Initially I was not keen on spending much time in Australia. I visited Australia 20 odd years ago on my way back home from Tonga to the U.K. I spent three weeks here and didn’t have much desire to visit again, also I did not like the idea of camping in a country that had extremely poisonous snakes and spiders. I saw a poisonous snake the last time I visited, why would I pitch my tent in a field in a country that has deadly creatures? At first I was going to just go to Sydney for a couple of weeks and catch up with friends in Sydney, catch a train to Canberra and see a few more people before heading off to South East Asia. I was then persuaded by someone who I met travelling that her city of Melbourne was not to be missed. So I thought maybe I should tour from Sydney down to Melbourne via Canberra.
My first week was spent with one of my good friends from Tonga – Hingano. I haven’t seen her in over 20 years. She was one of the people who made my time in Tonga so special.
I then went and visited another friend from Tonga, Teisa, who now lives in Warragamba, Australia. Teisa and her family were so good to me whilst I was in Tonga. It was was so good to see her. My visit was meant to be a couple of nights but it ended up being a couple of weeks.
We went to the Blue Mountains and saw the three sisters; which was something that I really wanted to do when I was here last time.
I also caught up with Liane who lives in Sydney, I first met her on the first Women’s French Adventure (a women’s only cycle tour from Bordeaux to Narbonne which was and still is organised by a friend in the U.K.) which really was a catalyst for my current cycle tour.
So by this time my plans had changed and I decided not to go to Melbourne and to instead spend the time with people that I hadn’t seen in years.
I spent a lot of my time in Sydney within the Tongans community, so of course I got well fed, re-gained all of the weight that I lost in Tonga and got to the stage where my clothes were more than snug.
One day I was walking down the road and bumped into Toa. I didn’t know her and we had never met before but she recognised me from Facebook. I used to work with her husband Tongiaki when I was in Tonga, so I went out for dinner with Tongiaki, Toa and their family.
After 6 weeks in Sydney visiting:
Sydney Opera House
And learning origami
I decided it was time to venture off on a mini tour to Canberra.
To be honest I had not been on a fully loaded tour since December in New Zealand and my past few months had been spent binge watching Netflix, so my first week was rather challenging 🤣🤣🤣🤣. It was so nice to be back on my bike. Cycling in Australia is really pleasant. The motorists are very considerate. They have a law ‘a metre matters’ when passing a cyclist, which has made for a real pleasant riding experience.
So I cycled down the East Coast of Australia.
The coast is really beautiful, some amazing beaches. I used Warmshowers, I couchsurfed for the first time and I even camped.
Camping was great as the other campers were really friendly and would offer me tea, bacon and eggs for breakfast. They had not seen me scoff my porridge about two minutes earlier, of course it would have been rude to decline their kind offer 😂😂😂.
I couchsurfed at Sahar and Kamran’s home. I was their first guest. They are from Iran and joined Couchsurfing to help improve their English Language skills.
They are going to Iran in August, and they have invited me to join them. They did say that I should think about it, I thought about it for a few seconds and said YES!! I started thinking of my route for getting to Iran. I started to look into it and looking at visas etc. and I then discovered that if I go to Iran, I would have to apply for a visa when I visit America; I could no longer enter the US on an online visa waiver application 😐. So my plans to visit Iran have been shelved.
The scenery is absolutely amazing in this country. Some beautiful white sandy beaches. The birds are really pretty. Cockatoos and parrots all over the place. There are kangaroos everywhere just grazing on grass in people’s back gardens.
This will be my last fully loaded tour – Yay! I’m sending my camping gear home. The cost of accommodation will be very cheap in South East Asia, so once I get to Singapore I’ll be super fast and ultra-light 🤣🤣🤣.
My last day’s ride was to Batemans Bay. Considering that my initial feelings about touring Australia were pretty nonchalant, I was quite sad that Batemans Bay signaled my last day of touring in Australia. I won’t be touring again until I get to Singapore.
In Vincentia someone had decorated their garden.