|08-18-2009, 02:00 AM||#1|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: SW Australia
8,000kms (mostly dirt) in Australia - Part I
Part I - Perth to Innamincka
17 days - 8,000kms on an F800GS (just under 500kms/day). Firstly, I apologise for the initial 2,000kms of the ride bei
Meet the skunk. It was aptly named by Robin, a friend of mine who assured me the name was in no way connected to the smell of the rider. It's derived from the light stripe across the bike’s back (it’s a more comfortable Rallye seat, not the standard torture chair). A BMW F800GS with a Rotax e
Day 1 – 230kms east of
Lunch with the 'pigs’ at Hyden Bakery - 340km east of
300km dirt stretch between Hyden and Norseman.
100kms along the dirt is Breakaways...
...where we met more riders on their way to the Border Run. 5 'pigs' and one F800 - the jewel in the crown...
Robin towing in a tree for firewood...
The forecast was minus 2 degrees and after a big social evening we woke up on day 2 with frost on our tents and bikes.
Next stop at McDermid Rock for a look-see...
The dark cloud on the horizon is pollution from the Kalgoorlie Nickel Smelter (about 250kms away).
The Nullarbor run is 1,200km along the
30kms east of Balladonia is the start of the 90 mile straight.
That’s as good a place as any to camp and we had a huge social evening.
550kms east on day 3 to the WA/SA Border.
Border Village Motel - 1,450kms east of Perth.
Bikers from all over the country meet here on the 1st Saturday of August every year for the Border Run.
After another big social evening I set off along the
The Nullarbor run gets its name from the
The name is derived from 2 Latin words bei
True to it’s name, not a tree to be seen.
Breakfast at the Nullarbor road house - 950kms east of Norseman and 1,600kms east of
Travelling by car takes a lo
I passed through Ceduna and the skunk earned its first badge for the ride.
At Wirrula - 90kms east of Ceduna and 2,000kms from
A ‘bobtail’ or shingleback lizard inspects my Heidenhau K60 rear tire. It had done 2,500kms when I started the ride so will have done about 4,500kms by now.
The track is a bit sandy, but mostly dry.
Passing between the lakes.
A wombat hole. They are nocturnal herbivores weighi
Holes everywhere, big enough for a man to fit into - this must be ‘wombat city’.
I had to stand guard as the skunk just wanted to get in...
Found a nice creek to camp.
Fog on the morni
The road improved somewhat...
Last view of the lake.
On to Glendambo for lunch.
I met 2 riders that were travelli
On to the Stuart Highway for a 200km sealed stretch to Roxby Downs.
Woomera rocket ra
It was until recently also the location of a remote detention centre for asylum seekers, and those who were seeki
A room at Roxby Downs caravan park for a night of luxury.
On to the Borefield road on day 6 to link up with the Oodnadatta track.
Just visible on the horizon is the smoki
The vegetation rapidly decreases...
On the Oodnadatta track, there’s no vegetation left - welcome to
The 1985 Mad Max movie 'Thunderdome' (Mel Gibson & Tina Turner) was filmed in South Australia on a section of the Oodnadatta track called the 'moon plains'.
But wait, there’s a tree…that warrant’s a photograph.
A railway bridge on the old disused Ghan railway. It was named after the Afghan cameleers who did so much to open up
Lunch at the local hotel.
On to the 750km stretch across the Strzelecki desert to Innamincka . No fuel for 450km but with my 12 litre fuel bladder I have a ra
100kms into the Strzelecki track is the dog fence. It’s the lo
More of the same - if you don't see anythi
Montecollina Bore – a popular place for campers, and there’s some drinki
Water tank in the background (but no water).
Time to refuel from the fuel bladder at the turnoff. Cameron Corner is a beacon 120km off the Strzelecki track where the borders of three states meet (
The Strzelecki Creek, after which the track is named.
A good place to camp with lots of fire wood.
Up at first light on day 7 to get to Cameron Corner for breakfast.
A friendly magpie keeps me company while I put on my boots.
A 4wd club admiri
Me at the beacon.
Cameron Corner Store
Inside for a cooked breakfast and a chin-wag with a local roo-shooter.
The skunk proudly earned another sticker.
120kms back to the Strzelecki track – crossing the creek once again.
A pretty little bull dust hole on top of a rise that caught me unaware - by the time I saw it, it was too late. 'When in doubt - flat out' so up on the pegs, gear down and accelerate to transfer weight to the rear wheel. At more than 100km/h the front wheel went in deep... for a moment I thought the bike was goi
I dented my front rim but have tube tires so it doesn’t really matter...
