Saturday, 14 February 2009

Tassie - the happy ending

Rocky beach
 As bad as my trip to Tasmania started - it ended very nicely. Cycling with John for a week was so much fun: We barbecued sausages on his petrol stove and had a bottle of wine for dinner. John is definitely not an ultralighter: He is carrying a teddy bear (only 5 cm big) and a kitchen sink (collapsible, it is more like a water carrier - but still!). But he also carries a very useful picnic blanket for our gourmet dinners and a real Swiss army knife. It also takes him half an hour longer every morning to pack up all his crap... When cycling together we averaged about 70 - 80 km every day. That is not much, but still ok considering that Tasmania is very, very hilly (according to his bike computer we had an average elevation gain per day around 1.000 m) and we ended up in all sorts of interesting discussions every day.
Central highland plateau

We got along so nicely that I decided to continue cycling with him. John went back to Melbourne and I did a shortcut across the Tasmanian Highlands to go back to Hobart and fly out to Melbourne as well. This shortcut involved only one minor problem: I had to get up to the central plateau - and that is an elevation gain of 1.000 m in one go. And after that 30 km on my beloved dirt roads through the middle of nowhere. I was not very happy.

My high point in Tassie
To my big surprise everything went extremely well. I climbed up 1.000 m in 2 hours and was not even very exhausted (you have to keep in mind that 1.000 m is not much for hikers, but demanding on a bike). The dirt roads turned out to be not too bad and the weather cooperated. Add some really spectacular scenery and I had one of my best days on a bike! With 3 days I was much faster than I expected and made it back to Hobart earlier than planned: Time to visit the Cadbury chocolate factory there. In their factory outlet they sell 5 kg of chocolate for 40 AUS$ - I was very tempted, but no, I already had a baggage weight problem.

Roadside attraction in Tasmania
Today I flew back to Melbourne and I can proudly say that I am an expert now in disassembling and assembling my bike for transport in a bike box! What happens next depends a lot on the forest fires. The situation is still very unpredictable. I thought it might be wiser to go cycling than hiking in that situation. John and me will cycle along the Great Ocean Road together and probably even all the way to Adelaide. That will probably take 2 weeks. After that John flies on to the US and I will do some more hiking in Australia - all depending on the fire situation. Cross your fingers for me!

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