Cycling touring has always been something I had in mind since my young age, imaging myself sleeping in a remote area, cooking my meal, and most importantly be free. The problem that came across was, how am I going to be able to afford such an adventure? Well, it will take me nearly 10 years to figure it out before I sow the seed of and go ahead with my first bike touring experience in Australia.
7500km from Perth to the Gold coast - 2010
Choosing the right bike
If you plan your first touring outback, a hard-tail mountain bike is a great place to start for several reasons; they usually represent great value, come already equipped with tough, reliable components and can be easily sourced with mounts and holes for the fitment of racks and panniers.
The faster, lighter alternative to the mountain bike is the cyclo-cross bike. While it looks for all the world like a regular racing bike, the ’cross bike is easier to ride, stronger and better equipped for more rugged terrain. I did not have much budget so I opted for the cheapest bike I could found (AUD $200) equipped with a low priced trailer bought on Amazon. Australia is a relatively a flat country and if you do not plan going off road smaller tires are more recommended that will allowed you to go faster without the pain of dragging yourself with heavy tires while cycling long, very long stretch like the Nullabor plain.
Bikepacking Insurance is compulsory
As for any trip abroad, it is crucial to take out travel insurance. World Nomads is the company recommended by Lonely Planet and also the one I am using while bike touring. I did not care about insurance at that time and decided to on my adventure without it ending up losing my filling's tooth while being in the middle of the Nullabor plain and trust me, there is absolutely nothing than bush, empty roads and strong head wind and you undoubtedly do not want something similar happening to you.
Cycling Touring check List
Beginners or Experienced, what you need while cycling the world? Best traveling tips.
If you’re planning to travel by bike, there’s no getting around it—you’ll have to bring stuff.
The central truth for this stuff: less is more. Countless cyclists end up shipping excess stuff home a week or two into their ride after they realize how little they actually need and precisely how heavy their extra stuff is.
The other central truth: the less weight you carry, the more fun it is to ride. In time, you’ll figure out what works best for you.
Related post: Your complete bicycle touring gear check list
Finding Accommodation while Bike touring in Australia
If you traveling by bicycle you may want to try Warmshower, they are a non-profit social networking service established worldwide similar to Couchsurfing but mostly for people engaging in bicycle touring to arrange homes-stays or simply allowing travelers to pitch their tent for the night. I have personally hosted & being host many times, met incredibly generous human beings, and broaden my knowledge with cycling touring significantly.
Free camping: If you are a traveler on a budget, then we’re pretty sure that there’s nothing you like more than free stuff – especially when it comes to finding places to stay. Accommodation & campsite in Australia are often very expensive, from AUD 50 for a hotel room, $28 per ni
ght in a dorm and around the same price for pitching your tent in the campground. (Campsite will also charge you for shower so do not forget to bring spare coins with with you) The good news for you is that Australia is also home to thousands of free camping spots all around the country but keep in mind that while cycling it will not be as easy as it sound to get there.
Check: iOverlanders App
Free Campsite - Nullabor plain
If you are the kind of person that likes a bit more comfort or simply did not take a shower for the past week and need to chill out few days before to hit the road again, HostelWorld has the largest inventory of hostels in the world, with millions of reviews from fellow backpackers. Agoda is also a great deal and has lots of advanced search and filters for finding hostels, hotels, and unique accommodation.
Airbnb could also be a great option, it has been a game-changer in our travel style! It’s allowed me to stay in some pretty dope places aside from the fact that you will get access to things like a kitchen and a larger living space.
If you’re looking for an Airbnb coupon code instantly get $45 off your next Airbnb booking (regardless if you’re a new user or if you already have an account.)
You must go for wine tasting
Australia has more than 2,400 wineries in 65 wine regions around the country. These regions grow more than 100 grape varieties that end up in the more than 30 million glasses of Australian wine consumed around the world every day
One good thing about wine tasting is that is free! you can enjoy various quality of delicious wine and even visit the winery. While push biking I stopped in few of them, talk about my adventure plan and even got offered a bottle or two to take along with me, I know that it will add extra weight but wine usually will not have time to be spoiled as I will drink it within 2 days.
Cycling across the Nullabor plain from Norseman to Ceduna
Norseman to Ceduna - 1201km
About the Nullabor plain: It is the flattest area in Australia, almost treeless,arid or semi-arid, often very warm & extremely windy, it is located on the Great Australian Bight coast with the Great Victoria Desert to its north.
