East coast treasures that have to be seen…

The Blue Mountains, best get used to low gears!

The Blue Mountains, best get used to low gears!

Over the past couple of days I’ve been reading through my Rough Guides book about the east coast. As a book that I bought off the back of a recommendation and one that I didn’t look at before I bought it, I’m happy to report that it’s turned out to be brilliant!

I’m not very far through it, but already it’s talked entry requirements, health, accommodation, food and drink, and even provided contacts for the local media! I can see from the contents too that there’s a decent amount of information in about what to do too in each place, so when I reach destinations I’ll know exactly what there is to do.

Close to the front of the book it lists 28 things not to miss, there’s a few that won’t apply to me because they’re specific events or are seasonal, like New Year for example, but the ones that tickle my fancy are:

  • Sydney Opera House (already been but love the vibe)
  • Wilsons Promontory National Park
  • Bondi Beach (already been but it’s full of birds, always a winner!)
  • The Daintree and Cape Tribulation
  • Sydney Harbour Ferries (already done them but I think they’re great fun)
  • The Blue Mountains (pictured above)
  • Australia Zoo
  • South Bank, Brisbane
  • Highland Waterfalls, Atherton Tablelands
  • Whitehaven Beach
  • The Great Barrier Reef

Is there anything that you would add to this?

Away from the above, there are some sights that I’d like to see during the trip, but I’m not sure if going out of my way for them is worth it. The city of Canberra is Australia’s capital, but through reading and looking on my maps, there really doesn’t seem to be that much going on, is this true?

On my maps the main road that I want to follow goes straight past the city, but goes through every other. In order to get to Canberra I need to go off the beaten track for a bit, something that I thought strange for a capital city, and don’t even get me started on the road maps, there aren’t any!

Any guidance you could give guys would be greatly appreciated…



Some essential reading…

Since cognitively committing to the cycle in Australia, I’ve been keen to read books about cycle touring and the country, and learn from others who have embarked on such a quest. I initially looked for a book by someone who had actually cycled the east coast, with the hope of stealing his/her planning ideas and bettering them for my own benefit, but as far as I could find this book didn’t exist! Maybe I’m missing a gap in the market here…?

As the book that was going to make my life easier didn’t exist, I headed to the maps section, booooooo! I managed to get hold of a massive map of Australia in WHSmiths, which is now pinned up on my wall for me to see each and every day when I wake up for a bit of inspiration.

Photo 20-03-2013 17 31 27I’ve since come across two books that I can actually have a thorough read through to get some hints and tips, the first being “Cycling Australia” by Lonely Planet (2009), a very specific book to touring Australia by bicycle. I’ve pretty much read this book cover to cover already, and I think it’ll be one that will be invaluable throughout the whole planning and cycling process. The second is “The Rough Guide to East Coast Australia” by, you guessed it, Rough Guides (2008). I haven’t yet had chance to look at this thoroughly, I bought it off the back of a recommendation from a friend, but flicking through it looks pretty good! It’s packed with city maps, activities, places to see, places to eat, and all else in between, so should come in handy for putting a route together. I found both of these treasures in Waterstones in Leeds, somewhere that I’ll no doubt be visiting again and again over the next few years.

To finish off with, you can never have too many maps, or at least that’s what my mate Hodson always tells me! When I was in Waterstones buying the previously stated books, I came across the map section and found some great city road maps.

I’m not just a bookworm though, I believe that true learning is through Q&A with people who’ve been there and done it, not necessarily Australia, but a similar kind of cycle. I did a bit of Google searching and found Cycling Forums, an online forum for everything to do with cycling. I’ve been posting on there when I have questions or the need to interact with likeminded people, why not give it a whirl?

These bad boys combined are gonna help me in a big way when it comes to planning, something that’s just around the corner, muchos readingos to do beforehand though…