2012 Round the World Tour 

Charlene Barach
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2012 - Australia: Beechworth, VIC
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2012 Round the World Tour

2012 Round the World Tour
2012 Round the World Tour - Continuing in Australia


After discussing, saving, and preparing, we have decided to set off on an 8-month Round The World Tour. Our itinerary covers Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Europe, Canada, USA, Canada again, and Australia.

Our choices of countries evolved and grew over a period of about a year. The first idea was that we would take 2-3 months and do the North Sea Route. Then we wanted to include France in that plan. And I got the idea in my head that I wanted to spend Christmas with my family in Canada. While we were discussing these ideas, Rowan mentioned he'd like to go to South America too. So Rowan started looking at what was involved with purchasing and using a Round The World airline ticket.

The world, according to the Round The World ticket organisation we went with, is divided into zones. We were allowed a limited number of flights/stops in each zone, and we could only move forward in the direction we chose. We were also limited by weather/seasons, and my desire to be in Canada by Christmas.

With those limitations in mind, we started picking places in each zone ... and after narrowing and reworking our list of places we would like to visit, we came up with our finalised itinerary. Several places were dropped from the list because we just couldn't fit them in. But they are on the list for future tours ... some of the places that didn't make the cut this time include New Zealand, Peru, and the Canadian Maritimes.

I have started the Australia report below, and will link to the other segments as we go.

Asia Story

Europe - UK Story

Mainland Europe Story

North America Story

Australia Story


Round The World Tour - Australia

*Note* - I need to update the photos here! But meanwhile more can be found on my Flickr site. Click the Photo Gallery link to the left, or the links below ...

Round the World - Asia Photos

Round the World - UK Photos

Round the World - The Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg Photos

Round the World - Switzerland & France


Round the World - West Coast of France, Paris, and UK Photos

Round the World - North America Photos

Round the World - North America Photos Part 2

Round the World - Australia Photos


Friday 18 January - You might have noticed that the 17th is missing. It was kind of there in the 4 hours we spent in Hong Kong, but that was about it.

We had a very long couple days. We woke quite early on Wednesday 16 January, did our last minute packing and then got to the airport. After a 13 hour flight, we landed in Hong Kong where we walked around and took a break from airplanes for about 4 hours.

While waiting, I was able to use a bit of my Hong Kong dollars, which I still had, to pick up some snacks ... snacks that we had been introduced to when we went through Asia back in June ... delicious little cakes and things.

June feels so long ago, like it was part of another trip, and yet on the other hand it only seems like a week or two ago because there was a certain familiarity being in Hong Kong again.

We did wish we could spend a few days rather than 4 hours, but that was the way it worked out this time.

And then, after 4 hours of waiting, we discovered that our plane was almost another hour late. But eventually we were able to board. Unfortunately, this time we were not able to sit together. Rowan was quite a few rows further back, and the plane was full. The plane was also a lot more cramped than the previous one. So the 7 hour flight from Hong Kong to Perth wasn't as nice as the previous flight.

With about 3 hours to go, I was very ready to get off the plane, and started pacing. I'd watch a short show, then pace, then watch another short show, then pace.

In that 7 hours, I think I managed about 2 hours of sleep, so by the time we landed in Perth, I had a grand total of about 4 hours of sleep in the previous 32 hours. Fortunately, customs and immigration went very well because I was feeling very fuzzy.

And then came the next challenge ... getting from the Perth airport to the hotel. The hotel was definitely not within walking distance (I don't think any are), and one of the shuttles wanted nothing to do with us and our bicycle boxes, so we had to go with a cab ... a more expensive option, but it got us there.

Even though it was quite early in the morning, we were able to get into our room by about 9:30 am, and rather than going to sleep right away, we decided to have a hot shower, go for a little walk, and then maybe take an afternoon nap.

Our little walk ended up being 11 km and several hours! We didn't get back to the hotel until about 1:30 pm. And then I only got about 1 hour of sleep.

By the time we went to bed, I had been awake about 48 hours with about 5 hours of sleep scattered in that time period. Travelling between North America and Australia is like Randonneuring! No sleep!!

One thing we forgot ... we've obviously been in North America to long ... the sun! It was about 30C out there, which didn't feel too bad because there was a bit of a breeze, but we forgot sunscreen, and when we got back to the hotel, we had acquired some rather patchy burns. My forehead and nose, the back of my left arm, my hands, and the tops of my feet. Rowan only seemed to burn the back of his neck. Oops!!

For a little bit of perspective ... we're visiting Perth in Western Australia. We live(d) and our stuff is stored just north of Melbourne ... approx. 3275 km away. That's kind of like visiting Calgary, Alberta when you live near Ottawa, Ontario. Or visiting San Diego, California when you live near Pensacola, Florida. Roughly the same distance. :)

And we're back to Australian TV ... things haven't changed much at all in the 7 months we've been gone. From the looks of things, we could just pick up where we left off if we wanted.

(Exercise: 120 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Saturday 19 January - After a good night's sleep, I felt some better ... awake enough to feel up to seeing something of Perth.

We caught a bus downtown and looked into the possibility of taking a coach to Albany tomorrow. From the information we gathered, that possibility looked expensive, so we started considering alternatives. And then we caught a train to Fremantle.

Fremantle is a nice touristy town or suburb of Perth. We visited the markets, wandered by the beach and looked out over the Indian Ocean. Then we strolled through town and found a place for some ice cream. A really nice way to spend the afternoon.

So now that I have seen the Indian Ocean, I have seen all 5 oceans. However, I have only seen the Arctic Ocean from the air.

