Before I get into further adoration of New South Wales, I had to share this with you. Here is a kangaroo on (near) a beach. Because it has no sense of irony or concept of stereotypes.
Anyway, from Eden the coast road turned northwards, snaking ever closer to Sydney, and we followed it up through a series of picturesque seaside towns, pausing overnight in the town of Tathra, before arriving in Bateman’s Bay. Bateman’s Bay is home to around 39 of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see in your life; tall beautiful eucalypt forests; astonishing wildlife; and my cousin Hil and her partner Ken who live in the beautiful forest paradise of Malua Bay. Envious, me? Never.
This beauty is Reggie, one of their doggies. Their other dog, Turps, is half dingo and loves cuddles. Reggie loves to play ball, to the point of obsession. We rolled up in time for an early afternoon tea, a trundle round the garden in search of black snakes and giant grey kangaroos, and in time for Reggie’s 4.30pm ritual known as DPT (doggie play time). Accompanied by beer.
Our first full day was a spectacular immersion into outdoor life. We left the kangaroos (pictured earlier) to their beach party and set off to explore the coastline. Which was dramatic and beautiful, as you would expect.
We didn’t follow a footpath exactly, rather a series of kangaroo trails through the bush that occasionally called for some unorthodox manoeuvres including traversing, leaping and pushing our way through spiky acacias. Some feet may have gotten wet during the making of this walk.
Hil and Ken are also very keen mountain bikers, and one of their enthusiasms is for ‘fat bikes’: bikes with really chunky tyres that allow you to ride across sand and shorelines. Chris also loves to get in the saddle whenever he can, and I’m game for anything, so as the afternoon drew in we saddled up and hit the beach.
When we first started to plan our travels, we made a list of a few experiences that we would like to have. One of these was prawns and champagne on the beach at sunset, and because they are brilliant Hil and Ken went to great lengths to make this happen for us! There is nothing quite like a post-cycle ride glass of bubbles fresh from the esky, accompanied by succulent crustaceans. This is how I will do all my cycling in future, FYI.