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Cairns to Darwin

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by JGirl, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Does anybody know how I'd find out road conditions and distances between petrol stations? I'm thinking about doing this ride later in the year and want to make sure I'm prepared!

  2. What route are you taking ? from Cairns end mainly as there isn't many options the latter half.

    What are you riding and what is a safe fuel range ?
  3. Cairns to Darwin.

    Hi JGirl,

    Bin a while since I did those miles back in 1995. So things have probably changed a little since then.

    I took the easier trip riding down to Townsville from Cairns, then accross to Cloncurry, Mnt Isa, then on to three ways junction. Not all in one go though. The rest is pretty straight forward to Darwin via Katherine. Only a little more traffic. I was on a 83 Yam XJ900 and it handled it pretty well.

    The roads were extremely good and well surfaced from what I can remember. I pretty mutch went straight through. There was very little traffic from memory, other that the odd caravan and truck but even they were pretty non existent. There was no speed limit from memory after Mt Isa. Mainly because there was no one around to book you but there's probably not much point or advantage in doing over 140-160kph anyway as what you gain in speed you lose in fuel and reaction time in case something un-expected should decide to sunbake on the road.

    Most of the fuel stops to mt Isa were within larger bike capabilities and even smaller ones from memory. Under 275ks. The biggest stretch of course was from Mt Isa to three ways. From memory there was at least one or two fuel stops somewhere in between. My bike would get me around 340-360 kms with reserve on a good day and I had to purchase a fuel can at mount Isa as a back up for fuel, just in case (good thing I did). I used a "Robinsons Australian Road Atlas" edition 12 that I baught at Kmart in the early 90's. Not sure what edition there up to now. A very handy road atlas to have and worth every cent as it gave an accurate distance between road houses and points of interest for every state and territory. The longest distance between fuel I think was no more than 275kms.

    Roads were good all the way and well sealed. My best suggestion is to get a good, compact road atlas, a 5 ltr, red, plastic, fuel can from kmart or bigW (don't have to fill, just keep it handy) take plenty of drinking water, ask conditions and if road houses are still operational, at Mount Isa. It also wouldn't hurt to ride with someone else if you can. Not always possible though, due to people being caught up in the fish bowl of life.

    I went at the beginning of the dry season (winter down under). Temperatures were quite plesant and dry. May be different now due to climate change. My biggest regret is I didn't stop enough to smell the roses (cactus) and breath in the fresh air, that goes for the rest of Australia too. If your bike has a chain and not a shaft, then I would suggest adjusting it correctly before you leave and take a small tent.

    Rosco. :)
  4. 130kph speed limit in NT as of Jan this year, fuel you may be thinking of is Barkley Homestead. Road has improved since you did it back then also.
  5. not to sure about the road from cairns to normanton but the normanton to cloncurry is not bike friendly, poor condition and single lane with cattle trains on it.

    townsville to isa there is a town every 100-150 kms or so so plenty of fuel stops. look out for plods at hudughen and isa as they love their radar guns.

    isa to camooweal is not the best but isnt crap either.

    hope that helps
  6. Isa to Cam to is beaut new road, it must be a long time since you did that section.
  7. bugger, log in with that old unused name. Road is great the whole way to Darwin.
  8. if you are planning on going via Georgetown, Normanton, there are lots of single lane roads and big (3 trailer) road trains that YOU have to get out of the way of, at least there were in Jan this year... I picked up a cracked windscreen to prove it :grin: but I enjoyed it all the same. the rest of the run had great roads with fuel stops within bike range (250km)... ask away if you have any ? I'll help out if I can.....

    btw allow time to stop at Normanton and have a beer at The Purple Pub!

  9. I am planning to do the route from cairns to three ways junction aswell next year as part of my round Oz trip. The only tip i can share so far was passed onto me by someone who had done this trip many years ago. He said to top up your fuel in camoweal after leaving Mt Isa as this is the longest stretch without fuel and topping up in Camoweal would stop any worries about making it through. Not sure if this is still the case but hope it helps.
  10. yep fill up a camooweal, nice truck stop there.... you'll also probably have to fill up a Barkely Roadhouse about 200km from three ways.... my camper had a range of 800km so I made it from Mt Isa to three ways.... actually if you want to save a bit of $$ (though may not be worth it on the bike?) Tennet Creek fuel (few Kms, bout 20km?, south of threeways) was way cheaper for fuel than threeways (like 12c litre +) I only found this out after filling up a threeways, twice!! (way to darwin and way back darwin) :(

  11. I am planning to ride from Sydney to Cairns at the end of this year... might add Darwin to the list :grin:
  12. yeah right -considering I am going with you on a zx10 my wrists are already starting to hurt. I vote we pay some truckie $200 to throw the bikes in the back along with us and hitch a ride to darwin from cairns
  13. Sure, why not its like just next door.
  14. Dude I'm working out oall the petrol stops.

    Just one gap I need to fill.

    Between Camooweal and Elliot (442kms) just cant seam to find a town in the middle there.

    Might see if I can find this Barkely Roadhouse. Sounds promising.
  15. Townsville

    | 133km

    Charles Towers

    | 79km

    Pentland (shell)

    | 164km

    Hughender (caltex)

    | 112km

    Richmond (Ampol, Caltex, Shell)

    | 149km

    Julia Creek (Shell)

    | 137km

    Clancurry (Bp, Ampol, Shell)

    | 121km

    Mount Isa (Caltex, Shell,

    | 189km

    Camooweal (Shell)

    | 260km

    Barlkey Homestead

    | 187km

    Three Ways

    | 254km

    Elliot (shell)

    | 139km

    Daily Waters (BP)

    | 164km


    | 105km

    Katherine (BP, shell))

    | 206km

    Virginia (shell)

    | 22km

    Darwin (shell, Bp, Caltex)

    See its doable!!!
  16. Does that mean "Darwin here we come!!!!"
  17. there is only 1 part of me that has objection and thats not my brain and apparently my wallet has eloped with yours :grin:
  18. wow where did you get that info galahs
  19. lol, I was bored!

    Went to Shell, Caltex, Mobil and BP's websites to locate their petrol stations.

    Then when there was a gap too big to make it from one to another, I found a town in the middle and did a search in google to see if they has a servo.

    Then used the NRMA's website to get distances from each town.