On the way back we accidentally caught the wrong bus out to where we were staying. Fortunately the driver was willing to drive a little bit further to get us closer to where we wanted to go, but it added a little walk to the end of our day. All up we probably walked about 5-6 km.

And, over dinner at Fasta Pasta, we made the decision to rent a car rather than take the bus. Renting a car is a little bit more expensive, but it will give us more flexibility so that we can go different places as we want.

Temperatures here in Perth ... yesterday: 30C/86F, today: 33C/91F. Bit of an adjustment from the approx. 0C temps in the Vancouver area! :)

(Exercise: 60 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Sunday 20 January - Rowan was up early to go get the rental car. And therefore, I did not sleep well. I don't sleep well when we've got to be up early and on a schedule. My job was to get ready to go, and then at about 9:45 am, to move all our stuff out to the lobby ... bicycle boxes and all.

At 9:45, I started to move the first bicycle box, and who should walk up the hall, but Rowan back from collecting the rental car. Good timing!! Getting the bicycles into the car was a bit of a challenge, but he did it.

Before leaving Perth, Rowan showed me around the area where he used to live and where he had started cycling. It looks like a nice area of Perth with parks and quiet streets. Then we went to Fremantle for lunch, before finally starting our journey to Albany.

We opted to follow the coast for a while, and then go inland and diagonally across to Albany. Once we got in the area, we had no idea where to go, so we just followed some caravan park signs and found our way out to Emu Point, to what turned out to be a really nice campground. Unfortunately, we were a few minutes after closing ... but they still let us in.

We're camping because it is nice weather and because it is holiday season, so any other options are expensive.

As soon as the tent was up, we walked out to the beach to have a look, then drove into Albany for dinner. It is really a very pretty area, with hills and little islands and penninsulas out in the water.

We are camping on the beach, about 30 metres from the ocean. :) I will be falling asleep tonight to the sound of roaring waves.

(Exercise: 10 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Monday 21 January - This morning, we inhaled fresh, very ripe mangos for breakfast. I haven't had a mango since Hong Kong last June, and I've been missing them.

Rowan put the bicycles together and we went for a ride to the next beach area up the path. There is a fairly lengthy bicycle/walking path from the end of Emu Point all the way into Albany, and mostly along the beach.

After a light lunch, we played a bit of frisbee on the beach, and then went for a wade in the water. Because it is the Southern Ocean, we thought that the water could be quite cold, but it was very pleasantly warm. In fact, it was so warm that we decided to go for a swim. So we cycled back changed, and cycled back to the beach to swim.

That is the first time I've ever swam in the ocean. I've waded, and bobbed around in the water, and have used the body board, but I've never actually swam. The water was beautiful!! It is a gorgeous clear, warm turquoise blue, edged with squeaky white sand.

After an hour or so, we cycled back toward the campground and decided to continue on a bit further and see what was at the end of the point.

There is a resort and cafe, and as we rounded the tip, there was a lovely calm harbour of greeny-blue water, with swimming lanes marked out. Wonderful!!

We drove into Albany for dinner, picked a few things up for breakfast tomorrow, and explored a little bit.

(Exercise: 90 minutes - cycling, swimming, frisbee)

(Cycled: 18.81 km)

Tuesday 22 January - We decided to cycle into Albany on the path, and to have a look at various viewpoints along the way.

One of the things we noticed, when we were in Albany yesterday, was an old ship, a replica of an old ship, so today we decided to take a closer look. For a fairly reasonable price we could do a guided tour ... so we did! It was interesting to learn a bit more about the history of this part of Australia.

Then we stopped by the Tourist Information centre to pick up a map of the area and a bit more information.

We decided to take the road route back rather than the path. It started with a long climb, and I surprised Rowan by sticking with him all the way up. I guess the month in the gym in Canada has been beneficial.

When we got back, we thought we'd take a closer look at the swimming lanes around the point. Rowan swam a few laps in them, but they were positioned in a fairly deep part of the harbour, and I didn't want to tackle 50 metre lanes without being able to touch bottom. So I swam back and forth just outside the lanes where it was shallower. Rowan joined me there later. I think it was warmer there too. All up I did 500 metres and Rowan did more.

My shoulders are a bit tired ... in one direction we had the wind behind us and I was able to knock off 50 metres no problem. In the other direction, however, the wind was against (and it was a very strong wind today) which pushed waves into my face. I ended up rolling over onto my back/side and doing sort of an odd side stroke.

Again, the water was beautiful. Clear, warm, greeny-blue ... and very salty. It was extremely easy to float.

(Exercise: 120 minutes - cycling, swimming)

(Cycled: 24.58 km)

Wednesday 23 January - Today was a little cooler and overcast with threatening drizzle, so we decided to explore by car. We drove out to a little beach area in a somewhat more remote part of the coast. The beach had a camping area next to it ... a more rustic camping area which would have been less expensive. All along the coast in Australia, there are these bush camping areas, with basic toilet blocks and no power. But if all you want to do is to spend time at the beach inexpensively, they are definitely an option.

Then we drove out to a natural bridge, a rock formation carved out by the waves. There are similar rock formations along the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. It was accompanied by a "gap", an spot where there had been a natural bridge, but it had fallen in. The force of the water was incredible, roaring under the bridge and into the gap.

We continued on and saw a sign for blowholes. Those can be quite interesting. They are holes in the rock shoreline and the waves shoot up through the holes, looking a little like, and making a sound like, a whale.

The blowholes were a 900 metre walk out, which was a reasonable distance. As we were getting closer we could hear a sound like a monster growling, but when we got there, we couldn't see anything ... at first.

After walking around on the rocks, we discovered the holes ... these were longish cracks in the rock. But they weren't making any sound. So we sat down next to them and waited.

