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Melbourne to Perth and beyond

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by bugeater, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Why?

    Shortly after buying the Blackbird I realized I had a bike that should easily cross this great brown land of ours. Living in Melbourne but originally from WA, I frequently fly back to Perth to visit friends and family. So I hatched a plan to drive there on the motorbike. This may have something to do with being a West Australian. Crossing the Nullabor almost seems like a right of passage. And rather than do it the easy way in a car, I decided to do it the hard way, on a motorbike. In a sense I chose to do it because it is hard. Additionally I really wanted to cruise around the SW on my Blackbird.

    I had planned to do this in June, but only weeks before I planned to leave, someone decided to pull out on me on a roundabout, so the bike wasn’t in a state to journey. I only had a small window due to my work and uni classes so I couldn’t go. This time I just finished one job and have another to go to, so I decided to start the new job a month later. I had my chance to go, so I took it.
  2. Pre-journey preparation

    It took a fair bit of preparation to get ready for the journey. The main issues were having enough storage, carrying the right clothes and safety issues.

    In the end I used my Ventura bag on its rack, some Oxford soft panniers and an Oxford tankbag. I also had a self-inflating mattress, a pillow, sleeping bag and small tent that I lashed together with tie-downs. I never used any occy straps, though I carried a few.

    I was worried a bit about security, especially when having to leave the bike for a while. I put small locks on the panniers and Ventura bag and all my expensive stuff went in the tankbag. This zipped off into a backpack, which was very convenient. I also tried tying a tarp over everything to keep it out of sight and waterproof, but this ended up being more trouble than it was worth.

    Waterproofing was an issue. The tankbag and panniers all had rain covers, which was good. The tarp was supposed to keep the rest dry, but in the end garbage bags worked well for the Ventura bag and the tarp for my tent and sleeping stuff.

    To try to prevent rubbing of the fairings I put a rubber matting under everything called “scoot gard†I found at Rays Outdoors. Oxford also gives you a small square of it and I found some at Safeway as well. Typically the one place I thought was safe got rubbed by the tarp and left dulled spots. I duct taped down extra scootgard I carried with me.

    On the safety aspect I carried enough food to last me the whole journey, which turned out to be completely unnecessary. Snacks and one or two meals would have been sufficient. I carried a lot of cold canned meals and tuna. I also carried a 5L bottle of water for emergencies, plus about 3L in a camelback type backpack. I mostly drank sports type drinks however. I also had a basic first aid kit, plus a can of tyre repair goo and tyre pump. I also signed up for Honda Rider Assist just in case.

    For me I wore Shift Kevlar jeans plus my Aspen Dri-rider jacket. I had supposively waterproof and warm Dri-rider gloves, plus some lighter summer gloves. I also had arm and leg warmers plus jumpers and the like. I had a waterproof over-jacket plus over-pants and over-boots (rubber things). I did have shin protectors but quickly stopped using them. I also wore my cycling pants for the whole journey. These are the padded lycra pants you see cyclists wearing. On a bicycle you don’t wear underpants under them (since they chafe), but this wasn’t an issue on the motorbike, only the padding. They certainly helped a lot, but in the end were not enough.

    The bike hadn’t done much distance since the last service and I also have an automatic chain lubricator installed (pro-oiler). I made sure the chain was tensioned correctly and the tyres were at the correct pressure before I left. I also installed a cigarette lighter socket so I could charge my iPod.

    Other important things were earplugs and entertainment. My iPod was prepared with plenty of playlists and audio-books. I also have intra-canal earphones, so they act as earplugs too. This was very important in the end. I also had a Nintendo DS and some books for when camping at night. Some cartoon episodes on the iPod were also good.

    I had also bought myself a High definition camcorder with the intention of recording most of the journey. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff that is interesting you just drive past and can’t record. Especially since you are trying to make good time. We really need a helmet-cam.
  3. Day 1 – Wednesday 3rd October

    Day 1 – Wednesday 3rd October

    My original (and naive) plan was to make Port Augusta on the first day. I intended to leave very early and do a long first day. However a badly timed rent inspection meant I needed to help clean the house, so I left at about 2:30pm on Wednesday, 3rd October.


    I was intending to make Nhill that afternoon.
    First problem I noticed was the tarp not staying completely still. I did a trial run the previous day. I stopped just before Ballarat to check everything, but it seemed mostly fine.


