We made it! 4500km of pedal pushing and Pete and I finally made it into Darwin!
The Tidy Town of Batchelor
The final few days of our trip had us passing by the lush green tropical rainforest’s of the Lichfield National Park. We made sure to stop by the quaint, rural town of Batchelor too, acting as the gateway to these extensive parklands. Batchelor is perhaps (or perhaps not) more famously known to once be Australia’s ‘tidiest town’, proudly claiming the award back in 2000. Im beginning to wonder how much progression the town has made over the last 14 years though, because this was an award you weren't going to miss. The place was positively plastered in signage and certificates proudly acknowledging their achievement. The jaw dropping sites of the stunning Lichfield National Park sitting in their back garden became a mere after thought once we’d seen the sheer cleanliness of the ‘tidy town’ trophy cabinet.
Wildlife in the tent
And as for our final few Australian nights spent in a tent, well, they were about as Australian as it comes. Now, as much as I appreciate a good bit of Aussie wildlife, a wallaby in the tent during the early hours of the morning was a step too far. I don't care how ‘at one with nature’ the likes of Ray Mears, Bear Grylls or Sir David Attenborough might be, Im yet to see any of them happily snuggle up to a wallaby inside their sleeping bag;
So, Pete and I had chosen the perfect little camping spot (needless to say, the ground was soft, life was sweet). We nodded off early acutely aware of the growing wallaby population bounding around our defenceless sleeping shelter. Nonetheless, we were now ‘hardy outback campers’, a few cheeky wallabies could hardly stand in the way of us an our valuable nights sleep……3 hours later……theres a wallaby at my feet. The crafty, not so cheeky, just plain rude little beast had effortlessly munched a hole through the side of the tent, hardly acknowledging mine and Pete’s existence (#EyesOnThePrize), setting its sites firmly on the muesli. As I soon realised, 2am in the morning is not the time to be messing with a weary, sleep deprived Mr Peter Kopp. Before I knew it, he was bolt up right sporting some rather venomous eyes and a pair of flaring nostrils. Things were getting serious - i’d only seen this expression once before; 18/10/2014- 48hours without tea. Pete immediately leaped out of the tent, reached for the trainers (I thought to myself, c’mon now Pete this is no time to be exercising) and started pelting the now sizeable wallaby community with his footwear. Shortly after, the place was deserted. This was now a completely wildlife free zone. Despite the fact we had lost our valued muesli during the nights event, we rested easy knowing that a wallaby on a spit would suffice for some morning grub,
Pedalling into Darwin
Arriving into Darwin was an absolute joy. Having spent so long cycling on somewhat of a never ending road, we finally reached the end of the Stuart Highway and into Australias tropical northern city of Darwin. Together we cycled down to the beachfront looking out to the warm waters of the tranquil blue Timor Sea. The days we spent pedalling along the Great Ocean Road having just left Melbourne now seemed a distance memory. The long days spent in the depths of a deserted, lifeless landscape now seemed a far cry from the thriving, vibrant surroundings, both in vegetation and infrastructure, of Darwin. It began to dawn on us both what an epic journey we had just endured through Australia. Naturally, we then headed to the nearest bar and got smashed...
So, the first puzzle piece of the global adventure is in place. Next stop, Asia. Starting on the 18th November I will begin the long ride home through Asia and into Europe beginning at South East Asia’s most southerly point (of the mainland), Singapore.