All of a sudden one of the holes not only growled loudly, but a mist of water appeared. It was the only time we saw water, but the growl was loud enough I was compelled to move back a bit. And the growls continued. Without being able to see anything, it really sounded like a monster from the deep was somewhere under the rock.

The way back was a hike up the hill. A little exercise for the day! All up we walked about 3 km.

The insect spray we picked up (yes, we're back in the world of mosquitoes ... that's summer for you) smells like rather cheap men's cologne. It's different from the usual insect spray smell. I do like this better, but it makes me wonder ... if they can make it smell like cheap men's cologne can they make it smell like something really nice? Also, would cheap men's cologne work as an insect repellent?

(Exercise: 45 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Thursday 24 January - We've moved locations ... where we were was wonderful, but we're making our way back to Perth, and seeing some other stuff along the way.

On the way today, we stopped to do a tree top walk among some large eucalypt trees, in what is called the Valley of the Giants. The walk takes place on a narrow, metal bridge, with enough flexibility that it swings a bit when you walk on it. It's an interesting perspective of the forest.

Valley of the Giants

We are still on the ocean ... just further west now in Augusta. Augusta is a smaller town than Albany but has some interesting features around it too which we will explore later.

It is quite chilly here last night compared with where we were, and especially compared with Perth ... only 17C and windy.

(Exercise: 30 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Friday 25 January - Today we strolled out to the beach and were debating about where to go for a swim, when there was a bit of a commotion in the water. The cause of the commotion ... a large stingray! That's the first stingray I've seen in the wild. It cruised along through the swimming area and then gave a flap and headed back out to sea. A few minutes later, we were swimming where it had been.

After swimming near the stingray (and believe me, the whole time I was in the water, I was watching) ... we did a little driving tour of the area.

We checked out a beach on the Indian Ocean, drove up to a hill top lookout which gave us a view of both the Southern and Indian Oceans, and drove out to a lighthouse on the point where the Southern and Indian Oceans intersect. Unfortunately we arrived there too late, and it was closed. But hopefully tomorrow. :)

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Rowan prepared a curry dish for dinner tonight on his Trangia ... just something he threw together, but which was quite delicious. And the smell attracted other campers around. At one point, we thought we'd have a line up!

(Exercise: 70 minutes - walking, swimming)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Saturday 26 January - Happy Australia Day!

Today, we visited the lighthouse at the point where the Southern Ocean and Indian Ocean meet ... we went out there early so we could get in. It's a beautiful spot with a great view of the ocean ... about 270 degrees. We spent quite a bit of time just watching the beautiful blue-green ocean.

And then we went swimming ... but without the stingray this time. Although, at one point during the swim, some of the children closer to shore started shouting about a stingray. I'm not sure if there was one, or if they were just remembering yesterday and thought they might have seen one. But I had my eye on every dark blob around.

When we were at the lighthouse, we found out that the reason the water all around the coast here is warm, and not cold like we expected, is because of something called the Leeuwin current which brings warm water down from the tropics, and is joined with water from the Indian Ocean, and wraps right around the coast. That current is also why the water is so clear, and why the water is so salty. It wasn't our imagination that the water seemed saltier here than in some other places we've been. It is so easy to float ... almost too easy!

And then we went for a long walk, and watched lots of paragliders on the inlet or river near here. Paragliding looks interesting ... challenging, but interesting.

In case anyone wondered, I am working on the rest of the North America story, and the Australian story. The North American one is ready to load (without photos at this point), but my internet connection hasn't been strong enough to load anything. The Australia one should be ready to load in a day or two. Hopefully I will be able to load these soon.

(Exercise: 90 minutes - walking, swimming)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Sunday 27 January - This morning we left Augusta and drove northward along the coast to Prevelly, near Margaret River. Then on up to Dunsborough and out to Eagle Bay. Beautiful areas! I was hoping to see some big waves, but the ocean was calm.

We tried to find a campground in Dunsborough, but then decided to keep going to Busselton where we found a lovely campground quite near the ocean. Not close enough to hear the ocean, unfortunately, but close enough to get there quickly.

As soon as we got our campsite set up, we drove into Busselton, and tackled the Busselton Jetty. The 1.8 km jetty is heritage listed and is the longest timber-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere. We walked all the way to the end and back ... 3.6 km, plus a bit getting to and from where we parked the car, for a total of 4 km.

Busselton Jetty

And we went for a swim again this afternoon. Today's water was its usual lovely, clear, salty self, but this time it had a few little jellyfish in it. Rowan got stung twice, but fortunately, these aren't the really painful kind.

As we move further north, it gets hotter. Today was up near 30C ... quite toasty!!

Well, I'm starting to blend in with the Australians again. It didn't take long to get tanned! My feet look the funniest ... they've each got a broad darkly tanned stripe across the top because I've been wearing my sandals since I got here.

(Exercise: 60 minutes - walking, swimming)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Monday 28 January - Very relaxing morning. :)

We're in a shaded BBQ structure, and have been drinking coffee and watching everyone pack up and go home. It's a comfortably warm morning.

This is the Holiday Monday for Australia Day, and it's back to work, and back to school in some cases, tomorrow.

When most of the campground left, we decided to visit the swimming pool. It wasn't a very long swimming pool, but I still managed to do 400 metres, and Rowan did a bit more.

And then we rode 28.93 km on a bicycle path along the ocean in Western Australia on a hot and sunny afternoon. :)

We have two logistical dilemnas coming up ... 1) Returning the rental car in Perth; 2) Getting from Melbourne airport, to our van, to where we're staying for a few weeks ... with all our travel stuff, plus a bit more.

