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rest and relaxation

Posted on Monday, April 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM by dyon

after cruising around kangaroo island for a couple of weeks we met up with helen's mother in adelaide. we stayed for 6 days enjoying a doting granny's babysitting and giving the legs a good rest.

we took kai to see the highlight of adelaide: haigh's chocolate factory. during the tour he spent most of the time demanding chocolate! it is good to see family traditions keeping going.

we also did mundane things like shopping (getting some warmer clothes), spending the afternoon at the swimming pool, seeing the pandas at the zoo and catching up with friends. it was nice for us all to relax and kai loved being with granny.kai and granny drawing together.

penneshaw to adelaide

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 9:52 PM by dyon

sunday morning we rolled (literally) down to the ferry and once again lashed our bikes amongst the cars and trucks.

after a quick 45 minute ride across the backstairs passage we reached cape jervis and rode over to the waiting bus. we were a little concerned that there would be some issues with taking the bikes but fortunately the driver had previously cycle-toured KI and was more than happy to help us pack them into the luggage area.

we were glad to be taking the bus back up the fleurieu peninsula as we once again saw how narrow the roads were (albeit from a different perspective this time!).

as we pulled into the adelaide bus station, hilary was waiting for us and kai was very happy to see his granny.

Edited on: Thursday, May 06, 2010 1:24 PM

stats for fleurieu and KI

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 9:19 PM by dyon

some stats pulled from the GPS for the trip so far:

date distance climbing avg speed
06/04 2.6 21 16.2
07/04 62.4 729 16.5
08/04 53.2 952 13.0
09/04 33.0 591 14.0
12/04 43.3 542 13.9
13/04 37.0 350 14.2
15/04 20.4 187 14.0
16/04 61.5 623 16.5
17/04 44.1 350 18.4
18/04 36.4 631 16.8
19/04 18.8 208 10.6
20/04 62.8 335 17.6
21/04 43.9 437 14.5
22/04 30.8 524 10.8
23/04 50.3 568 15.5
24/04 56.1 510 19.0

fleurieu peninsula: 151.2km

kangaroo island: 505.4km

kingscote to penneshaw

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:50 AM by dyon

during the night a number of wet and windy squalls came through but when we woke up the tent was dry so we quickly packed up and had breakfast.

as soon as we got on the road the wind (and occasional shower) had picked up and was blowing hard from the west. most of our ride to penneshaw would be SE or NE, but the first few km were into the wind and it was a small chainring grind on the flat. very frustrating.

we had lots of crosswinds until the last section where we finally had a tailwind and the sun came out as we crested the hill above penneshaw and rolled into town to finish our circuit of the island. we checked back into the YHA and had our favourite fish and chips for dinner before sleeping in a bed for the first time in two weeks.

stokes bay to kingscote

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:38 AM by dyon

stokes bay had an excellent cafe where we were able to get a cold beer and some tasty fish after our ride. we also ran into a belgian family again that we have been encountering around the island since d'estrees bay almost 2 weeks ago.

the bay immediately in front of the cafe and what appears to be stokes bay is rocky with no sand, but if you climb through a tunnel of collapsed rock at the east end you come through to a gorgeous sandy beach at least 1km long. the first 100m also has a little breakwater making it perfect for kai to paddle and swim.

after going to bed wondering whether the possums or mice would attack again (they didn't) we woke to the sound of rain. we weren't expecting any showers for until the next evening so it was an unpleasant surprise.

after packing up as we rolled out of the camp we realised the trailer had a flat tyre so quickly patched it and set off. 1km up the road it had gone flat again so we patched it again (and found the thorn in the tyre this time). about 30 minutes after kai had been put to sleep in the trailer the tyre went flat once again and unfortunately he woke up as we finally gave in and replaced the tube.

the weather was pretty miserable most of the day, overcast and regular showers of rain. the first 45km or so was sandy dirt roads and we were very glad for the mudguards on the bikes. we really enjoyed the last 10km of bitumen where we were finally able to ride at a respectable speed.

we set up the tent in the caravan park just outside kingscote (the only place you're supposed to camp in the area) and headed into town for second lunch.

western river cove to stokes bay

Posted on Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:27 AM by dyon

after the mouse episode we got off to a bit of a slow sleepy start. we weren't looking forward to the big climb and it was just as tough as we had imagined.

