For Australian Cyclists travelling and touring OS
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I've been thinking about a tour of Patagonia for some years now, but planning a time and a route that fits in with work and family commitments has seemed problematic. But I have finally come up with a route which is slightly less ambitious than originally conceived, and I think this one just might be workable. And possibly I could temp my wife to meet me there with the prospect of trekking the Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National Parks. The Patagonian touring and trekking season is quite short. The time frame will be February - March to avoid the busy Xmas holiday period and to be finished before the colder autumn weather sets in.
So here's the plan:
Fly in to Santiago and on to Puerto Montt, then take the ferry to Chaiten (A).
Thanks to Chris, we are now able to embed an interactive Google map in a post using [googlemap][/googlemap] tags. Just insert the Google map link between the tags. Again, many thanks for that Chis.
The route is broken in several places by ferry crossings, so Google is unable to map the entire route in a single map.
The first section travels the Carretera Austral (Ruta 7) south to Caleta Yungay. From here it's a ferry trip to Rio Bravo.
From Rio Bravo a short section of Ruta 7 continues to Villa O'Higgins.
At Villa O'Higgins the fun begins, with a ferry ride to the Chilean border post, then a short but difficult overland section on a rough hiking track to the Argentinian border post. Yet another ferry ride across Lago del Desierto reaches the road to El Chalten. Then Ruta 23 and Ruta 40 continues to Puerto Natales and beyond, eventually reaching the Fin del Mundo. The total distance will be around 1500 kilometres, much of it on the unsealed roads known as ripio in South America.
If my wife chooses to go on trek, I'll plan to meet her in Puerto Natales for the trip home. A Navimag cruise up the coast back to Puerto Montt would be a pleasant way to conclude the trip.
Have a read of Andy and Fiona Blance's adventures along a similar route. They rode from Patagonia through the Pampas to Torres del Paine and then to Villa O'Higgins and the Carreterra Austral. They had some fun and games getting to Villa O'Higgins and getting across the lake, with an unfortunate end to their cycling.
They were using big tyres - Schwalbe Marathon XR 2.25" I think - and needed them.
Very envious of such a journey, it should be a great expedition.
Hmmm, yes, Andy and Fiona did it the hard way - there is a very good reason for going north to south, and that is to avoid headwinds and difficult uphill sections at the border crossing.
Recent journals covering this route seem to indicate that the road conditions have been much improved of late, but I won't be taking too many chances.
Perhaps I should call for expressions of interest in a group ride, but first I must devise a day-by-day itinerary to decide exactly how much time is needed.
"Fly in to Santiago and on to Puerto Montt, then take the ferry to Chaiten (A)."
i would recommend riding between Puerto Montt and Chaiten, its through a beautiful area of Chile, though you would still need to catch 3 or 4 ferries, i wished i had a bike with me when i was there last year, though i ended up taking the bus, the roads were generally always clear, with any other cars in very infrequent bursts, as it depended on when the ferries came, the roads didnt look too bad, but looking out along side the roads, were the lakes, mountains, and wilderness. its an amazing area!
Thanks benj - that is useful information. It's difficult to determine if there is an alternative way from Puerto Montt. I can see the roads on the map and assume they are joined by ferries, but how to be sure if and when they are running? I will consider whether I can fit the extra distance into my itinerary, that will be the determining factor. Originally I had planned to start in Orsorno and cross to San Carlos de Bariloche before heading south, however I just can't fit that into the leave I have available.
How far south did you go on your visit?
Hi benj - no, not yet.
Work and life has got in the way and I haven't been able to put together a decent stretch of leave to do it. Originally I was going to take long service leave, but then I decided to quit the company.
I'm reluctant to take leave without pay but it's looking more and more likely that I'll have to.
Definitely still the plan though.
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