Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Leg 2: Alice Springs to Port Augusta

This update is on the phone, so it will be rather brief and somewhat free of pictures, I'll do a proper blog in the near future.

Here's the breakdown of the 7 days since Alice Springs:

Total kilometres: 1251km
Average per day: 178.71km

Leg 1 and 2 total: 1520 + 1251 = 2771km
Total average: 153.94

Day 1 Alice Springs to Erldunda - 205km
PB day with an unbelievable 205km. Combination of fresh legs, a downhill section to start and a tailwind to finish.

Met a woman in the campsite at Erldunda with a pet Raven that was just sitting on her shoulder.  She rescued it when it was young and it was too dependent on her to be released. Lots of people travelling with pets in their motor homes, usually dogs though, who normally look like they are having a whale of a time.

Day 2 Erldunda to Rest Stop Camp - 135km
Brutal day of headwinds from start to finish. Actually did really well to do 135km.

Crossed into South Australia which immediately had a different feel to it as the road signs and rest areas were of different designs. It seemed less organised than the Northern Territory. Very cold night was a sign of things to come in South Australia.

Day 3 Rest stop camp to Bush camp (passing Marla) - 187km
The 120km to Marla was a long way with absolutely nothing in between. The surrounding scenery was becoming increasingly baron.

Day 4 Bush camp to Coober Pedy - 175km
If the heat was the problem in the Northern Territory, it was becoming clear that the wind and cold was to be South Australia's challenge. It was amazing how quickly it turned cold once in South Australia. This day was really windy and a little rainy as well, which made it very cold. With no shelter whatsoever for 175km, having a rest was extremely difficult. The wind was making things very cold and stressful.

It was so windy that the crosswind was making riding in a relatively straight line a tiring challenge and my left side and shoulder were aching at the end of the day as a result.

No bush camping today.

In the end I had to make it to Coober Pedy because I forgot about the fact that the surrounding countryside had all been mined at some point and was dangerous from open mine shafts that were unmarked. A wild camp would've been pretty risky.

My underground hostel in Coober Pedy was creepy but comfortable. The town itself was quite unique and famous for opal mining.

Day 5 Coober Pedy to Rest stop camp - 172km

More relaxing day with light winds and good weather. So much nothingness for one day however, that I had to put some music in my ear. Miles and miles of nothing, it's sort of a wonder in it self. So vast and uninhabitable is much of the land in Australia.

Met a young Finnish couple in a rest stop. They had an interesting mechanism for camping; a tent that attached to the  top of their car which they climbed a ladder to get into. It looked very comfortable.

They had just come from Port Lincoln where they had done a Great White shark dive.

Absolutely amazing night sky. I have never seen the stars and the Milky Way so clearly. This is the benefit of being part of the nothingness.

Day 6 Rest stop camp to Pimba - 202km
Coober Pedy to Glendambo was the longest stretch without any people or services at 253km. I had done the majority of it the day before, but still had 84km to polish-off.

The nothing of outback South Australia.

There was an outside chance I could go right through and make it to Pimba -another 115km further on - and I managed it in the end. It was a painful last 40km, mostly uphill.

Day 7 Pimba to Port Augusta - 175km
Met another interesting character on the road, a chap from Switzerland who came to Australia to push a shopping trolley full of his stuff from Darwin to Adelaide.  Very nice guy, but couldn't get away from him, he obviously was starved of people to talk to.  He told me that since he started that he met about 30 cyclists doing the route.  Considering how much earlier he would have had to start, this is probably the number riding the Stuart Highway this year.  The majority would have been going from Darwin to Adelaide or vice-versa, I wonder what percentage were Japanese?

I really suffered from the day before (and probably from the whole week of silly daily distances). The last 15km into Port Augusta was straight into a stiff headwind, a cruel sting in the tail. However, I made it! Coast to coast, North to South through Australia in 19 days (including one rest day). It's now the home leg to Melbourne to go. Let's hope for a smooth journey back with some westerly winds.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Leg 1 Summary: Darwin to Alice Springs

So 1550Km down, about 2500Km to go!  Well, I can tell you that I did have some doubts 2-3 days in, and contemplated calling my contingency target of Adelaide very early on.  However, I hit my stride on day 4 and haven't looked back since.  From about day 6, I pushed hard to make it to Alice Springs for about midday so I could sort out a few things and have a relax, as well as booking a trip to Ayers Rock for the following day.  I made it into Alice Springs at about 11.30am on day 11 of the cycle. That worked out as a daily average of about 140km a day.  Perfect.  However, with the day off to Ayers rock, I will be about 5km behind schedule for Melbourne in 30 days.  Haha, pretty much on schedule really.  I have a couple of days leeway also.

