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Meet the Team: Greg, Operations & Expert Bike Mechanic

Meet the Team: Greg, Operations & Expert Bike Mechanic 

Get to know the team behind Australian Cycle Tours. Today you'll meet Greg, who handles the operations of our tours, assembles our electric bikes and also does escort duties on some of our supported tours.
 
Over to you, Greg.
 

 
I trained at the Bicycle Mechanic Training Institute in the first class they had ever run. Qualified top of the class but you probably don't need to know that (editor: yes we do!).
 
Winx silo art |  <i>Tim Charody</i>

My favourite cycling story was meeting a group of young boys for a mountain biking trip and discovering that one of these 15 year olds had never ridden a bike before. 
 
I spent an hour teaching him how to pedal, change gears and how to stop (very important) before taking the group cycling along a challenging fire trail to Faulconbridge Point, with this young man successfully completing the ride and learning a new skill. 

I later sourced a good-condition second-hand bike and donated it to him so he could further his newly discovered skills and ride with his friends.
 
Greg is also a trained equine therapist
 
The tour I'd most like to do is the Kosciuszko to the Sea cycle
 
I've spent a lot of time hiking the Snowy Mountains in the summer months and I love the country around there. 
 
Visiting Tathra has also been on my bucket list for many years so to have a trip that starts in one of my favourite places, and then goes cycling through beautiful countryside, visiting towns that I've always wanted to experience, before finishing at Tathra - that just sounds like the perfect tour.
 
The wonderful short but sweet Tathra Headland walk offers some great views of the Pacific Ocean. |  <i>David Rogers</i>

I'm based in Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains of NSW which is near Sydney. My best tip for exploring the Blue Mountains is to get up early and get on the trails. Keep exploring and look for the next amazing spot because there is always something else to see that gives new appreciation for the Mountains.

If you're ever there, I can't recommend a better breakfast than the Pomegranate Cafe in Katoomba. There are also great pizza places in town, and you can't miss having a local beer at the Mountain Culture Brewery.
 
Cycling in the Blue Mountains |  <i>Tim Charody</i>


One last piece of cycling advice: I have never found a perfect way to deter magpies but the zip ties poking up from your helmet seems to be most effective.
 
 
We really need to get more photos of Greg with bikes instead of horses!
 

 
 
 
Do you have any questions for Greg? Let us know in the comment section below.
My South Coast Cycling Holiday

My South Coast Cycling Holiday

 
In October 2020, Kate decided to take a much needed break and embarked on a cycle tour of the NSW south coast. While she's been on various bike trips around the world, the Thirroul to Huskisson Cycle tour was her first multi-day cycling holiday in Australia. Kate was joined by her daughter, Georgie, and friend, Gus, for this unforgettable south coast cycling experience. 
 
Read on for her insights. Over to you, Kate.
 
At the Tin Shed cafe popular with local cyclists |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Bhudda in the gardens of the Nan Tien Temple Complex |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Coastal views on the cycle way to Kiama |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
I've always loved exploring countries by bike. It's a really immersive way to experience a nation and from my travels around the world, it's those unexpected moments between the bigger destinations that turn out to be the highlights. I've cycled in China, Europe, Vietnam and India but have never managed to do a bike tour in Australia...until now.
 
Signing up for the Thirroul to Huskisson Cycle, my much more local adventure seemed to tick some of my holiday ‘musts’ including wineries, pretty towns, good food and a long coastline with white sand beaches. What I didn’t factor in was the friendly locals, sublime rural roads and whales breaching metres from me – these were the hidden gems of the trip.
 
A great sense of achievement arriving into Huskisson on the South Coast Cycle |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
Setting out on day one we drove an hour or so south of Sydney to the small coastal town of Thirroul. There we met our bike rep who fitted our bikes and gave my daughter a run down on her e-bike. From Thirroul there is a dedicated cycle path all the way to Wollongong, the only ‘city’ on the trip, although we skirt Wollongong’s urban fringe with its café strewn coastline and the steelworks standing as a sentinel to the south. 
 
Heading further south we reach the Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Temple. So many times I had seen the temple on drives down south and here was my opportunity to visit. Entering this peaceful complex with its immaculate terraced gardens, pagoda and temple, you are instantly cloaked in the serene atmosphere. 
 
Cyclist entering the Nan Tien Temple Complex |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
The dumplings for lunch, all vegetarian fare of course, were outstanding. Checking on our navigational app we soon realized that after a solid morning of cycling, we were only 40% into a 60km day. The next stage took us on a combination of sidewalk trails next to busy roads, quiet suburban streets and a dedicated coastal cycle path all the way to the pretty, and very hilly, town of Kiama. 
 
