|Distance: 47km||Total Distance: 1484.5km|
Today was a fantastic day biking, but first let’s cover yesterday.
We had Day 50 off in Nelson Bay. After getting the bike fixed the previous day, it left us with a completely unplanned free day. We got up and chatted to the couples we met the previous evening. We then decided to move the tent less than 50m to a more sheltered site where we sat in the sun and relaxed. The older couple near us invited us for lunch but unfortunately they had cooked a nice frittata that had bacon in it (we are vegetarians). We headed into town and had lunch, checked out the ferry info and did some groceries. Later in the afternoon we walked up the hill behind the caravan park to a café (great cake!) and the maritime rescue station. We looked around their museum and then visited the control tower where we chatted to the volunteers. They do an amazing job!
Today we rose early to pack up the tent and be at the ferry wharf by 8am. While waiting for the ferry from Nelson Bay to Tea Gardens, Will had a thought about the mystery click noise on his bike. Simply tightening the rear carrier fixed the problem. It sounds obvious but the clicking didn’t sound like it was coming from the back but must have been transmitted through the frame.
The ferry was running a little late and we boarded at 9am. The ferry is a beautiful old boat with brass and wood. The trip took an hour and we chatted to a nice couple also on board. Tea Gardens is a pretty little town in a great location and we had a cup of tea at a café before starting our cycling for the day. Our route went over an impressive bridge that links Tea Gardens with Hawks Nest then we cycled on the near deserted Mungo Brush Road. What a great road to cycle on!!! It passes through the Myall Lakes National Park with great bush, trees, huge sand dunes, and the Bombah Broadwater Lake. It couldn’t have been better and we arrived at the Bombah Point Ferry, our second ferry for the day. This ferry is a car barge that transported us across the water that connects the two lakes for only $2 each. It’s only a distance of about 50m and we pondered the cost of running a ferry verse building a bridge. Taking the ferry is a nice way to travel.
Talking to the ferry captain, he told us about the Hawknest-Seal Rocks Road. We had researched this as an option but found it was closed in 2005 and other cyclists had cycled it through sand and swamps. We found out the road had just been upgraded with countless loads of gravel and was graded and finished last week. We decided not to take the road as a new gravel road can be hard to cycle on, but for other cyclists following this route, the road will compact and settle and would be best option in the future.
After the ferry, we lunched and again chatted to some people who knew NZ and Wanaka well. We then cycled the rest of the distance on a good hard packed dirt road to Bulahdelah. Currently Bulahdelah is on the Pacific Highway but construction of the new mega-bypass is nearly finished. The town is a hive of activity with the main street being upgraded too. It will be nice town once all the traffic is diverted.
Highlight of the day: Taking two ferries and cycling the wonderfully quiet and beautiful Mungo Brush Road.