    The main problem I had was my iPod deciding to freeze minutes into the journey. I go my girlfriend to SMS me the reset instructions, but I was rather annoyed.
    I also got somewhat rained on near the Grampians, so I had to work out how to water-proof everything, which took a bit of messing around, but was mostly successful.

    By the time I got to Horsham, the sun was going down, so I decided to stop. I had only put the tent up once before, so I wanted some light to do it by. I did have a headlamp, which was fantastic, so I probably would have been right anyway. As it turned out, it was quite a squeeze to fit the entire luggage into the tent. It is a two man, but there was only just enough room for me. I guess if you are camping from a car you can keep everything in that, but that wasn’t an option. It didn’t pass my notice that rain could make packing the next morning very difficult.

    I ate my tinned food and some snacks, had a beer some other campers offered me and went to bed. I couldn’t really chat much since I had laryngitis.
  4. Day 2 – Thursday 4th October

    Day 2 – Thursday 4th October

    A local, my tent and the river(?) at Horsham

    My throat was still very sore, but I did sleep well.
    Packing up took much longer than I expected, which meant I left later than I had hoped. One problem I found was the condensation inside the tent. It has a double lining, so you are kept dry, but it is impossible to dry the thing out. I just had to pack it damp.

    I intended to make it to Port Augusta by nightfall. I didn’t want to ride at night due to the roo’s.
    The journey was mostly uneventful. I did stop to buy another tie-down at a hardware store, since the tarp was still coming loose. Crossing the border was uneventful since I didn’t even notice. I stopped a couple of km outside of Bordertown for a rest and snack.

    The terrain wasn’t particularly interesting until Talem’s Bend, where you are met by the Murray River.

    Then things get more interesting. I went up Mount Lofty and had something to drink and eat. The break and the coffee really perked me up.
    Adelaide from Mt Lofty

    I then had to drive through Adelaide. This didn’t pose many problems. I kept maps in the map-holder of the tankbag and this showed me the through roads. It seems like a nice, but small, place. The circular metal plates right in my riding line were annoying though.
    I was also astounded by the way people were merging. They tried to merge as soon as possible and waited until someone gave them a gap rather than hoon down the lane that is ending and try to push in.
    The terrain changed dramatically North of Adelaide. It seemed to get quite dry and brown. The low mountain ranges also appeared which were interesting to look at. It’s also funny how every town on the coast is called Port “somethingâ€.
    It was also quite warm and I was definitely suffering from sunburn. I was also falling a bit behind time.

    Just outside Adelaide


    Getting close to Port Augusta, Flinders ranges


    On the last stretch to Port Augusta the sun was getting very low and I was getting quite nervous with all the kangaroo signs. But I didn’t see any. I made it to Port Augusta just after sunset and then decided to rent a motel room since I was exhausted. I eventually stopped at a Golden Chain motel. It didn’t seem to be the cheapest at $70, but you did get a basic breakfast and foxtel. You also get a 10% discount card for any other Golden Chain places you stay at.
    I cleaned myself up and went out and had some fish and chips. It was good, but way too much food (Barnacle Bills?). I got some sunscreen, some beer and retreated to watch Young Einstein on telly. What a great movie. Made me wish I had some Icehouse on my iPod (I was a big fan as a kid). Great Southern Land was proving to be an appropriate song for my journey.
    I was a little worried about the weather forecasts of 35 degrees for the next day.

    Me very sunburned
  5. Day 3 – Friday 5th October

    Day 3 – Friday 5th October

    I got up a bit later than I intended. Part of the reason for staying in the room was so I could leave early, since the next destination was the WA/SA border. That’s a huge ride. However I was up later than planned due to watching to movie on telly. I also had a bit of a chat to the guy in the next motel room. He was going the other way. Had a few pointers, like the warning of roadworks outside of Norseman.

    Little did I know this was going to be one shit of a day.

    The terrain was quite interesting….. for a while. Red/brown, dry and covered in shrubs. Occasional low mountain/hill ranges. I started out quite happy. My first stop was Iron Knob. My tent and sleeping stuff was trying to work its way loose, which was annoying. Took some photos and video and kept going.