Our first nights' accommodation saw us in spacious, quiet rooms and, unlike similar hotels in France, there was tea and coffee facilities. Our evening meal at the ‘Olive and Vine’ was delicious.
 
Cyclist viewing the Kiama Blowhole on the south coast cycle |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

After taking some time to visit the main attraction of Kiama, the blowhole, which was very active on the day, we headed up the very many hills taking us out of Kiama and into the countryside. The route to Berry was partially on cycle lanes next to busy roads which were spacious enough to provide us comfort from the passing traffic, but could be avoided with a train ride to Gerringong. 
 
Stopping at the beach and taking a dip today is definitely an option but we were keen to get to Berry to sample donuts from the famous ‘Donut Van’ and window shop. The town of Berry is a south coast treasure, oozing with charm. Dinner at the pub was on point with typical pub fare and a lively atmosphere.
 
Arriving into Berry on the South Coast Cycle |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
The route out of Berry towards Nowra is country cycling at its best. With last years drought over, the countryside is green and lush, while the bottlebrush bushes line the roads in red and green and cows graze happily next to full dams.  And for wine lovers, the opportunity to visit a few vineyards is there for the taking. At Two Figs winery, the panoramic view is worth the slog up the hill, while the wine tasting is good value and good quality. The grazing plates at Coolangatta Estate winery, taken in the garden, are also a treat for lunch. 
 
Arriving at the Coolangatta wine estate on the south coast cycle tour |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
Reaching our modest motel in Nowra, we were surprised to find the ‘Tin Shed’ café on site, frequented by local cyclists and serving great coffee, burgers and breakfast. This friendly oasis with a BBQ area and covered outdoor seating, makes you feel at home right away.

Our final day of cycling takes us on a 40km circuit passing by the HMAS Albatross, with its Fleet Air Arm Museum, before winding through classic country scenery through the hamlet of Parma, sadly no ham in sight. Crossing over the Princes Highway is unavoidable and with plenty of room to cycle for a few hundred metres before we turn off towards Huskisson, our last stop. The road is good and we soon find ourselves entering this Shoalhaven beauty. 
 
The Fleet Air Arm Museum can be visited on the South Coast Cycle |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 
The quiet harbor is home to cruise boats, kayaks and paddle boards and is a haven for water sports.  Reaching the end of the cycle tour, we jump aboard a whale watching cruise and are rewarded with the sight of a breaching baby and mother humpback which literally takes our breath away.
 
Humpback whales breaching off Jervis Bay |  <i>Kate Baker</i> 
The white sands of Jervis Bay are perfect for long walks, while the many restaurants serve up all types of cuisine. We dine at the Stone Grill where we cook our steaks on stones set on the table. Later we sip wine on the balcony overlooking the bay, while in a nearby bar a guitarist provides the ideal accompaniment to our view.
 
Cyclists taking in the view in Huskisson on Jervis Bay |  <i>Kate Baker</i>

Over the course of four days we cycled just over 150km using a very easy to operate navigational app, visited pretty towns, enjoyed great food and wine and ended with a coastal experience second to none. All this without jet lag. If you are considering a self guided cycle, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
 

 
>> Take a look at our affordable self guided cycling tours on the South Coast.
 
 

 
 
Have you cycled the south coast of NSW before? Or been on a multi-day cycle trip in Australia? Tell us what it was like in the comment section below.

  
Watch: Family Cycling on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Watch: Family Cycling on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Discover all the fun local attractions along the Northern Rivers Rail Trail that make it the perfect family-friendly holiday. From milkshakes and farm animals, to swim stops and tunnels to ride through, the Northern Rivers Rail Trail has a wonderful range of appealing activities.
 
Watch the below video by the Tweed Tourism team and see for yourself. You can also discover more great family friendly cycling holidays in Australia.
 
 
How the Tweed Tourism describes the route:
 
Take to the Tweed tracks of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail to breathe in nature, explore country towns and immerse in the richness of our valley life. 

Along our 24km trail you’ll pass by working farms, be embraced by lush rainforest, cross over wide bridges and navigate original train tunnels. 

Stop and explore along the way, and plan your trail getaway to spend time in galleries and meet local artists, dine out in award-winning restaurants and learn more about the history and culture of the Tweed. 
 
Cyclists at the end of the first stage of the Rail trail at Crabbes Creek |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

 
 

 
Do you want to explore the Northern Rivers Rail Trail? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
 
 
  
Watch: Great Victorian Rail Trail

Watch: Great Victorian Rail Trail

If you're looking for a classic cycle trip that explores regional Australia, look no further than the Great Victorian Rail Trail. Located in north-east Victoria, there are plenty of attractions along the way, including local cafes with fresh produce, interesting artworks, and iconic landscapes. You can ride the Great Victorian Rail Trail on a seamless self-guided cycling holiday.
 