Here is a quick breakdown of the approximate numbers on each day:

Day 1:        157km
Day 2:        125km
Day 3:        90km
Day 4:        135km
Day 5:        145km
Day 6:        145km
Day 7:        157km
Day 8:        143km
Day 9:        178km
Day 10:      150km
Day 11:      95km (by midday to Alice Springs)

Day 9 was a big one and a new PB for a day on the bike.  It gave me the time I needed in Alice Springs.

Coming off the plane

To say the least, I was a tad nervous about getting my bike off the plane in Darwin.  Firstly, because I hoped it was in one piece and nothing lost; and secondly, putting it together again in the airport.

I managed to find a spot outside to put it together.  I had a few little issues, but persevered and got it all put together and packed in about 3 hours.  Relieved that the bike was all in good order, I headed north for the only time in the trip to get the sunrise at Nightcliff Pier and then get some provisions at Woolworths (a supermarket in Australia).

Summary so far

Day 1

- Dingoes howling in the night
- Meeting some fellow bicycle tourers, 4 young Japanese guys (not the last of the Japanese).
- Meeting a chap from Colchester, who was driving a campervan around Australia with his wife (he was a dick though).

Day 2

- The conditions started to take their toll on me.  Daytime temperatures were starting to exceed 35 degrees, and the vastness of the country and the unending road infront of me really sunk in.

- First wild camp; no snakes or other creepy crawlies, just beautiful stars at night and and a great sunset and sunrise.

Day 3

- Seeing the Aboriginals of Katherine, a real eye-opener, as I mentioned in an update.  They seem to be very good at loitering, but I saw none working.  The White population lived a completely different life in the same town.  Many many problems with the aboriginal population in Australia it seems, they are an absolute mess.

- Nothing worked in Katherine; toilets and air conditioning out of order, no water in the supermarket, and a queue at the check outs that had to be seen to be believed.  I went to a coffee shop to make some calls and make sure people knew I was alive, using the wifi.

- Had a nice chat with an Aussie couple at a free camping area.  They travelled in their campervan with a pet cat and a pet magpie, odd combination, but they were both very nice.  He gave me a multi-tool so I could hammer my tent pegs in and said I could keep it.  It has come in very useful ever since.  He also passed me the next day on the road and gave me a cold coke and a bottle of water.  Legend.

Day 4

- Made it to Mataranka, the capital of the Never Never, and the home of some very large termite mounds.  Amazing things, there are so many here, they are almost as big as the trees sometimes.

- Met a couple of Irish girls - in different places - in the middle of nowhere, working.  In fact, throughout the whole trip so far, I have met many young Westerners on working holiday visas and/or working for citizenship.  They have been placed in some far-flung places for sure.

- Spoke to an old Swiss guy who said he saw a Japanese guy skating down the Stuart Highway once.  He was Japanese, so I wasn't surprised, they love this place.

- Stayed at a fantastic outback campsite/hotel, Aussie outback through and through, and very eccentric.

Day 5

- Hottest day yet, but came through it strong.  Confidence started to build that I could actually make it all the way to Melbourne.

- Went to the famous Daly Waters pub and had a magnificent Barramundi burger.  It was huge and delicious, and I'm sure it gave me a boost for the second half of the day.

Day 6

- Biggest headwinds of the trip so far, but again, came through it.

- Went through a very dodgy little town (Elliot), had the feeling it wasn't a good place to be around at night.  I arrived when it was brutally hot through, everyone was inside.

- As I paused on the side of the road for a drink and woman stopped on the opposite side of the road, got out of her car and said, "This might seem like a stupid f#@king question, but which way are you going, towards Alice Springs or Darwin?"  I replied, "Alice Springs".  She then curse, "Oh, f#@king hell, I bloody knew it, I've been going in the f@#king wrong direction for a f@#king hour and a half!" "Thanks anyway".  I told her that if she is ever in doubt that the sun rises in the East and travels over the the road and sets in the West, and seeing as the road runs almost exactly North to South (and it is always sunny), it is a good way of checking your direction.  Still, I chuckled after she left, but paused to think how gutted I would have been if I had cycled in the wrong direction for an hour and a half.

