Quick Update

The latest news about Martin’s tour through Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. For more detailed reports see Martin’s posts.

Back home in Germany. “Laughing and crying at the same time.” Crying, because a wonderful year of traveling is over. Laughing in anticipation of the many no less interesting and exciting things awaiting here.
However, after the trip is before the (next) trip …

The last 6 days of cycling from Leh to Manali were interesting and pretty hard. Now we are back in Delhi and embraced by real India. The last 3 days before flying home, we decided to do the ‘Golden Triangle’ – Delhi, Agra, Jaipur.

Today we set off for the last leg of our trip in North India: the infamous Manali-Leh Highway. We are well-rested after two days in Leh.

After four days on a horrible road but through stunning scenery we now enjoy half a day of rest in Kargil.

We just finished six days of ‘trekking’, i.e. pushing, sometimes carrying and riding, our bikes over a 5000 m pass, through beautiful valleys and deep canyons. Today we arrived in Padum.

After a night in a hotel next to the airport, 20 km cycling into Delhi’s busy city center and a 16 hours bus ride through the night we finally reached Manali, the gate to Ladakh. Happy to be together and excited! Tomorrow we’ll head towards our first pass, ~3900 m.

After more than 2 relaxed weeks in Seoul it is getting exciting again! Tomorrow I am leaving for Delhi!

In Seoul since two days. Today I applied for the India visa. To be collected in 8 days.

In Daegu. Tomorrow I’ll take a day off here. Temperatures are pretty high …

Back on the mainland after some good, even though not super-exciting, days on Jeju island.

First day in South Korea, Busan. Busy and interesting city. I am convinced that I am going to have a good time here. Tomorrow I’ll be back on the bike …

Last night in Japan, in a hostel in Fukuoka. If everything goes well I should be in South Korea by tomorrow evening.

‘Back’ in Kitakyushu, the city we almost passed about two weeks ago when we arrived on Kyushu. From here Jela is going to fly back home in three days …

Finally, the rainy season obviously caught up with us and the hours of rain seem to be in the majority. Another day of rain we’re currently sitting out in Kumamoto.

In the Aso caldera. The world’s largest crater and amidst the most active volcano in Japan. We are currently almost in reach of the smoldering volcano.

In Beppo, a hot-spring-city and one of the world’s most geothermically active regions. A good place to have a little break.

Today we arrived on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost large island. Her we’ll spend Jela’s last two weeks on tour.

In Hiroshima.

Almost in Himeji from where we’ll take the ferry to Shodoshima island.

We just arrived in Kyoto where we’ll have two or three days of rest.

In Kamikochi at 1.500 m. A very nice spot for some hiking …

In Nagano. Surprisingly mountainous this country …

We just arrived at Narita, Tokyo’s International Airport. It’s getting exciting again.
Next steps: spending a night wild camping and cycling into Tokyo tomorrow (a warmshowers host is awaiting us).

We arrived in Hanoi today. That gives us plenty of time to explore the city and prepare the next leg of our trip. Our plane will depart on the 17th …

In Haiphong. A busy city close to the popular Halong-bay and Co.

Spending a day at the entry of the Cuc Phuong National Park to explore the park a bit and rest. Still pretty hot here …

Phong Nha National Park.

Yesterday we spent a very enjoyable day of rest in Hue. Now, we are heading north again and make stop for the night in Dong Ha.

Finally, we made it to Vietnam. Currently we are in A Luoi.

Waiting in Savannathek for a new Vietnam-visa.

Again in Thakek, Laos. Plans have changed a bit since a Vietnamese border official refused us to enter Vietnam for a ridiculous reason. Tomorrow we (hopefully) go back to Thailand for a couple of days before re-entering Laos and trying to get into Vietnam, then we slightly different premises (more in the upcoming post).

In Thakek, a 1.5 day-ride from the Vietnamese border.

After quite a few but gentle ascents we are now in Vang Vieng, another very popular backpacker destination. Mainly famous for activities like kayaking and tubing. We are doing none of that … and just have some beer, as usual 😉

In Luang Prabang where we spent about 2 days, to enjoy the food variety and arrange our Vietnam-visa.

