A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Margit&Uwe
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A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:19 pm

Hallo Australia Bicyles Forum,
we are couple form Germany, who likes to flee the next european winter for 2 months. We both are on pension, so we are flexible.
Our plan is to bring our tandem and a small trailer for our luggage with us and tour through parts of Australia.

Until now, we only decided for the periode, which is between January and March 2022 (hopefully Corona is not anymore a dominating subject).
We have to make a roundtrip, as we need to leave the case for our tandem back in a hotel or other place. This place must be next to an airport or we need to rent a car. The case is not very large and could be easily put into a car (0.8m x 0.8 m x 0.5 m). So renting a car is an option.

I already visited Australia twice for business reasons (Sydney) and spend 1 week in the blue mountains and the seasie north of sydney with a solo bike. I enjoyed the area very much. For a 2 month periode, that area (Sydney) might be a litte bit too hot? The kind of nature (seaside, mountains) would be ideal. But we donot know?

We are able to ride on tarred road and also offroad, if the road is not too bad (bigger stones, deep sand). The bike has a suspention fork.
We have a tend with us and like to stay on campgrounds, Hotels, etc. Also wild camping is an option, if allowed.
We can regulary go around 80 km a day, depending on the attitude, we have to make ( 800 m is ok for a day).
Our plan is to ride 2-3 weeks and then have a longer rest on a nice place.
We are able to follow a track on a Garmin and are able to handle a Garmin device. Our plan is prepare a track in advance and the follow this track in Australia. We might change the track in Australia, if necessary.
We already visited Canada, USA, Cuba and most of the european regions with our tandem (we are riding tandem since > 30 years).

We do like green nature, animals, seaside, ... we donot need cities, we hate big cities. We like small towns, speak with people, etc. As much as possible, we like to avoid big roads and traffic (Our first idea was to visit New Zealand, but we understood, that the traffic there is awfuly).

It would be great, if you could give us suggestions regarding the area, which is best for us and if possible also some hints regarding tracks, hotsports, must sees, etc.

regards

Margit & Uwe from Germany. :D

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Thoglette
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Thoglette » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:23 pm

Firstly, the standard response is: check out crazy guy in a bike as the standard reference for touring.

Secondly, each state has different rules and attitudes to cyclists. I’m sorry to say that metropolitan NSW is about as bad as it gets (thanks 2GB!)

Thirdly, Australia is enormous (same size as greater Europe or the US) but sparsely populated outside the major cities (WA, which is four times the size of Texas, has perhaps 200k people outside greater Perth+Peel region. Take out Albany and Karratha+Headland if you need to).

So you need to pick what you want to see.

Related to that is climate: almost all parts of .au have times of the year you really don’t want to be there. Darwin in “build up”, Perth in late summer, Victorian forests in bushfire season etc.

Personally I’d suggest somewhere waaay “out back”, starting and ending at the most remote place you can get your tandem to. You’ll need to be set up for unsealed roads (no skinny tyres) and carry more water and comms (5W UHF CB + perhaps a satellite phone) than you are used to. But other than that most roads (and tracks) are well trodden (see my first point), if just not often.

This side of the rabbit proof fence I’d suggest looking at (parts of) the Munda Biddi trail and the southwest. Or the Kimberly.
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:20 am

How about flying in to Canberra? You could then ride East to Braidwood (87km) and over to the coast at Batemans Bay (another 62km). Then head south down the east coast of NSW, down to the Great Lakes / Lakes entrance area of Victoria. Then there are options as to which way to return to Canberra depending on your time frame?

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:35 am

Thanks for your replies.
2 months in Australia are 6 weeks cycling, 500 km a week ==> 3000 km as a first guess.
Australia is large, and there is also Tasmania. There is an idea, if we should spend some weeks on Tasmania. Is Tasmania good for cycling and a good idea?

Flying in to Melbourne. Touring some weeks in the "region" of Melbourne. The second part of our stay is a trip to Tasmania.
Is this a plan, we should work on. Is January-March a good time for this region? How long should we spend on Tasmania-Island?
What are some places and tracks we could ride "around" Melbourne?

