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Day 10 - Western Australia & Northern Territory Cycling Tour

2011.05.29
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We don't have wildflowers much where i live so it was lovely to see these delicate things lining the sides of the highway - until the council guys came along with their big slashers and chopped them all down so that the cows would not be inclined to walk on the roads.
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I didn't meet too many cyclists on my route but i met a couple here at this backpackers place. This guy is Taiwanese and i have taken his snap because his bike has such tiny wheels. Its a foldable bike. He told me something like "while everyone else can do 100km in about 6-8 hours, it takes me 10 hours. Nevertheless, he seems to have made 100km per day his daily goal. He started his journey in Melbourne so he'd come a long long way since i met him. And moreover, he survives on 2 minute noodles. His journey sounds like sheer torture to me but hasn't he got a sweet face and...
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...but i love some of the little things he did to his bike like this bottle rack made of wire and tied on to his handle bar with cup.
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The blurriness of the guy on the left is totally appropriate. He is from Estonia. He said to me the morning after i met him. "If i met you yesterday, I don't remember. I was drunk all day." I hadn't a clue that he was drunk when i met him. For all his alcoholism, i rather liked him. He was working with aboriginal youth which seems a bit of a worry actually. The other guy is a german cyclist who's first comment to me was " I see you've got the right brand of panniers". What an odd thing to say. I didn't think people cared so much about what gear other people had. But maybe it was a language thing. In the supermarket, i gave him tips on a better value brand of tuna to buy and observed that he stocked up big on lollies. He's young i guess that accounts for the bad dietary choices. He was heading for Darwin and then out of the country too i think. Many cyclists leave via Darwin as its the closest and cheapest leap off point to Asia.
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Well as camping sites go, it wasn't the most beautiful but this place, Cocos in Katherine was well located, cheap and had its charming facets. Coco does an $11 deal for cyclists. They have a lovely clean kitchen. There are malay jungle fowl which lay their eggs in buckets in the trees and the backpackers can pick them out and eat them. There's a few old codgers hanging around and well they keep a good eye on things. That's my tent and bike in sleeping position.
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I was supposed to be trying to photograph all my meals on this trip for another forum but i lost some and forgot many times. This meal is breakfast on my day of departure: Six fruit salad and a pot of yoghurt, 2 fried eggs on toast, nescafe. A big brekkie but a touring cyclist needs lots of healthy yummy food and when in town lots of fruit and veg cause you can't always get it on the road. Note the bubble. The estonian blew that into my picture.
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I lost a bunch of pictures from the beginning of my trip which is a bugger. I was in Darwin -which is the capital city of NT and is located on that wedgy bit at the top of the map between the far west and the far east - for two days and then headed south. These pics were taken in Katherine, the next major town on the route.

By way of introduction to my trip -

The plan was to cycle for 2 months 1 week from Darwin to and around the Kimberley area of north Western Australia. My main objectives were to visit the aboriginal art centres along the way and meet the artists, to get out to the Bungle Bungles - a world heritage park - important for its one of a kind sandstone hills (if not one of a kind there's none anywhere else in the world that look like these and they are magical as i hope i can show later in my pics - and to tackle the Gibb River Road which is a gravel road passing by many rocky gorges and waterfalls. There is also aboriginal rock art in the area but i didn't research that in advance so i didn't see much. The road is popular with grey nomads - (older travellers who get about the country in their 4WD towing caravans or trailers. Some have made it a permanent lifestyle.) And Litchfield National Park in the NT.

The total route is 3400km but i opted to get a lift for a section on the way back so i didn't have to ride over the same ground. As a result i rode just over 3000km.

Since the Gibb Road is a rough trip, the nomads watch out for the likes of me, giving us foodie treats and checking up that we're alright. I learnt towards the end of the trip that these poeple are called Trail Angels and i am always in awe at how many angels i get to meet. There were a few other cyclists along the road but i had very little contact with them, just missing them each time.

My plan for this picture diary is put up most of my shots. I am going to edit it all down after and make a shorter story of the better ones for facebook after. As i haven't bored myself silly with the shots (as i did with my last indian trip) by editing along the route, i'm really hoping i can hang in there for the whole posting process.
7 Comments
JenPat Welcome back! Really looking forward to following you through this trip.
JenPat · 2011-07-29: 06:32
anggrekfoto nice set.
anggrekfoto · 2011-07-29: 06:45
moxxxie Wow. I also like the little-wheeled bike.
moxxxie · 2011-07-29: 08:23
kitegypsy hang in there. i am dying to see your photos...
kitegypsy · 2011-07-29: 19:05
Oweena Well hello stranger.
Yes, post more of your trip.
Oweena · 2011-07-29: 22:33
ShangriLa I forgot to mention this place is Katherine, 340km or so south of Darwin.
ShangriLa · 2011-07-30: 03:21
Shannamuppet Fabulous idea for a trip!
Shannamuppet · 2011-07-30: 08:36
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Category: Australia
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