Sunday 6th October

First day back on fully loaded bikes and boy they were heavy. I’m going to be brutal with my stuff and get rid of some. I’m sure I can manage with out.

So how am I feeling? Tired, aching, arse sore! Yep here we go again.

I was seriously doubting my life choices as I was huffing and puffing up yet another hill at one point I passed a elderly man half way up.He was sat on a bench and asked me where I was from, told me I was doing well and wished me luck. This boosted my spirits and I finally made it to the top.

On yet another hill a passed a lady coming out of a church and she wished god be with me, so nice that complete strangers take time out of their day to make me feel better and offer encouragement when it’s needed most.

The ride was hilly and we are still following the princess highway pretty much all the way. It’s busy but has a wide shoulder. The worst hill funny enough was the very 1st of the day leaving the campsite straight up to get out of the cove it was nestled in.

Tonight’s camp is located at Huskisson a pretty Harbour founded on the shipbuilding industry . It’s located with in the area of Jervis bay the sea is a translucent turquoise and the sand is a beautiful white. It’s really busy and we had to try 3 campsites before we could get somewhere to stay.

Bonus they only had 1 pitch left it came with its own private en-suite and the lovely receptionist let us have it half price. Wow I’ve never heard of a en-suite tent pitch before but it was nice. It came complete with towels, soap, shower gel,shampoo and conditioner! I’m happy all for £20 the en-suite was bigger and cleaner than some of the motels we’ve stayed in. A big shower, toilet and hand basin complete with a heater.

So after putting the tent up we washed and changed and walked in to town, we didn’t have any food with us to cook so treated ourselves to a curry very tasty it was too.

Saturday 5th October

A day of sorting and packing. We seem to have far too much stuff goodness knows where to put it all and boy it’s going to be heavy. Maybe after a week we will either end up dumping some of it or maybe get used to it and get cycle fit again.

Our fitness has suffered all the time we’ve had off our bikes and today I certainly can feel in my thighs yesterday’s ride.

So the morning sorting and packing left us the afternoon to go for a walk. The campsite is located on its own private beach, which leads to a cliff walk, absolutely stunning.

We stumbled across a cave that had homemade furniture and a fire pit hid away awesome. The sort of place that when life gets on top of you you picture yourself living. Or is that just me!

Our campsite is huge. It’s hard to believe that it used to be a dairy farm. It’s been in the same family since 1852. When the cows were milked by hand and they sold handmade butter 5d a pound. As it’s in such a beautiful location people kept asking if it was ok to put up a tent for the night.

More and more people came and camped sharing the land with the cows. In the 1930’s they started to charge and to provide showers and toilets by 1940 the cows were gone. It has now over 500 pitches 3 swimming pools a games room,shop, fast food outlet, two camp kitchens and lots of shower/ toilet blocks I haven’t counted how many but it’s a big place not our first choice but every where else is full.

Tonight we decided to eat from the fast food bar, veggie burger and chips for me and mike had a Hawaiian burger with chips. We were asked if we wanted normal salt or chicken salt on the chips. I’ve never heard of chicken salt and being a veggie chose normal salt. Good old google has informed me that chicken salt is a seasoning consisting of onion powder,garlic powder,celery salt, paprika,chicken bouillon and monsodium glutamate Mmm lovely. Apparently it’s a southern Australia thing.

Friday 4th October

Today’s the day. I’ve been looking forward to this but dreading it at the same time. We are reunited with our beloved push bikes.

The service wasn’t too painful, new chains, new front tube for me, new rear cassette for both and a general look over service.

Let the cycling commence. Just a little ride today 25 miles to get us back into the swing of things. We are going south headed to Melbourne then up to Perth. Today we got as far as Kiama. We followed the princess highway on and off hugging the coast. It was busy it’s a Friday afternoon on a bank holiday weekend in the middle of two weeks off of school. Good timing not.

Pollution! My eyes are streaming and my lungs are burning time to leave the city behind.

