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Ride around Australia - advice please

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by Long Ride, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. Hi all,

    New to this forum but was hoping someone(s) on here might be able to help with some advice.

    No doubt plenty of you have thought about riding all the way around Australia, and some of you have perhaps even done it. I am looking at doing it sometime next year (probably look at leaving Sydney in June/July), and was trying to work out just how long I would need.

    The plan (at this stage anyway) is to ride north from Sydney all the way up to Cape York, down to Mt Isa and Alice Springs, up to Darwin then right around the coast to Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and back up to Sydney. I may even head over to Tassie if I can fit it in. My estimates put it somewhere between 20 and 25,000 k's depending on side trips and route taken.

    Has anyone done anything similar? How long would you need to do it comfortably? I don't want to rush around just to have done it, but would like to stop at most of the places in the country that I've always thought I should see, but haven't got around to.

    I was also thinking that leaving Sydney at the start of July would be a good timing-wise as it wouldn't be too hot up north, but again any feedback on this concept would be appreciated.
  2. Two months will give you plenty of time to sightsee and enjoy. 10 years back I had two weeks between jobs and decided I'd rather ride than stay at home.

    I did Melbourne - Broken Hill - Alice - Darwin - Broome - Perth - Kalgoorlie - Adelaide - Melbourne in 15 days and travelled 13,000kms on a Bandit B12.

    I wasn't rushing and still enjoyed rest days in Broken Hill, Darwin, Broome and Perth.

    What sort of bike are you planning to take up to Cape York? Most likely having the right bike for that stretch of road will significantly compromise the comfort factors you'll be looking for when on the bitumen - and bitumen is typically what you are travelling on for 90% of the distance.
  3. Thinking of setting up either a BMW 900/1200 GS, or perhaps a Yamaha 660 Tenere.

    I did 3 weeks on a Tenere around Western Africa earlier in the year and despite initially having reservations about it, got kind of fond of it by the end of the trip.

    Again any advice on the most appropriate bike is also appreciated!
  4. Long Ride, what was the Tenere like comfort-wise for long distance black top? I'll be trading in my Sprint in on a more adventurous type of bike soon (once I decide which bike to get) and am seriously considering the Tenere. I'd prefer something dirtier and lighter than a Vee Or Wee but will probably go down that road if the Tenere isn't suitable for long distance tar.
  5. flinders,

    The Tenere was a good robust bike, and for the roads that we were on held up really well. That said it is quite a loud single cylinder beast and I think that the rear wheel is only about 17" diameter so it has to work pretty hard if you are doing high speeds. It's also not all that light, I think it would weigh in around the 200kg mark, but it also has a good size tank (23L I think) and a pretty reasonable range.

    My first reaction would be that there are probably better machines around for long distance tar, but if you want to ride some dirt tracks as well than it would be worth a look. I'd head down to Yamaha and take one for a test ride, I'd be interested to hear what you think.
  6. It might also be worth waiting to have a look at the 1200 Tenere when it gets here.

    I think it is due later this year?
  7. I thought the Super Tenere was already released? Interestingly, Yamaha tested it in Australia.

    I reckon I'd take a multi-cylinder bike over the tenere. All the reports I read on ADV rider from people taking KLR's, DR's etc seem to say a more road focused bike would be better.
  8. are you planning to do this trip by yourself long ride?
    i don't much care for your route to be honest... do a search on 'savannah way'
    which is Cairns to Broome.
    Alice Springs is a total shithole, and that's a long way to go to reach a shithole destination.
    Perth to Adelaide is about as boring a stretch as this plannet has to offer and june/july makes it even less enticing.
    but overall, seasonally your timing is ok...but, maybe leave it bit later so you can get the north in full bloom... and avoid the south mid winter.

    i'd want to allow 4-6 weeks and be in a comfortable position to let it blow out to even longer with no stress... you are going through areas which can be cut of , completely rained in for weeks at a time.