once on to the top of the escarpment we headed east along the coast towards stokes bay. the roads were particularly rough and for a long time we could only average 8km/h due to the incessant ruts. the last 4km had been recently graded and was a lovely flowing downhill. however the average speed for the day was still frustratingly slow.

we did get to see a lot of birds, including black cockatoos that dropped a pine cone right in front of helen's bike, and a goanna was also sunning itself on the road as we rode up and it was cool to see it up close.

parndana to western river cove

Posted on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM by dyon

after restocking at parndana we headed 22km back up the highway we'd come along on tuesday and then another 19km on dirt roads to the northern coast of the island. the last 8km section of road said it was not suitable for caravans which sounded good to us as it would filter out most of the other tourists. the scenery was quite different to the other parts of the island we'd explored up until this point, with rolling hills and steep valleys with large trees.

the approach to the camping spot descended from the 200m high escarpment via a very steep road which was a bit worrying as we'd have to ride back up it the next day!

the camping/picnic spot was awesome. it overlooked the river just upstream of the beach which was nestled in between two high rocky cliffs. we jumped straight into the water and all had a quick swim in the chilly water before making lunch and relaxing for the remainder of the afternoon. a few people dropped by to go for a swim or fish, but we had the place to ourselves from dusk.

as we were setting kai up in bed we noticed a couple of bold bushy tailed possums hanging around. at flinders chase the possums had proved they could undo both clips on the ortlieb panniers so here we decided to put them inside the tent. at 5:30am helen woke to find a mouse running over her face. we'd foiled the possums (who we heard running around all night) only to have the mice chew their way into the tent (via two layers of cloth). so we ejected the mouse, taped up the tent and moved the bags outside but nobody got much sleep after that.

Edited on: Thursday, April 22, 2010 3:44 PM

flinders chase to parndana

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 2:45 PM by dyon

since we'd run out of food it was time to ride to the nearest shop. so the day was devoted to a 63km ride along the highway (fortunately not much traffic) to parndana where there was a supermarket!

we used the thought of a pub meal to motivate us and we weren't disappointed, both of us were completely stuffed after eating our fill. we were also able to camp for free at the back of the pub ($5 showers though!) so it wasn't far to stumble back to bed.

the supermarket was just as expensive as we'd become used to but at least had enough food to get us to the next set of shops in a couple of days at kingscote.

vivonne bay to flinders chase

Posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 2:26 PM by dyon

this was meant to be only about 40km to the national park that dominates the western end of the island. but today we were feeling very flat, my heartrate barely got over 110bpm heading up the first climb (usually would be upwards of 150bpm) and we just crawled the whole way.

once we got to the national park we found the campsite was almost empty and had really great amenities (which we essentially had to ourselves). we'd booked in for three nights and everyone was happy that we were staying put for a little while.

on our first "rest" day we rode down to the coast (without the panniers) to see some of the local sights near cape couedic. while the road was asphalt, there were quite a few rolling hills and we were still feeling tired.

we went first to remarkable rocks and then backtracked to the cape couedic lighthouse.

cape couedic  

we walked a couple of km across to weir cove where supplies for the lighthouse were winched ashore before the road was opened in 1940. it was lovely to get away from the tourists who all seemed scared of getting out of sight of their 4WDs and tour buses. after walking down and seeing the new zealand fur seals we decided to try to make it back to camp for an icecream before the shop shut. we knuckled down and made it back easily at an average of over 20km/h (a record for us).

the next day we did actually rest (well mostly, kai refused to sleep in the tent and dyon took for a 90 minute ride so we could all relax).

murray lagoon to vivonne bay

Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM by dyon

it was a long day on the bike (for us!) today. we had run down our supplies - we were carrying 4-5 days of food, nappies and fuel - knowing that we were coming to a town with a general store.

today was a bit of a sightseeing day, we went from murray lagoon to seal bay then on to vivonne bay. seal bay is about 12km off the main road, so involved riding 24km just to see the seals. at seal bay was a great setup, and after paying a large fee, we joined an informative tour that went onto the beach and close to the seals. kai loved it.

we were starting to get tired as we approached vivonne bay, but knowing that we were almost out of food and that we could get a meal there we pushed on. the campsite (a KI council one) was unfortunately nothing special and quite busy, and the general store where we had planned to stock was tiny and almost out of stock. we managed to buy three days worth of food (same food every day) and then modified our itinery.

d'estrees bay to murray lagoon

Posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 at 7:50 PM by dyon

today was a short ride to murray lagoon (24km) on dirt roads. the campsite was next to the rangers headquarters so there was a flushing toilet and lots of water! when we arrived there was a flock of ibis very close by. it was magical.