It’s been a while since we rode and my arse is feeling it and so are my legs, really need to get my cycling fitness back, hopefully it won’t take to long.

The Route was a wee bit hilly and we had a head wind but nothing to bad. We arrived at camp just as it was getting dark. The clocks go forward on Saturday night so we should have plenty of daylight cycling time then.

Unfortunately clocks go forward means prices go up in campsites. So if anyone knows anyone along our route that would be willing to feed us and give us a bed for the night. I promise we’re not axe murderers!

Thursday 3rd October

Getting closer to the start of cycling, we had a phone call from the bike shop and our bikes will be ready for pick up tomorrow. Yes let the cycling begin we have missed it.

So today is our last day of. Making the most of it we drove down to seven mile beach. A lovely long sandy beach that made history in 1933 As it was used by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith as the runway for the first commercial flight between Australia and New Zealand.

It’s a hot day today in fact on the news we had heat warnings it’s going to be hot until next Tuesday, it’s a bank holiday and school holidays. You’d think that the beach would be busy in the uk it would be chaos but here we had the beach to ourselves.

We did a long walk to stretch our legs, we will definitely find it hard to start cycling. Trust us to start in a heatwave!

Wednesday 2nd October

Staying put in our campsite we went out for a drive around the area. The area that we’re staying is known as shoalhaven.

We drive through scenic pastures along the kangaroo valley following the kangaroo river. Crossing Hampden suspension bridge built 1898. Time for a paddle in the river to cool off, the weather is glorious.

We followed the tourist drive 7 which takes us into a pretty little town called Robinson. This was the film location of babe. Surrounded by beautiful pasture land, simply stunning.

It’s also home of a multi award winning pie shop as we’re here it would be rude not to try one!

I have to say the veggie pie I had was delicious

Tuesday 1st October

We awoke to the normal early sounds of the wild life, we really must start identifying them it would be nice to know what we’re hearing especially when it sounds so close.

We have decided to move campsites even though we have to stay close to Wollongong waiting for our bikes to be ready. The campsite we are in is quite expensive and full of kids it’s more of a holiday park and it’s school holidays.

Whilst putting the tent down the large family next to us got rather excited apparently Whales can be spotted from the beach. Tent away we wondered to the shore and took a look. In the distance we were treated to whales playing, lovely. From September to November humpback and southern right whales can be seen migrating south past this coast.

We spend the day walking in the minnamurra rain forest a subtropical and warm temperate rain forest. We followed a path that was steep and challenging in places to a waterfalls. Past fig trees, ferns and orchids strange black peacock looking birds were scratching about the under growth I think that they were lyrebirds.

We are now camped at a smaller campsite right on the beach but it’s cheaper and has a tv room to sit in. Somewhere more comfortable to write this and read. Unfortunately it’s fully booked on Friday and the bikes won’t be ready until Saturday. It’s a long weekend this weekend and everywhere seems booked.

Monday 30th September

We have to go to Wollongong today as our bikes are booked in for a well deserved service at a local bike shop. They are still in the boxes that we put them in for the flight from the USA. We haven’t even checked on them hopefully they’re fine.

We arrive at the shop just after it opened only to find that whoever we had spoke to to book them in hadn’t. Dame. The young staff didn’t really want to know and seemed a bit put out that we had turned up with two heavy bikes still in boxes that needed putting together as well as a service. We probably interrupted their time looking in a mirror and flicking their hair. Cuz that’s what they were doing when we walked in. Oh well boys time to do some work and earn that wage.

Bikes left with one lad who shrugged and said that they should be ready Friday we carried on driving south to a campsite at shell harbour.

We stayed in a small campsite right on the beach and spent the evening having a walk along the shore line. Back in our small tent we have no cooking facilities or any where to sit so tomorrow we will find a better equipped site. It’s school holidays and everywhere is busy and guess what the price goes up.

Sunday 29th September

1st night back in oz and the nocturnal noise it’s certainly very diverse. The wild life here likes to be heard if not seen.

A comfortable sleep after a great evening spent with new friends. We took full use of our en-suit, the luxury of a hot clean shower that’s not on a timer and shampoo and conditioner and and and shower gel. Lol like a kid in a candy shop. I’ve been washing myself and hair with a bar of soap. (Space and weight saving and doesn’t count as liquid on a plane). I’ve forgot how soft hair is after conditioning.

Breakfast of toast and I tried vegemite for the 1st time. Marmite is better!

And wash it down with English breakfast tea made properly with lose tea leaves.

It’s a Sunday and Madeleine and Jeremy have the day off so very kindly have offered to take us sightseeing.

We go for a lovely Sunday drive following a coastal road into a national park, with Madeleine pointing out places of interest and wild unusual plants. And it’s at least 10c warmer than New Zealand. Beautiful sunshiny day.

Lunch stop was in a cafe at Kurnell that has a plaque to commemorate captain cooks landing site in 1770 I guess he moved on from the place called 1770 in Queensland I should buy a Australian guide book.

The afternoon was spent relaxing and Madeleine cooked a delicious evening meal. We all eat together. Jeremy, Madeleine and their two sons Ben and Harry. Funny cheeky young men. A hard working family that all have to get up early for work. Tomorrow we have to leave but we have enjoyed our stay. We say our good byes tonight as we may not see them in the morning.

Saturday 28th September

A really bad nights sleep, well don’t think I slept, Mike definitely didn’t. We spent the night in a hotel, a nice clean room but yes it’s a budget hotel. The walls are paper thin and the room next to us were really noisy, music all night and people coming and going. Loud knocking on their door, heavy footsteps and loud conversations in Chinese . Not sure what was going on but what ever it was I’m sure it could of been done with a lot less noise.

Anyway up we get at 4:30 am ready for the shuttle bus to the airport not a problem. Managed to get that and we were the only ones on the bus nice and early for the check in.

At the airport we checked in hand luggage only, we are allowed one bag to go in the over head storage and one bag under the seat. We have less stuff going back and it wasn’t a problem coming so why leaving is it. They weigh our luggage and tell us that we have to pay $75 to check them in the hold. Money grabbing gits

The flight is 7am but it’s delayed, we finally take off at 9:30 am a three and a half hour bumpy, boring flight, no entertainment just sit and stair at the back of the chair in front. What joy.

The landing was pretty bumpy I thought that we were going to over shoot the run way. Mike recons it was a manual landing because it was so rough, but hay it’s a adventure I tell you.

Back in Australia and funny we had only been here for 3 weeks before we went to New Zealand but it felt like we were home. We picked up our hire car and drive to Kate’s house and pick up our bikes from her garden, frightening her poor daughter who she thought we were burglars sorry.

Next stop we had arranged to meet a face book friend mark. Mark lives in Sydney and is a keen cyclist, he has been following our face book page and offered a place for us to stay. Thank you mark. But as it happens we also had been offered a place to stay by someone else I love the power of the internet. Anyway we met mark and he very kindly brought us lunch and gave us a idea of a cycle route to do on our next tour.

After leaving mark we make our way to madeleines house our home for the night. Madeleine is also a complete stranger from internet land who offered us some where to stay.

Madeleine and family are lovely made us so welcome. We have our own room with en-suite in a beautiful house with a swimming pool. That’s it I’m moving in squatters rights. A lovely evening with delicious home cooked food and plenty of drinks the conversation was flowing. And funny but it’s been a long day and with the time difference it’s even longer not wanting the evening to end we reluctantly went to bed.

We loved it so much we are staying another night. We not going with out a fight!

Friday 27th September

Day off today, relaxing and packing ready for our 7am flight to Sydney tomorrow. We are staying in a hotel tonight in a suburb of Auckland they have a free shuttle service to the airport.

Auckland, based around 2 large harbours, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. It is the most populated city in New Zealand with just over 3:5 million residents.