...back on the Strzelecki track and 140km to go to Innamincka.
Moomba mine site. It is located on a low-lyi
Innamincka (that’s the whole town).
4wd campers on the banks of Cooper Creek.
I opted for the comfort of the hotel.
The backpacker style accommodation looks like a bomb shelter from outside...
...but inside it’s air-conditioned and very pleasant...
...a kettle, fridge, and TV...
...and an outdoor movie screen for eveni
I had a few drinks with Kim (the owner of the hotel) at the pub that night and a cooked breakfast in the morni
The skunk earned another sticker.
CONTINUED FURTHER DOWN THIS PAGE - Part II
OzBen (dirt) rides
Neale Junction (Victoria Desert)
WA/SA Border Run
OzBen screwed with this post 07-11-2010 at 05:02 AM
|08-18-2009, 03:17 AM||#3|
Fuck Piece & Quiet
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Lake Maquarie, East Coast Australia
Loving your story Ben, though only getting half your pics. I'll try again later
I know, it’s not a KTM or a Beamer. . . . . . but aye, it’s got two wheels & I’m go’n
Out there somewhere!
|08-18-2009, 03:23 AM||#6|
High Country cruising
Joined: Aug 2005
|08-18-2009, 03:35 AM||#7|
Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Newcastle, Australia
We're heading off in a couple of days from Sydney to see some of that lovely South Australian nothiness. Not as full on a journey as you, but here's hoping we earn some stickers too.
Thanks for the story
|08-18-2009, 04:19 AM||#8|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Perf, Western Australia
Great report so far Ben...enjoying it.
I will have to find the tiem in the coming years to do that one.
See you back in Perth next week.
|08-18-2009, 04:36 AM||#9|
Joined: Dec 2006
Location: was Kununurra, now Carnarvon, Australia
Great stuff Ben
I enjoy reading your reports, looking forward to the second half.
Some men like the fish'n,
Some men like the foul'n,
Some men like to hear........
to hear the cannonball a roar'n!
|08-18-2009, 05:18 AM||#11|
Joined: May 2006
Location: between the bings
Good stuff mate . Inspirational!
Whats with the soft bags an occy straps? convenience? cheap option? Did they give you any trouble?
ex X phile
Avoid the Gavel, travel by gravel
|08-18-2009, 05:44 AM||#12|
Captain Cheap A**
Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Indiana, USA
Great report... can I fly to Aus and borrow your bike for a month or two?
"Why should I grow up? I don't like grown-ups."
Ducati Multistrada Adventure Gear: www.strada-avventurosa.com
|08-18-2009, 06:39 AM||#13|
Joined: Sep 2007
G'day Ben...Long live the pigs!!!.....how was the handling with all that weight over the back wheel.....might of helped to minimize the rim damage.
work to live and live to ride
|08-19-2009, 12:49 AM||#15|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: SW Australia
8,000kms (mostly dirt) in Australia - Part II
Part II - Innamincka to Kata Tjuta
Leaving Innamincka on day 8, I continued further north into the Strzelecki desert towards Cordillo Downs - miles and miles and miles of nothing…
...and more nothing…
...and more nothing…
Then, to make things interesting the scenery changed and the road became sandy…
100kms of rolling sand hills...
That’s my track on the right and you can just see the rock under the sand that knocked my front wheel around by about 40 degrees. At 90km/h that throws the bike a bit and I was lucky to stay on. Thanks steering dampener, without you I would have been cactus.
I refuelled at the Cordillo Downs turnoff (and I saw another vehicle, for a change)
I now left the Strzelecki desert and skirted the eastern edge of the Sturt Stony desert which was to say the least, stony.
Cordillo Downs shearing shed, no longer in operation, was the largest shearing shed ever built in
Twelve kilometers before the
It was used in the 1930's as an observation point for the 'Transit of Venus' by the Royal Geographical Society.
SA/QLD border - why the cattle grid if there’s no fence?
The Sturt Stony desert...
...on to the Birdsville Developmental road...
...an excellent road...
The original Royal Hotel in Birdsville.
The (not so new) new Birdsville Hotel. Kim, the owner of the Innamincka Hotel also owns this one.
Campers on the banks of the
My humble camp site.
Breakfast at Birdsville Bakery the morning of day 9 - I met 2 riders who were heading south on the Birdsville track.
The skunk earned yet another sticker.
A quick stop at the shoe shop.
The Diamantina Developmental road north to Boulia.
Greenery (this is no longer South Australia!)
I met Charlie & Gerard who were coming off the Plenty Highway where I was heading. They were on their way to Birdsville and then continuing south along the Birdsville track.