unfortunately the campsite wasn't on the lagoon so we took a short walk to see some of it. again, it was a little disappointing as we still weren't that close to the lagoon. however, we still did see quite a few birds (marsh harrier, wrens, ibis, etc) which we all enjoyed.

it was bitterly cold at murray lagoon when the sun went down (and as it rose again, kai ended up in most of his clothes and helen's jumper too) and the millipedes came out in force too.

american river to d'estrees bay

Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 7:50 PM by dyon

after a good night's sleep in AR we got up, cooked breakfast and set off quickly (it still took us 2 hours!). today was mostly riding on dirt roads down to the south coast. the roads aren't in great condition with a lot of ruts and pot holes. while kai's trailer has suspension it is quite rudimentary and can't handle riding at any speed over the ruts (and neither can our backs or panniers). so we were zig zagging finding the smoothest path and riding in the gutter when it wasn't too sandy. for most of today we still managed to average about 15km/h but slowed down during the last 8km in the cape gantheuame conservation park. as we rode along the road we spotted a white bellied sea eagle searching for food in the bushes beside the sea. it was a wonderful sight.

it is gorgeous here, and we are finally getting away from the tourist bustle elsewhere on the island. there are only two other cars camped here tonight. in fact, the couple who were camped here before us have been fishing here for some days, and gave us 18 mullet fillets which made a fantastic dinner! we fried them in olive oil and garlic and they had a salty freshness. we almost felt like taking up fishing. ha!

we are now camped on the dunes just above the beach which looks out east over the sea. there is a clear sky full of stars above us and we are comfortably rugged up against the cold while we nerd and read our books in our comfy chairs. (however the network coverage only seems to work if i hold the laptop at a certain angle - not quite paradise then!)

we plan to spend a whole day here before slowly making our way to vivonne bay via murray lagoon and seal bay (to show kai the seals).

both here and american river have had lots of birds. kai has loved watching them and is learning more and more different birds' names. his favourites seem to be penguins and pelicans. as the sun set this evening, flocks of small birds flew all around above us (i assume picking off insects). it was simply magical watching them as the sky turned from blue to orange then darker blue.

penneshaw to american river

Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 7:32 PM by dyon

after spending two and a half days in penneshaw waiting for the rain to stop we were ready to hit the road again.

during the down-time we mapped out an itinerary for getting around KI, based largely on the sparse number of campgrounds and the even sparser number of shops. we will be carrying food for 4-5 days at a time while we make our way around.

penneshaw has a medium sized supermarket so we stocked up there on sunday afternoon (7-day shopping!) and on monday morning packed the bikes.

we had been warned by a couple of other tourers that the climb out of penneshaw was the worst they encountered so we were ready for it. it was short and steep (8-10%) for the first 2km but pretty quickly flattened out and then headed down on to the north coast again anyway. for the first 25km we were riding on the main highway which we had been a little anxious about. the traffic wasn't too bad and we pulled over when it became obvious that the ferry had landed and a stream of traffic started overtaking us. there was only a gravel shoulder so we tended to ride on the road until we could hear a car coming and then pull over to let it past. there was one nasty shock when helen looked over her shoulder to find a tour bus had snuck up and was tootling along at 20km/h behind us!

our first main stop was at mount prospect, the highest point on the island, where we climbed the 500 steps to the top. we felt sorry for the tour bus passengers huffing and puffing their way up and clearly most of them had no idea where they were.

from there we hit the dirt roads and headed north up to american river (which isn't american, nor does it appear to be a river). kai had been put to bed (in the trailer) at mount prospect but it only took us 40 minutes to get to AR so dyon proceeded to ride around in circles for an extra hour (so he'd continue to sleep) while helen bought lunch and prepared it.

we camped right on the beach overlooking the moorings for half a dozen yachts in a gorgeous protected anchorage.

recovery ride

Posted on Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 12:17 PM by dyon

the plan for friday was to brave the weather and ride to Cape Jervis where we would catch the ferry to Kangaroo Island. since it was going to rain for the next few days we had booked into the YHA in Penneshaw on KI for three nights.

it rained solidly all thursday night but had cleared up by the time we had breakfast and started packing the bikes. it is only 30km from Normanville to Cape Jervis so we thought it would be easy after the longer previous days. also since we were taking the highway instead of back roads it should have been flatter. unfortunately it was still quite steep with lots of 8-10% climbs and we ended up riding through cloud, mist and rain most of the way.