Riding past Yea Station on the Great Victorian Rail Trail |  <i>Ride High Country</i> At 397m, Merton Gap is the highest point on the Great Victorian Rail Trail |  <i>Rail Trails Australia</i> Cycling the Great Victorian Rail Trail near Olivers Road |  <i>Rail Trails Australia</i>
 
This is the caption from Goulburn River Valley Tourism, who produced the video on the Great Victorian Rail Trai.
 
"The Great Victorian Rail Trail is one of the longest rail trails in Australia and is the longest in Victoria. Stretching 134km the shared bicycle, walking and bridle trail connects towns and communities through the Mitchell, Murrindindi & Mansfield Shires.  Whether you're seeking adventure or looking to get back to nature, this Rail Trail is for you.  This easily-accessible, varied and majestic Rail Trail offers close proximity to heritage-classified rivers, valleys, lakes and mountains, so strap on your back pack and head for the hills!"
 
 

 
Thanks to the Goulburn River Valley Tourism for producing this video.
 
 

 
 
Do you want to cycle the Great Victorian Rail Trail? Leave a comment and let us know!
 
 
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Reviews

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Reviews

Are you unsure whether to cycle the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and are seeking real recommendations? Below we've highlighted some Brisbane Valley Rail Trail reviews from past travellers who have had an unforgettable time while cycling this route. 
 
These reviews have primarily came from our popular Brisbane Valley Rail Trail Self-Guided Cycle tour, which includes daily bag transfers, comfortable accommodation, vehicle transfer, mountain bike hire (or BYOB for a discount), navigation app and other benefits.
 
 
Having fun on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail! |  <i>Belinda Kenyon</i>
 
"Everything on our trip on the Brisbane River Valley Rail Trail went very smoothly. From the booking, the shuttle to Yarrowman, moving our luggage, accommodation arrangements provision of bikes and detailed notes. We thoroughly enjoyed the varied terrain and meeting others on the way. The temperature in July was great for riding and the last section from Fernvale to Wulkuraka was a blast." W. Kitchen.
 
 
A great experience for the family. Tough at times but an adventure we'll never forget! J. Beniuk.
 
Classic Australian scenery along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail |  <i>Tourism and Events Queensland</i>
 
"The BVRT is a great trip to do with friends. The country side is lovely and trail easy to navigate. E-Bikes made the trip even more enjoyable and we weren't daunted by the distance each day. The accommodation at Linville Pub and Esk Caravan Park ( The Motel part of the park) was wonderful and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. A great way to experience this part of the Queensland countryside." B. Kenyon.
 
"⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐". R. Dennis.
 
Classic Australian scenery along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail |  <i>Tourism and Events Queensland</i>
 
"The organisation of the trip was very good- bike hire, shuttles, luggage transport and accomodation. We had great weather and enjoyed the trail, good surfaces, nothing too difficult for people who have ridden on trails previously. We did the trail over four days, with an extra night in Lowood." R. Elmey.
 
"Excellent!" S. Goodman.
 
Meeting the local cows on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail |  <i>Belinda Kenyon</i>
 
"This was our first multi day cycle trip and absolutely loved it! The organisation of the whole trip was great. So good having our bags taken from place to place. The accommodations were very good, clean, and we were welcomed everywhere we went. The transfers were faultless. If you’re thinking about doing it, stop thinking and book!!" P. Falconer.
 

Convinced after all of these amazing reviews to cycle the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail? Take a look at our range of tours:
 

Have you cycled the BVRT? What did you make of the route? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
 
Why We Support The Voice to Parliament

Why We Support The Voice to Parliament

Respecting the traditions of First Nations people, working in partnership to promote education of cultural heritage, is one of the core tenets of the World Expeditions Travel Group's Thoughtful Travel Charter. As a company, we support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Not only by engaging with them in our operations as we currently do, thus bringing a precious perspective of the importance of connection to land, but also and on a broader level, their pursuit for equality and recognition. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold a unique status as the first peoples of Australia, having lived here for more than 65,000 years. We believe that it is time to acknowledge their connection to our great country. 

For almost 40 years, the World Expeditions Travel Group, of which Australian Cycle Tours is a division, have worked with Traditional Landowners and local Aboriginal communities in order to bring to you some of Australia’s greatest adventure experiences. When the Garma Festival first allowed non-indigenous travellers to attend, we were honoured to have been chosen to be the only company to assist with travel arrangements. 

