A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

First Post

Trip Prep.

Firstly welcome to this travel blog, I will be using this to update friends and family during an upcoming trip around Australia on a motorcycle.

This blog has a great feature which has let me map out the trip so everyone can see it (Map Button at the top) and I have also set it to appear on each page of the blog to make it easier for readers to follow. The maps can also be zoomed in to see actual planned destinations.

The trip will cover most of the areas of Australia in between the major tourist areas and also take me to the places I have been wanting to see for a long time. A great proportion of the trip will be through central and desert areas, hence the title of Red Dirt & Roadtrains which I will no doubt see plenty of (hopefully not up close).

The plan is to leave home on the 1st of May 2012 and I have allowed 3 months to cover around 20,000 k's leaving the Tasmaina leg for a warmer time, if there is one down there. At this stage only half of the 3 months has been allocated to actual riding but I have been caught out trying to plan too much in the past and unlike a car your backside does suffer during long days on the bike.

Alot of time has gone into planning the destinations within this trip and it is now all mapped out and on the GPS. I will also be taking a Spot connect device which will send daily messages out to friends and family to let them know I'm still alive, it will include a link to Google Earth so people can see where I ended up that day. This can also be used as a locater beacon in an emergency which hopefully I won't need. If I can work out how to put a link to this on the blog I will do that as well.

Anyway this will be home for 3 months;

Bike_1.jpg

I have also been trying out a camera to go on the bike helmet so I can get some video of what I'll be seeing and if I can work out how to get it on here I'll add that too. In the meantime if anyone is interested in the test videos I have done with it you can go to;

http/www.youtube.com/user/fredthespider177

Posted by fredthespider 18:31 Comments (1)

Test Video for Helmet Camera

These are the test videos for the Helmet camera I will be using on the trip. The plan is to post video updates instead of alot of boring words...Lets see how that all goes.............

Posted by fredthespider 04:14 Comments (0)

Spot Satellite Tracking

Below is the link to the Spot Satellite tracking page that will keep track of my daily locations for those who are interested.

http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=02cHGIZBhsIMdLqzLJMxq3Mzka2to9Gqq

I can't figure out how to make this into a proper link but it can be copied and pasted.

Posted by fredthespider 20:15 Comments (0)

Week 1, Lets Hit the Road

Well it has been an interesting week.......

Day 1, Tuesday May 1.

Left home after tidying the house and making sure I had everything. Weather was fine in the morning but the wind sprang up during the afternoon which made for difficult riding, luckily it was a only a short ride to Bendigo for day one to visit the parents. The good news was no setting up camp, cooked meal and a warm bed.

Day 2, Wednesday May 2.

First real travelling day today, left Bendigo and headed north west on the Calder Highway, it had rained overnight but the roads were dry, it was still very windy and now cold but I guess you have to expect that this time of the year. Had morning tea at Charlton and thought I would try to use my small compressor to put some air in the tyres, only to find that the bike shuts it off. Other things will work ok but just not the compressor which is abit of a problem as I was relying on that if I need to repair a tyre or more importantly to pump up my air mattress. To add to that most of the old style air nozzles at the servos wont fit onto the tyre valve. Better pray for no flat until I can sort that out.

Found a camping supply shop in Ouyen where I bought a foot pump and some C02 canisters which puts air in a tyre if you get a flat, so should be ok........ Got to Mildura at about 4.15 and had an early dinner at Mcdonalds, food was good but the free wifi kept playing up. Found my camp site on the banks of the Murray River between Mildura and Renmark which was pretty good and no one else was there. The only down side was the time it took me to pump up the air mattress with the foot pump, might have to rethink the bedding, I left the self inflating mattress at home thinking that it would take up too much space but I might consider buying one somewhere up the road.

Here is the spot not long after I arrived and then in the Morning after a freezing night.

DSC00437.jpg

1DSC00440.jpg

And some of the actual Lock nearby which is one of the many locks along the Murray River where they manage the water flow. You can hire a Houseboat and drive (or is it sail) up or down the river through these gates.

DSC00448.jpg

Day 3, Thursday May 3.