We also had a look into the Munda Biddi trail. Great. I think, we cannot ride all parts, but some. But can we combine Munda Biddi with Tasmania. Bicycles, especially Tandems, on trains in Australia?. In Germany, no problem. We also could rent a car for a 1 way trip and drive from one nice place to another and avoid boring areas.
Our tandem fits into a car. We are able disassemble the bike.

regards MargitundUwe

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:38 am

Hallo Thoglette,

I do have difficulties to understand this part:
Personally I’d suggest somewhere waaay “out back”, starting and ending at the most remote place you can get your tandem to. You’ll need to be set up for unsealed roads (no skinny tyres) and carry more water and comms (5W UHF CB + perhaps a satellite phone) than you are used to. But other than that most roads (and tracks) are well trodden (see my first point), if just not often
Could you please explain, most probably my English is not good enough.

regards Uwe

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby bychosis » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:00 am

January to March is the hottest time of the year. I’d suggest staying coastal as much as possible. Far north Aus will be in the wet season, so that would not be recommmended either. It would be very draining suffering a few days of 35degrees plus.
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby RonK » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:19 am

Having toured in both Australia and New Zealand, I can tell you it's a mistake to assume traffic in Australia is any less terrible than New Zealand. Personally my choice would be New Zealand South Island. I've been four times and will go again.
Otherwise you can easily spend a month or more in Tasmania.

Here is a link to my Tasmania journal on Cycleblaze. It contains lots of useful information. You will also find my New Zealand journals there.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/intasmania/
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Mike Ayling » Thu Apr 15, 2021 7:52 am

Tandems on trains.

If you fly into Melbourne there is a ferry to Tasmania which you used to be able to ride your bike straight onto the car deck but all things change so you should check whether this still applies.

Victoria has one of the best country train networks in Australia but is very sparse compared to your homeland.
The problem with tandems is that the bike spaces on the trains are single bike size only so you have to either split the bike using S&S couplers if you have them or remove both wheels and mudguards/fenders.
Melbourne suburban network however has a large space in each of the motor cars dedicated for wheelchairs but only the section behind the driver is reserved for wheel chairs so the other areas are open for bikes and you can wheel your tandem in there quite easily.


Mike
Last edited by Mike Ayling on Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Thoglette
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Thoglette » Thu Apr 15, 2021 8:34 am

Margit&Uwe wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:38 am
Hallo Thoglette,

I do have difficulties to understand this part:
Personally I’d suggest somewhere waaay “out back”, starting and ending at the most remote place you can get your tandem to. You’ll need to be set up for unsealed roads (no skinny tyres) and carry more water and comms (5W UHF CB + perhaps a satellite phone) than you are used to. But other than that most roads (and tracks) are well trodden (see my first point), if just not often
Could you please explain, most probably my English is not good enough.

regards Uwe
Sorry - too many colloquialisms!
Way out back - somewhere remote, away from the cities (and city traffic)

Skinny tyres- 23x700c (vs, say, 48mm wide tyres)

Comms - communication. 3G/4G coverage is poor once away from population centres and major roads. UHF “CB” (citizen band) two way radio is the default alternative, used by farmers, miners, truck drivers ( “truckies”) and retired people touring with caravans (“grey nomads”).

Does that make a bit more sense? (Your English is much, much better than my German, by the way)
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Mike Ayling » Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:43 pm

I live in Victoria so I am biased towards it but there is a lot that you could see in four to five weeks.

January is peak holiday season and accommodation will be both hard to find and expensive. For this reason I would avoid the Great Ocean Road at this time as there will be a lot of traffic at that time but by all means ride it in February or March. Take a Vline train to Warrnambool and ride east.

We have a number of long rail trails which are worth riding. The surface is usually crushed rock which is fine unless there has been a lot of rain in which case they can become very sticky.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_to ... Rail_Trail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vic ... Rail_Trail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Gippsland_Rail_Trail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Southern_Rail_Trail

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Country_Rail_Trail

This is one of our journals in Victoria. Once you have logged in to Cycle Blaze you will find our other journals using Vline trains to get to our starting point.

https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/oceania/

Enjoy your visit!

Mike
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Fri Apr 16, 2021 5:38 am

Hallo Mike,

thanks for your comment. I locked into the links, you send to us. Regarding vacation, accommodation your suggested is to avoid January, correct? That is an option for us. But then we will be touring in Victoria and Tasmania in February and March. Will the weather be ok in this 2 months. Lower temperatures are ok, even better. If we have not a lot below 20 C during the day. it is very ok. But we donot like rain on the bike.
And Tasmania, is March to late?