    The roads were also very good quality, quite wide and there were very few people about. I started to get a little happy with the throttle. I couldn’t go too fast due to the luggage, but the speed limit was certainly quite low for the conditions. Unfortunately a cop came around a bend and decided to raise some cash. 17 over - $300 fine. There wasn’t even any real conversation. He just went straight for his fine book. Even the fact that technically I am unemployed didn’t seem to bother him. Now I normally would rant a bit..... but who could be bothered.
    But it was probably more dangerous to have me parked on the edge of the road as road trains passed us.
    After the whole trip, I probably saw one cop in Victoria, one in WA and about 5 in SA. This particular day I saw about 4 police cars.

    My next stop was Kimba. A dry dusty town that claims to be “Halfway Across Australiaâ€. Not sure how they work that out, since it doesn’t look halfway to me at all. Like most inland towns in SA, it has easily visible grain silos. I’m amazed anything grows there, but I may just be the drought making it very dry. It was getting quite warm by this point.

    I continued on, but part of the way I could see my self-inflating mattress was working it’s way loose. I desperately looked for somewhere to stop, but there isn’t much on the side of the road. Shortly thereafter the mattress made the decision for me. It came loose and flew off the back. I stopped turned around and retrieved it. It didn’t take coming off too well which a small cut and grazing. As it turned out it also had a tiny hole in it as well as the cut. So I was forced to repack on the edge of the road. It wasn’t particularly safe. Next town I repacked again, but this time wrapping the sleeping stuff and tent in the tarp and lashing it together. This worked much better and was how I did this for the rest of the journey. I think it was about this point where I started sitting on my pillow, since my backside was getting very sore. A short stop every 80-100km helped, but in the end days of riding have their toll. The pillow did help a lot, though in the end even this could not stop the discomfort.

    About 1pm I made Poochera. It was damn hot by this point. I got a pie and a coke for lunch and then continued on.

    It was after this that it started getting windy. I had to deal with wind on and off, but the problem is that is always came from the south. Because a lot of the time I was leaning into the wind my tires are now actually slightly beveled. But this was a pretty strong wind and was getting really annoying. I also miscalculated my fueling point. I drove straight past the town I intended to refuel at (Wirrulla). Once I realized I had to make a decision. Go back or try to make Ceduna. Technically my bike could make it. My calculations said it should be able to do about 360km until bone dry. But I’d never pushed it that far before. I needed to make 315km to reach Ceduna. So I kept going, but traveled a bit slowed and more cautiously. Eventually I made it and appeared to have plenty left in the tank (though I couldn’t remember exactly how much fuel the blackbird carries).
    Ceduna was dry and windy and I was running late. I filled up, made a phone call to my beloved (Optus coverage stops after Ceduna) and pushed on. I was determined to make the border even though it was already 3:05 pm and I had near 500 km to go. At some point I chatted to an old biker going the other way and he didn’t think I could make it to the border that day. I took that as a bit of a challenge.



    It’s just dry bush after Ceduna. Bush and dodgy little roadhouses here and there. They aren’t too far apart and a number are 24 hour, but don’t depend on the Yalata roadhouse – it’s closed. Fortunately a number of people had told me this over the preceding few days. I was getting close to the Nullabor itself.

    And finally I made it. The Eastern end. And a weird place it is too. No trees (duh!). Very flat and kind of spooky. I made it at about 6:45pm. Thanks to traveling West I was gaining about 30 minutes of sunlight each day, so it was still light, but clouds coming over weren’t helping. It was also getting cold. The biker I spoke to said it had been cold all day. For me it reached up to 35 degrees.




    I saw one of the few live animals out there (apart from lizards) – a dingo on the road.
    I made the Nullabor roadhouse at about 7:30pm. Another dingo was scavenging. I filled up and had to make a decision. Stay or keep going. The sun was nearly down, so I’d be making the crossing at night. I made a pretty silly decision. I kept going.
  6. The Nullabor Crossing

    The Nullabor Crossing

    It is 180km from the Nullabor roadhouse to the WA/SA border. I decided to not play any music, just so I could be completely focused on the road. I set off and realized just how dark it was out there. Pitch black. Even worse, though I had cleaned my visor of bugs, my vision wasn’t crystal clear. As I discovered the next morning, the fine dust out in these parts settles on everything, including the inside of your visor. This impaired my vision a little. Problem is that there is nowhere to pull over to deal with it, so you just keep going.

