South Australia, 2017. 1500Km around the mid north and southern ranges.
Once again I flew to Adelaide in January 2017 to enjoy the cycling atmosphere of the Tour Down Under professional bike race. But my interest was in touring around the ranges and I saw very little of the tour as I decided to visit Port Pirie and Burra instead and I only arrived in Adelaide just as the last stage of the race was running.
early morning flight from Darwin I arrived in Adelaide at 11am. My
plan was to reach Moonta by evening and to do this I needed to use
some bus transport for part of the route, so I took a shuttle to
the bus station. The only suitable bus went to Port Augusta and I
wanted to disembark at Port Wakefield from where I would ride to
Moonta. But although the bus passed through and stopped at Port
Wakefield, passengers were not allowed to disembark there! How
crazy! So I decided to ride instead, although it would not be
possible to ride all of the 200 Km to Moonta before nightfall as
it was already 2pm when I left the city centre.
The weather was pleasant with a slight tail wind so I enjoyed a
strenuous ride of about 130Km almost to Port Wakefield, where a
friend met me and took me by car to Moonta. So despite a complete
change of plans I arrived that evening as originally planned.
After some short circuit rides near Moonta over the next few
days, I decided to ride to Port Pirie. This was just 120 Km away
and would be a easy day ride. However the afternoon temperature
was near 40 C and I became dehydrated and I was quite exhausted
upon reaching Port Pirie. The temperature next day was predicted
to be 44 C, so I planned a short morning ride to the only nearby
scenic attraction, Telowie gorge, about 25 Km away. The last 5Km
was on a dirt road and the gorge was pleasant, though not
spectacular, a pleasant ride morning ride despite the hot weather
and I returned to my hotel to cool down while I watched the "tour
down under" live television coverage.
That evening a storm arrived and cooled the temperature and I
planned to ride east next day, expecting a westerly tail wind. My
ride east to Jamestown was pleasant although I seemed to have
headwinds all day. I was able to avoid riding on the busy Port
Augusta highway (route A1) except for just 1 Km and had no trouble
with traffic all day. Jamestown is a sleepy small town and I was
surprised to find that most of the accommodation was occupied. I
found a room in a hotel and learned that a wind farm was being
built nearby and all the construction workers were housed in the
motels and hotels here.
The ride from Jamestown to Burra went via Spalding to minimise my
use of primary highways and was fun with a modest tail wind until
I turned eastwards after Spalding. I was surprised by the network
of irrigation channels in this area, although they did not seem to
be in current use. Burra is an old copper mining township dating
back to 1845 when it was a major world supplier of copper and I
stopped to view the open pits and old mine facilities. It is a
cute town with many old stone buildings and I stayed overnight in
a restored mining cottage, now with additional features such as
water, toilets, electricity, television and air-conditioning! Not
really much like the 1845 lifestyle at all!
Overnight there was another storm with much rain and it was damp
and quite cool (too cool for me!) when I left next morning heading
south on the "worlds end highway". This road is on the east
edge of the ranges and although it is not hilly, I had a fierce
headwind all the way to Eudunda where I needed a long recovery
rest before continuing on to Kapunda for the night. Although
Kapunda was the site of the first discovery of copper in SA in
1844, there is only a little evidence of the old mining activity
Next morning the bakery was still closed at 8am so i left without
breakfast. On my way I stopped to observe a Canberra bomber jet
aircraft parked beside the road in a private "aviation museum"
just north of Greenock. As I passed through the tiny township of
Greenock I found a small coffee shop where I sat in the morning
sunshine and enjoyed a most pleasant breakfast. Now I was ready to
ride through the Barossa towns of Nurioopta and Angaston and on
south to Lobethal on my favourite cycling route through the
From Lobethal it is an exciting and mostly fast ride down the
Gorge to Adelaide and I arrived in time to see the final race of
the Tour down under, a criterium in the city centre. I then
continued on to the coast at Semaphore to stay with my friends and
over the next week I enjoyed many rides back up into the hills as
well as south to Willunga and Myponga.
The Adelaide hills are a pleasant cycling destination and
Adelaide is making an effort to accommodate cycling with marked
on-road bicycle lanes (which do not always connect up) and some
separated bicycle paths. Although I had some very hot weather and
storms at first, for the last week of my cycling the weather was
warm with gentle winds, just great for cycling.