1. We'll be dropping everything off at the hotel, then dropping the car off, then taking the bus back to the hotel, spending the night, and most likely getting a taxi to the airport. That one is just a lot of back and forth early in the morning.

2. We haven't worked out yet, but may involve a rental car. The train/bus system is a little inconvenient. And cycling is out too. From the airport to where the van is parked is at least 133 km, up and over a mountain range ... and we fly in late in the day. We have to get everything to the van, and then get whatever we need to the place we'll be living for a bit, which is another 65 km away. We're trying to work out the cheapest option for this logistical dilemna. Anything we think of will involve a night's stay somewhere and transportation costs.

(Exercise: 120 minutes - cycling, swimming)

(Cycled: 28.93 km)

Tuesday 29 January - Back into Fremantle for ice cream. We found a good ice cream place there at the beginning of our Western Australia trip, and if you've been following the trip at all, ice cream has been a recurring theme.

We're near Perth now ... getting ready for the next leg of the journey. I don't enjoy heavily scheduled sections of the tour, and the next three days will be more scheduled than I like. I'm looking forward to Friday evening, when we should be where we're going.

However, for now, we found a campground with a swimming pool, and because this part of Western Australia is quite warm, we spent the afternoon in the campground swimming pool. :) It wasn't really long enough to swim lengths, so we kind of swam round and round.

(Exercise: 45 minutes - walking, swimming)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Wednesday 30 January - Today we returned the rental car and moved into a hotel. We had to return the rental car by a certain time, but couldn't get into the hotel room until several hours later. Time juggling ... and lots of waiting.

Rowan dropped me and the luggage off at the hotel, and while I waited, he returned the car, and took the bus back to the hotel.

Then, finally, we went for a walk to get some lunch, and spent the afternoon packing everything into its air travel configuration.

So, why is it that every time I pack my stuff there seems to be more than there was before? Much more. I just bought one smallish bottle of shampoo ... I don't think I added anything else to the collection.

Tomorrow we have to get a taxi, get to the airport, and fly to Melbourne. Friday we have to figure out how to get from Melbourne up north where our van is and where our stuff is stored, we have to get the keys to the place we're staying, and then "move in" to the place we're staying for the next few weeks. If all goes well, by Friday evening we'll be relaxing in that place.

But meanwhile, for the first night in 10 nights, we'll be sleeping inside on a bed! We've been camping in a small tent for 10 nights straight.

I didn't mind camping in Japan. Their AutoResort campgrounds were great. But even the more rustic one we stayed in for a couple nights wasn't bad at all. However, I wasn't so keen on camping in Europe, especially in August when Europeans are on holiday. The campgrounds were crowded and noisy, and some were so full they wouldn't even let us pitch a small tent. But back in Australia again, the camping is better. The campgrounds here are more organised, provide better facilities, and even though we were camping during a peak holiday season, they were quiet.

Oh, and we visited Fasta Pasta again for dinner. Australia doesn't have chain family restaurants like Denny's, Perkins, Olive Garden, Ihop, etc., but about the closest they come are places like Fasta Pasta. Fasta Pasta will provide you with a decent, filling pasta dinner for a reasonable price.

(Exercise: 30 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Thursday 31 January - Getting to the airport went quite smoothly. We had booked a van taxi with room to take our bicycles, and it arrived just a few minutes late, but still well within time to get to the airport. We did have a moment of panic when we thought we might have the wrong terminal, but fortunately, we were OK, and the rest of the boarding process went smoothly.

Flying domestic is quite different from flying international ... the rules and regulations are so much more relaxed.

And so, we're in the boarding lounge at the Perth airport, just about to board a flight to Melbourne ... getting closer to "home" or something that might sort of vaguely ressemble "home" for a few weeks.

And later ...

We're in Melbourne, after a tolerable flight. It's nice that it was short. Domestic flights have less elbow room than international flights. :)

And ... I'm definitely back in Victoria!! After a month of absolutely no rain in this area, it's pouring here now. We had to wheel the bicycle boxes, bags and all to the hotel in the rain. Fortunately the hotel wasn't too far away.

Apparently, in the time that we've been travelling, Ibis has been taking over the Formula1 hotels. It was a Formula1 when we left, it's an Ibis now. But maybe Ibis will spruce up the Formula1 hotels to the quality of the Ibis hotels in Europe.

Time adjustment again ... Perth is 3 hours behind Melbourne. It's only 9:30 pm there, but it's 12:30 am here. We should be asleep, but we're not tired yet!

(Exercise: 30 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Asia Story

Europe - UK Story

Mainland Europe Story

North America Story

Australia Story

Round the World - Asia Photos

Round the World - UK Photos

Round the World - The Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg Photos

Round the World - Switzerland & France

Round the World - West Coast of France, Paris, and UK Photos

Round the World - North America Photos

Round the World - North America Photos Part 2

Round the World - Australia Photos


Friday 01 February - Long, long day. Up early, haul everything back to airport, wait in line for bus. Some disagreement about bringing the bicycle boxes on the bus, but we ignored the protests and did it anyway.

Once on the bus, I sat next to a girl who was getting ready to go to South America, and we had a lovely chat about our trip and hers.

We got to train station only to discover that our train had some issues ... in fact, the whole line had issues, and the train simply wasn't running where we needed to go. We made some quick decisions, and got another train to Option B.

Then we had to haul everything from train station down a hill and across a busy road to catch bus, just in the nick of time. Then we had to change buses partway along route instead of staying on the same bus, which required more lifting and hauling.

When we got to the town where our stuff is stored, I waited with our travel gear while Rowan walked to storage area to start van. No Go. So then we had to haul everything over to the storage area.

Lots, and lots of lifting, carrying and dragging.