    You essentially get tunnel vision and sensory deprivation. Since there are no trees, only bushes, the headlight only lights up the road and the low bushes on each side. You can also see the road-train lights at some distance, but it is hard to judge how far away they are. I also trailed a road train at distance for some time, since I gathered they would take out the roos if any. But I got sick of this and passed him, which added a little excitement to a boring yet frightening experience.
    So essentially you are vision deprived with occasion roadtrains coming at you with the associated bright light and wind. You are also constantly on the lookout for animals. You do this for a couple of hours. Counting down the kilometers until you make the destination. I was a wreck by the time I made the border. I actually had difficulty making complete sentences for a while. It made asking about accommodation very difficult (admittedly the young lady who served me was very attractive, so she may be used to guys being tongue tied around her :grin:).
    I arrived around 9pm and decided to get a room. I needed to repair my mattress anyway. Though more expensive than the last place, the facilities were much less. It was essentially a donger (mine site accommodation). I also ordered some curry and rice and a beer, which went down very well.
    I patched the mattress and left it overnight to see if the repair worked.
  7. Day 4 – Saturday 6th October

    Day 4 – Saturday 6th October

    Woke up to find the mattress repair hadn’t worked. It was still leaking. Damn. Packed up and headed back the way I came. I had missed all the cliffs, so I needed to get at least a couple of photos. The closest lookout wasn’t as good as the actual cliffs, but it still wasn’t bad.


    I then headed back to the border roadhouse. Filled up and the guy who served me (who actually served me my beer the night before) went
    “So you’re the crazy person who crossed the Nullabor at nightâ€.
    “Yep that’s me, it was pretty frightening, I’m not doing that again.â€
    “I bet you’re notâ€.

    Basically got waved through the fruit and veg checkpoint and took some photos of the actual border marking. Then continued on.

    big kanga

    The border checkpoint

    WA/SA border

    My original plan was to get to Esperence on this day, but since that is a longer journey I decided to go via Coolgardie instead. I just wanted to get to Perth asap, since I was really hurting by this point. I had sunburn, my back hurt and my backside hurt.
    I also wasn’t sure what time it was, since the local time is actually central western or something. I think that’s 45minutes ahead of WA time and 45 minutes behind SA time. I really wasn’t keeping track. The sun was all that mattered to me.

    Just a few km from the border I passed though Eucla and then down through a pass that takes you onto a plain that is below the edge of the Nullabor itself (or at least the chunk of rock it is a part of). In these parts the Nullabor doesn’t touch the ocean. It is pretty barren. I stopped to have a snack and recharge the iPod. A caravanner offered me a tea, but I declined the offer. By this point caffeine usage had become part of a defined strategy. I had a coffee late in the day because it really perked me up when I needed it. Panadol also worked quite well, since it numbed the aches and pains.
    The local flora...
    and fauna

    Next place I filled up at was Madura. Nearly had an accident going down the driveway to the servo. I had a “cramp buster†on my throttle, which was quite helpful, but coming down the potholed, steep, gravelly driveway, I accidentally bumped it. The bike lurched forward with the handlebars wobbling (I was making a slight turn when this happened). Fortunately I kept control, but it got the heart racing.
    After filling up I moved on. You head back onto the plateau from the low plain here (Madura pass). There is a nice vantage point from up there.
    Interestingly, I was noticing quite a few bikes heading in the opposite direction to me.

    At Caiguna I filled up and had a pie and coke for lunch. The chef sat down with me and asked how things were going. I mentioned how painful it was getting. He said it gets easier – he has apparently crossed the Nullabor by motorbike about 12 times (admittedly, I hadn’t just crossed the Nullabor). He had a few suggestions including getting a kidney belt. He even told me where to go in Midland. Apparently it keeps your back straighter. I bit farewell and continued on.

    The next bit was the 90 mile straight. Longest straight stretch of road in Australia. It certainly is long and straight. But the most noticeable thing is the roadkill. There are plenty of dead animals (mainly roos) everywhere else. Probably at least one of two per kilometer. Most are in pretty advanced states of decay and are always off the side of the road. On this stretch though there would often be groups of 4 or 5 dead roos in one place. Occasionally they would be in the middle of the road as well, all swollen up. I have no idea why they liked this stretch, but it seemed like the death was dramatically greater.
    The terrain was also a bit strange. Big areas of low shrubs surrounded by forest. I have no idea why it was like that. Old abandoned fields? Salty areas the trees can’t handle?