    the other reasons being
    >how long a stretch can you do in the saddle safely per day... because you can find yourself doing long hours staring at the same horizon front and back, on a long long straight road, with little change in scenery.
    >any riding between dusk and dawn means sharing the road with kangaroos, cattle, cammels, panthers etc...i'd only attempt night riding up north if i had a road train to follow behind....they have massive bull bars and don't slow down for anything... much like a snow shovel, except animals instead of snow
    thus, if you want to split the riding between taking in the sights... it's a bloody long trip.

    that said, people commonly lap Aus in two to three weeks.

    apart from that, an awesome adventure but needs to be very thoroughly planned like a serious expedition... especially if you're attempting it solo.
  9. I'd also go for a time closer to spring or summer, as the cold down this way (Canberr way) is bloody terrible during winter and you'll be kicking yourself trying to keep warm. I would try and rethink.

    Big ten four on the centre of Australia not being that great - my brother worked in Longreach for a few weeks and said it was the worst place he's ever been. Daytime temps mid-summer were well over 40'C. They have cold water systems there, not hot, as the groundwater they use is around 60'C and smells of sulphur. Reminds me of a mythical underworld of some sort... ;D

    Try and get bike fit before hand if you aren't already. I'd make a point of going for reasonable rides at least every week to try and stay saddle-ready. You'll really feel long days once you get going, otherwise. Also know your bike and what to do if things go wrong - carry a reasonable toolkit and realistic spares. A good tyre repair kit would be a must, as well as a few extra spark plugs, an oil and air filter, and 2L engine oil, spare fuel, and fuses. 2L of oil won't top a bike to full from empty, but will be good for top-ups and should get you out of a tight spot if you lose whats in the sump for some reason. Oh, take some duct tape, clip ties, and a tube of that plastic weld product too.

    If you are planning on camping at all I would recommend taking a Trangia to cook with as they're compact, light, and almost impossible to break as they don't have moving parts and run on fuel or metho. With 2 pots, a frypan and a kettle, you're also well kitted for making decent meals. They are also fully weatherproof, I've used mine up Koziusko in a gale with no worries.

    Well thats my 2c, cheers - boingk
  10. Hi Monkeyman,

    No don't think that I would want to do it solo, but may start to consider it if I can't convince someone with the time to spare that it's worth the effort.

    A good part of my motivation for wanting to do this trip is that there are so many places in this fantastic country that I haven't seen, that I've always wanted to get to. Examples range from the Great Ocean Road, to Uluru, to Kakadu and the Kimberley, Ningaloo reef, across the Nullabor and the list goes on, and on, and on....

    I am a bit sick of talking to tourists that have seen more of the sights of this country than I have! So I figured that it may be more efficient to do the whole lot in one (rather long) hit.

    Am now starting to think about leaving the start of July with the aim of being back in Sydney by the end of August (that way I can relax, watch the rugby world cup, and have plenty of beers doing so).

    I figure that if I do want to do all 4 corners of the continent, then there is probably 6 weeks of riding invloved, so 10-12 weeks for the trip would be an ideal way to do it.
  11. hi longride.

    i just remembered something else... up and around the gulf and i think some parts of the territory you need permits to access some areas... have to apply to indigenous land owners... and approval is a very slow process, so needs to be sorted well in advance.
    (they also like to sleep on the road at night sometimes, not kidding)
    roads radiate heat at night, everthing on four legs or two is looking for warm air pockets.
    there is an optimum window of time for the far north because the wet season is yeah... well you've got causeways to cross, fast flowing water up to your chest... the tenere is awesome but not that awesome.

    another major consideration is capacity to carry a lot of petrol.
    the more remote you go, the more remote your chances of sourcing any.
    and given a choice of aviation fluid or diesel only.
    long range tanks not enough

    you're probably allready familiar with this site/forum, but if not, theres a huge wealth of info there, millions/billions of members >http://www.advrider.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=32

    i think you're attitude is spot on btw, take your time and see it all, once in a lifetime probably so don't miss anything.
  12. I am planning the anti-clockwise run in July next year as well. It's much better to endure a bit of cold in the southern states than the wet season in the orthern ones if you leave later (or so I have been told). My tentative route is about 160000kms and I'm planning on taking about 2 months to do it. I won't be doing any dirt road riding, just sticking to the tar (of which there is plenty)

    I plan to do the tourist bit along the way (catch some barra in Darwin, etc.)
  13. MonkeyMan might have a point, just to see Alice and Uluru adds another 1968 km to the journey. I'd like to say I've seen all the tourist traps too, but that kind of time and mileage might be better spent elsewhere, such as a few detours on the east coast.