Thankfully, we did have some help. A very helpful man assisted us getting the bicycle boxes on and off and on and off the trains we had to take. Then another very helpful man assisted us getting the bicycle boxes down the hill and across the busy road to the bus. We were so thankful for the unexpected assistance!!

During the afternoon, I dropped in at the place I used to work to say "hello" to everyone. It was nice to see them all again ... lots of hugs and conversation.

But it feels very strange to be back in the town where we lived for 2 years before this 7.5 month Round-the-World adventure. A very weird feeling. A few things have changed, but for the most part it looks the same. It's like we haven't left. I felt like we should be just starting the trip. And I felt like we should go down the street to our house ... but it isn't our house anymore.

And my place of employment was the same sort of thing when I dropped in to see everyone ...

We've been reacquainted with our stuff ... the stuff we had in storage. Sort of ... we're not unpacking yet, and we don't know when we will unpack. It could be a month or it could be much longer. Who knows where life will lead us next.

For the moment, however, unfortunately the van is giving us a bit of trouble so we're staying put for the night, in a little, very old, hotel in town.

Overnight low tonight ... 6C!! 6C in the middle of summer!! Bit of a shock after nice warm Western Australia!

(Exercise: 60 minutes - walking, lifting, carrying)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Saturday 02 February - It lives!! We finally managed to get the van started this morning, after leaving it charging all night long. We were getting a bit worried there.

We've done a 65 km drive to the place we're staying, so that should help. And on Monday we'll drive into the town where our stuff is stored and back again (130 km), so that should help a bit too. We'll probably start and drive it a bit tomorrow as well.

Before we left our storage unit, we grabbed a couple boxes. One contained laptops and my portfolio, the other contained my good camera. And now we're somewhat settled in the place where we'll be staying for the next few weeks, complete with an elderly, black, kitty named "Savage". We even took a little drive around the town to see what's here.

We're relaxing ... but I'm feeling somewhat restless and unsettled.

I think part of it is that all our stuff is so near and yet so far. We can't unpack, and I don't know when we will be able to ... could be a month, could be a year. But there are things I'd like to see and use. Like our tandem, for example!! And the paddles and life jackets so we can use our canoe.

And part of it probably has to do with the uncertainty of this part of the trip. Is our big trip over or not? Not really because we can't settle anywhere just yet. We could be back on the road again in a month's time.

However, this evening, I'll continue to work on US photos. :) I will have to count up the total number of photos I've taken at some point, but I will say this ... I wore out my poor little camera!! It still works, but it's sluggish and the zoom is tempermental.

And, I've also reconnected with my good camera!! I've missed it many times on this trip ... it's great to use it again!

(Exercise: 30 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Sunday 03 February - Last night I slept ... and slept ... and slept ... and slept. I was so exhausted from the last several days.

But since I've been up, we've already gone grocery shopping, and Rowan is building the bicycles. We're talking about possibly swimming in the local outdoor pool, and a little spin around town on the bicycles.

It is 27C, sunny, and a little bit windy out there ... so it was a good day for a swim. I did 500 metres (Rowan did twice that), and then 12.74 km on the bicycles, doing a little exploring around town.

We used to drive over the range to this area to do long rides. Several of our monthly centuries were done around these parts. But we usually just came, rode the most obvious roads, and returned to where we were living. Now we're taking the opportunity to explore and see where some of the smaller roads lead.

For all you teachers out there ... the kids should all be back in school tomorrow!! The school year is about to begin. (Although some students went back the middle of last week.) And for us, it means that roads and popular tourist destinations should be quieter now.

(Exercise: 90 minutes - cycling, swimming)

(Cycled: 12.74 km)

Monday 04 February - I've lost 7 lbs since December 21. :)

We went back to our storage unit today, and we unearthed a suitcase full of clothes for me, and a box full of clothes for Rowan. I had a dig through the suitcase and I have a collection of skirts and tops for all occasions. Good! I can show up to work appropriately dressed.

Only one thing ... shoes. My dressy sandals disintegrated at the end of last summer, not long before we left on this tour, and all I've got are my travel sandals. They'll have to do for now.

And yes ... today I'm wearing something completely different from what I've worn over the past 7.5 months. It's nice. But the increase in clothing options was very important considering I'll be working in an office for a while ... I have to dress up a little bit.

The other thing we did today was to pick up my letter of offer today. :) Just a temporary, part-time job, but it's a start. :)

When we got back, we went for a short ride ... 12.22 km.

As our tour slowly draws to a close, and as we gradually start on the next chapter of our lives ... I've been working on recreating my "bucket list".

I created my first bucket list after reading an article entitled, "50 Things to Do Before I Die" in Reader's Digest back in about 1996/97 or so. In the 15-ish years since then, I accomplished many of the things on that original list ...

  • get degree ... check
  • get into bicycle racing ... check
  • get into bicycle touring ... check
  • spend at least 3 months travelling another country ... check
  • And many other things.

So, I've recreated my list by first starting with a set of categories: Cycling, Sports, Arts, Education, Travel, Technology, and a miscellaneous category I called Fun.

And then I filled up each category. I had quite a few ideas of my own, but then I did a search for Bucket Lists on Google, and got several more ideas of things I could add ... things I'd really like to do one day. Some of the items are quite time consuming and could take me the rest of my life to accomplish (like cycling in all the US States, all the Canadian Provinces, and all the Australian States). Some of the items are quite quick (I'd like to take a cake decorating course, just for my own interest).

So far, I'm up to 88 items on my list. Looks like I'll be busy for a while!

(Exercise: 45 minutes - cycling, walking)

(Cycled: 12.22 km)

Tuesday 05 February - Today we drove out to Avenel and then up to Shepparton, the big town in the area, to check on job opportunities, and to have a quick look at some towns we may end up living in. Where we end up living will depend entirely on where we find some work.