Having long worked with remote and minority communities around the world, whether providing a Community or Regenerative Project for our travellers, or Service Learning experience for schools, one key learning has been that only through consultation and feedback from the communities on matters relating to them can we hope to truly assist them. 

Based on our experiences, we believe what the Voice proposes is a very reasonable proposition.

Recognition: We agree that it is time our nation formally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first people of Australia. 

Voice to Parliament: A representative body of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, sitting outside the parliament, providing advice – not a veto or decision-making capacity - on issues related to them, is a sensible way forward based on what we have learned assisting communities around the world. 

Referendum: To avoid such a policy becoming a political hot-potato, we agree that the only way for formal recognition is a permanent change in the national rule-book – the Australian Constitution. 

Since Federation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have advocated for constitutional reform to recognise their rights as the first people of our nation. In 1967, the Australian people overwhelmingly responded to change the Constitution to count First Nations people in our census. In 2023, they seek to be formally recognised on a land that they have occupied for over 65,000 years. 

For these reasons, we support the ‘Yes’ campaign for the Voice to Parliament.

In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future. 

Uluru Statement From The Heart

 

In 2022, World Expeditions' Australian program was Triple Certified by Ecotourism Australia, which includes Respecting our Culture Certification.

HELPFUL RESOURCES

Voice to Parliament Handbook: All the detail you need - Thomas Mayo, Kerry O'Brien and Cathy Wilcox

Voice to Parliament online training course

Reconciliation Australia

Uluru Statement From The Heart - read the full Statement

Constitutional Amendment and Referendum Question

 

Trail Towns Cycles the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Trail Towns Cycles the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

The third season of Trail Towns had its premiere on SBS with an episode on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. 
 
Trail Towns is Australia's favourite cycling program on TV. Discover the Brisbane Valley Rail on your own self-guided cycle tour.
 
Watch the Trail Towns trailer for the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail episode below.
 
 
 
Here is what the Trail Towns team have to say about season 3.
 
In Season 3, Paul van der Ploeg (Vandy) and Dieter Kahsnitz (Deetz) will continue to delight with their quirky, playful personalities, while riding, exploring, tasting and laughing their way through breathtaking Australian landscapes. 

With guest appearances from the likes of the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, to Jenette, who oversees the loo truck on the Great Victorian Bike Ride, Trail Towns Season 3 not only learns about the towns, but the people who are the backbone of them.
 
 
 
From showcasing Melbourne, the largest capital city they’ve taken on to date, to the coastal gems of Eurobodalla, Season 3 traverses Australia's diverse scenery and unearths why this country is tailor made for cycle tourism.

“The guys are on the right idea here, it’s very addictive and makes you want to get on a bike and hit the trails” says Lisa Leong, ABC 774 Radio Show host and e-bike fanatic.

“Trail Towns is a unique lifestyle television program that brings a breath of fresh air to the small screen for lovers of the bicycle who are not afraid to express a sense of adventure. Vandy and Deetz have proven through Trail Towns that the bike can take us to places the motor car never will.” says Mike Tomalaris, Australian Television Presenter and Tour de France commentator for over 30 years.
 
Vandy and Deetz of Trail Towns

“Delighted to know there will be a third season of Trail Towns. I've been riding along since the first episode. It truly is a joy - even from the couch!” says Ted Baillieu, Former Premier of Victoria.

Trail Towns creates a blue-print of what your next holiday with your family and friends (and your bikes!) could look like.
 
 

 
 

 
Will you be watching season 3 of Trail Towns? Let us know in the comment section below.
 
  
 
Watch: Everday New Zealanders cycle the Tour de France

Watch: Everday New Zealanders cycle the Tour de France

Here's a healthy dose of inspiration for you: in 2018, 8 'ordinary' New Zealanders (think accountants, project managers, GPs, a university dean) decide to journey to France to cycle the Tour de France in the days before the professional event takes place. 
 
Their bond is that they've all faced mental health challenges at some point in their life and this ride is a way for them all to address and overcome this issue. The group of unlikely Tour de France cyclists have raised over $90,000NZD for mental health.
 
It was all documented by Silver Eye Films in a 52-minute movie, and is now available to watch for free.
 
Below you can watch the 2-minute trailer of One Day Ahead, read a synopsis, and watch the full 52-minute film for free.
 
Incredibly, not an e-bike to be seen!
 

One Day Ahead: Trailer

 
 

One Day Ahead: Synopsis

Read the official synopsis from Silver Eye Films.
 