Hallo Thoglette,

my problem was not the words, I didnot get the meaning behind. Was you suggestion to rind with the bike into the outback. For some very limited days, we like to do that, just to get an impression. We like adventure, but limited adventure. We understand, that Australia without outback is not enough. Correct?
We will come with 26" wheels and limited profile. Deep sandy trails are not possible, as 2 people are on 2 wheels on a tandem. Just to make it concret: Please suggest a track in the outback, which you whould suggest to us.

Munda Biddi trail, pictures of the trail are fascinating. May be, we need not to make the whole trail. But the trail seems to be full of nature, animals, flowers, which es excellent or us. What is the disadvantage of the trail?
The trail is far from Melbourne. I guess, there is no way to combine Victoria and the Munda Biddi in 2 months (Without Tasmania) . Am I right?

Thanks very much

Uwe

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WheelsOfChance
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby WheelsOfChance » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:33 am

As people have said January to March is the hottest part of the year in Australia.

Not trying to scare you at all but you can get significant rain on the east coast of Australia in March as we did this year; bushfire can also be a problem. Just something to be cognisant of.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_East ... ian_floods
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%8 ... ire_season

Tasmania would be a good choice. While you can get temperatures of 36C+ this time of year in Tasmania, however temperatures are likely to be in the low 20Cs.
https://sites.google.com/view/have-bicy ... an-sojourn

Rural Victoria has lots of back roads and rail trails (compared to NSW) so is a good place to consider too.
https://www.railtrails.org.au/trail-des ... s/victoria

A mountain bike or bicycle with wide tyres (54mm+) is usually recommend for the Mundi Bindi trail. Mundi Bindi is in Western Australia so you'd need to fly there if you were going from eastern Australia.
https://www.mundabiddi.org.au/home
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby P!N20 » Fri Apr 16, 2021 11:55 am

Seeing as you need to do a round trip, could you start in Melbourne and catch the ferry to Tasmania while the weather in Victoria is still at its hottest, spend a month riding around Tassie, then ferry back to Melbourne closer to March when it should be a bit cooler? Then spend a few weeks riding around Victorian country towns before heading home.

If I'm still in my current house then, I'm happy to look after your bike box.

I don't have any experience of the Munda Biddi trail, so can't really comment.

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:27 pm

Hallo PIN20,

this is a good plan to follow:

1. Fly in to Melbourne end of January.
2. Spend 4 weeks in Tassie
3. Return end of February to Australia
4. Spend 4 weeks riding Victorian country towns.
5. Fly home end of March out of Melbourne.

Now we have to go in details. My impression is, that there are lot of Infos available regarding Victorian county. Regarding Tassie, I have not seen a lot. Do you have a link for me, where I should start collecting informations.

Thank you very much for offering us a place, where to leave our bike case. If you are still in your house, we will like to use that opportunity.

regards
MargitundUwe

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby WheelsOfChance » Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:57 pm

Hello Margit & Uwe
Your plan sounds good. There are lots of write-up of cycling through Tasmania as it is a very popular destination. You should be able to google up lots of options e.g.
http://travellingtwo.com/resources/australia/tasmania
https://www.biketas.org.au/maps_and_routes
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby australiantourer » Fri Apr 16, 2021 10:26 pm

Munda Biddi in WA appears to have slipped off the shortlist of possibilities, and I think that’s appropriate. It’s a very challenging track and not at all suitable for a tandem, in my opinion. I spent two days following it on my heavily laden mountain bike, and it was no fun at all. I abandoned that plan and quiet happily followed quiet country roads to the same endpoint. One month for Tasmania seems like a long time unless you want to do things other than cycle touring. It’s a small island. I rode from Hobart to the west coast and around to catch the ferry at Devonport. I know that Tas is promoted as the perfect place for cycle touring, but I found the roads in general to be hilly and narrow with more traffic than I wanted for a quiet ride. I recall situations taking to the gravel verge because a car was approaching in front and behind and the road was barely 2 cars wide — I wouldn’t want that situation on a tandem. Re trains in Victoria, you will need to use the trains that have guard’s vans as your bike is too long for the standard ‘velocity’ trains. The Warnaambool train is no problem, and I would recommend a ride that started by riding north from W, perhaps aiming roughly for Harrow before swinging east or north east. You will pass through lovely undulating redgum country on quiet sealed country roads. Plenty of free camping options out there. The sealed road through the Grampians is a delight. It won’t take you a month if you are not leaving Victoria. You could consider swinging north through south west New South Wales, maybe through the Riverina district. Prevailing winds are more often from the south or south west or west in Victoria. NSW west of the Great Dividing Range is a cycling delight. With lots of time available, just get out there on the backroads and see which way the wind is blowing and make it up as you go along. You don’t need a masterplan. Try to avoid catching a train in NSW with any bike at all, let alone a tandem, as they will almost certainly require you to box it as though you were at an airport.

