4000 km on bike across Australia: Blackwater

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Today Blackwater. I get up at five in the morning. A little later than yesterday, that was the intention. My mileage is up, so I decided to leave it alone: I could sleep longer, but

Parrots don’t just make us happy

The roar of birds awakened me. When I came out of my tent, I found that the parrots were making their raids – very pretty, but also very noisy.

As I move further inland and south, the nights are getting colder. Sleeping covered with a sleeping bag and not getting sweaty was very pleasant. I have one change of clothes and one dry change of clothes. So, finally, comfort. Everything recharged, water topped up, Mayo checked and lubed – I’m ready for another day.

I got off the bike before seven. Having ridden for about an hour. I’m pedalling much better. There’s only a light breeze blowing, even from the side. Luckily, I have a bike computer that doesn’t show average speed. How I’m competitive, and if it’s going that well, I’d be chasing average by now. As a result, I’d end up blown away and deprive myself of the strength I’d still need. Some things are better not knowing.


Sometimes, I stop because I’m taking pictures, and sometimes, I quit because of the birds. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t get attacked by one. It’s some magpie or raven, or God knows what it is. Today, I got a bird from one. I got hit in the helmet by one. Then, when I had a red light at an intersection, he sat at a sign and looked me over to see if I had had enough. I’m slowly becoming phobic about it. Not of snakes and spiders, of which there are plenty, but the Hitchcockian Birds.

Today looks like a very sunny day, not a cloud anywhere, but hopefully, the wind will bring some and bring at least a little shade. The landscape has changed again, with trees and hills, and it’s so much more welcoming.

The barbed wires around the road have disappeared too – well, not completely, but at least there are considerably fewer of them. I have a more pleasant feeling; I feel more accessible. Although going down into that tall unexplored grass doesn’t tempt me so much. I am still determining what’s in it. Later, I discovered that the reason for the fewer barbed wires is the presence of the mines.


Emerat centre
Emerat centre

I’m approaching the town of Emerat. My strength is gone again, but I hope to recharge it over lunch and continue. In front of the city, I stop and nap on a concrete bench. After half an hour of sleep, I go down to the town, refill my water and buy a nice plate of Tom Yum soup with shrimp in a Chinese restaurant. That will give me enough energy.

When I went out after a good soup, I discovered another technical problem. The two-litre bandana I’m carrying under the handlebars is cracked and leaking water. In addition to the fact that I lost one bottle yesterday, I lost another source of water on the road today. We’ll have to wrestle with new water logistics.

The shrimp have taken, and I can move on. I have two routes to choose from. I tossed a dollar, which worked out to a course closer to the coast. So I’m going to pedal my way to Blackwater. Whether that was the better choice, I have no way of knowing. I’m excited because I’ve got a nice free campsite with showers and toilets lined up. It’s a walk of about ten kilometres, but with so many kilometres, it’s okay.


Along the way, I discover an “exhibition” of beautiful, rusty, originally four-wheeled kings of the road. I vividly imagine more than one of them standing shiny in a motorcade in front of a big screen and on the back in the backseat, a love story unfolding. Now, these vintage cars are gradually decaying and crumbling to the ground like their original owners. The current owner has a great fondness for them. He has dozens of them parked in his yard. I stop momentarily, photograph them, and pedal to the finish line.

en route to Blackwater
en route to Blackwater

Before the town of Blackwater, I turn left and, knowing the last ten kilometres, I take a time trial. I don’t know where it comes from in me, but my speed stays below 30km/h, and I’m going slightly uphill. The euphoria ends with the arrival at the campsite.
Big surprise. There is no campsite here.

Miners world

There’s a mining company and some employee housing, which I’m not. Deal with someone here? It’s a huge, huge, massive- Big mining company. On the way, I saw hundreds of cars coming out of here, probably finishing their shift. I’d better pull out my cell phone and reload everything, checking again. The campsite really should be here – it’s called that. The campsite is initially for mineral prospectors. Unless I get a job at the mine, I need somewhere to stay here. The camp I had choosen is another 18 km from here. That would be 30 km to go there today and 30 back in the morning. There is a sunset. So I give up and pedal down 10 km into town. There’s a caravan park there, so I’m in town. There’s a caravan park, but they need tent sites. It’s a hostel for miners. They only offered me a spot on the gravel for an excellent $56. I don’t know why I refused.
I go into town to look for something else, although the lady at the front desk assures me I won’t find anything here. Unfortunately, she was right.

Overnight stay in Blackwater
Overnight stay in Blackwater

I ended up staying in the park by a booth. It’s far away from people, but it’s in the city. By the morning, it will be quiet. Tomorrow will be better.

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Peter Božík
Peter Božík

Founder of the cycling brand Liberty and Mayo, a patriot from Trenčín and an enthusiastic bicycle traveler. writes about his experiences cycling across Australia.

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