Getting to Port Augusta
As usual I got to the airport before sunrise. It was already starting to get busy but thankfully I didn't have to wait long to check my luggage in. The luggage was right on the 40kg limit. Pleased when it was all checked in, as gets a bit tiring dragging a box around the airport.
The flight was very uneventful and we got to Adelaide a few minutes early. I was able to get a taxi nice and quick to the bus station. Got there just before 8.30am. My bus leaves at 12pm. When I checked in they said the 8.30am was still there and did I want to get it? Of course I said yes. So I was able to leave a bit early.
As today is Easter Monday Adelaide was a bit of a ghost town. But it meant there was no traffic so we made great time and got to Port Augusta before 1pm. I wasn't planning on getting here until about 3pm. Now I had to unbox and reassemble TJ.
Took about 45 minutes to put the bike back together. I then rode around the corner to the caravan park. I'm staying in one of their backpacker rooms, as it was only $5 more than putting the tent up. It was still only 3pm so I went into town to get my provisions for the next couple of weeks. I was able to get everything except for my camping fuel. So will need to get that tomorrow, when all the shops reopen after Easter.
Today has been a great start. Everything went so smoothly. Here's hoping that the next five weeks will go as well.
Day 1 - Port Augusta to Warren Gorge - 71kms
Yesterday evening I was really tired after the long day of traveling. Think I was asleep by about 8.30pm. Had a really good long sleep and didn't wake until 5.30am.
I had to wait until the hardware store opened (9am) to get my fuel for my stove. So I was able to relax a bit more before riding into town and having breakfast. Decided to have breakfast near the waterfront. Whilst having breakfast I met another cyclist heading from Perth to Sydney. He's got another four weeks to go and said that he'd been getting headwinds nearly everyday.
When the hardware store had opened I was able to get my fuel and head off. Bike of course felt a little heavy with all the provisions I purchased yesterday. But after a couple of kms I was used to it. The road to Quorn slowly began to climb for the next 20km or so. Nothing big just a little slow with the extra weight. But it was nice. I was climbing into the Flinders Ranges the scenery started to change. Emus ran in front of me a couple of times. People in their cars were waving "hi". So all good.
The last 10kms into Quorn I had a nice tailwind, plus it was downhill. So got there before 12pm. Quorn is a small town which has a steam train that goes down to Port Augusta. Unfortunately I had missed it, but I did see it earlier on my ride up as it was heading down the hill.
I stopped in Quorn for about an hour for lunch. After I joined the Mawson trail. This is a 900km trail which starts in Adelaide and finishes in Blinman. It generally follows dirt roads and trails. But it does meander a fair bit. So I will only use it for certain sections to Blinman.
I still had a great tailwind and got to my final destination for the day, Warren Gorge, at around 2.30pm.
Warren Gorge is a national park which contains some endangered wallabies. It also has a lot of space to camp. Which was good, as there were a few people here with it being school holidays.
Once the tent was setup I did the 5km loop walk through the gorge. The scenery was stunning with the afternoon sunlight reflecting off the gorge. I got to see a couple of the endangered wallabies as well.
When I got back it was time for dinner. Feels like I'm towing a mini supermarket at the moment. So I had plenty of food to choose from. I guess as I eat each day it will mean I will be towing a little less weight the following morning!
Day 2 - Warren Gorge to Hawker - 71kms
After another good sleep and a big breakfast I was riding at about 7.30am. About a 1km from where I was camping there was another cyclist who had cycled from Adelaide and is heading to Blinman. He has been following the Mawson trail as well.
My first stop for the day was Simmonston. About 25kms north of Warren Gorge. The ride up was great, no traffic, plenty of wildlife and a good quality gravel road. Simmonston was going to be a town, as the Ghan line was to had came through this region. They had even started building when a decision was made to change the route of the line. Thus the town was abandoned and there are just some ruins remaining today.
I continued until I got to Kanyaka Waterhole. Where I stopped for second breakfast. After I had eaten I had a walk down to the waterhole. Very pretty at the waterhole. I was able to have a little paddle to cool down before continuing on to Hawker.
About 10kms before Hawker I was planning on stopping and having a look at some aboriginal cave paintings. Unfortunately it was closed, so I got to Hawker at about 1.30pm.
Hawker is a small town with all the basic supplies. I'm staying at the local caravan park. Seems very friendly and only cost me $12.60 for the night (includes a 10% discount for being a Big 4 member). Once I was cleaned and setup I had a small walk around the town and found a nice cafe to relax for a while.
On the way back to the caravan park I stopped in at the art gallery by Jeff Morgan. About 15 years ago he took over 2000 photos of Wilpena Pound and the built a building for a massive panorama which took him 12 months to paint. It was pretty impressive.
The last couple of days the weather and scenery has been great. As I cycle further and further north I am starting to notice the towns are more spread out and I am needing to carry at least a couple of days worth of water to ensure I have enough when camping.
Over the next couple of weeks I will not have mobile coverage. So the next time there'll be an update is when I get to Leigh Creek.