Well woke up frozen but by the time i packed up the sun was up and I thawed out abit. Hit the road (poor choice of words) about 8.30 after a hot coffee. Today I planned on riding to Renmark in SA then head north into Dangalli NP, the two options were ride south along a good gravel road to the Sturt Highway then go west or ride along the Old mail Road which runs along the Murray River. I decided to take the second option and as you can see here the scenery was excellent,

DSC00450.jpg

The road turned into a sandy track headed towards Neds Corner which was slow going but ok, then the bike decided to fall over with me on it (Hit the road).

DSC00451.jpg

DSC00453.jpg

A little bit of water left over from recent rains was enough to make this compressed sand into something with the grip of Ice, even walking on it was difficult. So after the swearing stopped I had to unpack the bike, lift it up and check the damage.

DSC00461.jpg

DSC00463.jpg

The bike was good considering, just had to retighten the left hand protector, but the left side Pannier was stuffed after being thrown off. Had abit of sorness in my left knee and right forearm but at the time i didn't think much of it. I spent abit of time strapping up the pannier and re packing the bike all the the time thinking why was I doing this again? Next thoughts were what to do from here, I didn't know what the condition of the track ahead was so I decided to head back through the sand to Mildura. So a few hours later I was in a caravan park in Mildura unpacking for the night and working out if to go home and continue the trip in the car or try to get another pannier and continue on.

Day 4, Friday May 4.

The next moring I found that I could get another pannier in Adelaide but not until Monday. I hadn't planned on going to adelaide but I decided to do that rather than go back home. So I headed off west again to Renmark thinking I know this road..........had lunch in Renmark then I decided that I would head up to Burra in SA for the night rather than rush to Adelaide. Burra is a historical town that has been the base for street layouts through a number of Australian country towns, (Video of Burra and Clare to come) Unfortunately the accomodation was booked out so I headed south to Clare which is South Australia's second major wine growing area and a very picturesque town. Found a cabin in the caravan park mainly because I couldn't be bothered setting up and the knee and arm were still giving me some grief.

DSC00466.jpg

Day 5, Saturday May 5.

After a good night sleep I left at a modest 9.30 am and rode through to Adelaide via Tarlee and Gawler. I arrived at a good reasonably priced hotel in Adelaide that I had found the night before which was close to the BMW dealer where I need to get the pannier. This is the view from the Window,

DSC00467.jpg

Spent the rest of the day cleaning up and resting, who said camping was difficult...............

Day 6, Sunday May 6.

Rest day today, did abit of shopping and took a tram ride down to Glenelg which was not as good as I remembered from 15 years ago so I didn't even bother with photos. So tomorrow I pick up the Pannier and get the bikes battery checked then the plan is to head up to the Flinders Ranges Tuesday.

Posted by fredthespider 02:58 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

Week 2, What a Difference a week Makes

May 7.

Another day off the bike today, ran it down to the dealers at 9.00 then wandered around Adelaide again, all the time waiting for the call to tell how much I need to pay, and which body part I will need to sell. While I was waiting I had a look at the Adelaide Conference Centre which is on the banks of the Torrens River. I have researched this building before but it was a little disappointing in real life, looks good in photos though. To my surprise the bike was finished early and other than replacing the pannier there was nothing else wrong with it so the shock of the cost was not too bad, I get to keep both my kidneys….. Took the bike back to the hotel and packed it ready for tomorrow. Got to speak to the kids and my brother on Skype so that was good and then off to sleep for the night.

May 8.

Finally on the road after leaving the hotel at 8.00 a.m. it was good to be moving again although 45 minutes of peak hour traffic to get out of the city was a pain. The weather was fantastic, eventually got to 27 degrees although the wind was ridiculous and like always I’m heading straight into it so you get thrown around abit. I took the scenic route north through Kapunda which is on the edge of the Barossa valley then back to Clare for an early lunch. It was going to be about 5 ½ to 6 hours riding time to get to Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges so I wasn’t sure if I would make it. Anyway headed north to Jamestown then to Orroroo, this is when the landscape started to change from farmland to….well what is one step down from desert? Nothing grows there is virtually no people and I saw one car the whole way and it was parked. Here is a photo of downtown Orroroo.