Day 7

- Stopped at a campsite, but didn't stay there.  The owner gave me a cut price coke and a cool bottle of water in exchange for me writing what I was doing in his visitors book.  The book had tales of all the other bicycle tourers that had passed through over the last couple of years; most were doing much longer journeys than me and Australia was just part of their journey.

- 3rd wild camp in the bush was the worst; lots of ants and spilled all my dinner in the dirt!

Day 8

- Went through another dodgy town with ots of aboriginals, this time Tennant Creek.  Every shop was locked-up like Fort Knox.  I did a quick shop at a supermarket and got out of there.  Later at a free camping area a woman told me that when she was there a couple of hours earlier a couple of aboriginal women got into a fight in the street.  The way she told the story was very funny, in a very thick Aussie accent with lots of body language.

- Had a 90km section with no stops and no shelter from the sun, and also with quite a strong wind.  In the heat of the day with no shade, it wasn't much fun.

- After that horrible day, I met some lovely people in their campervans in another free camping area.  One lady offered me a cup of tea, and with the biscuits I had bought earlier, I relaxed and felt right at home.  Another kind lady offered me the use of her shower in her van.  Now normally, I would have refused out of politeness, but after 4 days without a shower and an incredibly hot and arduous day, I gladly accepted.  It was so good.  Such adventure really make you appreciate the simple things in life, like a cup of tea and a shower.

Day 9

- Windiest day so far, fortunately not quite a headwind, just a hint of it, but mainly right across me.  Despite this, I stormed the day with 178km.  Just what I needed to make it to Alice Springs in good time.

- Visited "The Devil's Marbles", a collection of giant red rocks.  Got there at sunrise and no one was there, very nice.  Northern Territory tourism fitted a satellite dish there to get wifi so people could share pictures, so I shared one on Facebook.

"It's dignity!" (If you get this joke, you're a legend).

-  Saw two more Japanese cyclists; one was on a fold-up bike and dragged his suitcase for it behind him on wheels.  He had a big Aussie flag on the back also.  I should've bought a Union Jack and done the same.  The second guy was much friendlier and gave me his business card (as East Asian men seem prone to do), I looked at it carefully and asked him questions about his work (I didn't learn nothing in Korea).  He was travelling incredibly light, I assumed he must have support or be doing the route very fast.  He didn't speak much English so I spoke a little Japanese to him as well as pigeon English.  Grand total of 7 other bicycle tourers seen, and all Japanese.  What's going on?

- Saw a dingo in the bush! Ticking-off the list of Aussie animals nicely.  Hopefully I'll see an emu at some point down the road.

Day 10

- After the monster previous day, I struggled through 150km, but really had to fight.

- Met "Crazy John", a man from Geelong pushing a 200kg cart from Cape York to Cape Leeuwin.  That is the most north-easterly point in Australia to the most south-westerly point, safe to say an absolutely epic journey.  He was doing it at 30km a day!  All this and I think he was well into his sixties.  He was doing it for Leukaemia research, but had done many long journeys like this before, this being the most epic.  From what he was telling me, he faced some huge challenges along the way.  I was very fortunate to catch him almost exactly halfway through his journey.

- Met the only idiot of the trip; a roadhouse owner who wouldn't fill up my water bottles, but told me to buy water at $5 a bottle.  I told him I was cycling and that I drank an awful lot more than the average Joe coming into his shop, he didn't care.  Moron.  An English guy working there on a working holiday visa snuck out a bottle of water to me while I was thinking of paying, nice guy.  He also passed me later down the road and gave ,e another bottle.

Day 11

- Smashed 95km to Alice Springs by 11.30, absolute result.  This gave me time to grab some more supplies, write this blog, make some calls, charge various pieces of equipment, and switch the front and back tyres on my bike around, as the back was starting to wear and I was worried it might wear down too much over the next leg.

Day 12

Ayers Rock tomorrow!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Quick Pre-Alice Springs Update

Since I last updated on here I have been making excellent progress. The last 5 days I have done no less than 140km a day. Could arrive at Alice Springs a day early, which would be amazing.  Still have 3 days hard cycling to do it though, and it has been into a partial headwind all the way.

