Sunday, December 16, 2007

DAY 71: Warrnambool to Princetown

Sat 15th December 2007
81 km @ 14.2 km/hr
Cloudy and cool / cold
Distance to date 4726 km (2954 miles)

Peaceful night and up and away just after 8. I spent 10 minutes fitting the new chain - and it runs nice and smoothly without skipping, so the sprocket and ring can’t be too badly worn even though the chain was just about done in according to the gauge that the bike shop mechanic used.
Bit of an uphill pull out of Warrnambool but then cruised along nicely for a while until turning off Highway 1 onto the B100, the Gt Ocean Road road.
Stopped briefly to have a look at Cheeseworld and the cheese museum (I kid not), mostly due to the TIC lady in Warrnambool telling me you get free samples of cheese, but there was no such benefit available so I moved on quickly.
The S wind was now either head-on or on the side depending whether the road zigged or zagged, and it did plenty of both. Pretty soon the road hits the coast and the tourist trek starts - all of a sudden there’s scores of coaches and motorhomes hopping from viewpoint to viewpoint i.e. Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs, The Grotto les pieces de Resistances Loch Ard Gorge and The 12 Apostles. This coastline is certainly very beautiful and rugged, but the numbers of tourists (like me!) is a bit of a turn-off. Some people openly stare at me arriving by bicycle, others make a joke about it - it’s a bit wearing. I am asked the same questions over and over again - where have I cycled from; where to etc.....the attention becomes somewhat unwanted eventually.
I did enjoy the ride though despite all this and the traffic wasn’t too bad at all. At least all tourist stuff going slow, few lorries. I had a look at most of the viewpoints, but I was glad to roll into Port Campbell thinking that was that for the day - until I was asked for $25 for an unpowered tent site at the only Caravan Park grrrrr. I said I’d think about it but after some lunch at the bakery decided to try my look further on; Princetown was only another 18km and there’s a CP there.
This was the stretch containing the 12 Apostles so I stopped for a look along with 1000 others and got someone to take the obligatory pic.

Princetown is a tiny place but although there is a CP there is also another site, just before you come into town, operated by the local community, nicely set in a National Park by a river and wetlands. A really nice find and only $10!! That’s more like it. After eating went exploring along forest tracks, across the dunes and onto another sandy beach; a very tranquill place. For me these places will stay in the memory with fondness as they are more unexpected than the well-known places. Unfortunately there weren’t many birds about, must be the weather conditions or something. The evening was so cold I had to put 3 layers of clothing on, mind you this is almost as far south as you can go on the Australian mainland at roughly 39 deg S.

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