Something purely for my own records, the questions I asked myself (N) and John (J) on the drive back from Parachilna the day after we finished the Mawson Trail. Just for funnnn.
Favourite section of trail?
N: Adelaide to Tanunda, most variable trails. Although the day we first reached the Flinders travelling from Quorn to Hawker was stunning.
J: Day 1 also.
Hardest section of trail?
N: Parachilna Gorge Road, because of the corrugations.
J: The hottest day, Laura to Melrose
Favourite on-the-bike food?
N: Summer Rolls, $1 deal at iga
J: Japanese peanut rice cracker balls and dried whole bananas.
N: Silver whiting at Mt Remarkable Hotel in Melrose
J: Curry at Indii in Clare
N: Kangaroo Parmi at Prarie Hotel in Parachilna
J: Schnitzel night at Clubhouse in Tanunda
N: Stone Hut Bakery, Emily’s Cafe in Quorn, Pie at Flinders Food Co. in Hawker.
J: Emma and Ivy in Lobethal, Stone Hut Bakery, Jamestown Tucker Shop.
N: North Laura Hotel
Best wildlife spotto?
N: The herd of 30 emu near Hallett, baby goat on Stone Hut Road
J: Wedge Tail carrying a snake, the line of sheep following each other at Ranwsley Bluff
Best Tourism Statue/attraction?
N: Hat on a stick at Craddock
J: Wilmington Puppet Museum
N: Quorn, probably helped that we got in early that day
Score out of ten, difficulty and enjoyment?
N: 6.5 for difficulty. Difficulty was mainly due to time outside and the heat.
Some days were 10 for enjoyment, especially Adelaide to Tanunda was so meditative. Other days were 6 or 7 with the corrugations and heat. So 8.5 overall for enjoyment.
J: It required a lot of pushing through uncomfortable pain and hot temperature, but it would have been harder if we did longer distances: 8/10 for difficulty.
Some sections where you were going between features weren’t that good, like the flat field sections. Some other places you can go everything is crammed together, this is spread out but still unique. Also on the bike you go around the ridges not over them which isn’t as pretty as hiking: 8/10 for enjoyment.
Would you go bikepacking again?
N: Yes, I’d like to the Mawson again but camping and longer distances so you stay in different places. Would like to go bikepacking in Japan and Tasmania.
J: Yes, but not this trip again. Once is enough on the Mawson but that is same for anything I wouldn’t be likely to do it twice. If anyone wants to do this you would have to pick a good time window, only 2 of 9 days were hot, if it was half hot it wouldn’t be very enjoyable.
The trip was also helped by having a good setup, you don’t even notice the weight on the bike, no hefty trailer or panniers. It’s a comfortable and fast way to do bike packing. The direction we went was good as we did the hardest day first, it got easier and we had tailwinds most of the time. You don’t need to be super fit to do it, you just need to have good perseverance and sustain riding for 5 or 6 hours.
The Mawson was a good introduction to bike packing, it’s not insanely long and our route had a good ramp, the easier days to adapt, then tough challenge at the end, it was good we had different phases, not just the same every day.