We are in the relaxing, touristic and beautiful situated village of Nong Khiaw in the middle of North-Laos. After about 5 days struggling with a bad cold – whereof I spent 2,5 days in bed – I am feeling much better now. Tomorrow we’re heading towards Luang Prabang.

After a very nice week spent with my parents they are now heading back home to Germany whereas we already reached the border to Laos today. We took the bus – not only to escape the haze of smoke (its slightly better here although it’s not gone completely) but also driven by the wish for a change after about 1,5 month in Thailand. We are looking forward to Laos …

We are in Chiang Mai now where we get rid of our bikes for about one or two weeks. My parents come for a visit in three days. They are already in Cambodia.

We arrived today in Sukhothai and planing to stay here for two days. After tempels in front of hills, tempels along rivers, tempels on hills, tempels in hills, etc., we now probably get to see some (very) old temples ;).

Spending a day of rest in Kanchanaburi. The bridge that has gained some reputation through the movie ‘The Bridge Over The River Kwai’ is situated here, for instance. Among other things, it was also time for me to have a haircut.

Three days on Ko Tao were enough and we are now back on the mainland’s roads. Tonight in Bang Saphan Yai.

Mingled with all the backpackers on Ko Tao island to relax and do some snorkeling (Martin) or diving (Jela).

Staying for the night in Ranong.

Enjoying the beautiful area of Krabi.

Now in Thailand (Satun) just for a couple of hours. We were lazy and took the ferry via Langkawi island 😉

The second day on Penang island. Spending time sightseeing, with a lovely warmshowers-family, and visiting a national park.

A day of rest at the place of another wonderful warmshowers-host, Michael, in Ipoh.

After heat and moisture we enjoy chilly air in Tanah Rata in the Cameron Highlands. The route we took, via Bentong, was pretty, quiet and green, green, green. A welcome change after KL.

In Melaka where we stay with a warmshowers-host who is running a guesthouse here (Ringos Foyer Guesthouse). A fantastic place to be we want to enjoy at least for one more day.

Spending the night in Muar after our second day of cycling in Malaysia. Kind people, delicious food, high temperatures. Just as expected 😉
So many new things to learn and see …

Our first day in Singapore after Jela and I happily arrived yesterday. Looking forward for an exiting time in Asia …

I am back in Christchurch already. Enough time left to prepare the next exciting chapter of my journey …
Btw: I finally met Christian and his little lovely family.

Westport. Here I am going to spent two days for various reasons: waiting for a parcel, waiting out rainy weather, and hoping to get some company for New Years Eve

26. and 27.12.14
Hokitika. Having a day of rest while trying not to be physically active 😉

Fox Glacier. Sunny. Hot. Fantastic. Snow-covered peaks in sight and a glacier within reach – thus, kind of a white christmas for tomorrow 😉

Te Anau, the starting point for the Milford Sound. Not sure yet, if I should either cycle into the Milford Sound, hitch-hike or just skip it. Weather forecast is not very promising …

In Invercargill. Enjoying the lovely sunny weather …

Arrived in Dunedin where I’ll take one or two days off. Unfortunately, weather isn’t that good anymore …

On my way through Twizel …

In Geraldine (via Darfield, Mt. Hurt etc.). A considerable tail-wind helped me to quickly overcome the flat, almost straight and boring stretch south of Christchurch. But: the mountains and some snow-covered peaks of the Alps were in sight all the time on the right hand side. Fantastic!

Happily arrived in Christchurch, NZ without any complications (except that air travels with a bike are always a bit of a hassle). Can’t wait to explore the country …!

Finally, I am back in Devonport to catch the ferry tomorrow to Melbourne … and then good-bye Oz, it was a great time …

After a three-day walk at Lake St. Claire (Derwent Bridge) again back on the road … (Queenstown passed)

Just arrived in Hobart. Looking forward for some days of rest. By the way: I finally completed the captions of the photos (see posts II, III, and IV)

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours hiking in the famous Freycinet National Park. I got wonderful view from the Mt. Amos onto the well-known Wineglass Bay. Now I am in Triabunna to do a day-trip to Maria Island tomorrow for another hike.

Just arrived at the east coast of Tasmania (St. Helens).