Months earlier Charlie's 650 tripped up in a bulldust hole on the Plenty Highway and he broke some ribs, a collarbone and punctured his lung. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) was summoned (they're a brilliant and essential service so if ever you see a collection point for them, throw something in - they may save your life one day). Charlie was flown out and the bikes went to Tobermorey station near the QLD/NT border. Gerard and Charlie were now back to fetch their bikes and ride home to the eastern States. I've since been contacted by Charlie and they got home safely with all ribs and shoulders still attached and they live to ride again. He sent me this photo of him having a bit of a lie-down after his fall - nice looking bulldust hole in the background. Good on ya Charlie, getting back on the horse so soon after those injuries - you're a hard man.
On day 10 I headed west on the Donohue Highway (QLD) for 250kms, before crossing the border into the Northern Territory on the Plenty Highway (NT). After 550kms that intersects with the Stuart Highway for 70kms (sealed) down to Alice Springs.
Initially its a rough road...
...but gets a lot better.
Morning tea with some 4wd caravaners.
The scenery changed to grassland...
...then trees again.
The QLD/NT border.
Time to refuel.
The rear tire still looking good after 4,500kms.
The famous NT bush fire warning sign with the frillneck lizard - there's one at every border crossing.
A little hill to break the monotony...
...around the back...
...and a short ride to the top.
480km to Jervois station for fuel and water...
...and to camp.
The skunk is awarded with another sticker.
Back on the
The road got sandy...
...some hills appear in the distance - notice how far apart the corrugations are.
Tried to get water here but it was too saline to drink. Probably OK for livestock - they can stand much more salinity than us.
Fuel and a shop.
A short stretch of single lane bitumen before intersecting with the
70kms south on the
Crossing the tropic of Capricorn.
‘The Gap’ as you enter or leave
It was a Sunday and there was an ‘Old Timers Fete’ going on...
...so it was pretty busy (and a bit frightening after having been on my own in the bush for a while).
Further west on
Approaching Simpsons Gap...
..roads move for trees in this part of the world - not the other way round...
Approaching Ellerey's Big Hole...
Approaching Glen Helen gorge.
Glen Helen campground.
For those who have had enough of corrugations...
Found a camping spot.
I noticed that the quick-lock fitting on my luggage rack had come undone and the securing pin had fallen out. Thousands of kilometers of corrugations had taken their toll – my two canisters of chain lube were packed alongside each other and wore through, so I had to use motor oil to lube the chain; the frame of my reading glasses had disintegrated and the lenses had fallen out; the electronics in the 12 volt connector for my GPS had shattered so I could only run it on batteries... and now the luggage frame. I hope my brain is still intact – time will tell…
I asked nearby campers if I could use their tools for repairing my frame. Not only did they offer their tools, but came over and did the job.
Got the wire from the handle on a 20 liter bucket and I carry an extra set of cam-buckle webbing straps.
View of Gosse Bluff meteorite crater from
On to the Mereenie Loop towards
A quick stop for supplies at the general store...
...there was no securing pin for my luggage frame.
The first 50km of the Mereenie loop was sandy...
...after that it varied, from rocky with corrugations…
...to hard and sandy with corrugations (but always corrugations)...
Approaching a sharp bend...
the other side...
Lunch at the Desert Oaks café.
A quick look at
A reward for the skunk.
Then 330kms sealed road to Yulara.
No concentration required so feet on the crash bars and relax and meditate.
First view of Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Camping at 'Yulara' or Ayers Rock Resort. The name means ‘crying’ or ‘weeping’. I’ll have a closer look at Ayers Rock at sunrise tomorrow.
Another sweetener for the skunk, to keep him on his best behaviour.
Day 13 and a nice view of Uluru as the sun rises and illuminates the eastern side. Ayers Rock is the most commonly used name. Uluru is the Aboriginal and official name. It is located in the middle of
Uluru is 862.5 meters above sea level, 348 meters (1141 feet) high, 3.6 km long (2.2 miles), 1.9 km wide (1.2 miles), 9.4 km (5.8 miles) around the base, covers 3.33 sq kms (1.29 sq miles), and extends several kms/miles into the ground.
...others warn against wombats...
...but here in central
50kms from Ayers Rock is Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) – literally meaning ‘many heads’ . Located north west of Uluru and made up of 36 smaller monoliths, the Olgas cover about 35 sq kms (13.5 sq miles), and the circumference is about 22 kms (13.7 miles). The highest monolith,
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 - Part III
OzBen (dirt) rides
Neale Junction (Victoria Desert)
WA/SA Border Run
OzBen screwed with this post 04-01-2010 at 05:58 AM
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