That took most of the day, and when we returned, we did a short 16.68 km ride.

(Exercise: 45 minutes - cycling, walking)

(Cycled: 16.68 km)

Wednesday 06 February - Today we opted to stay put and relax. I start work tomorrow and the next couple days are going to be very long days, so I didn't really want to go anywhere today.

It was a very hot day today, a good day to spend a lot of time in the pool ... 36C (96.8F). So, a part of our relaxing included doing 600 metres in the local outdoor swimming pool. That's my longest swim ... I don't ever recall doing more than that. Rowan, of course, did about double that distance. :)

And then we went for a 21.11 km ride, with lots of stops and starts.

I took my good camera on today's ride, and photographed all the churches I could find in town. I found 6, while just cycling around ... apparently I found them all. Why would I do this? Now that my good camera and I are partners again, I'm entering photographic assignment/contests again. These contests don't have prizes, it is more a matter of trying different types of photography and then putting a submission among other photographers. It's a learning experience.

Rowan has just asked me what I wanted to do this weekend! We're back to weekend adventures! :) So ... what do I want to do this weekend???? I'll have to give it some thought.

I was thinking about going for a canoe, and that would have been wonderful! We've got the canoe, but we don't have the paddles or life jackets. They are buried somewhere in the storage unit.

It is supposed to be a little bit cooler this weekend, but not much, so maybe we won't plan too much just yet. It might be nice to just rest.

Something about Australia slipped my mind yesterday when I suggested we do a load of laundry in the evening ......... Australians don't have clothes driers!! So there we were hanging our laundry on the line outside at about 10:30 pm.

(Exercise: 120 minutes - swimming, cycling)

(Cycled: 21.11 km)

Thursday 07 February - Day 1 at work ... complete. The good news is ... my database is not "broken". It's actually in pretty good shape still. And it was nice to be welcomed back. But there's a lot of work to do!! Maybe that's a good thing too.

It feels strange to spend pretty much all day inside ... and inactive.

Rowan drove me in, and stayed in the area all day checking out various opportunities, so we were able to have lunch together.

We were also able to collect our mail. We had our mail held all this time, which was something I didn't feel quite confident about. I had heard stories about people paying money to have mail held, and then the mail just seemed to disappear. Even when we turned up at the post office on Monday, they didn't seem to know anything about our mail, which gave us a moment of concern. But this time, the mail was there. All was well ... and it was actually a surprisingly small amount of mail. But then, we didn't get a lot of mail usually anyway.

All evening it has felt very hot and muggy. It's not particularly hot right now and the humidity is not bad, so maybe it was just the fact that it was heavily overcast, but no rain. There hasn't been much rain in this area for almost 2 months.

(Exercise: 10 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Friday 08 February - Day 2 at work, and today I got a ride in and out with a coworker which was very nice ... good conversation.

It was also very nice to have lunch with another coworker who filled me in on some of what has happened since I left. She and I also went shopping, and I acquired some dressy sandals and a couple skirts.

But I'm glad it's the weekend already! We had to get used to the travel routine, and now I need to get used to a work routine again ... and a work routine that includes a long drive to and from work.

Rowan did a little bit of cycling today, but all I did was a very little bit of walking.

I'm 8.8 lbs down since December 21!

(Exercise: 10 minutes - walking)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Saturday 09 February - We arrived back in Victoria, just north of Melbourne, a week ago today. That day was the last coolish day we had. It has been hot and even hotter all week ... over 30C, and for 3 days it was over 35C.

We've been swimming in the local outdoor pool, and waiting till later in the afternoon (when the sun goes down a bit) to go for bicycle rides. Our bicycle rides have been short exploratory rides to see what there is in this area in the way of good cycling routes.

This weekend is supposed to be slightly cooler (down to about 30C again), so hopefully we'll be able to get a couple decent rides in.

The warmth is supposed to continue next week as well. It's lovely, but it is a bit to get used to after spending Christmas and early January in Canada.

Lazy day today ... working 2 days last week made me appreciate days off again!! :)

Later in the afternoon, we rode 31.39 km. It was a good ride, on a nice warm evening. That is the longest ride that we've done since we were in Canada.

I would like to do a "Smudgie Century" in late March. When my first kitty, Sydney, passed away in 2003, I rode a Sydney Century. Then when my second kitty, Sabre, passed away in 2009, I rode a Sabre Century. After Machak, my Marinoni Ciclo bicycle, was stolen, I rode a Machak Century. Riding these centuries has become a method of memorial for me.

Just this past November, Smudgie, my last kitty passed away. I haven't done a century (100 mile ride) in almost a year, but would like to build up to it and ride one for Smudgie before the days (daylight) becomes too short.

(Exercise: 90 minutes - cycling)

(Cycled: 31.39 km)

Sunday 10 February - I'm down a full 9 lbs now ... only 2 lbs to go to get back to where I was before I left Australia. And then I need to work on getting down to the weight I hoped to reach during the tour ... if the German ice cream hadn't got in the way.

I'm also showing signs of becoming a "girl" again. I dressed quite casually and comfortably on this tour, but I've been wearing skirts this week, and for the first time in about a year I put nailpolish on my toenails. I bought dressy sandals on Friday, to go with the skirts, and figured I should do something. It can be fun to dress up a bit sometimes. :)

Another hot day, and Rowan and I got out for a 29.65 km ride in the opposite direction from the ride we did yesterday. It was supposed to be a longer ride, but unfortunately Rowan had two flat tires in a row. The second was a slow leak so he was able to get back by stopping and pumping it up. Meanwhile, I rode off as quickly as I could to get a spare tube for him. I haven't ridden that fast in ages!! I met him near the edge of town, so he just kept riding without changing his tire. But it gave me a good workout!