    My last refueling for the day was a Balladonia. The place where parts of Skylab crashed. Had a coffee to prepare me for the last stretch. I’d already decided I’d only make Norseman. I chatted to some people I kept running across at every stop I’d made that day and then continued on. Soon enough I hit the roadworks. This wasn’t too bad, except it was 45km of dirt road. It wasn’t gravelly though, so it wasn’t too much of a worry. The only problem was the last km or so was being hosed down by a water truck, so my radiator and Ventura bag ended up caked in mud. I also had an impatient car on my tail for quite some distance which annoyed me. Once on the black stuff again they hooned off. I tailed just behind them under the assumption any cop would have to stop them first. It was also getting dark.

    Norseman is noticeable by its tailing dumps that tower over the town. A feature of most WA towns I found. Before reaching the town I noticed some billboards for $30 rooms at the Railway Hotel. I cruised around the town (and what a dry, dusty, dump it is) until I found it. The deal was Kosher, so I stayed there the night. The hotel is huge and mostly empty. The décor is very Art Deco/ 1930’s. Apparently the town was once huge, but now is a shadow of its former self, even though they are still mining there. My room was tiny but clean and had a tv (with foxtel) and a fridge. The bathroom was shared and ancient, but still okay.

    I had a steak and a beer downstairs. Had to put up with some miners arguing about how much various professions in the mines should get paid more than the others. It annoyed me somewhat.

    Since I was back into mobile coverage, I chatted to my girlfriend, watched some Discovery channel and went to sleep.
  8. Day 5 – Sunday 7th October

    Day 5 – Sunday 7th October
    I left quite early. I was keen to get to Perth by day’s end. I stopped briefly just out of Norseman to look at a huge dry lake bed. It was something you started to notice about WA – many, many seasonal salt lakes.

    I filled up at Coolgardie and checked out a water hole they had there. It was the first water I’d seen for some time.

    Next stop was Southern Cross. The farming region seemed to start just before I reached Southern Cross, but it was still clearly a mining town as well. There was a considerable tailing dump over the town and an old water-filled open pit on the side of the highway. There was also the ubiquitous Kalgoorlie pipeline. I had some lunch here and moved on. A big group of bikies on their loud machines rumbled through the roadhouse, but for some reason kept moving.
    Pipeline at Southern Cross

    The rest of the towns were just northern wheatbelt towns. Nothing majorly interesting except that they were getting larger and larger. East of Norseman you just get a roadhouse and a caravan park. These were real towns. As I got closer and closer to Perth though, it seemed to take longer and longer to get anywhere.

    I came across the side of the original rabbit proof fence. Apparently it is now an Emu proof fence.
    Can you spot the pipeline?

    Getting close...

    Meckering was interesting just because they had an interesting display on their earthquake I could look at. It was always good to walk around a bit – the backside recovered enough to last another hundred kilometers.
    Is that the pipeline again?!

    Northam was a bit strange. I assumed they would have a roadhouse on the highway, but the highway bypassed the town (which is very large). I planned to fill up there but kept going. It was surprising how long it took to find another roadhouse. By this point I was into the Perth hills and traffic was getting bad. It was the end of the school holidays. It also started to rain on me. But I was nearly there.

    I reached the bottom of the hills at Midland, short trip down Reid highway to High Wycombe and I was at my mum’s house.

    I’d survived.

    The tripmeter clocks over at 2000km, so I'd done 3519.9km from Melbourne

    My mum to greet me

  9. Things I learned

    Things I learned

    Long distance riding is tiring. Especially day after day of it. You need all the creature comforts you can take.

    You need something for your backside. Some sort of padding. I ended up wear both bike pants and sitting on my doubled over pillow (in a plastic bag taped shut). There has to be better solutions.

    Supposively a kidney belt can help with back pain.

    The wind noise is continuous. I couldn’t hear my bike over it. Even with earplugs, my ears were ringing at the end of the day. This is a concern.

    Sunburn is a problem and sunscreen isn’t the complete answer. Tinted visors are probably a good idea.

    The dust gets everywhere. Clean INSIDE your visor.

    Bugs impair your vision. Clean the visor whenever you fill up.

    Caffeine and painkillers can help a lot if used correctly.

