Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bemm River Scenic Reserve to Tathra

Thursday 11th - Saturday 13th November

On the Wednesday night I free-camped at Bemm River Scenic Reserve and in the morning after breakfast and packing up camp I did the short rainforest walk, which is very special. It has a couple of swing bridges over the McKenzie and Bemm Rivers, and a few boardwalks.

Riding out of the reserve I noticed my tyre was a little flat and when pumping the tyre I managed to snap the valve. This hasn't happened to me before. I wasn't being rough to my knowledge, but maybe I don't know my own strength. It was already getting hot and humid and it was only about 10am. The ride to Cann River is about 30 km, but I really struggled this day. There are hills but not so bad as to have to get off and push. It was probably the first reasonably hot day I had seen in a while - a thunderstorm building and dripping humidity - and I guess I've adapted to all the cold so wasn't ready for it. I ended up having four flats that day, really trying my patience. One puncture occurred just before another bridge over the Bemm River. I decided to cool off by going for a wander before fixing the flat. I found a trail and then a set of steps leading down to the water. Wow! This spot was magic. The water was clear, there was a tiny waterfall, schools of fish, submerged logs, green water plants under the surface. I saw a red frog swimming to get away from my shadow. And all under the highway. How many people must just drive past this secret place?

A special spot on the Bemm River

After stopping to rest several times, and not just for the flat tyres, I got to Cann River about 5pm. Why is it so sub-tropical? I thought I was supposed to be riding to Brisbane, not riding in Brisbane.

I stayed at the caravan park at Cann River for $10 a night. The next day was to be rest day as it was only going to be hotter (33 in the shade) and more humid. I used the internet in an airconditioned room for two hours during the warmest part - which was well planned. The rain finally came to ease the heat.

After the rest day I wanted to ride down to Point Hicks lighthouse but unfortunately it is 45km of dry weather only dirt road, so that was out. Instead I stayed at Cann River another night to eat their delicious pizzas.

More photos from Bemm River

Sunday 14th November

I left Cann River at 730 in the morning, determined to get a head start on the heat. This was a good idea as it was building up to another storm. After some not so fun climbing and awesome fun winding downhills where you take the lane and speed through lush green rainforest, I made it to the Genoa free-camp about 1130. It was stinking hot so I just set up a lean-to to lay under and read. Then it started pouring. And didn't stop. After a few hours I decided to start collecting rain water off the tarp. I collected 6 litres before running out of containers. A couple of people came up to me to ask if I was ok, or needed any money for food. Clearly I looked a little homeless. I did eventually put my tent up.

Monday 15th -Wednesday 17th November 2010

A 23km ride of winding hills that isn't too challenging got me to Mallacoota. I got there about 11am and checked in to the foreshore caravan park for $18 a night. After setting up my shanty town campsite, I proceeded to not do a hell of a lot. The weather turned pretty bleak. The place was full of grey nomads.

The next day I went for a walk to Bastion Point where you can just see the Gabo Island lighthouse in the distance, and a wind turbine nearby it. That night the weather finally turned around, with the clouds clearing up after sunset, making for some pretty pictures.

Mallacoota sunset

The next day the weather was great.  I went for a ride along the Shady Creek trail, and then the Lakeside bike path which is excellent. After a BBQ for lunch I rode to Betka Beach.

More photos from Mallacoota
Thursday 18th November

Woke up at 5:30 to catch the sunrise. Rode back to Genoa with a short bushwalk to Cape Horn Bay and Gipsy Point as sidetrips.

Cape Horn Bay

Collected my postal vote forms from the Genoa Hotel. At the freecamp I was reading in the shade when two Belgian touring cyclists arrived. They were riding Sydney to Adelaide. Another cycle tourist, a retired bloke arrived a little later.

About 4pm a guy roadtripping around Australia from the US to ask me to help get him unlost. He ended up chattting to me for ages. He gathered from me my dislike for gas-guzzling RVs and I threw in a conspiracy theory about the pending bovine uprising for good measure (basically the cows get us hooked on their milk and cheese products and then threaten to take these away unless certain provisons are made). He retorted that although the US is full of citizens driving tanks, Australia is worse because we burn coal. Can't hardly argue with the man. I sure felt ashamed.

Friday 19th November

I kept hearing reports from cyclists travelling from Sydney that the hills heading into Eden are horrible. I decided to cut this ride in two. Left about 730 to head into the not so bad first stage, to a free-camp at Scrubby Creek. Crossing the border was uneventful. NSW doesn't even bother putting up a welcome sign. There was a convoy of CFA blokes in their red trucks however. Just to greet me! Shuddup, it totally was.

I got to the free-camp around lunch time, but beforehand I had a wonderful surprise. Chris and Kerry from Brunswick spotted me on the road from their motorcycle and we had a roadside chat and they took some happy snaps. They were on their way to a five day hike from Mallacoota. Anyway, they're really nice people and the chance meet left me grinning all day.

At the freecamp I collected a weeks worth of firewood, read in my hammock, and then a couple of vans showed up to destroy the peace with a genset.

Saturday 20th November

Nullica River
Left about 8am. Stopped briefly at Nullica River which is very pretty. Rode into Eden. The hills into Eden weren't actually as horrible as I had imagined, or the stories foretold. I didn't have to get off and push. Was I just super awesome?

 After lunch at Eden, I decided the place was full of tools. Maybe it was just Saturday and everyone must drive their commodores around yelling caveman grunts out the windows on Saturdays? How can a place named after a biblical paradise be also proof of Darwinian humans descended from apes?

Leaving Eden I ride past a clan of neanderthal men sinking tinnies at a BBQ plate around the front of a house with their lowered sedans parked on the lawn - they all at the same time yelled out something different each which collectively came to my ears as 'aghfchaderfth' etc.  I have found the missing link! I imitated the noise they were making by wagging my tongue around while making the noise someone makes while choking on their own vomit while thoroughly inebriated.

Anyway, I find the prophecised Eden hills while leaving the place. There is one doozy which leaves the combi-vans screaming and the trucks slowing down to ant speed but with the sound of a jet. For this, I assure you, you cannot do anything but get off and slowly push the bike up. At one point I hear a truck coming so I move about a metre off the shoulder onto some dirt. The truck driver sees this, and as he must have wide traffic passing him he goes past me driving on the shoulder. I'm staring at the ground and I see a series of rather large truck wheels go past about 10km/hr about 10cm from my legs with a whole lot of noise.

The hill coming out of Eden

The hills settle down a little and I pull into the Pambula Lake boat ramp area to free-camp the night under a full moon. The place is an oyster farm so the water has lots of white sticks, uh, sticking out of it, which I suppose sticks are supposed to do.

View from the free camp at Pambula Lake

More photos of Eden and Pambula Lake

Sunday 21st November

Pambula Wetlands

I wake up early, eat breakfast at 530 and head to Pambula and find a bike path through the Pambula wetlands which has a variety of birds and the old racetrack which has kangaroos. This connects up with a bike path, that is beside Ben Boyd National Park, to Pambula Beach.

Pambula Beach

It's really nice to come across places with separated areas for bikes after days of highway. After having a second breakfast at 8am on the beach, I ride back into Pambula and find another bike path along the scenic road to Merrimbula. At Merimbula the market is on and its 930am so I wander around it and manage to eat eggs in a roll $3 for a third breakfast and dutch pancakes as a forth breakfast. 

Leaving Merrimbula I find a bloody big long hill to push the bike up with no shoulder. And its a Sunday so everyones out for a drive aren't they. After the long hill climb there is a moderately flat bit with one lane each way and no shoulder. I'm busy looking in my mirror for cars trying to run me off the road from behind when a loser in a white ute coming the other way decides to overtake a string of cars, doing 120km/h...

As I mentioned, NO SHOULDER, which means I'm occupying the space he requires to overtake in. In a split second I see a white blur heading my way, I slip off into grass as the blur misses my panniers by millimetres. All I can do is shake my head.

I swear I HATE SUNDAYS so much. I didn't catch the number plate of course. Anyway, lesson learned. Sunday arvos are a 'no ride on tourist route' zone from now on. Dickhead with not enough brain cells to put on the tip of a toothpick. Must come from Eden.

There were plenty more hills to come as I got closer to Tathra. And no real shoulder. But I made it in one piece in the end, just so that I could be stung by a $33 campsite fee for my tiny tent. Tathra Beach is nice though. Not $33 of nice, but...

Looking towards Tathra historic wharf from Tathra Beach


More photos of Pambula Wetlands and Pambula Beach

1 comment:

Mal said...

Of course there's no external indicator such as skin color or yobbo mode of dress, to distinguish the speeding overtaker (undertaker?), but there's more evidence appearing now and then of neanderthal in some people's genome. Those risk-taking and over-friendly critters have hitched a ride with the nominal victors.

Spectacular photos!