"The Tour de France is arguably the hardest & most famous cycle race in the world, even for a pro rider completing the tour is a huge feat. But what if an amateur cyclist attempted riding the exact same course only one day ahead of the pros?
 
This award-winning documentary 'One Day Ahead' follows 8 ordinary New Zealander's who endure emotional and physical breakdowns as they attempt to finish the world's toughest cycle race - Tour de France. Gear ratios, cadence and determination are all critical in getting these eight guys through the tour.

Check out more of Silver Eye Films short films: https://www.SilverEyeFilms.co.nz

The Tour de France is the world's biggest annual sporting event. Normally held in July, the event sees nearly 200 cyclists race over 3400km (or 2,000 miles) climbing 50,000 metres in just 23 days. While most of the race takes part in the towns, cities, countryside and mountains of France it also often starts in a foreign country.

While One Day Ahead is about cycling, the documentary is a story of personal journeys to achieve an ambitious goal. With the highs and lows of human emotions, as eight individuals & strangers bond to become a team of one to finish one of the world’s toughest and arguably most famous cycle races.
 
Cyclist on the Col Agnel, France

To date, the team members have raised over $90,000 NZD for the Mental Health Foundation New Zealand. Heightening public awareness about the importance of mental health, and to gain understanding and improve attitudes about mental disorders is so crucial. If you or anyone you know is needing help or advice with mental health contact your country's mental health service or head to World Federation for Mental Health
 

One Day Ahead: Watch the Full Film for Free

 
 

 
 

 
 
What did you think of the film, One Day Ahead? Were you inspired to do something extraordinary? Let us know in the comment section.
  
   
  
Trip Report: Rylstone and Wollemi National Park Cycle

Trip Report: Rylstone and Wollemi National Park Cycle

Bill and his wife travelled from Adelaide to the Central West to explore one of the region's best kept secrets: the Wollemi National Park. Here's what they had to say about their cycling experience.
 
Admire the pink morning sky above Wollemi National Park
 

Rylstone & Wollemi National Park Cycle Review

We selected the Rylstone and Wollemi National Park Cycle trip as it looked interesting and we were staying in that area.   
 
We normally use regular bikes, but were glad to have e-bikes on this trip.  Shawn from Australian Cycle Tours looked after us very well, for example delivering bikes, moving luggage, explaining how to charge the batteries, plus tips on local attractions.  Fortunately we avoided punctures! 
 
Exploring Ganguddy by bike |  <i>Kate Harper</i>
 
The route includes a range of surfaces, from quiet bitumen roads, to gravel and dirt. In general the bikes handled this well, but we would have happily skipped some corrugations!  Of course, there is a short section of dedicated bike track between Kandos and Rylstone.  
 
The Eastern section of the trip next to the Wollemi National Park was the most scenic. We were lucky to have great weather for this beautiful area.   Some mornings were pretty cold, with a heavy frost.  We enjoyed staying in the stone cottage at a farmstay for two nights, plus talking with the owners and taking local walks.   
 
Discover the peaceful unspoilt scenery of Ganguddy in Wollemi National Park |  <i>Steve Bittinger</i>
 
Kandos and Rylstone are charming old towns, trying to develop tourism and artistic activities after the closure of various industries.  In May, we found that dining and shopping options are more limited in the first half of the week.    
 

About the Rylstone & Wollemi National Park Cycle

Over four days of cycling, you’ll cover much of what defines this region including cycling through native bushland, along quiet backroads through pastoral sheep country, along ridge lines with amazing views to the peaks in the distance, through areas renowned for bird sightings and passing by koala habitat. 
 
Follow country roads past swamps and amazing rock formations known as pagodas and spend two nights in the Ganguddy region of the Wollemi National Park, before returning to Kandos. Opportunities to add kayaking and an Indigenous immersion walk, discover museums, art galleries and vineyards and dine on superb international cuisine complement the cycling experience.
 
 
 

 
 
Watch: Northern Rivers Rail Trail, An Aerial Perspective

Watch: Northern Rivers Rail Trail, An Aerial Perspective

Byron Bay local, Dave Byrant, was one of the first to cycle and film the new Northern Rivers Rail Trail
 
In the video, you can see the bike path has informative signage and features landmarks such as local bridges and former train stations. It was filmed in part with a drone, which allows for a wonderful aerial perspective. Plus, Dave recommends bringing a torch for the tunnel and some money to buy fruit from the various markets along the way.
 
 
You can see more of Dave's videos on his YouTube channel.
 

Cycle the Northern Rivers Rail Trail

 
Our self-guided Northern Rivers Rail Trail cycle tour also includes sunny destinations such as Kingscliff and Murwillumbah over 6 days. 
 
 
 

 
  
 
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