    Prepare to pay for accommodation. I only camped the first night. I was just too exhausted. Sometimes it's almost as cheap as camping. I paid $20 for an unpowered site in Horsham. An okay room was $70 with shower and breakfast in Port Augusta and they could be had cheaper. $89 at the border and $30 for a room without ensuite in Norseman. But make sure you have camping gear or a swag just in case.

    Food is readily available. I barely ate anything I took across. Generally speaking a decent hot meal at night is around $20, though you could always live off hamburgers and stuff which are about $10.

    Petrol gets expensive. I spent about $300 to get across in petrol with an efficiency of about 15 -16 km/l.

    Efficiency goes up from city riding but down from normal "fun" riding. It's probably because of drag from the luggage and the constant wind. It's worth calculating your efficiency on the road and working out your absolute maximum range to a tank.

    Frequent short rest stops are good for the fatigue. Optimally, get off the bike every 100 – 200 km max. It’s hard to survive between fuel stops (250-300km +).

    Only plan for about 800km a day. Be prepared to stop early. You can camp at most roadhouses. 1000km + is a long hard day. As I found out later, you can manage 400-500km a day no worries with plenty of time for sightseeing.

    It is a big dry land out there. You do not want to come to grief. I mean they use a number of stretches of the highway as emergency landing strips!

    You see a surprisingly small number of live animals and huge numbers of dead ones. I saw only live lizards, one snake and a dingo. The dead were all kangaroos and lizards.
    I suspect the numbers are down because of drought conditions. But you only need to hit one and it's a long way to the hospital (or phone coverage)!

    The distances are enormous with very little to see. Especially between Port Augusta and Norseman. That is two days of hard driving.

    The wind can be very annoying – you are frequently leaned over into it.

    The cramp buster is good for the right hand, but be careful of accidentally knocking it – take it off in the city.

    Music helps a lot, but make sure your earphones protect your ears from the wind noise.

    Anything that can rub your paintwork will. Cover it. Scootgard is great and masking tape and gaffa tape also works well on small places.

    I would hate to have to deal with chain maintenance on the road. An automatic lubricator or a shaft drive is optimal.
  10. Next


    I spent about a week in Perth just visiting people and hanging out. I was pretty exhausted for a few days after arriving. However my next plan was to return via the South West. But I got some prices on trucking the bike back and decided to go this route instead. So I could spend a bit more time in the South West and take it a bit slower.
  11. Interesting report, well done for a first time. It gets easier :cool:
  12. Sounds like it is what i would expect,then i wonder5 days doing tassie yep way more fun :wink: Riding to cairns from melbourne also would be way more fun :grin: .Riding to perth mmmmm no thanks :cool:
  13. You don't do it because it is easy. You do it because it is hard.

    Besides there is a lot out there that few people see. And you get to see just what a huge and diverse country we live in. Besides I haven't finished writing up my journey :wink:

    I bet it does. Once you work out all the annoyances and can plan for them I'm sure it would be considerably easier.
  14. Mate I am just happy to see people here doing these rides, they are character building and a lot of fun. I remember my first crossing and it wasn't that long ago back in Jan 2006, I had all these concerns that really never eventuated. I did two double crossings in 2006 and another 2 in August this year. I spent a few days between Border Village and Ceduna in August last year just fillin in time waiting for some mates coming over from Perth area. You could spend weeks there in the right climate. You missed the whales at head of the bight, you really need to see those its friggin awesome.
  15. Great report and photos! Well done.

    My sister-in-law and brother-in-law are somewhere "out there" right now (probably in Eucla I think). They are on a matching pair of red Wee-Stroms. They're going on to Melbourne, then over to Tassie for a fortnight, then back to Canberra, then back across the Nullarbor. I think their longest day is something like 550 km; they're not pushing as hard as you did.

    And I'm in the office -- behind this bloody computer! (Yeah I know ... :-({|= )
  16. Yeah Bugeater!!! So great to read your journal, so happy you made it all the way and home again, and without the Road Assist you were so concerned about before you left!!

    Only one negative comment - Silly me let my husband read this, and now he is inspired to take his Blackbird on the same trip, but leaving from Brisbane!!!

    You are an inspiration to others, a legend in my book!!

