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Destination Australia

Destination Australia
Australia is a popular bucket list destination. One of the largest but most sparsely populated countries in the world - 7 people per square mile against 639 for the UK. From vast deserts the size of Germany, to one of the world’s longest coastlines with beaches to die for, plus mountains and rainforests, there isn't much in the way of landscapes you can't find. It’s not just the local wildlife that is amongst the most unique, and often deadly, in the world.

It should come as no surprise then that the variety of cycling and touring is equally diverse. Like Britain and Ireland, Australia drives and rides on the left and the roads are good. Cycling is still a minority activity but is growing rapidly and in some states, sales of bicycles have outnumbered cars for several years.
In the vast outback, away from the urban areas that are mainly around the coast, the roads are quiet but the distances immense. Remote Outback Cycle Tours is a specialist operator with tours like the legendary 2,000km Birdsville Track from Mt Isa to Broken Hill over 10 days.

Should you prefer your cycling a bit less remote but still 'in the bush' or off-road, old disused railroad corridors are being converted into amazing cycle routes. Victoria, in south-east Australia, is at the forefront of this and the Three Trails Trilogy allows you to cover most of the rail trail network over a week.
Wine lovers will be very familiar with world-famous wine regions like Margaret River, the Barossa, MacLaren Vale and the Hunter Valley. These areas also make for great cycling, usually centred around wine tastings – and who doesn't like the sound of that! One great example is the Tour de Clare Valley from Tour de Vines.

Another famous side to Australia is its coastline, which is as long as the beaches are huge and often remote and deserted. However many are also accessible in and around the major cities. The beautiful Shoalhaven in New South Wales is less than two hours from Sydney and you can join a Coastal Escape with Australian Cycling Holidays - or even ride along the Harbour and beaches in the heart of the city itself.

Getting there is only a 24-hour hop via Asia or the Middle East on many airlines. You'd probably need at least two or three weeks to justify the trip but that will only be enough to give you a flavour of this vast and beautiful land down under - until your next trip! Is Australia on your bucket list?

[This article also appears in the June 2014 issue of Cycling World Magazine]
Blog Tags: Australia
By: Bruce Robertson
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