After almost three days in the Cradle Mt. National Park (with much more snow than expected) I’m now on my way to the east coast via Mole Creek, Deloraine, Launceston …

After a strenuous loop in the north-west (Burnie, Smithton, Arthur River, Corinna) with strong wind, rain, gravel road and a lot of ascents I am now in Waratah. Weather is still not very pleasant … and snow forecasted in the Cradle Mountains where I want to go next 🙁

Still in Devonport and had three nice days of rest while staying with the pleasant warmshowers-hosts Tim and Alley. Tomorrow I am going to start out to explore Tasmania, heading west first and hoping for better weather the next week to go into the mountains.

Just arrived in Tassi (Devonport). Weather is nice and the Gradle Mountains are already visible in the background. Very promising … 😉

Since I got a quite cheap offer to get to Devonport (Tasmania), only 60 AU$ instead of 160 AU$, I spontanously take the ferry already tomorrow night. So, now I am in a little hurry to get to Melbourne 🙂 … about 100 km …

I am now in Torquay at the end of the Great Ocean Road that turned out to be not so great anymore (after the first stretch, my expectation were probably to high). Torquay itself is one of Australien’s most famous surfer destinations, e.g. the well-known Bells Beach (film ‘Point Break’). I’ll take a day of here.

In the morning in Port Campbell at the Great Ocean Road. According to what I have seen so far, the Great Ocean Road is “great” indeed. And fortunately still about 200 km on that road to go …

After 5 well-spent days in the Grampians I am now already at the south coast (Warrnambool). Whats next? The Great Ocean Road with sun, sun, sun (if the weather forecast is right) …

On my way through Stawell, next to the Grampians Nationalpark where I am going to stay for 2 or 3 days.

Currently on my way through the little town Seymour, just a quick stop. I cycled via Myrtleford – Lake Buffalo – Whitfield – Mansfield – Yea – Seymour. Next destination: Bendigo.

I am now in Bright. Probably spending two nights here. Nice little town and a pleasant warmshowers-host.

After a short rendezvous with the coast (Lakes Entrance) I am now back in the “mountains” (Omeo). Next stopp Bright.

I took a day off and spent it at the rural and remote place of Kay, a very interesting warmshowers-host. I used the day to fix and maintain my bike, helped Kay to get fire wood and to generally gave my legs a rest.

Just arrived at Jindabyne after four wonderful days in the Snowy Mountains. Beautiful landscape and no people. Probably going further south already today, for no cheap place to stay in J. in sight. The route I took: Canberra -Tharwa – Namadgi Nat’park – Adaminaby – Cabramurra – Khancoban – Thredbo – Jindabyne …
And other good news: yesterday, after a day with more than 2000 m of ascent, my knee more or less stopped hurting!! I just didn’t cycled hard enough the other days to make that happen 😉

Still in Canberra staying with Ute and John, lovely warmshowers-hosts.
But tomorrow I definitely will get back on the road heading towards the Snowy Mountains first.

Canberra. Via Jenolan Caves, Oberon and Goulburn. Here I am going to stay for 2 or 3 days mainly to give my knee a chance to recover. Since Sydney it is hurting a bit. Btw: From now there are also some basic statistics available.

Via Bilpin to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. I am now camping in the back yard of a hostel, enjoying the shower and WiFi ;), probably staying for two nights.

Via Wiseman’s Ferry to Kurrajong.

Bucketty (very small village, approx. 100 km north of Sydney). It is most likely the northest point I am going to reach in Australia.

Perfect start in Australia thanks to Nancy and Dave, a wonderful couple I contacted via warmshowers.org. They welcomed me with pizza, beer etc., gave me so much interesting and useful tips, invited me for a scenic jogging trip that culminated in a egg’n’bacon roll (common Ausi ‘fast food’) and much more! And they will accompany me on the way out of Sydney, towards the north first …

Arrived at Sydney Airport without any problems. Even the entry into Australia was one of the fastest I ever experienced outside of the EU – it just took about 20 sec and I had the stamp in my passport. The bicycle also survived the trip and seems intact. Its already assembled and packed. Only the current weather isn’t that perfect – wet and chilly – and it feels more like Iceland than Australia. Anyway, now I dare to enter the city and will have to remind myself constantly to stay on the left-hand side of the road 😉 …

In Leipzig for the last preparations.