zaterdag 30 juni 2012

sydney - oodnadatta track

Hi everyone,

Here is the next report of my travels. It goes about me leaving Sydney to cycle to Broken Hill.  After that  I will cycle on the Oodnadatta track.

I leave Sydney on a train because Sydney is a very cycle unfriendly city. I do not have to pay extra for the bike if I travel outside rushhour. Earlier on the day I cycle on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. They told me there is a good bike path on the side and yes there is but I have to get up a big stairs.
I guess this is the Australian idea of a good bikepath.

The first night ends in a party. I am invited by a group musicians who are unwinding after a big folk festival in Canberra. They play guitars, harmonica, harp and so on. There are a lot of instruments I do not know by name. Not in english but also not in flemish.

It is fun to see the landscape change from mountains to fertile valleys with a lot of fruits. Later it is just catlle and than there is the semi-desert for I reach Broken Hill.
Here I visit the Flying Doctors base. The guided tour is short and disappointing. Not much medical equipment and we can see the planes only from a distance.
I am not going to a mine. My plan is to do that in Coober Peddy.  The day before I reach Broken Hill I am interviewd by a reporter of the local ABC radio. You can hear the interview on a link in the comments of the flemish version of this report.

I make a side trip to the flinders range NP. A very beautiful region. Here I meet an Australian cyclist Scott who tells me that I can cycle on the Oodnadatta track. This track is the route that Stuart followed on his north-south crossing in 1862. Only 10 years later the overland telegraph line is build and so is Adelaide connected to the rest of the world.  The old railway also goes over this route. I see a lot of ruins and some renovated trainstations.

I see Lake Eyre south for 80% full. A thing that most Australians not have seen. Most of the time it is empty. Only in very wet years it fills up. It is funny to see waterbirds like a pelicans after I have cycled for weeks in the outback.

The Oodnatta track is now only for tourists. When they found a shorter route to Alice Springs and Darwin the railway was moved and that road was sealed during the second world war. The oodnadatta track is now 700km of gravel and I have known it. Accept for a broken mud guard and 1 flat tyre I have no trouble. I do have to carry 15l water to get to next roadhouses. There is 200km between them.

I also take a bath in a hot spring  on a campsite. The hot spring is a result of the great artesan basin. Rain goes underground in the dividing range and comes here out under high pressure. Scientists thinks it takes 2 000 000 years for the water to do that. But for a tired cyclist it is not hot enough. Only 29 degrees so not really a hot spring.

Ok, this was the report for now.