The penultimate riding day of our Australian adventure takes us 33km from Strathalbyn up to Hahndorf, a pretty little German village in the heart of the Adelaide hills area.
But first we've got to leave the fabulous Victoria Hotel, we were well looked after, good food, great wine and friendly hosts, what more could you want. After breakfast in our room we finally got going around 9.00am, with such a short ride there was no point starting earlier.
Although it's a short ride it does involve a fairly big hill, 450m of climbing to get to Mount Barker and a little more from there up to Hahndorf. The gradient isn't to steep so we settled in to a nice steady rhythm and just admired the scenery. We were hoping for spectacular views but it wasn't to be, just pleasant rural landscapes or tree lined roads, oh well !
I think people must have taken there happy pills today as an awful lot of drivers were waving or tooting horns in a friendly manner, not complaining, just a little surprised is all !
We made it to the top of the first section of climb, a T junction, we turned left and passed through a tiny village called Wistow, pretty much a gas station and a few houses and not much else. From there is was more uphill to Mount Barker, we thought we'd passed straight through it but after stopping and talking to a local we realised we'd just passed through the industrial outskirts and that the main town was a little further on.
When we did find the centre we of course stopped for coffee and cake before continuing on our way up the hill. Only another 8 or 9km and we were there, tree lined streets, expensive looking tourist shops, restaurants and hotels….yep, we'd arrived alright !!
I quick trip to the tourist info shop for directions and off we went to get booked into the Hahndorf Resort. Not quite as posh as it sounds, we'd booked a budget cabin, although this cabin does have ensuite !!
We got ourselves sorted, cooked lunch, chilled out for a bit then took a walk into town. Like I said earlier, very pretty and expensive and to be honest unless you want or need to shop, there's not much else to do. Sure, you can go wine tasting, hire bikes, go for walks or take your motorised transport and visit any one of the local attractions, but for us, we just wanted to relax 😉
We walked the length of the Main Street and stopped to look in a few shops, some lovely stuff but not when your on bikes. We did however take a look in a leather shop and Naomi fell in love with a jacket, it's not even leather, more of a waxed cotton affair…she bought it !!
By the time we'd finished our walk it was time for a beer, being a German town they have a license to use litre steins, it would be rude not to have one…wouldn't it ?
After that came dinner, again the German theme, huge German hotdogs, sauerkraut, mustard and fries…bloody lovely. Well after that we walked back to the cabin, needed a walk after all that beer and food.
Just one more ride day now and the cycling aspect of this trip is all over, a little sad but also excited to have made it !!
But first a few photos….
Lovely place but as you'd expect, very expensive !!
Couldn't sleep, so excited to be finally cycling into Adelaide and the end of our trip, and yes, a little sad too !
After breakfast we started packing the bikes when the local ducks decided to come and say goodbye, Naomi couldn't resist feeding them with the last of our bread. They made so much noise and it was still quite early, there're funny little things and they certainly have a pecking order, there were a few really bossy ones. No surprise that as soon as we'd run out of bread they left, traitors !!
We finally got going and headed off down the drive and turned left, the directions would take us under the freeway, up a large hill and on to Mount Barker Road. The hill was tough going but well worth the climb with rolling fields of lush green grass on both sides. We passed through Bridgewater and Stirling, very expensive areas, you could almost smell the money, luxury houses, cafés and expensive looking shops were the order of the day here. We cycled on to Stirling and stopped for a coffee, and yes, a cake ! We just lingered over our coffee and took in the beautiful surroundings, the autumn leaves against the blue sky just seemed so perfect. We were in no hurry, we'd almost completed the hardest bit.
At the Aldgate Pump Hotel we turned right up Ayers Hill, a short but very steep climb, we were now at the highest point of the day, it's all downhill now.
We were on Upper Sturt road, it follows Belair National Park around the south side before you descend into Hawthornedene and pick up Shepherds Hill Road for the run into Brighton. Sadly yet again there were no great views from our lofty position, the dense trees making it hard to see much at all. It should have been a great descent but it was a very narrow twisting road with more traffic than expected, it made for a very nervous decent, shame after all the hard work getting up there. We didn't like Shepherds Hill road, it was large and very busy, fortunately there was a bike lane !! The road changed direction about 3km from the coast and we were lucky we spotted the change onto Sturt Road otherwise we'd have ended up going into the city, not what we wanted !!
Sturt Road runs all the way to the Brighton Road which runs parallel to the coast and the road we wanted was only about one kilometre away, but first a quick look at the sea and perhaps a beer. We made our way across the railway lines and peddled the last kilometre onto the esplanade where we turned right. The sea was now on our left, glistening under the winter sun. We headed for the pier opposite the Esplanade Hotel, took our photos, high fived each other then went and had a beer and lunch. We sat outside looking out over the calm waters, reflecting on the last few months.
We'd started in Auckland on New Year's Eve and now it was May 15th and after cycling for nearly 6000km we'd made it. We've seen and done things I never imagined I'd get a chance to do. In New Zealand we stood on glaciers, bathed in natural hot springs and rode over passes to name a few, the scenery was incredible, empty beaches, dramatic mountains, incredible wildlife and so much more.
In Australia we visited four major cities, some of there best beaches, the blue mountains, the Coorong and the Gold Coast and all on a bike. Again the scenery and wildlife has been amazing not to mention the plant life. I've also been lucky enough to take trips to Uluru, Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Range, places that really do show Australia at it's best !!
Yes it's been a great trip, not all of it, I've had my moments, my doubts, but I'm proud of us both 😉
I'd like to take the opportunity to give a huge thank you to all our friends, both old and new, who helped us in any way with our journey. We will be forever in your debt and hope to return the hospitality someday !!
That's it for the cycling blogs but I'll be posting a few more about Kangaroo Island, Flinders Range and our time in Adelaide, until then, take care 😉
Blimey, nearly forgot to show the photos !!
My last set of directions, I've written a few through New Zealand and Australia !!
After we'd settled into Kate's house we went back to the Esplanade later for a beer and to see the sunset…neither of them was a disappointment !!
What a fantastic way to celebrate the end of a trip !!