the last 5km dropped 350m back to the coast where we grabbed some food and narrowly missed a ferry.

we caught the next ferry and watched the crazy car/truck puzzle required because they roll on and off at the same end. (later, kai spent 20 minutes watching a B-double attempt to reverse down the loading ramp and into a narrow lane between cars while the owners watched on).

kai and helen on the ferry to KI  

once on KI we found our hostel (100m from the jetty) and checked in. it seems a friendly little place.

saturday has been a "rest day", but included a 2-hour hike into the local conservation park. there appears to be a millipede plague at the moment which made the walk quite crunchy and a little disgusting. in fact, kai refused to walk because he was too scared of them.


we got to see some local wallabies that blended amazingly into the local scrub.

i've uploaded photos off the DSLR to http://pics.devcoder.net/Travel/SA in addition to the ones we'd already uploaded.


Posted on Thursday, April 08, 2010 at 7:04 PM by dyon

unfortunately last night's dinner missed a key ingredient - carbohydrates. somebody (who shall remain nameless) forgot to buy rice along with the rest of the other contents when we stopped at the shops. this error made itself known 20 minutes into the ride (while still on the flat) by our inability to get out of the small chain ring. we made straight for the willunga bakery (7km down the road) and gorged ourselves!

from there we headed south and tried to avoid the main highway by choosing all the back roads. unfortunately the back roads included the hills that the highway went around. first up was old sellicks hill road, which the friendly guy in the bike shop said would be "epic". it was only 5km long, but the first half went up about 250m and then straight down again - all on dirt and rocks. so 4km/h up and not much faster on the way down.

we then jumped over the highway and took another back road which went straight up the side of a hill for about 1km at almost 20%. fortunately kai was awake by now so we were able to stop a couple of times (when he's asleep we dare not stop in case he wakes up!). again, the bike shop guy had said this would also be "epic". from there the road continued up and above a reservoir via a lookout that appeared to be a timewarp into the 1960s.

a screaming downhill brought us back to the coast and a caravan park in normanville beach. while eating dinner (take away as we were too tired to cook) we met another adventurer. this guy is walking around SA in particular the heysen trail which is training for the appalachian trail. wow!

53km, 4h05m, 13.0km/h avg, 952m climbing, 128km total

first day on the road

Posted on Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 8:46 PM by dyon

today, after a few months of preparation, we actually started riding somewhere. we rode along the torrens river from adelaide to the coast, then down the coast and eventually inland to mclaren vale all on the coast to vines trail.

we had lunch at glenelg at a lovely play ground where kai ran around and around and around.

as we hit maclaren vale so did the thunderstorms. we took refuge at the visitor's centre for a little while before braving the rain again. helen managed to get a flat tyre about 1km from the caravan park so dyon and kai forged ahead to set up camp while helen limped in.

dyon riding into maclaren vale with dark clouds all around

62km, 3h46m, avg 16.5km/h, total km 75km

train to adelaide

Posted on Tuesday, April 06, 2010 at 7:58 PM by dyon

we set the alarm for 5.50am planning to be on the road within 20 minutes, which of course didn't happen and so we ended up riding hard to get to southern cross station in time for check-in. when we got there they didn't really seem to care and we could have turned up much later without a problem!

hilary was there with a "busy box" for kai for the journey and we had a coffee together before the train left. it was lovely having granny there for last cuddles and waving goodbye.

the train journey was quite enjoyable, although an average speed of 80km/h for 800km seems pretty slow in this day and age. kai had a great time with his new toys from isaac and granny, and even managed a good 1hr+ sleep curled up on his seat! about 30 minutes from arrival he started to get irritable but never really cracked it. everyone commented to us how well behaved he was. helen even managed to read some of her book!

now we are settled in the central adelaide YHA. we have a double room to ourselves and fortuitiously it has a trundle so kai is having his first night on a big boy's bed. we were pleasantly surprised that he has gone to sleep on it fine with us in the room with lights on! he must be tired after his big train adventure today.

we need to do some shopping tomorrow before getting on the road and heading south.

a first entry

Posted on Friday, April 02, 2010 at 9:16 PM by dyon

on tuesday we will catch the train from melbourne to adelaide with two bikes and a trailer for an approximately two-month jaunt around south australia. hopefully we can update this blog with our adventures.

Edited on: Friday, April 02, 2010 9:31 PM

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