3 years in Asia. Is that long? Certainly enough time to get used to crazy traffic, noise, pollution and the constant presence of other human beings but also low prices allowing us to lead our life in a relative comfort.
After 4 days of washing and packing our bikes, we were ready to fly. But what about us? Standing at the airport we realized, that we were about to start a completely new chapter of our journey.
When we landed in Darwin we finally understood, that from now on we would have to count every single cent to survive. With the same budget as we had in most of the Asian countries, we could only afford basic food – forget fizzy drinks (or even bottled water), guesthouses, beer and other luxuries. Being in our first Western country was surprisingly refreshing and we felt excited about all the food that we know from home waiting for us in the local supermarkets.
We were aware of the fact, that cycling in Australia means constant exposure to local wildlife – and as you probably know – most of species evolved here to kill you when threatened. Not all of them fortunately!
When you look at the map, Australia does not look that big, but when you calculate the distances between towns you know straight away, that cycling is not a Sunday ride (Darwin to Alice Springs = 1479 km)
Our plan was to bike all the way South, from Darwin to Adelaide, and later to Melbourne. We wanted to avoid cycling on the Stuart Highway as much as possible (as well as other paved roads), so we took the first turn after leaving Darwin – to Litchfield National Park.
The entire coast on the North of the country, as well as most of the rivers flowing to the ocean are infested by salt water crocodiles – gigantic beasts that can swallow an adult. Swimming is considered a risky activity…
We were so happy cycling on gravel roads! The road that led to the park was partly unpaved, so we could get a glimpse of what we to expect in Australia.
Part of being in the Australian Outback is the constant presence of flies. They are absolutely everywhere, they like to feed on body fluids, so they desperately fly into ones nose, eyes and ears in search of the precious moisture. They are active the whole day, they go to sleep after sunset, so the night is the only moment, where one can rest a bit from them.
We knew about them (Mat had visited Australia before) so we brought our home-made fly nets with us.
We used to put the nets on before getting out of our tent, and wore them all day long…
We loved Litchfield! Not easy to cycle, but very rewarding!
The park is famous for its termite mounds – some as high as 4 meters!
We celebrated Mat’s birthday at Butterfly Gorge – a breathtaking waterhole only accessible on foot. Can you spot MAT on the picture below?
To stay alive in Australia you have to watch out for the crocodiles, snakes and spiders, but your biggest enemy is dehydration!
We found a shortcut through private land – 30km of riding on cattle paths and 4wd tracks and got back to the highway, to continue south.