Orroroo Main Street

Orroroo Main Street

And here is one of the town Golf Course, something tells me it doesn’t get used much.

Orroroo Golf Course

Orroroo Golf Course

From Orroroo I headed to Carrieton where I fuelled up in the main street, not alot happening here but the people in the general store were nice.

Busy main street of Carrieton;

Carrieton Main Street

Carrieton Main Street

Carrieton Public Pool

Carrieton Public Pool

Then from Carrieton it was up to Hawker via Cradock, the landscape is fantastic up here and as you go you get some small glimpses of the Flinders Ranges just to keep you interested. After a short rest in Hawker it was back on the bike to Wilpena Pound…just after I dodged the knucklehead in a rental car from NSW who was obviously late for his latte at Bondi and was busy on his mobile give way.

Hawker

Hawker

Rode into Wilpena Pound at around 4.30 so that was pretty good time considering the head wind. No more luxury for me this time after filling up ($13 total at $1.75 per litre, one good thing about travelling on a bike) I got an unpowered camp site for $12, which is fantastic, great sites, hot showers and laundry. After setting up the tent it was down to the nearby resort for a burger and chips, this was $20 but it was great, so that’s about it for today, this is where I have set up my office for the night…….

Office at Wilpena Pound

Office at Wilpena Pound

May 9
Woke up to a warm sunny morning and had a good sleep considering I could hear the kangaroos jumping around most of the night, also found some Emu tracks around my tent and the bike so someone was interested in me during the night. Packed up camp and headed off to the Visitor Centre for some food. After speaking to the ranger I decided to head up to Brachina Gorge then across to the tar road to Lyndhusrt where I would turn back towards Hawker, unfortunately I wouldn’t get to spend as much time otherwise I would miss meeting up with friends in Port Augusta.
Rode up to a look out north of Wilpena Pound which gave you panoramic views of the entire area;

Then continued on the tar north towards to Gammon Ranges before I found my turn off to Brachina Gorge, this is where the dirt started for the day. This track traces the geology of the Flinders Ranges and there are information boards dotted along the way. I could ramble on about how good this place is but I will just show you the photos, and as the old saying goes photos don’t do this place justice.

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA


Crossing the creek, Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

Crossing the creek, Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges SA

After a few hours of riding through the old river bed on the stones and loose gravel I was ready to get back onto some sort of proper road and head towards Hawker. Further south I took the Moralana Scenic Route which took me through Black Gap and back onto the Hawker Wilpena Road.

Black Gap, Flinders Ranges SA

Black Gap, Flinders Ranges SA

After spotting a few Kangaroos and an Emu it was back on the tar and a relaxing lunch at a café in Hawker. Then it was off towards Quorn for a break outside the Pitchy Richy Railway Station, I think that it how you say it, not a great tour guide am I…anyway here’s a photo.

Quorn Railway Station SA

Quorn Railway Station SA

Arrived at Port Augusta at around 4 pm and noticed that it had warmed up a little; it was now around 31 degrees. Found Paul and Trish at a Caravan park at the northern end of town and was relieved of $36 for an unpowered bit of dirt at the back of the park, but it was ok considering the perimeter fence had barbed wire on top and the place was sealed off after dark. After a nice meal at a local pub it was time to drift off to sleep to the sounds of cars doing burn outs, dogs barking and the locals yelling at each other about nothing in particular.

May 9

Up early today and down to the local McDonalds for breakfast before a long day of around 541 ks.
Weather was great again today low 20s in the morning but it was warming up the further we headed north. First stop was Pimba which is at the turn off to Woomera, the roadhouse was good with plenty of open space;

Next it was up the Stuart Highway for lunch at Glendambo which was surprisingly good for a place in the middle of nowhere.

Glendambo SA 2

Glendambo SA 2

Then it was a long, long ride to Coober Pedy, not much out here but flies.