    Congrats! :)
  17. He could tie a tow rope to your GPX and drag you along as well! :LOL:
  18. Monday 15th October

    SW trip day 1- Monday 15th October

    I'll add photos later once I capture them from my video footage

    After a week of rest and visiting people, it was time for the next step. Originally I planned to spend a few days in the south west working my way to Esperence. Then I'd head back to Melbourne. However after talking to my employer-to-be and getting some quotes, I decided to truck the bike back since it cost about the same and I'd save 4 days of my life. I was also a bit worried about the effects on my hearing.

    This meant I could spend a bit more time in the SW. I booked the bike to be dropped off on Friday and the plane back on Saturday. So I had four days. I also left a fair bit of luggage at my mums, since I did take much food or water with me. I left the panniers behind, but in hindsight probably should have kept them. This is because they keep the weight much lower. The bike does handle a bit odd with weight up high.

    I should also mention that I spent a lot of my life in the SW. I was born in Bunbury, my mother in Busselton and my family once owned a fair bit of farming land down there. I'm also supposively related to the original founders of Augusta. As a kid I spent a lot of time at my grandparents at Margaret River and the others in Bunbury. This was back when the SW was not as trendy as now and Margaret River was the poorest town in WA and Dunborough was not much more than a shanty town. How things have changed :shock:

    So I left Perth around 10am. It was a short jaunt to Bunbury. I've never really liked the place so I mostly bypassed it. I wanted to surprise my remaining grandparents who now live in Capel. I haven't seen them for years since I'm living in Melbourne now.

    Arrived in Capel around 1pm. They were both surprised and delighted to see me. I got a hot lunch and homemade beer and was told all about my cousins and how they are going. I'm the oldest grandchild. They wanted me to stay the night but I needed to move on. So after about 2-3 hours I headed off.

    I rode the tourist route through the Tuart forest near Busselton. Got some nice photos of the beach and noticed just how wet it is down there. Every roadside gutter was full of water and the swampy areas were shallow lakes that went for many miles. The housing development was amazing too. The new road went through the swamp/lakes but one side was mostly new developments. This went for ages. Some young person managed to drive their ute off the side of the road and had it nose down in the water/swamp. Lots of people were standing around trying to work out how to get it out. Didn't get a photo unfortunately.

    Continued on to Dunsborough. Started to realise how big, juicy and numerous the bugs were down there compared with my trip across. Once at Dunsborough I headed down the Eagle Bay road. Eventually you reach a turnoff to Melup beach. Absolutely gorgeous small sheltered bay with blue water and white sand. I was taken there a lot as a kid.
    The next bay down was Castle Rock. Got a photo of the memorial there. It was a whaling station about 150 years ago. My great, great.... something grandfather whaled there.

    Next I headed down Caves Road. Turned off the visit Canal Rocks. It's a pretty amazing rock formation. But that's what you find down there - amazing rocks and beaches along the coast. Oh and good wine and surf too.

    By this point is was getting a bit dark so I headed a bit further along Caves road until I found a turnoff to Margaret River. I had to stop for a paddock full of Kangaroos since I hadn't seen a live one on my whole journey. At Margaret River I went back out of town a bit to the old forestry settlement. I spent many a school holiday there, but it's closed down and my grandparents old house has been moved away.

    In town I looked for a Caravan park. The one I found was pretty fancy and still quite full. I just made the 7pm office close and got a site. Set everything up, had a shower and headed out to look for food. Settled on the Settlers Tavern. This place used to be an absolute hole, but they've done it up since the last time I was there about 5 years ago. Ordered a steak and a pint (Little Creatures of course) and relaxed. It was pretty good. The ride was only a few hundred kilometers so I wasn't really tired. It's amazing how far these places seemed when I was a kid yet they were barely anything now.

    Headed back and went to bed.
  19. Well I've ground to a halt as far as writing up my journey. I aim to finish it, but I'm very very busy with the new job at the moment. Interestingly I've inspired a few others to make the trip. The husband of someone I know now wants to do it by motorcycle too. They have a baby on the way though, so I doubt it is going to happen. And my little sister is driving her car from Mackay in Queensland to Perth next month. She is used to doing huge km on the road through (she used to do the kiddy photos shoots around the North West (of WA)), and has done the Canning Stock Route. My mum is joining her in Melbourne for the actual Nullabor crossing.
  20. I will be crossing again in Dec, look like leaving the 13th for Perth on the 15th then back by the 19th so tell them if they spot a silver 1400GTR to wave.