    Dunno, meself. :p

    Here's my long-standing to-do map, all black-top AFAIK: clicky.

    rc36, you have one too many zeros. ;)
  14. I estimate that you would need 4 to 6 weeks to do that trip comfortably. It depends a bit on how comfortable you are at doing very long one day stints.

    Google maps is a very useful tool for planning your trip as you can plot each days destination based on what sort of distances you want to do each day. When you have plotted each destination it is then fairly easy to guestimate how much time you'll need.

    I did Melbourne to Darwin via Ayers Rock and then from Darwin through to Broome and around the WA coast and then across the Nullarbor back to Melbourne. That took me just over 4 weeks with 2 or 3 day layovers in Darwin, Broome and Coral Bay.

    I did the trip in September and the weather up north was warm to hot and dry (wet season doesn't start until around November). It was fairly cool in the south at that time but not as bad as the middle of winter.

    My weapon of choice was a BMW 1150 RT which I hired (I think the GSXR 1K would have been a bit too extreme :)). Not a bad bike to do it on if you stick to the bitumen but absolutely useless off road. Luggage carrying capacity was fantastic and the heated handgrips and barn door fairing were great for the colder weather in the south. The stereo was a nice luxury too. However, if I was to do the trip again it would probably be on a GS or something similar for the added flexibility of getting to some of the more remote places.

    It is a trip well worth doing. There are some pretty tedious bits, especially in the top half of the Northern Territory, but that is more than made up for by the good stuff. Enjoy it, I sure did.
  15. Captain Slow,

    I like the map, that's close to what I have in mind, but am thinking on doing it on something that can take me right up to the cape, and probably through the Kimberley as well. I figure if I am going to get that close I may as well go all the way!

    I'll have to spend some time building my own map.

    Probably now looking at 6-8 weeks but being pretty flexible with it.

    Now I just need to recruit either my mate or my brother to come with me.
  16. What happens if your bike karks it on the trip? Does the NRMA do bikes? And is there NRMA equivalents in all the states?
    (yes yes..newb questions)

    Whats the general consensus about doing a large trip like this on your own? Surely its safer and 'better' to not do it alone?
  17. I certainly plan to do mine solo.Touring solo gives you a lot more flexibility.
  18. well, you call your mum and tell her to come pick you up of course... that's what mums are for.

    nah, assuming the NRMA operates like the RACV, then if you have whatever their equivelant is of gold care or whatever it is... then you've nationwide assisstance, incl motel rooms, car rental and stuff.

    doing the trip alone, higher risk yes, but you just have to take extra precautions... all manner of gps tech stuff nowadays that can monitor you're location, condition...let someone know before you go.. don't take candy from strangers etc... don't accept invitation back to wolf creek from creepy guy.
    but truthfully, you travel like that, you just end up meeting heaps of likeminded souls along the way, people are friendly, it's all good.
  19. and.....my information from a mate whose just got back from motorhoming the #1 highway indicates that there is plenty of petrol, accommodation, help, other people, etc out there.

    BTW, CS, that's a great map you've planned. Apart from the detour to Ayers Rock which I'm not planning on doing, that is almost eaxcly what I had planned. Thanks.
  20. If I had 8 weeks to spare and less commitment here it'd take you and ten men to stop me doing a trip like this. You kinda have to think of it as a lot of long day trips, one after the other and with a few extra precautions taken given the remoteness of some of it.

    If only someone would pay me to do it... :driver: