11 – 18 November, 2013 – After an almost sleepless flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne, a breakfast in the middle of the night and three hours before arrival, we landed safely in Melbourne. So exciting to be on the third continent and in the 18th country of our trip. We quickly went through customs, against all odds we weren’t subject to any thorough inspections. Now we had to spend a day at the airport as our Warm Shower hosts wouldn’t be back home before the evening. What else to do than having another breakfast? Shocked at how much money we spent for two small sandwiches and two lousy coffees – about 20EUR – we sat silently musing how we could possibly not spend a fortune in this country.
We wandered around the airport, visited every shop there was, stunned about the quality products they were selling at horrendous prices. We’ve been exactly one year and one week in Asia and would need some time to adjust not just to Western prices, but to Australian prices which are even higher.
By 6pm we packed a taxi with all our luggage and went off to Preston where our wonderful hosts Oanh and Nick welcomed us for more than a week.
Not only would we have to adjust to higher prices, also the weather was quite different. It was freezing cold. From over 30 degrees Celsius and 70% humidity in Asia to around 10 degrees in Melbourne made us feel chilly all the time. We had to put on all our clothes for a few days until summer was back with temperatures in the high 20’s. That’s the weird thing about Melbourne weather, temperatures can drop by half within a day. One day it is summer, the next day winter.
We spent our first days ‘warm clothes-hunting’. We cycled into town to see all outdoor shops that there possibly are to compare prices and then we shopped like maniacs. Warm socks, warm sweaters, refillable water bottles, bio-degradable washing detergent and other necessary outdoor accessories that went missing or broke in the meantime. Making sure to be prepared for a rougher climate and an ongoing camping experience. In the end there was just a half day left for some sightseeing, but as we cycled into town everyday we didn’t leave knowing nothing about the town. Which is by the way very nice with a lot of old colonial buildings, a lot of green around and a cycling path along a pretty creek which made us think we were somewhere on the countryside and not in a big town.
In the evenings we would eat with Oanh and Nic, get to know each other better, exchange cycling experiences and get some tips for our Tasmanian cycling trip. In the weekend Oanh took us out to Werribee Gorge State Park for our first bush walk. Beautiful landscape and a very enjoyable day. Thank you Oanh!
And then it was finally time to move on again and experience Tasmania by bike. G’day, as the Australian would say, and no worries.
Total distance cycled: 17,802km of which 120 in Australia