(Exercise: 90 minutes - cycling)

(Cycled: 29.65 km)

Monday 11 February - Long days these days ... I leave home at 7 am, and return at 6 pm. I'm not used to this!! And there's definitely not enough outdoor time, although I did get out for a short walk at lunch. I'll have to keep that up just so that I get some fresh air and exercise in the middle of the day.

I also mustered up enough energy so that we could go for a 14.9 km ride in the evening, but it was a tough ride ... hot and tiring. However, we did try a road we hadn't ridden before, and discovered that it is a good road for cycling. It's very quiet and tree-lined. Lots of cockatoos and magpies.

And meanwhile, Rowan is looking around for various employment options in the area.

(Exercise: 60 minutes - cycling, walking)

(Cycled: 14.9 km)

Tuesday 12 February - 10 lbs down ... 1 to go!! Or at least, 1 to go until I'm back where I started before we went on tour. And then ... hopefully I'll be able to drop another 10 or 20 or 30 lbs.

Today was the first time since we've been back in Australia that I've heard a kookaburra in full "song" (laugh?). We didn't hear any in Western Australia, and the one I heard a few evenings ago was only warming up and never went into full "song". But I was sitting in the park at lunch, and there it was! There might have even been two of them. It can be a bit hard to tell, they play off each other.

Rowan had some good news today ... he starts work on Thursday. :) And what does this mean for us? We're not sure yet. My job is still temporary, so our whole situation may still be temporary. We'll just have to wait a couple more weeks and see.

After work, we rode a whopping 8 km. It was hot, and I was even more tired than yesterday, and then I worked on photos so I could select one to submit to a photo assignment/contest. I don't expect to win, but it is good to get back into that again.

(Exercise: 30 minutes - cycling, walking)

(Cycled: 8 km)

Wednesday 13 February - Another long day at work, but I finished the first item on my list of things to do, so I'm making progress. It is good to be back at it again.

I was able to go for a walk at lunch, and then after work we went for a hot evening ride ... 9.14 km. Today reached a high of 33C.

And more trip photo processing today ... slowly but surely.

(Exercise: 40 minutes - cycling, walking)

(Cycled: 9.14 km)

Thursday 14 February - Happy Valentine's Day! :)

Both Rowan and I went to work today. We're gradually getting back into "normal" life again, one small step at a time.

For me, the weekend began today at 5 pm. :) Four 11-hour days in a row was enough ... I'm exhausted! Rowan will be working tomorrow as well. And then his weekend begins.

So, since it is Valentine's Day, and since we're making these small steps toward "normal", we decided to go out to dinner tonight to celebrate. :)

And while we were having dinner ... it began to rain That's the first time since mid-December that this area has seen anything significant in the way of rain. It has been very dry here ... not record-breaking dry or anything, but the driest I've seen it since I moved here in 2009.

(Exercise: 10 minutes)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Friday 15 February - I'm putting together my "portfolio". Here in Australia, when you apply for just about any a job, you do not put together a 1-2 page resume to give your potential employer. That is not adequate. Instead you need ...

  • a descriptive cover letter
  • 2-3 page resume
  • a 1-page chronology of professional achievements doesn't hurt
  • and an extensive document addressing the key selection criteria. That document might be anywhere from about 3 to 10 pages
  • and, of course, references (called referees here).
  • It also doesn't hurt to have copies of certificates and other qualification documents, just in case they are needed.

My printed portfolio has filled a bulging 3-inch binder ... but I'm putting together an updated computer version now.

It is a lot of work ... it takes me ages to apply for each job. I just keep telling myself that it could be worth it in the end.

But I'm wondering ... when job hunting, have you ever used business cards or something similar? I've never used business cards for job hunting purposes, and I'm wondering how effective they really are. I don't think I've ever seen anyone use them, but the job-hunting websites all suggest them.

Aside from doing a lot of job hunting preparation in case I need it, I had a relaxing day. I even sat out in the sun for a little while, getting my Vitamin D, and started to read a book called "Photography for Article-Writers". I'm getting ideas!

And then this evening ... thunderstorm!! Now, if only it would rain. It looks like it should be pouring.

The range right next to the town we're living in got 19 mm of rain. Not bad at all! The town we're living in, however, got about 19 seconds of rain. Maybe 1 mm. And poor Eildon still has had no rain. Clouds all around, but not there.

Obviously, I need to go visit Eildon. We haven't been there since we got back to this area.

(Exercise: 0 minutes)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Saturday 16 February - Another 1/2 lb down. 1/2 a lb to go to reach Goal #1. At least I can fit in the clothes I set aside for my return to this area.

Today we dashed off to the OP Shop before it closed so Rowan could look for some work clothes. Of course I had to go too ... you never know if there might be something interesting there for me as well.

Australia's thrift or second-hand shops are often called OP Shops. Most towns have at least one, and there is the potential that you can get some good items in them. I picked up a couple skirts the other day, and one was brand new, with the tag still on. If you're a cycletourist here, and you discover that you need something warmer to wear, check the OP Shops.

And again this afternoon, I sat out in the sun for another Vitamin D fix, and continued to read the book I found. It is a little outdated in some ways, but has been the first thing I've read which has successfully explained some aspects of photography which were a bit of a mystery to me.

Later in the afternoon, when the clouds started to build up for a potential storm, we headed out for a bicycle ride ... 26.72 km. We got back before the storm, of course, but it was a calculated risk. We wanted to cycle when the temperature had cooled a bit and when the sun wasn't so strong. Toward the end of the ride, the temperature had become quite comfortable.

