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Melbourne to Sydney

Most of you will know that we arrived in Sydney last week (wahoo!) and you may have been wondering why we haven’t written a blog. Well, to be honest, we’ve been having too much fun!! There have been friends to see, beers to drink and parties to attend! But after a week of indulgence I thought I really should take a little time to document our last leg of Australia from Melbourne to Sydney.

After some uninspiring days spent cycling past industrial towns and McDonald’s (we only went to one, honest!) we left the urban sprawl of Melbourne and visited the Hamilton family at their lovely house. House numbers here were determined by the number of kilometres your house is down the road, and letter boxes are on the verge to save lots of trips up long driveways for the postman.

After a long time living a cyclist’s lifestyle, some might say it was only a matter of time until we became coffee lovers. Back in Adelaide Amber made us some strong cyclist-approved cups of real coffee, and we haven’t looked back. We bought this stove top espresso maker a few weeks later, and it’s already in contention for being my favourite piece of kit. We justified the purchase based on our cycling performance – any extra weight is more than made up for by a significant increase in speed after a coffee break!

The coast road around Eden in New South Wales presented some of the steepest hills since northern Laos. Despite being very short, we were panting and dripping with sweat by the top. I actually got off and pushed on one small climb (and made sure I was back on the saddle before Ryan turned around!). The hardwork was made worthwhile by the beautiful lakes that scatter the countryside and I’m hoping it will be good training for New Zealand.

We met Jacqui & Aaron (two Australian cyclists going the opposite way) in China for 10 minutes on the side of the road. Fast forward 9 months and we stayed with Aaron’s mum in the lovely town of Vincentia, New South Wales. Jacqui & Aaron are still on the road, heading towards England – hopefully we’ll catch up with them there!

This part of the world is thick with forest which makes for good camping spots, although we had a few noisy nights’ sleep as we were joined by squawking birds and cheeky possums who were desperate to get into our panniers for a midnight snack. I didn’t think I would ever meet someone who was as aggressive as Ryan over food, but the stand-off that occurred in the moonlit forest between Ryan and cheeky possum was intense – neither was going to back down. Periodically Ryan would stamp around and lurch towards the possum, who stared unblinkingly back before going for another attempt at the food. I’m not sure who won, cheeky possum didn’t get our food but neither did Ryan get any sleep.

70km before Sydney we stayed with my uncle Paul in Bulli. We’d been warned about a big climb over Bulli Pass the next morning so Paul took us for a recce over it on 4 wheels before we set off. It looked very steep in places even from behind a car window, but despite Paul’s offers of a lift we set off for a painful slog to the top. 35 minutes and a sandwich later we were sat panting on the top, with 65km of downhill left all the way to Sydney.

On the final day into Sydney it felt like someone really wanted to make it as hard as possible. We had a short but very steep climb over Bulli Pass and then got caught in a wild thunderstorm as we cycled up the hardshoulder of the unavoidable freeway. Our cycle computer ticked over to 25,000km so we stopped for a quick photo in the rain. Not the most picturesque spot we’ve stopped at!

We cycled up to the harbour to take in the iconic sights. We’ve both been to Sydney before, but the amazing Opera House and Harbour Bridge were just as stunning second time round.

A few friends have moved to Sydney, so our 9 days off passed quickly in a blur of socialising – a nice change from a quiet tent in the middle of nowhere! The rest of our time was spent wandering round the city and enjoying some time off the bikes.

On Monday morning we flew from Sydney to Queenstown, New Zealand, for the 23rd and final country of our journey (ARGHHHHHHH!). I can’t believe we are so close to the finish line…

More Australia photos here

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