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:27 am

Hallo australientourer,

Munda Biddi in WA: unfortunately is off. I think, we would have liked evetything aroud the Munda Biddi (nature, animals. etc) , but not the trail itself with Tandem, trailer and luggage.

Regaring Tas: As we donot book Hotel, ferry, campground etc. we plan stay in Tas, as long we are happy in Tas. What is a periode, which we should consider? 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks. We plan to cycle on Tas and have some resting days on the seaside. Will it be possible to swim in the sea in February?

Victoria and more on central island: Our intension is to have a list of possible twons, tracks, hotspots etc. and plan on the tour with komoot our way for 5 days is advance. Is Komoot known in Australia (https://www.komoot.de/discover). In europe, I can use that to plan my track very good even during our rides with a samtphone. But all this tools need useres in the destination countries. Otherwise, the programs have no data and headpipes available). Which planing tool for tracks do you use in Australia when you are on tour and what to motify your track? We are using Garmin edge for Navigation on the bike.

To plan tracks on the fly, we need that list of must see places. You already started with such a list:

The Warnaambool train:
why do we need a train. What should be the starting trainstation and to which town should we go?

I would recommend a ride that started by riding north from W, perhaps aiming roughly for Harrow before swinging east or north east.
Could you give a some more details, towns roadsnames, so that we find it on the map?

You could consider swinging north through south west New South Wales, maybe through the Riverina district

Could you give a some more details, towns roadsnames, so that we find it on the map?

Unfortunately, al lot of questions. Sorry.
I appriciate all your comments, suggestion. Thank you very much. You are invited to Germany or Europe and I will do my best to give you good support. Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, .. nice countries to visit.. after Corona.

regards

Uwe

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby WheelsOfChance » Sat Apr 17, 2021 7:16 am

Komoot is known in Australia. I have used it to plan a few routes in NSW. I also use Google Maps cycling option. Google Maps sometimes give some sub-optimal suggestions. However I do use the Streetview option to check the width of verges especially if I have to travel on a busy road.
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby P!N20 » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:27 am

Margit&Uwe wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:27 am
Regaring Tas: As we donot book Hotel, ferry, campground etc. we plan stay in Tas, as long we are happy in Tas. What is a periode, which we should consider? 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks. We plan to cycle on Tas and have some resting days on the seaside. Will it be possible to swim in the sea in February?

I’d say two weeks minimum, but if you wanted to include the west coast I think that increases to three or four weeks. The west coast of Tasmania is rugged and sparsely populated, quite the opposite to the east coast! Beautiful in its own way though.

Yes, swimming is definitely possible in February.

The asterisk to all of this is if international arrivals will be allowed in without isolating then, otherwise you’ll need to add two weeks to your itinerary! That will make your planning difficult as there hasn’t been any indication of when restrictions will be lifted...as far as I know.

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby RonK » Sat Apr 17, 2021 8:41 am

Margit&Uwe wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 5:27 am
Regaring Tas: As we donot book Hotel, ferry, campground etc. we plan stay in Tas, as long we are happy in Tas. What is a periode, which we should consider? 1 week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks. We plan to cycle on Tas and have some resting days on the seaside. Will it be possible to swim in the sea in February?
If you go several posts back and read my Tasmania journal, you will find detailed information about Tasmania including a link to an excellent brochure with maps and various itineraries.
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby baabaa » Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:23 am

Hello and some good points here.
Just my thoughts and yes to Tasmania but consider fly into or WA on the way in or out instead of touring Vic
Suggest arrive Perth and cycle down the coast to Albany and back up say via the Muir or Albany or Great Southern Highways
At Albany park the bike and hire a car and drive to and from Esperance ( it is a long ride by bike if time is short) which has many day trips to the east and north - You will get to see the start of what we call "the bush" and the start of the outback
While Victoria is good biking it is lots of town to town via highways, with cars... if you like biking in Aust you could always come back and do more rides in Vic and NSW suach a s the coast but I highly recommend Esperance to European visitors - you don't need to go far from the town to see some "wild" and magic places, it is one of those places people need to visit.