I have managed to average about 135km a day since the beginning in Darwin, so quite pleased.  Seem only to be getting stronger as well.

Haven't taken many pictures with my phone, but thought I'd add the couple I do have. Trying to conserve battery. 

Mostly been bush camping and staying in rest areas overnight, so I spent almost nothing on accommodation. However, I am eating a crazy amount of food, which is pretty much my entire budget at the moment. 

Anyway, I can't hang around. Have to make a push for Alice Springs,  and with that comes a day off, a bed, and a day trip to Ayers Rock. Looking forward to time out of the saddle. 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Update 2

Day 4

Managed to find wifi at a bar/campsite, so a bonus update.

Hard day yesterday after Katherine. Largely uphill and an annoying headwind made the going tough, and with the temperature soaring, even tougher.

Met an incredibly nice old couple at my camp that night. They gave me drinks (and the next morning when they passed me on the road) and the gentleman gave me a multi-tool with a little hammer, which was very useful for knocking my tent pegs in.

When chatting, they both really disliked aboriginals, and to be honest, after seeing them in Katherine and Mataranka I can kind of see why. I've seen none doing any job so far and they are the scruffiest, dodgiest, and dirtiest people I have ever seen, and I'm not just saying one or two, but all I have seen so far. It just seems like their culture is completely out of step with the modern world.

Managed a good day today. The road flattened-out and the winds weren't as strong.

I seem to be meeting a lot of young Europeans working in tiny shops in the middle of nowhere either working holiday or trying for citizenship.

Met an old Swiss man who came to Australia by boat when he was 20. He often travels around every winter. He told me he once saw a man rollerskating down the Stuart Highway. He was Japanese (of course he was). The Japanese seem to be quite prevalent doing stuff like this.

Made it to a nice little campsite to finish the day. Had a wash for the first time since Melbourne. Their bar felt very authentically outback. Nice relaxing evening chatting to other campers.

Sunday, 7 August 2016


11.30am Day 3

Arrived in Katherine pretty much on schedule, no dramas so far.

My enemy at the moment is the heat of the sun. It's the coolest time of year at the top end but it is still hitting 35 degrees. Can't wait to get further south to escape it a bit.

Met some other people cycle touring and bizarrely they were all Japanese. 4 travelling together and one solo like me. Also extraordinary is that the first person I spoke to at my campsite on day one was from my home town in the UK, Colchester. He was a soldier stationed there.

It is amazing how vast and uninhabited this country is and I haven't even hit the really deserted areas yet. The Stuart Highway seems endless.

The night sky is already beautiful and should get even better. Dingoes howling in the night and cooler temperatures after sun down make the evenings very nice indeed.

Anyway, all good so far, these updates will be very quick as I have many more miles to go.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Long Red Road Ahead

The first leg of my Australasian adventure is shorter, but by far the tougher of the two (at least cycling-wise).  I've set this as a challenge, both a physical and a mental one.  The journey will take me through some of the most arid and baron landscapes on earth, with very little in the way of creature comforts or even many towns to pass through.  To get to Melbourne in the desired time frame (approximately 30 days), I'll need to average about 130Km (that's just over 80 miles) a day.  Seeing as this is my first long cycle tour, I have set myself a contingency target of making it to Adelaide if I have any problems, which works out at a much more leisurely 100Km a day.  Given my practice runs, though, I am pretty confident of making it all the way to Melbourne, barring any disasters.

I'll be arriving in Darwin in the early hours on the 6th of August and I have 35 days until I leave for New Zealand, so I can't dawdle along too much.  30 days is the target so I can have some much needed rest and relaxation in Melbourne before I go.

As far as side trips go, two stand out, and those are Katherine Gorge and Ayers Rock. I will only visit them if I am on schedule.  This trip is all about the challenge, my trip to New Zealand is more about travel and a serious amount of hiking (my first love). However, I obviously would like to get to these places, but I'll have to hit my targets. Katherine Gorge is only 29Km off the Stuart Highway, but visiting will use up a day and Ayers Rock is a massive 267Km side trip, which I certainly won't be cycling to. Luckily, another one of Australia's major attractions is on the way back to Melbourne and I'll be riding on it, i.e. The Great Ocean Road.

