The people in Australia are a bit confused; it’s raining cats and dogs which hasn’t happened in years. Pools are scattered on the streets and the sky stays grey. We give the weather a break which leaves us the time to dry and gives us time to look around.
As soon as the sky is clear we saddle up and we are heading south. The traffic becomes more and more busy which is quiet a contrast to the outback. With the increasing traffic the cycling becomes less pleasant due to the aussies, who are not into pushbikes, there’s one rule: give way to cars. There aren’t many options other than the main highway to Brisbane.
In the newspapers we read about Nicole Kidman who is in the country to make a movie. The village of Bowen has turned into “BowenWood” due to the fact that the crew has settled down in this small place. In the middle of the centre they rebuilt Darwin of the forties. The moment we arrive in Bowen, Nicole has already left for another location. The set looks abandoned when we walk along the fences. We didn’t want to notice the sign “No Trespassing”. When we had a good look at the set we decide to walk into the main street. When we are spotted by the security we are asked what we think we are doing on the set. In a situation like this we play the stupid tourists who are lost.
We continue our route through the hills of the Bruce Highway. This part is a bit boring, there’s not much to see in the dry landscape. The trucks and the other traffic passes us in a hurry and very closeby. This is why we are very happy to meet the friendly Fynn . Together with his kids he is waiting besides the road with bananas and watermelon. He has just returned from a trip to Europe and it’s nice to hear his stories about cycling to Amsterdam. It’s nice to meet someone who knows a bit of Europe, just at the moment we are having some doubts about the world knowledge of the Australians. The next conversation we have almost every day:
“Where are you guys from?”
“From the Netherlands.”
“Where did you start cycling?”
“In the Netherlands.”
“No, where did you start?”
“We started two years ago in the Netherlands.”
“O, but where did you start in Australia?”
“Did you cycle all the way from Darwin?”
”Yes we did.”
“Djee that’s far!”
We arrive in the ‘crash zone’ of Australia. There are big signs besides the road to keep the drivers awake. From “Stay Alive” until “Every day someone dies here, don’t let it be you!” We can hear the sirens and our tires are having a hard time with all the glass on the side of the road. We survive the crash zone and the scenery gets nicer. The dry fields change into fields with fruit and vegetables and we cross many rivers. We see a lot of kangaroes hopping around. It’s not easy to make a digital picture of them, because they don’t come very near up till now. There are beautiful colored parakeets flying around our tent, which we spoil with bread.
Once in a while we see the eats coast. The color of the water is beautiful blue, but the coast itself doesn’t impress us yet. Mud, rocks and brownish sand is what we see. From Hervey Bay everything changes. Lovely white sandy beaches, the water with the first surfers, fisherman waiting for their catch and sailing boats at the horizon. The Sunshine Coast shows us the watersport tourism where we see the first surfers waiting for some good waves. We are walking around in our fleeces, while we see people sunbathing. In Caloundra we treat ourselves with Fish and Chips and settle down on a bench on the boulevard. Pelicans are flying in the sky and dolphins jump their way through the water. Wow!
From Caloundra it is one day cycling to Brisbane. We pass the most famous zoo of Australia of the biggest crocodile hunter of the world: Steve Irwin. The Australian people are very proud and named even the street after their hero. We cycle into Brisbane on the Steve Irwin Road. We are one day too early before our visitors will arrive. The coming weeks we won’t cycle with the two of us. Eric and Maaike will accompany us on our way to Sydney.
* Townsville – Home Hill: 108km;
* Home Hill – Bowen: 109km;
* Bowen – Campsite Whitsundays: 91;
* Campsite Whitsundays – Mackay: 112km;
* Mackay – Sarina: 31km;
* Sarina – Clairview: 95km;
* Clairview – Malborough: 107km;
* Malborough – Rockhampton: 111km;
* Rockhampton – Gladstone: 125km;
* Gladstone – Roadside Rest Area: 107km;
* RRA – Childers: 124km;
* Childers – Hervey Bay: 72km;
* Hervey Bay – Gympie: 124km;
* Gympie – Noosaville: 67km;
* Noosaville – Caloundra: 67km;
* Caloundra – Brisbane: 101 km.