Australia, Newcastle to Manly

Breakfast done, beds stripped and deposit collected, time to leave Newcastle. There were a few people that suggested we wouldn’t like Newcastle but having had a good look around and I don’t mean just the tourist bits, I liked it. It had a great mix of old and new, good and bad, shops, cafés, restaurants, parks, good wide roads and a general up beat feel…not to mention some great beaches and views !!
Oh well, time for the off and the words from the backpackers manager ringing in my ears, “there’s a big storm coming” !! We tried to find an alternative route out of the town but ended up on the Pacific Coast Highway, unless you have a good knowledge of the area the bike lanes and side streets just confuse you !
For the first 40km it was as boring as it gets, busy road, some times no shoulder and it was grey and overcast. Nothing to look at and to be honest it’s probably a good thing, all our concentration was needed just to stay safe !
It got better once we’d turned off onto Elizabeth Bay Drive, the road was a lot quieter and now there were opportunities to stop for coffee. We did so at the first town, Budgewoi, good coffee and cake but as we left the storm arrived. No point hiding from it, your going to get wet so best just get on with it. We donned our waterproofs and set off into the torrential rain. The clouds were black, lightening was lighting up the sky and the thunder made yesterday’s 1.00 gun sound pitiful. The roads were awash and there were rivers of water where the bike path should be. Despite all this we made safe and steady progress, we crossed the “entrance” a place where the sea and lake Tuggerah meet, and only a few kilometres later we found the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort at Bateau Bay. The guy on reception took pity on us, we looked like a couple of drowned rats. We’d booked a tent pitch but he didn’t think we’d show because of the weather so he as a keen cyclist was a little impressed and let us have a caravan for only $20 more. Now it’s not just a caravan, it’s a caravan with, running water, electricity, beds, stove, oven, toaster and kettle, fridge and heating….we were made up 😉
We hung all our kit up to dry the showered and went to look at the beach, it’s very nice but has a definite smell about it ! Later we cooked dinner then settled back to sort photos and blogs, never a dull moment !!
Tomorrow we finally get to ride into Sydney or at least Manly….excited now 😉
But first some photos….
Not to many from the ride but Bateau Bay was a delight !!
What a great night, so generous of the guy on reception to let us have the caravan, the storm wasn’t as bad as expected but all the same we were very grateful to be warm and dry !!
We left early, conscious that the ride although short would be tricky due to traffic, finding our way and some narrower roads. It’s about 30km to Ettalong Beach and from there well catch the ferry to Palm Beach. Once at Palm Beach it’s another 30km to Manly where we’ll be staying, courtesy of Rosi, one if the riders on the African trip.
The route itself was now much more suburban, were on the outskirts of Sydney and the traffic is certainly busier. We were worried a few times as the shoulder kept disappearing and when it did the cars come really close. We followed the road through to Gosford where we then followed the shoreline of Brisbane Water until Woy Woy. We stopped briefly for our customary coffee and cake before continuing to Ettalong. We were a little early so had a good lunch in a nearby cafe before boarding the ferry for Palm Beach.
The ferry takes you across Broken Bay, past Lion Island and Barrenjoey lighthouse until it arrives half an hour later at Palm Beach. From here it’s another 30km to Manly, most of it on the one road, Barrenjoey Road, although it does change to
Pittwater Road eventually. It’s busy, narrow and there are a few good hills with excellent views of the coast, unfortunately it’s so narrow that it’s unsafe to stop and take photos. We were glad to make the left turn towards the beach and get off this very busy road. The road along Manly beach is beautiful, as you’d expect, the sea and surf are stunning as is the beach itself. We cycled slowly trying to take it all in, finally stopping for the all important bikes and beach shot 😉
Rosi although in Canberra for work had kindly left keys with a friend, we collected the keys not a moment to soon, the heavens opened just as we collected them and we were lucky to only have a few yards to walk before we were in the dry.
Rosi’s home is lovely and she’d kindly left a note letting us know where our room, bathroom and washing machine were, she knows what’s important to a traveller !!
We made ourselves at home, showered, put the washing on then went shopping. We’d decided to cook a meal, it seemed the least we could do for such hospitality 😉
Rosi arrived home and we quickly got to talking about the African trip and what we’d all been up to since then. A few beers and a little wine was consumed before we finally called it a night. We’d made it, our first section of Australia was complete and tomorrow we’d go and take a look at Sydney 😉
Photos !!, oh go on then 😉

















Great to be in Sydney, well a suburb, still bloody good though !!
Another blog done, lots more photos so I hope you like it and will keep reading 😉
Take care


About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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2 Responses to Australia, Newcastle to Manly

  1. John Axford says:

    Great read John … Have many great memories from plenty of trips down under and reading your blogs is bringing them all back .

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