Arrived in Coober Pedy at around 4.30 and found accommodation at the Oasis Caravan Park, which was ok I’m just not sure if the word Oasis is appropriate. Couldn’t be bothered setting up the tent on gravel tonight so I opted for a budget style room for $50. Now this is luxury and you had to put 20 cents into the showers to make then work, haven’t seen that for a while. Found a nice pizza restaurant in the main street run by a fantastic Greek bloke who loved motor bikes, so after a few beers and a souvlaki it was a short walk back to the caravan park where I found my helmet which I left on the floor had become home to a colony of ants. So after making a barrier using insect repellent I saved some photos and videos and went to sleep, this time to the sweet sounds of the bloke in the next room snoring, burping and farting.

Room at Coober Pedy

Room at Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy 1

Coober Pedy 1

May 10

Plan today was to leave town at 8 am as someone had the bright idea that we should ride all the way to Alice Springs today, all 689 ks of it. Again the weather was kind to us and the morning was great riding, little wind and low 20’s first stop for a bacon and egg sandwich was Cadney Park. This was another great roadhouse where you could get good meals, basic groceries and they actually had grass to put your tent on.

Next stop was Marla, which is at the north western end of the Oodnadatta Track, this was the road I was original going to take but I ran out of time. Went to the start/end of the track and it looked in good condition, I was a little disappointed but I’ve been on that road before so maybe next time.

Marla SA

Marla SA

And the Track I was going to use..

Marla end of the Oodnadatta Track

Marla end of the Oodnadatta Track

After Marla there were no more stops in South Australia and as we headed to the Northern Territory border it got hotter and the wind pick up which made passing oncoming road trains fun to say the least. Stopped for a break at the border and did the usual touristy photos, by this time my backside was killing me and I was abit over riding on this highway and it was still around 300 ks to Alice.

Stopped for fuel at Kulgera which is just a roadhouse then the boring run to Erldunda which is where the turn off to Ayers Rock is. The road was noticeably crappier once you cross into the Northern Territory but you are allowed to now do 130 kph, can’t work that out?

Northern Territory South Australian Border

Northern Territory South Australian Border

I had had enough by Erldunda and for a second considered staying there but after a rest and some food it was time to press on. Arrived at The entry sign to Alice Springs around 5 p.m. and we were all pretty stuffed so I found the caravan park where I had stayed last time I was here and found that they too charged $36 for an unpowered site but the facilities were good so I booked for 2 nights. After a shower and a short ride to Paul and Trish’s motel it was off the Gap View Hotel next door for fantastic dinner. Another early night and a good sleep.

Road Sign entry to Alice Springs

Road Sign entry to Alice Springs


Alice springs caravan Park....

Caravan Park Alice Springs

Caravan Park Alice Springs

May 12

Up early today and rode into McDonalds for breakfast again, tried their wifi thinking I would update this there during the day but it was crap. Then it was a short ride up to Anzac Hill which is a look out on the edge of town that was renamed in honour of WW1 soldiers and has been used as a memorial ever since, see I do know some stuff…..

Alice Springs from Anzac Hill

Alice Springs from Anzac Hill

While there we were lucky enough to run into a guy called Matty who had ridden the same bike as mine across the Great Central Highway from Perth alone. He was able to give me heaps of invaluable advice for the trip across. The rest of the day was scheduled for washing, bike maintenance and updating this while Paul and Trish did the touristy stuff. The plan for tomorrow is to ride out to Hermansberg then on to Kings Canyon which I’m really looking forward to. You will have to wait for the next instalment for that and the videos I’ve been promising, but they take forever to do and most places charge you for internet, as a matter of fact you seem to get charged for everything out here .

May 13

After a fairly crappy sleep I was packed up and off to McDonalds by 8.15 and being a Sunday it was packed. After a quick breakfast and coffee I headed off with the others back down the highway towards Erldunda. Apparently the dirt section of the Mereenie Loop Road is fairly rough and no one quite knows how or where to get permits so I decided instead to go out to Ayers Rock and stay there for a few days to work out the next move. Weather was good again, about 26 degrees but a fairly strong east wind which evened my neck up from the west wind we dealt with on the way up. Had a brief stop in Stuarts Well and did some maintenance, as I rode off up the road I saw my Leatherman tool fly of the pannier where I had left it and disappeared into the scrub on the side of the road. After spending some time looking for it on the side of the road with cars going past at 130 kph I decided that maybe it’s time for a new one. Anyway a few hours later it was lunch at Erldunda before we headed west towards Ayers Rock. Spotted Mount Conner as we travelled west and I remembered last time I was here I thought that that was Ayers Rock, only to find we still had over 100 ks to go. I had later found out that this (Fake Ayers Rock) does that to most visitors and even excites busloads of tourists with sore backsides. Short stop at Curtain Springs which is a Roadhouse, camping ground that caters for the travellers and after a $6.50 Iced Coffee it was back on the bike for the next hour or so until we arrived at Yulara, checked into the Ayers Rock Campground which is fantastic and I was pleased to find that they only charged $18 per night for an unpowered site. Set up camp and headed into the town centre for a nice dinner.