Besides all the cockatoos and magpies, today we saw a large hare who bounded away quickly.

And this evening ... I've been working on this journal. :)

(Exercise: 0 minutes)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Sunday 17 February - I spent last evening working on my Round-the-World story. If all goes well, I'll upload it to my website this evening.

Some trips, holidays, etc. come to a definite end, and then "normal" life begins. Our trip, however, is not doing that ... it's sort of gradually coming to a close .... Rowan has full-time, "permanent" work now, but mine is still part-time, temporary ... and we don't have a place to live. So there are a lot of things still up in the air.

Today we did some shopping, then some work around the house. I also got a little Vitamin D fix in the afternoon.

The place we're staying has sprinklers on the lawn. It has taken a great deal of restraint to keep me from slipping into my bathing suit and getting soaked in the sprinklers. :)

We got out for a 32.33 km ride this evening. We chose the evening, as the sun was going down, because it was cooler! When we started at 6:30 pm, the temperature topped out at 33.6C/92.5F. The hottest temperature all day. But fortunately it cooled to 30.5C/87F by the time we were finished. The humidity here, however, is quite low. It's only about 25%.

And we discussed plans for the next week or so while we rode. At this point, we can only plan a week or so in advance ... wait and see ...

Now, we're eating meatpies and watching Midsomer Murders ... after cycling through the Australian countryside ... eucalypts, cockatoos, and magpies. All very Australian.

(Exercise: 90 minutes)

(Cycled: 32.33 km)

Monday 18 February -

(Exercise: 0 minutes)

(Cycled: 0 km)

Our Round-the-World Tour Summary

Very, very briefly ...

Hong Kong

  • Duration: 4 days
  • Weather: Hot and humid
  • Highlight: Ocean Park
  • Impression: enjoyed it, would go again for a few days
  • Comment: busy, some interesting shopping

Taiwan – East Coast

  • Duration: 6 days
  • Weather: Hot and humid
  • Highlight: Gorgeous Roads
  • Impression: enjoyed it, would go again for a couple weeks
  • Comment: busy and beautiful

Japan - Hokkaido

  • Duration: 10 days
  • Weather: Warm and lovely
  • Highlight: good cycling paths, lovely scenery
  • Impression: really enjoyed it, would go again for a month or more
  • Comment: quiet, beautiful and interesting


  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Weather: Cool and rainy
  • Highlight: Edinburgh, great scenery
  • Impression: really enjoyed it, would go again for a month or more
  • Comment: quiet, remote, empty

Rhine Route (The Netherlands & Germany)

  • Duration: 3 weeks
  • Weather: Hot
  • Highlight: St Goar and Bacharach - old cities, with nearby castles
  • Impression: would not do the part of the route we did, might consider the southern part of the route or the Mosel River
  • Comment: busy and industrial


  • Duration: 6 days
  • Weather: Warm and lovely
  • Highlight: Quiet campground, except for hair-raising thunderstorm
  • Impression: nice place for a break, might be interested in visiting the northern area
  • Comment: more modern and commercial than expected

France - Metz area

  • Duration: 3 days
  • Weather: Hot
  • Highlight: Cathedral
  • Impression: a place we would visit again especially if we cycled the Mosel
  • Comment: Metz was a very pleasant surprise for its pivotal position in European history on more than one occasion


  • Duration: 10 days
  • Weather: Started very cold and rainy, but the weather improved nicely
  • Highlight: Mont Blanc and Chamonix (just over the border in France), Matterhorn and Zermatt
  • Impression: definitely a place we'd visit again
  • Comment: very expensive, and challenging at first, then absolutely beautiful


  • Duration: a month or so
  • Weather: quite warm, except for the Atlantic storm
  • Highlight: Bordeaux and the west coast of France, Paris
  • Impression: we'd like to stay on the west coast of France for several months
  • Comment: Perpignan, near the Spanish border on the Mediterranean didn't quite live up to expectation, but further north was wonderful. The beaches on the west coast of France were fantastic!

Plymouth, UK

  • Duration: 1 week
  • Weather: rainy and cool
  • Highlight: Mayflower exhibit
  • Impression: nice area, might visit again
  • Comment: we liked the history of the area

Canada - BC and Alberta

  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Weather: cool, with a hint of winter
  • Highlight: visiting family
  • Impression: of course we'd visit this area again!
  • Comment: I grew up all through this area, living or travelling


  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Weather: cool times, but mostly quite warm
  • Highlights: visiting family and friends, red rock area of Utah and Colorado, pacific coastline
  • Impression: we'd love to go back to the Utah and Colorado areas to have a better look at all the gorgeous scenery
  • Comment: we really enjoyed visiting family and friends, meeting people and putting faces to names. And it was great to cycle in so many states


  • Duration: 1 month
  • Weather: cool, with a hint of winter ... snow for Christmas
  • Highlight: visiting family, especially spending Christmas with family
  • Impression: of course we'd visit this area again!
  • Comment: got a gym membership for a month and spent a lot of time there getting into shape and losing weight

Western Australia

  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Weather: wonderfully warm
  • Highlight: gorgeous beaches
  • Impression: would definitely like to visit this area again
  • Comment: we especially liked the Albany area

And now we're in Victoria.

Asia Story

Europe - UK Story

Mainland Europe Story

North America Story

Australia Story

Round the World - Asia Photos

Round the World - UK Photos

Round the World - The Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg Photos

Round the World - Switzerland & France

Round the World - West Coast of France, Paris, and UK Photos

Round the World - North America Photos

Round the World - North America Photos Part 2

Round the World - Australia Photos

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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