The Devil’s Marbles, a UFO Centre and a Friendly Dingo

Tennant Creek – Barrow Creek Tennant Creek had a strange feel to it, with its barred windows, closed-down shops and most shockingly a street cafe that was encased in a cage. The insightful Nyinkka Nyunyu arts centre with its tranquil garden and attached café felt like a ray of light in contrast to the town. We had an interesting encounter with the Aboriginal man running the gallery who also teaches youngsters horse riding skills to help them get work on farms.|| Three days of eating, resting, blogging and meeting interesting fellow travellers at the well-equipped campsite passed by…

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Desert in Bloom

Dunmara – Tennant Creek It was almost like someone had flicked the temperature switch to “winter mode”. The nights were cooling off quickly and we found ourselves seeking out the sun rather than the shade during our snack stops. The chilly mornings saw us cycling in full winter gear, complete with long johns and thick gloves. We were seriously wondering how we would cope with the even colder temperatures around Alice Springs. On leaving Dunmara we noticed the scenery changing from the fertile, tropical forests to low scrub, announcing the start of the arid zone or…

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Road Trains and Outback Pubs

Larrimah – Dunmara It was inevitable the time would come and we were sure what it was, no other vehicle on the road could be heard from over a kilometre away: a Road Train. These beasts are 4 times the length of a regular truck (hence the name) and are infamous within the Northern Territory cycling community for throwing cyclist off and even pulling their bikes under as the they thunder past at up to 130 km/h, pulling two or three trailers along the narrow highway. We watched the massive truck loom closer in our rear view mirror. We knew…

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14000km Photo

Somewhere a couple of days north of Tennant Creek and almost exactly one year after we started our bike trip, we hit our 14,000th kilometre. We were cycling through an area with fragrant yellow wattles flanking both sides of the road. With all the wild flowers and Eucalypts in bloom it’s certainly not the “desert” we had imagined. ||…

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Hot Springs and a Pink Panther

Katherine – Larrimah It’s nearly 700km between Katherine and the next small town, Tennant Creek (population 2,000), with nothing much in between apart from a few roadhouses and a couple of hamlets. “Many cyclists turn back and take the bus,” said Coco, the hostel owner in Katherine. “This time of year, the headwinds are so strong you might only manage 50km per day.” We left Katherine at 7am with a week’s supply of food in our panniers. We expected to take 8 days of cycling to get to Tennant Creek, and maybe take a rest day in between if…

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The Warm-Up Ride

Darwin – Katherine On our return from Kakadu we dashed to the supermarket to stock up on food for the next 4 days of cycling. Katherine, the next town along the Stuart Highway, is only a little over 300km from Darwin, and we knew we would be able to buy more food there. After that, the distances between food supplies would increase dramatically. The ride to Katherine was a good warm-up ride for us to get used to the conditions of cycling the Australian Outback. We returned our rental car and enjoyed one last evening with Glen and Ruth. Early…

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Kakadu National Park

After a busy morning picking up our rental car, buying food supplies and changing money, we set off for the 250km drive from Darwin to Kakadu National Park. By car we were able to cover in an afternoon what would have taken us three days on a bike. Others were more willing to spend the extra time as we found out when we met Dave, an English cyclist, at a rest stop. He had cycled up from Sydney and was able to give us some advice on what lay ahead. In exchange, we forced some food on him – finally…

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Darwin: the Top End of Australia

On arrival at the airport in Darwin at 4:30am a power-hungry customs official ripped open our lovingly arranged bike boxes to check for specks of dirt on our tyres and panniers. Our hard work in Singapore paid off, nothing was found and we were given the green light. We had arranged to stay with Glen and Ruth through the Darwin Cycling Club, and to our astonishment Glen had offered to pick us up from the airport, yes at 4:30am! || Walking out off the airport and into the eucalypt fragrant morning air we loaded our kit into Glen’s…

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The Australian Outback: A Home Coming Ride

Almost one year ago we wobbled out of suburban London with the seemingly ridiculous thought of cycling to Australia through Europe, the Middle East and Asia. 20 countries later and over 13,000km under our wheels we are now in Darwin, Australia. So we made it. Well not quite, our journey is only 3/4 complete: The final 4,000 kilometres are the “home coming ride”, a chance for us to get under the skin of the country we will call home. To get back home from Darwin we simply point the bikes south on the Stuart Highway and pedal for 3,000km until…

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