Ayers Rock campground

Ayers Rock campground


May 14
Had a pretty good sleep considering I set up near the communal kitchen and people were having breakfast at 6 a.m. so they could go watch the sunrise over Ayers Rock, me I found it hard to get out of the sleeping bag, it was starting to get cold at night now. Coffee at the centre then it was on the road by about 9 a.m. and headed out towards Ayers Rock and the Olgers, no matter how many times you come here the drive towards these places blows you away, there is nothing like this in Australia and everyone should come and see it at least once. First stop was the Olgers viewing platform where you get a great view of the entire place.

Olgas

Olgas

Olgas

Olgas

Next it was a short drive out to the Valley of the Winds walk, and they don’t call it that for nothing.
Spent the next 2 hours walking through the Olga’s which was a fairly rugged walk, certainly not and easy flat walk and quite a few people were turning back. What they missed was this….

Olgas

Olgas


Olgas

Olgas


Olgas

Olgas


Olgas

Olgas


Olgas Valley of the Winds walk

Olgas Valley of the Winds walk


Olgas

Olgas


Olgas

Olgas

We then headed back to Ayers Rock to do some of the base walk as the climb was closed due to the wind. I wasn’t that disappointed as I did that last time and now I can understand more of the reasons why people are persuaded not to climb it. Had a quick visit to the Cultural centre which was good but unfortunately no photos were allowed, so you miss out. After doing a lap of the rock on the bike getting some video it was time to meet up and do some more walking. Here are some photos of the rock and the walk, there are more in the gallery of this blog but as the old saying goes photos just don’t do it justice.

Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock


Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock


Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock


Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock

]
Ayers Rock Walk

Ayers Rock Walk


Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock

Got back to camp around 4.30 did abit of housework then walked up to the lookout for some sunset photos…..

Ayers Rock Sunset 1

Ayers Rock Sunset 1


Ayers Rock Sunset 2

Ayers Rock Sunset 2


Ayers Rock Sunset 3

Ayers Rock Sunset 3


Ayers Rock Sunset 4

Ayers Rock Sunset 4


Ayers Rock Sunset 5

Ayers Rock Sunset 5


Ayers Rock Sunset 6

Ayers Rock Sunset 6


Ayers Rock Sunset 7

Ayers Rock Sunset 7


Olgas Sunset

Olgas Sunset

Off for a reasonably expensive dinner, unfortunately there is no other type here it is designed to extract as much of the tourist dollar as possible but still worth a visit.

May 15
I had originally planned to leave today but in between the Olga’s and Ayers Rock yesterday I ‘tested out’ the quality of the Great Central Highway, which is the dirt section between the Olga’s and Laverton in WA. This is the way I had planned to go because the only other options are the Nullabor or all the way up to Katherine in the NT but after seeing the state of the road there was no way I was attempting 4 days of deep sand and corrugations like I have never seen before. With other riders maybe but during the 2 or 3 Ks I rode down it I just got into 3rd gear at about 60 k.p.h once and then I had to slow for the deep sand, 4 days of that with no real towns in between, not this time. So I need to rethink the route from here. Today will be pretty much a rest day, do some washing, some shopping and sent some souvenirs home for the kids, I also made an appointment to see the local doctor as my knee is still abit swollen and I supposed best to get it checked here. Here are a few photos of the Yulara.

Yulara

Yulara


Yulara

Yulara


Yulara

Yulara

Posted by fredthespider 00:06 Comments (1)

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