It is, unfortunately, a symptom of the relative immaturity of the majority of the cycle touring community in Australia - the belief that the best cycle touring adventures can only be enjoyed overseas.
Sure, France is a dream destination for a host of reasons; Germany and The Netherlands have amazing cycling infrastructure and the west coast of Ireland should be on every cycle tourist’s bucket list, but as the E-Bike Cycle Tourists have discovered much to their delight over the past few weeks there is also much to like about cycle touring in Australia.
In fact, given the amazing e-biking we have enjoyed at a host of locations from Brisbane to Melbourne and on the rail trails and mountain peaks of Victoria, we would even go as far as to say that Australia offers countless world class cycling touring possibilities.
It is at this point that we must admit to our past indiscretions. Yes, it is time to plead guilty to talking up cycle touring overseas at the expense of the amazing infrastructure and destinations we have right here on our own doorstep.
But it is never too late to make amends, so now is the time to repent and to set the record straight. But first and foremost let me preface what I am about to say with one very important proviso.
Go Cycle Touring in Conjunction with Your Car
Cycle touring in Australia - is best enjoyed in conjunction with a support vehicle. In other words, given the huge distances between most destinations and the relative lack of infrastructure in many country areas, it is best to compress your cycle touring adventures into what we call a ‘Best Of’ package, rather than the normal method of cycling from point A to B over days, weeks or even months.
And that is exactly what we have been doing over the past few weeks … and hasn’t it been an eye-opener.
At a host of destinations on the drive from our home in south east Queensland to Melbourne while scouting a possible Brisbane to Melbourne e-bike route, we went exploring on our AVE Adventure E-Bikes at places that had previously been driven through without a hint of a thought of stopping.
What we discovered was cycle paths with amazing coastal views, traffic free country lanes, friendly locals and typically beautiful Australian scenery at every turn.
Enjoy the Rail Trails and Ski Fields of Victoria
But the best was to come – at least on this ‘Best Of’ trip - in Victoria on the rail trails and ski fields of eastern and central Victoria.
Prior to arriving our goal for this particular ‘Best Of’ trip was simple: to e-bike as many kilometres as possible on four of Victoria’s longest rail trails and to complete a personal 3 Peaks Challenge by climbing Mt Buller, Mt Buffalo and Falls Creek on our AVE E-Bikes.
And hasn’t the Garden State far exceeded our expectations! Not only have we been bowled over by the quality of the infrastructure on offer on the East Gippsland, Murray to Mountains, Great Victorian and Great Southern Rail Trails, but the scenery, in an Australian type of way, has been just as good as anything we saw in mainland Europe and the UK.
Also, given that we have been on a ‘Best Of’ ebike tour in conjunction with our Hiace campervan, we have also enjoyed discovering new areas for possible future cycle tours while travelling between destinations.
But probably the biggest eye-opener of the trip so far has been the e-bike cycling options on offer in the Victorian High Country.
Far from just the personal rush of successfully completing our 3 Peaks Challenge, we have been delighted to see the extent that mountain biking – and e-MTB – has been embraced in the Victorian Alpine region.
At Mt Buller and Falls Creek – and at many towns at the base of the mountains – electric bikes are readily available for hire, with the result that the trails and roads on the mountains are abuzz with people on bicycles – of both the e-assist and non-e-assist varieties.
On a personal level as well as climbing all three mountains , we made a point of cycling as many trails as we could, with Falls Creek standing out as our favourite given the plethora of well-marked trails on offer and the fact that we could climb to the top of the mountain by electric bike.
World Class Facilities for FREE!
Where else in the world can you experience riding for free on such well-planned and expertly maintained trails? Certainly nowhere that we visited in Europe!
The bottom line is that with a degree of forward planning, a vehicle and a sense of adventure it is possible to complete an enjoyable cycle tour in Australia.
No, you don’t have to travel overseas to enjoy world class cycle touring destinations and most importantly on an electric bike you can go basically wherever you want – as long as you fit your vehicle with an electrical inverter and auxiliary batteries to recharge your all-important e-bike batteries.