Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

NSW Outback on my GS500

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by daevilone, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. Hi Guys,

    Over Easter and the next few days I decided to do my first multi day motorbike trip. Not wanting to do something boring, that turned into a 3000km round loop from Sydney taking in about 650km of dirt following the Darling River from Bourke and into Mungo National Park before heading back through Wagga, Tumut, Canbera and up the coast.

    The bike of "choice" (aka, the bike I own) is my GS500. Not really the offroad beast but surprisingly fine unless larger corrugations were involved.


    I enjoy taking photos so the tank bag held photography equipment (body, 3 lenses) and other quick access stuff.
    The dry bag held tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and clothes.
    Right hand pannier held food, water, toiletries, cooking stuff.
    Left hand pannier held a 5L jerry can, mini compressor, tools, rags, lube, etc.

    To help things, I fitted a set of Shinko 705's to make the dirt a little better. They did their job well with very little signs of wear after 3000km and were probably about the right tyre for the trip. None of the sand was overly deep and it sure made the road sections nice. You really did have to pay attention to pressures though as they loved being down under or around 20psi offroad and well above 30 onroad.

    I already owned all camping gear required from plenty of hiking so I didn't have to spend much on that gear. I did upgrade a couple of bits of clothing though buying some Forma Adventure Low boots, a new pair of vented textile pants (Dainese Super Drakes) and a pair of warmer/waterproof gloves.

    I left Sydney after work on the Thursday before Easter with the intention of heading towards Dubbo and stopping when I'd had enough. I made it to the Bell River rest area and found a track heading off from the back of it to a flat spot near the creek - perfect.


    The next day was one of my larger days, covering about 520kms to Yanda Campground, about 40km SW of Bourke. Not the most interesting day heading up the Mitchell Hwy but oh well. The dirt started just out of Bourke so I pulled over to let some air out of the tyres and continued along what was pretty nice dirt to the campground.
    The campground itself was about 50m from the Darling where I watched sunset.


    The next day was, shall we say, tough. The road conditions changed dramatically from km to km, stretches of deeper sand here and there and some truly bad stretches of corrugations that really highlighted my lack of front suspension travel. Nothing technically difficult but plenty of sections that couldn't be taken at any reasonable speed. I managed about 240km over the day with many breaks and a long lunch at the Tilpa Pub. Nicely, the road improved over the whole day with the first 60km taking over 2hours but the last 90km taking less time. Today saw the only real drama of the trip where the bike didnt start after taking some photos. A bit of sleuthing found the clutch switch had broken but shorting that solved the issue nicely.
    I stayed on the edge of the Darling again, about 60km from NE of Wilcannia.
    A few shots from the day... 25975122760_42b4ee6b44_b.


    huge changes in track types.

    The Tilpa Pub was cool


    Camp was pretty damn nice to arrive at after the day.

    The next day I chose a longer sealed route rather than the shorter dirt option headed through Wilcannia, on to Broken Hill and then in to Menindee, staying on the Darling River once again.

    The road out of Broken Hill was far more interesting than I was expecting.

    The Kinchega National Park had seen some rain in the previous week and had been closed. Straight on obviously had some damage after the rains. It was the way I was planning to head but left worked out ok.

    The Darling River never failed to look great.

    Next I headed further south into Mungo National Park. 100km of dirt into Pooncarrie then 40km of sealed stuff before another 50km section of dirt into the park.

    The bike looking pretty good after 500km of dirt. 26222051326_cd823920c1_b.

    Camp: small and light but nice and roomy.

    One of the locals.

    There is a 70km tourist loop in the park to see the eroded sand dunes which was the following morning's ride before heading back to the sealed stuff via a 100km dirt and 40km tar route to Balranald. This last section of dirt was amazing. So smooth and I knocked it over in a bit over an hour. From here I just sped back along the Sturt and ended up in Wagga for the night.

    During the brief moments that the sun came out, the dunes are pretty amazing.


    Looking over some of the dune wall at Mungo.

    The transition from dirt to sealed on the way to Balranald. This was the last bit of dirt I had planned to do.

    The plan for the next day was to get to Canberra where my parents live and after some thinking I decided I'd head there via Tumut and Wee Jasper with around 30km of dirt. Turns out I missed the turnoff to Wee Jasper and ended up snaking my way through the Brindabella Ranges taking in the whole length of Brindabella Road and taking it out to more like 50km of dirt. Nothing too bad but some rough patches and that road is pretty twisty for my inexperienced dirt riding self.