Other than that, the vastness and nothingness is part of the appeal of this ride.  The simplicity of life for a month should be both a source of hardship and relaxation.  I have a daily target to hit, one singular focus for the vast majority of the time.  My worries, aren't money, work, or traffic jams; they are where to camp, finding enough water, eating enough food, and staying safe.  These are the basic concerns of primitive man before life became so complicated, and much of Australia - especially the middle - does have this almost primordial feel to it.  I am looking forward to the night sky, sunrises and sunsets; the real basic, often overlooked benefits of living nomadically and off the grid.


It's going to be the simple life for me for the next month on this trip.  I have a small, inconspicuous one man tent that will be my shelter for most of the time.  Sometimes this will be just pitched in the bush, out of sight in the wild, or at roadhouses with some amenities on offer.  If I am really in need of a proper bed, I can occasionally treat myself to a room at roadhouses, hostels, or other places of accommodation along the route. After the longest section without civilization - Coober Pedy to Glendambo (255Km) - I certainly may be tempted into this, and at Alice Springs also.

Weather and other conditions

The only time of year that I could really ride this route would be in the winter, as the temperatures in the red centre of Australia can regularly top 40 degrees celsius and sometimes hit 50 in the summer!  Not ideal weather for cycling, especially when water is scarce.  The flies at any time of year other than winter can be incredibly irritating as well.  Bush flies have to be one of the worst things about living in Australia, they can be extremely vexatious, even in Melbourne, so I can't imagine what they'd be like in the middle of the outback.

Even though it's winter, I still expect the days in the Northern Territory to top 30 degrees, and in the far north the nights may be sticky also.  However, this will quickly give way to warm days and very cold nights under the clear skies of central Australia, with the climate behaving more like desert conditions.  Of course, as I get further south the days will slowly turn colder and I can expect some chilly days cycling back to Melbourne along the southern coastline.  I visited the Great Ocean Road and camped near the Twelve Apostles with my mum back in January this year (the height of summer), and it wasn't exactly warm then.

A chilly Twelve Apostles, even in summer.
All this means that I have to take more than just board-shorts, a vest and a bit of sunscreen.  I'll need the sunglasses, shorts, and protection from the heat and sun, but I also need warm clothes and a very good sleeping bag.  To give you an idea, it got down to - 5 degrees in Alice Springs this month.  That was especially cold, but below zero is certainly possible in central Australia at night.  It is actually a good thing as it is frost that kills the flies.  I'll take a few cold nights if it reduces their numbers.

August is the dry season in the Northern Territory, so I am not expecting much rain at all, especially after a couple of hundred kilometres south of Darwin, but I may again see rain after I hit the southern coast.

According to the sweet and inspiring lady I met on the train, who has done a lot of cycle touring in Australia, she reckons I am doing the trip the wrong way.  She thought I'd be more likely to hit headwinds going from Darwin to Melbourne than vice versa.  I will be praying for the wind direction to blow my way because headwinds are the curse of the cyclist and winds blow very strong in Australia.  They are quite changeable through the middle, but I'm hoping that I won't get too many wind-blasting days struggling into the wind.  Once I start turning east along the southern coast - where the winds can really blow - my days could be radically affected by the wind direction.  In my limited experience of living in Victoria, it does seem to me that westerly winds are the stronger ones and with any luck these will push me home with a strong tailwind.  I do remember watching the easterlys almost breaking Mark Beaumont on his trip along the south coast, however, on his documentary for the bbc (see the video below at about 7mins onward for his Australia section).

He did it in summer though and across the Nullarbor, much much worse for lack of contact and trouble with finding and drinking enough water, and also headwinds too.  He was quite unlucky with the headwinds, they could have just as easily blown in the other direction and given him an extremely easy ride.  The old lady, previously mentioned who I met on the train, actually did the Nullarbor herself, except with a huge tailwind (she did her research), and she told me that she hardly had to pedal for large sections of the journey.

Dangers and Concerns

As well as the sheer distance, there are other obstacles to overcome.  Such a journey does come with some dangers, which are very real, but with sensible precautions, can be somewhat mitigated.  Every time you get on a bike you are relying on the car behind you not hitting you, for example, there is no such thing as a risk-free life.  I'm no house cat, sometimes you need to take the chance of life outside the box.

Getting Lost

One problem I shouldn't have is getting lost, especially from Darwin to Port Augusta (about 2700km), as I am literally on one long road for the whole time, i.e. the Stuart Highway.  And even after that, my weekend run-outs have taught me that the relative emptiness of Australia is actually quite helpful in a way because there are only so many roads, especially the sealed ones, which I intend to keep to for this trip.

