From New Zealand to the Great Ocean Road

New Zealand was an absolutely exceptional bike tour A MUST DO. It was the best birthday week as we rode from Picton to Nelson and then to Murchison the following day. The best was my birthday, check out the route:

Down to Punakaiki and then to Greymouth. Could you believe that it did not rain on us the first 5 days! After that it all came at once! One thing I was not expecting was how tropical the west coast of the south island is. So rugged and rich green with fern, palms, and firs intermixed. Splendid stunning landscape. Pictures, more detailed learning, and video to come. Now, however, we are already back and settled into Barwon Heads, which is a small seaside township 30km south of Melbourne, Victoria.

Of course I did not want to leave New Zealand after the beautiful riding and kind people. However, I am fastly falling in love with the vibrant community of Barwon Heads. An ocean front town with one main street composed of great coffee houses and local restaurants. No chains or big names. Share the Road signs are everywhere, as the cycling community is very active. I walked by the one primary school and check this out:

there is the school, and bikes lined the whole building, then to the side this:

Amazing! Barwon Heads, like the townships nearby have become family lifestyle communities. Locals were telling me that first time home owners were reaching an all time high and local governments are going into a spin to develop nurseries and child-orientated facilities. It’s one of those communities though, where at least one, if not both parents are managing to work/live from home and are seen mingling over coffee after the kids have been walked to school, out walking the dogs, or on bikes.

That’s another thing! The main cycle group from Barwon Heads leaves at 8am! 8am everyday and their rides are a minimum of 55km! After riding with the friendly bunch I figured out they do not need to leave earlier as there are no traffic concerns and no work-time constraints. This means no bike lights or absurdly early rises! Best thing too, they still roll fast and break up into up to 4 groups of ability so everyone can ride their pace. And of course there is coffee after .. .and a second breakfast!

Gosh, only a few days here … and 6 weeks ahead, that is sure something to look forward to. xK