Bureau of Meteorology website www . bom . gov . au/climate/averages. This site has good info on temperatures and wind patterns in particular. Most people would tell you that riding around Australia in an anti-clockwise direction is the way to go and you must cross the top of Australia (Northern Territory) in the dry season ( March to October)
Most of Australia is pretty flat so elevation is not much of an issue except when going through/over the Great Dividing Range near the east coast. You can map out your route on websites such as www . bikely . com and this will show you elevation profiles.
If planning to ride across the Northern Territory and Western Australia and also accross the Nullabor Plain water is the biggest issue to consider. Towns in the outback are few and far between and so are sources of fresh/clean water. You must plan your trip very carefully in these areas. Again www . bikely . com is a good tool to use for planning your trip.
One book that I have found very helpful is "Cycling Outback Australia" by Craig Bagnall and Nikki Brown. I have seen this book in several bike shops so i am sure you could buy one fairly easily.
Hope this helps you get started on your research. I'm sure you will get lots more advice from others on this forum.
Welcome to the forums and good luck with your plans. Just to add to the answer already given:
I suggest you check out BicycleWA which is a Western Australian based touring site and the journals section of crazyguyonabike. You can search the later by country etc.
If you want lots of green scenery, you could try the east coast, but it could be cold in winter on the south end.
If you want a mix of both, you could try the West coast. The south west corner does not get so cold and may cyclists from Europe tour in winter here.
Going up the coast would get warmer and more remote, but give you a chance to see the remote outback, then up into the tropics to Darwin.
If you want lots of towns, I'd stick to the East coast as some parts of the North West can be quite remote.
There is only one BicycleWA.
Check DownTheRoad - an American couple who toured Aus last year. Met them in Castlemaine, Victoria on a Melbourne Bicycle Touring Club ride
You must do the Great Ocean Road. You can catch a train from Melbourne to Warnambool (~4hrs?), then spend 3-5 days riding coast to Geelong then train (or ride 60+kms of freeway) to Melb, or ride to Queenscliff (beautiful), ferry across to Sorrento (lovely), then follow Port Philip Bay coast back to Melbourne, including the famous Beach Rd cycle training route (nice).
We have some great railtrails in Victoria: Lilydale (Melbourne suburban train) to Warburton (wineries, valleys, hills) plus heaps of others.
Bicycle Victoria may be another good source of info. By the way, it will be winter here- it could be a bit wet, windy and cool along the coast
Older Americans need help picking a route around Australia.. Not supported.. Tenting, or what ever. Need any and all adice we can get, along with where we can purchase Cycling maps, what is the best airport or area to fly into? We have plans on staying in your GREAT Country a few months.
My wife and I have cycled across the USA three time plus a cycling trip from Montana, to Alaska. We have used Adventure cyclings maps for most of our trips with great success.
Any and all advice would be appreciated..
I would be glad to help anyone cycling the USA.
Last edited by Jerry S Smith on Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
Thanks for the note:
At this point we would just like to see the COUNTRY and meed the REAL people of Australia.. Biking 50 to 80 miles a day all on paved road if possible. We are thinking Jan 2009 ... Is this a good time of year to TOUR in Australia ? What type of lodging or camp site could we expect to find ?
What you must remember is that Australia is about the size of the lower 48. It is also closer to the equator. For instance, Perth, WA, is at about the same latitude as Houston, TX, or San Diego. Most of Australia is north of this latitude.
January is the middle of summer in the south and the wet season in the north. Suitable touring areas for this season are southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, southern South Australia and the south western corner of Western Australia. It is best to avoid northern Queensland, the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia from October to April. The best time to tour the north is from May to September.
For lodging most small towns have a motel and a "Caravan Park" at which you may camp.
If you plan to ride any distance from the coast (and, in some areas, even if you are near the coast) then you should plan to carry at least 4 liters of water per person per day. This is especially true in South Australia and Western Australia.
Welcome to the forum - and to Australia ......
January in Australia is bloody hot mate. Exadios said 4 litres of water per person per day: I'd say double that is needed, at the very least. When I was working in Kalgoorlie in summer, I'd go through 6 litres without even doing any exercise - that was just being outside watching others do work. Granted, not everywhere in Australia is as hot as Kalgoorlie (38-45C daily in summer), but you're going to be exercising so you need to keep on top of your hydration.
Depending on how long you intend to stay, I'd concentrate on touring a region rather than the whole country. SE Australia has a lot to offer in a relatively compact area. Tasmania would be my first choice, but it's very hilly and the weather is changable. SE Oz has most of Australia's population (I'm including NSW in this) so you'll find plenty of towns to stop in and resupply as needed. (I can't say the same for Western Australia - it can be hundreds of km between towns and literally no place to get water between them.)
You will find it quite safe to camp in bushland outside the settled areas. By carrying a tent, you free yourself up to really see the landscape and live in it. So don't feel compelled to plan your trip to stop in a town each night.
If you can choose another time of the year to tour, your options open up a lot more. Winter in Australia is really the best time to see most of the country on a bike. Yeah, it might get a little chilly in the SE corner, but nothing compared to your winters in the USA. Snow is a rarity anywhere except on the highest ranges. It doesn't drop below freezing anywhere else in Australia. You can even cycle in the top end during the dry season (our winter, your summer) because the temperatures are managable and the roads are dry.
(PS - you are already conversing with REAL Aussies .... )
Thanks to all of you who have responded to my inquiry. Any and all help is appreciated. My wife and I ride a tandem and have pulled a B.O.B. as we crossed the U. S. I have also ridden to Alaska from the lower 48, but admit to a great deal of ignorance about the: best airport to fly into and time of year to tour Australia, good cities to begin from and which direction to cycle out of it, etc. Since we are retired, we have the luxury of being able to spend 60-90 days with you. We would want to tent at least part of the time. Is that a safe idea? We aren't that interested in big cities, but would need to be able to resupply with water and food. We just want to enjoy seeing your beautiful country and meeting your people.
Jerry S. Smith
Presumably you will be flying in to the east coast of Australia. This would mean that you would have four possible entry points: Cairns, QLD, Bisbane, QLD, Sydney, NSW, and Melbourne, Vic. These entry points are on the east coast and range from the north to the south of Australia. Other than that the best airport is the one that is closest to the departure point of your tour.
In 60 to 90 days it is possible to ride across the continent, from Sydney to Perth, WA, for instance. The most difficult portion of this tour would be the Nullabor crossing from Ceduna, SA, to Norseman, WA. There are a couple of discriptions of Nullabor crossings at crazyguyonabike. The months of March and April would be the best time to make this crossing.
It is safe to camp out in Australia and many people do it.
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