Food and Water

There are issues with cycling the Stuart; accommodation, food, and water are sparse. For most of the journey down the highway, roadhouses and places to find food and water come about every 100Km, but the longest section is about 270Km of nothing. Obviously, I have to be careful to stock up on food, but especially water when the gaps between resources are as long as this.  This means more weight on the bike, as I predict I may need to carry as much as 12 litres of water on the longer sections.  On leaving any water source, I intend to have at least 8 litres on the bike before I go.

Road Trains

This is my biggest safety concern.  My only weapon against these monsters is a mirror. I don't intend to take the chance of them seeing me and giving me enough clearance.  If one is coming up from behind, or even in-front, I'm off to the side of the road for a break.  The gusts of wind and plumes of dust they create alone can knock you off-balance on the bike.


Some of the towns I'll be passing through are remote and home to some fairly eccentric people, so I hear.  The crime rate in aboriginal communities is also quite high, and I'll be passing through a few of these.  I am actually passing through the town (Barrow Creek), where a mechanic called John Bradley Murdoch kidnapped a British couple, and killed Peter Falconio while his girlfriend Joanne Lees managed to miraculously escape.  The rather disgusting gorefest horror movie, "Wolf Creek", was inspired by these events.

What can I do?  Be vigilant, take two wallets, lock the bike up well or take it inside shops and other places if I need to, get insurance, and hope for no bad luck.  Nothing much has happened that's really bad since the aforementioned incident, which was back in 2001.  I'm sure I'll be fine.


Personally, I think this is one of the more overstated dangers of Australia generally, but also of travelling through the outback on a journey such as this.  Basically, stupidity is the main reason most people get into trouble with animals.  That's not to say there is no risk, but significantly less than what one might imagine, especially in the imagination of the average Brit with no experience of Australia and with all the crazy scare stories of the animals in Oz that the media perpetuate over in the UK. (This article is a common example).

Crocodiles - there are two kinds in the Northern Territory, freshwater and saltwater. The freshies are nothing much to worry about, but the salties are the killers, and they have attacked and killed campers and fisherman in the recent past.  However, it is the dry season now, so they won't be very far down river.  I should be well away from them after just the first day.

- Snakes - is probably the biggest animal danger, although it is still highly improbable that they'll give me any problems.  I have lived in Melbourne for 2 years and I have only ever seen one, and I regularly get out into the forests and parks for trail runs and hiking. As with spiders in Australia, you just have to be aware that they might be hanging around in certain places and just proceed with caution.  Most snakes in Australia will want to avoid confrontation and just slip away unseen.  The most aggressive snake is the Eastern brown snake, which I have heard some scary stories about, but they won't inhabit the places I'm going.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of venomous snakes around, but they are mostly the ones that will stay well away from me.

- Spiders - more likely to give me a fright than be dangerous.  Shaking my shoes out in the morning is a must.

Kangaroos - can't imagine one will pick a fight with me, but they could be a hazard jumping across the road, though more likely they are hazardous when they are dead in the road.  I recently bought a powerful front light for this very reason.  Just in case I have to cycle at night at all, I would like to be able to see if they are lying in my path.

These are Eastern Greys, but it will mostly be the bigger Red kangaroos I'll be coming across.

Dingoes - can't imagine they will be much of a problem, but they will be about and have been known to be aggressive looking for food, and even pose a threat to children. I won't be storing any food inside my tent at night, everything but water will be sealed inside the panniers on the bike.

- And the rest - I may also encounter emus and camels going through the red centre, and koalas and wombats in the south.  I suppose the emus and camels could pose a hazard running across the road, but I think I'm pretty safe with the koalas and wombats.

So, what an adventure, and although there are a few fears, I have spoken to many informed people as well as done my research, so I have all the knowledge to make sure I don't fall foul of any of them.  One of the advantages of being a personal trainer is that I can pick the brains of my clients, who have much more experience than me of Australian roads and conditions, obviously though by car, and in slightly more comfortable circumstances than me.

Training runs, check.  Research, check.  Advice, check.  And now I'm packed-up and ready to go.  Let the countdown begin!

And Finally....

I will try and post updates as I travel through Australia, but because of the lack of facilities, this may be difficult.  The full story will be told when I return.