    The last day I cruised into Nowra and then as time was running out in the day headed back up the M1 to Sydney.

    Overall an amazing trip and I can't wait to do something similar again - but maybe on a different bike with slightly better offroad skills (and a rider with slightly better offroad skills). Despite hating some of the offroad sections where I kept having to slow down to 10-20kph to slowly pick my way through corrugations and despite praising the tarmac each time it showed up I was always a bit disappointed there wasn't more dirt about 50km down the road.
    • Winner Winner x 44
    • Like Like x 14
  2. G'day daevilonedaevilone, this is the sort of ride report that I come back to re-read over and over. I'd rate it Winner again if I could. I'm halfway familiar with most of the areas you went through - you must've gone past where I live on your second day - and your photos do the places justice. That you rode it on a road bike with appropriate tyres is awesome too. The inland is a special place - featureless to some - but I'd live there in a heartbeat. Thanks again for an awesome ride report!
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Excellent ride, read, and pics daevilone. Thanks!

    Very keen to get out there real soon.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Excellent write up and photos. Thank you.
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Inspirational. Thanks for taking the time to put it up.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. What a beaut!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Looks amazing. Great photos!
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Hi daevilonedaevilone

    What a trip!

    I had a GS500f for 12 months and did a little adventure touring on it, too. They are quite happy on dirt, unless pushed too hard.
    I only had Pirelli Sport Demons on it and often wished for more appropriate hoops. You've done it right.

    Well done, mate.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. XJ6NXJ6N - Living closer to that area would be great. There is so much more I'd like to explore out that way.

    thanks, Wheres me BoikeWheres me Boike, Mr FlibbleMr Flibble, GeorgeOGeorgeO and kittiminxkittiminx :]

    AyeKayAyeKay It's a great area with a lot to explore if you've got the time for side trips.

    Mick MMick M I agree, it's not too bad offroad at all. They just can't cope with anything rough. I've done some dirt before with street tyres and the Shinkos made such a huge difference despite only being an 80/20 tyre.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Nice write up and pix.
    I've been wanting to do Mungo but lack the fuel range to do it. I suppose I could carry some extra fuel or get a more fuel efficient bike.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. What a gorgeous ride! Great photos and a fantastic write-up too. Made me want to head back out right now.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. I went in from Pooncarie where it's 90km into Mungo. From there its a 60km (ish) loop and then 90km back out to Pooncarie (the nearest fuel). So yeah, I guess you'd want a range in the high 200s or more. I went out to Balranald which meant about 300km without fuel. No issues for the GS but I carried 5L with me to allow for any detours I might like to take and so I never had to worry about it.
  13. Great pics mate and a great description of your trip.
    GS500, the stone axe of motorcycles,do it all and then just keep on keeping on.
    Enjoyed the read and the photos,nice work.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Superb.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. That looked like a great trip. For the life of me I have no idea why noone makes a mid size 500 twin with a full dirt chassis and a big tank.My perfect Adventure Bike would be a 500 twin, with no engine vibs and a thin cross section good for the road bits, and an off road chasis with 300mm suspendion and a 30 litre tank weighing in at 150kg or a bit more.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Great trip. Tilpa Pub looks the same as it always has. We used to do a lot of cod fishing out that way at Louth....beautiful in the winter time...not so great in the summer!!!
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. Not exactly what you're seeking but close... the Kawasaki KLE500 twin cylinder 'adventure tourer'.

    • Like Like x 1
  18. Something like that would be awesome. Don't now how easy it would be to keep the weight to 150ish though.

    the whole area looked like it'd be great for fishing - heaps of carp at the moment though. One night in Menindee I could hear carp jumping continuously. They made a good dinner for the pelicans though.

    Since doing the trip I've been looking at other bikes to do the next one on. That did crop up in some searches.
  19. I test rode a KLE500, back to back with a KLR650 and the Wee-Strom. The KLE was OK, but just didn't float my boat.
    In the end, I chose the Suzuki for comfort and range above off-road ability.

    I was influenced by reviews I read of the KLE, which were, for the most part, fairly negative.
    Soulless motor, terrible seat, poor fuel economy were the top three gripes.

    That one looks the business, though. Perhaps I shouldn't believe everything I read...
  20. Modded aprillia rxv might be it. Would have to content yourself with short trips only hahaha.