It is the world's largest single exposure of limestone bed rock, and occupies an area of about 200,000 square kilometres (77,000 sq mi).At its widest point, it stretches about 1,100 kilometres (684 mi) from east to west across the border between South Australia and Western Australia. It also has a portion in it called the 90 Mile Straight, (The section between Balladonia and Caiguna) which is considered by many to be the longest straight road in the world and measures approximately 145.6 km
You must know where to stop:
Norseman: If you start your journey here you may going to want to buy grocery before kick off. This little town has a grocery store ( a bit more costly but where else would you buy food?) and also a post office where you can send food to "Eucla" so you won't have to carry
14 days of supply. The most important is to get plenty of water, I bought a Dromadery bag before to began my journey and it is the most useful purchase I made on this trip, drinking a lot of water is essential while cycling and even more important when its very hard to find.
Border Village 13km
Nullarbor 181km – the roadhouse here is highly rated for travelers and makes a good rest stop especially if you did not shower since Norseman.
Ceduna 71km – this is the start of the Nullarbor
I ran out of cash
After cycling during one and half month (3500km) from Perth to port Lincoln, I ran out of cash, Australia is not a cheap country, cost of food tent to be pretty high and my budget was not well planned either. After meeting Kiwi White (while stopping for coffee) Global surfer and retired tuna spotter, that have visited over 101 different countries surfing, and even landing a small part in a Mel Gibson movie, Kiwi was intrigued about my cycling journey (Cyclist himself) and he invited me to stay at his place time for me to get a job. After few days, I will find a gig working on a harvest tuna boat for the next 3 months, one of the hardest job I ever done in my life.
Cycling the The great Ocean road
About: The Great Ocean Roadis an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre (151 mi) stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. (Wikipedia)
Visit the Great Ocean Road : More info
What to do in Sydney?
Sydney is the first stop on many Australian itineraries, and for good reason. It's an inviting blend of exhilarating and easygoing. You can find excitement in the city, but cycle just a few kilometers out of the city and you'll hit the golden sand of the famous Bondi beach and few others. Plus, with endless nature at its doorstep, Sydney is the starting point for day trips serving up the fresh air, unique flavors, and locals who know a thing or two about living life to the fullest.
1- Bondi Beach
Get up early for a stroll along the famous Australian beach or go for an refreshing morning swim before breakfast at one of the cafes. You’ll find public showers on the beach to wash off the salt after a swim or early surfing in the ocean. Enjoy the views along the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk.
In October and November, join the crowds at Sculpture by the Sea, an outdoor exhibition of artworks along a 2 km coastal walk. Buy takeaway fish and chips (Snapa) and enjoy it at the beach.
2- Sydney Opera house
Sydney Opera House, opera house located on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbor), New South Wales, Australia. Its unique use of a series of shining white sail, its structure makes it one of the most-photographed buildings in the world.
Work started in 1959 and involved 10,000 construction workers. it was expected to take only four years to be accomplished but the construction lasted for 14 years. Paul Robeson was the first person to perform at the Sydney Opera House.
3- Get a local perspective with a free walking tour
After days riding your bike across Australia you may want to ease up few days and relax, enjoying a free walking tour around the city. Guided by passionate volunteering locals who want to share their love of their city with you.
There’s 3 tours per day, and what you’ll learn on the tour makes for a great starting point from which to explore the city.
How to Get out of Sydney on a bicycle?
Biking in Sydney is really dangerous, traffic is very dense and on my point of view it is not worth to try to safe few kilometers on your bike ride across the country with a chance to get hit by a car. take a train to Newport to avoid traffic and commenced your journey from there.
Check available trains: Australia rail map
Stopped 2 days in Byron bay...
Byron Bay is a coastal town located on the far-north of NSW, Australia. Home to enthusiastic surfers that comes from all over the world to enjoy the swell of the beautiful coastline, also known for the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse and its spectacular beaches. Byron is unique for shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and vibrant community spirit.
This was my first Bikepacking experience, I would say that anyone can start cycling touring without being an athlete freak! Just begin slowly and you will be just fine. Make sure that you got the right equipment before to kick-off and most importantly ''enjoy''. You will never be too old to get started, Robert Marchand has cycled from Paris to Moscow when he was 82 years old,, twenty-six years later he still on the road and even break records at 108 years old... What an inspiration!
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