Probably the best place to start any story is from the beginning, so I have started my year long adventure to Europe and South America back in my home town in Tasmania.
View overlooking a dam
Apart from relaxing after the stress of moving all my belongings into storage and all the other hassles of moving, I was able to spend some time wandering around the farm.
I also wandered the tracks that reach deep into the wet sclerophyll and temperate rainforest that surrounds the farm.
The highly venomous Tiger Snake
But the trip wasn't all about nature. There is a local award winning microbrewery in Scottsdale: Little Rivers Brewery - and it would have been remiss of me not to do a tasting at the brewery.
The beers didn't disappoint. The Pale Ale was the standout but all of the others were excellent too. The real surprise was the "Dam Busters" mid-strength - delicious and full bodied with an excellent hop bitterness, very unusual for a mid-strength.
Inevitably the sampling of beers led to the local drinking hole: Lord's Hotel.
View from Lord's
A few pots and some pub grub later we called it a day - since our plans for the next day involved cycling the North East Rail Trail.
The North East Rail Trail is a mountain biking trail that follows the old North East Rail line from Scottsdale to Ledgerwood.
Our plan was to ride the 46 km round trip from Scottsdale to Billycock Hill. The trail is extremely picturesque as the trail slowly winds its way up the 345 m to the top of Billycock.
The NE rail trail
Once again some local fauna greeted us.
Echidna on the trail
The trail is reasonably challenging as it is all up a gentle incline and unfortunately the top of Billycock Hill ends at the Tasman highway which wasn't the most scenic spot to end the journey.
The top of Billycock Hill
Although we were tempted to travel the addition 11 km round trip to Ledgerwood, we wisely decided to turn back remembering, despite the downhill run from Billycock Hill, the last 10 km back to Scottsdale was almost all uphill.
It turned out to be a very wise decision. By the time we got back we were exhausted and famished.
The pies from the Cottage Bakery tasted awesome after the exhausting ride - the Australian Olympic cycling team should get on to them, because they certainly worked for us.
With that the first leg of my trip was over - a couple of days to sort out the last of my stuff in Melbourne, then next stop: Madrid.