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Sat Apr 17, 2021 6:39 pm

Hallo to all,
thanks for all of your replies.

Corona is a questionmark to everything in our life. we know.

May I ask some questions to baabaas remark:
Just my thoughts and yes to Tasmania but consider fly into or WA on the way in or out instead of touring Vic

Suggest arrive Perth and cycle down the coast to Albany and back up say via the Muir or Albany or Great Southern Highways

This is approximately > 500 km oneway. Could you please give us a short impression regarding the country, we will cross? Farmland, pure nature, hilly, flat, woodland, ..? Is February and March ok to go there?

?? what is WA?

At Albany park the bike and hire a car and drive to and from Esperance ( it is a long ride by bike if time is short) which has many day trips to the east and north - You will get to see the start of what we call "the bush" and the start of the outback

?? so you suggest to hire a car in Albany and take the bike and us to the town Esperance. From there, we should cycle. We have approximately 4 weeks time to make a round trip from Esperance. What are the must-sees in that area? "bush" and "outback" sounds excellent.

you don't need to go far from the town to see some "wild" and magic places, it is one of those places people need to visit

I like this sentence. This is exactly , what we are looking for. We do have nice towns in Germany, France, Italy, Spain. Pure nature is very limited in Europe. You need to go very north in Europe or very east, but there is very often a problem with the weather (Norway). Very wet and cold.
Getting "real nature" was the background idea, why we took Tas into account.

While Victoria is good biking it is lots of town to town via highways, with cars... if you like biking in Aust you could always come back and do more rides in Vic and NSW suach a s the coast


We do like biking in the nature , instead town to town via highways, with cars. Do we find campgrounds, Motels, etc. in the region around Esperance, if we go for a 4 weeks trip starting in Esperance? We also like to stop for a 1 week "holiday" somewhere on the seaside in a hotel. Which area would you suggest to suggest for this "holiday". We like to rest and bath in the sea.

I donot understand: "If you like biking in
Aust
".

Sorry, again a lot of questions. Thank you for your answers.

regards

MargitundUwe

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Mike Ayling » Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:18 am

Can we swim in Tasmania?

https://www.seatemperature.org/australi ... a/tasmania

Cheers

Mike
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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby baabaa » Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:30 am

Hello again
You will see farmland, magical coastlines and beaches from wild oceans, some vineyards and lots of sheep and cattle on the coast and vast cropping the further you go inland. The birds and wildlife are impressive and if you like ancient world plant life you will see remnants of this by bike - plntas you dont see from a car.

I don't live in Western Australia now but did so for a few years and while the distances are big it has lots of things to see and do if you do it at bike pace. Some parts look like Patagonia, some lush parts and others like a wasteland of salt lakes.

"Sometimes" it is better for overseas visitors than the locals to describe the trips they do as they see things clearly ----
This site may help give you a better idea of biking in WA- ( Western Australia) with European eyes
He has done much more riding in Australia than most Australian ever will.
Please have a look and maybe even contact Koen direct for his thoughts?

https://bike-a-way.com/tag/australia/
Lots of links to the sections of his rides supported by great pics and reports on roads and traffic.

and for some pics see this
https://www.alltrails.com.au/the-great- ... -tour-2021

Also, do a search on this site for aushiker as he has done a lot more riding in WA that I have, he also has a website... https://aushiker.com/.

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Re: A couple on a tandem asks for advice for a 2 month stay in Australia

Postby Margit&Uwe » Wed Apr 21, 2021 4:56 pm

Hallo,
thanks for all the interesting posts.
We are now preparing 2 plans for our trip to Australia:

1. Melbourne and Tasmania

2. Perth and Esperance

We are wondering, how to prepare a 3-4 weeks around Esperance. Why? The area seems to be very wild and very different to Europe, which we like. What are places and roads, which we should and can bike. We can go offroad, if the street is not do difficult. We will have 26" wheels and suspension fog. But we are an tandem with trailor.
Will we find campgrounds, supermarket, etc, Hotels?
We are very keen to cycle in the area of Esperance, as this area seems to be very different to Europe. But we are a litle bit afraid to arrive in the center of no return. :D :D :D

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