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Old 03-17-2009, 10:06 AM   #1
OzBen OP
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Pilbara gorges - Western Australia

Four 1200GS’s on a 7 day - 3,500km ride to the gorges in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The Pilbara is a hard, rocky, tyre destroying landscape about 1,500km north of Perth. It’s rich in iron ore, red dirt and spinifex and known for its beautiful gorges, natural pools and spinifex fairies (local jargon – I won’t explain that one). We walked and swam the gorges, made up the itinerary on the run, rode tracks we hadn’t planned for and lots of dirt. Jono lay down with his bike in soft sand, Gavin hit a sheep and I broke my folding chair, but otherwise things went well.

The first two days were relatively dull as we headed north on the West Coast highway to get to Nanutarra road house, about 1,300kms north of Perth. From there we would turn inland into the heart of the Pilbara. Day 1 we did 600km and camped at a nice spot on the banks of the Murchison River.

Day 2 we did 800km and after turning east at Nanutarra, camped in a not-so-nice clearing in the spinifex about 1km off the road. At least we were now in the Pilbara amongst the red dirt, the spinifex and the wildflowers so it was all good.

How many kilometres back to the main road Gavin?

The next morning, on our way back to the main road, Jono had a lie-down with his bike in some soft sand. Fortunately his 1200Adv was too heavy to get back up before we got photographic evidence.

We fuelled up in Tom Price and headed for Hamersley gorge, where we spent most of the afternoon in the pools.

A good way to relax after two days riding...

It was all dirt now and we were where we wanted to be.
We did a 100km burst on dirt late in the afternoon (kangaroo time - keeps you on your toes).

We found a clearing in the spinifex to camp.

The bourbon facilitated a great evening around the campfire. My folding chair broke somehow (maybe we shouldn't have finished all the bourbon...) but in amongst the spinifex I found a toilet seat mounted on a milk crate, so I had a comfortable seat. We spent the night under the stars...

Taking the toilet seat with me was tempting but after mounting it on the bike I decided it was too big and clumsy so I reluctantly left it behind for the next lucky adventurer...

The next day we walked and swam the gorges. Some of them are close together so we could do Oxer, Weano and Knox gorge.


...and Knox gorge.

A dirt ride in the afternoon to get to Dales Gorge where we spent the rest of the day in the pools.

Another late afternoon burst on the dirt before we camped near Auski road house.

The next morning, after breakfast at Auski we tackled the 230km dirt stretch along the Roy Hill road to Newman.

My GS with its budget panniers...

A pub lunch was in order at the Red Sands tavern in Newman.

We continued south along the Great Northern highway to Meekatharra, where we camped the night.
Day 6 saw us travelling a little further south to Cue where we turned south west, back onto dirt towards Yalgoo.

On to Morowa from Yalgoo. Gavin hit a sheep but managed to stay upright so all was well (except the poor sheep that hobbled off into the bush with a damaged back leg). We stopped at an abandoned homestead…

...Walgahna Rock…

...and Dalgaranga.

That afternoon we struck rain sheltered in the old Morawa convent where we got cheap, clean rooms and a shower.
Back to Perth the next day along the Three Springs–Moora road, taking the Chittering Valley loop for more a more scenic ride.

OzBen screwed with this post 08-13-2010 at 05:31 PM
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:11 AM   #2
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Pilbara gorges...

Ride sounds great, but for some reason, all your pics are not coming in.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
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Pics came through for me.

Nice pictures and WOW! Those pools are awesome!

Folding chair huh? You guys pack light I see.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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A few days of riding and swimming in those gorges sounds like a good-sized chunk of heaven! Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:30 AM   #5
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Nicely done!
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Old 03-17-2009, 11:47 AM   #6
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Geat thanks for sharing, it looks lot like a part in South Africa.

BTW how do you guys like the Heindies, we also get them in South Africa now, seems like a excellent tyre?
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:43 PM   #7
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Your first ride report looks great, thanks showing us the Pilbara gorges, and welcome aboard
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:15 PM   #8
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Nice one, Ben.Gotta love that toilet.
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:56 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum OzBen..

Excellent first post with this ride report mate.. Beautiful part of the World you visited and only wish I had enough time to take it all in when I was there in 2007..
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Old 03-17-2009, 09:58 PM   #10
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Nicely done!
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Old 03-17-2009, 10:34 PM   #11
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Killer report!

great report, looks like you had alot of fun! hopefully someday i can go down and ride those roads!
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:16 AM   #12
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Hi Ben, nice to see you on the site. (I'm sure we met when my mate John bought some bits of your mate in Attadale).

Good report by the way, nice to see all the red dirt on the bikes.

Andrew Linton.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:12 AM   #13
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Great report and welcome OzBen.That gorge is great
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:23 AM   #14
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Bloody good stuff mate, you got the words/pic ratio spot on I reckon.

Karijini is a great spot to ride, good dirt roads and great scenery.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:23 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by OzBen
You picked my tires mate! I swear by them -the ultimate dual purpose tire for a dual purpose bike. Smooth on the road and I've used them in rock, sand, gravel and mud and they behaved well.

I wouldn't say they outperform Karoo's or TKC's but they cost a lot less, last twice as long (12,000 on the back) and are smoother (but noisy) on bitumen.

I've been using the 'wrong' size but now that they have brought out the right size for the GS, they've become so popular here that the supplier keeps running out of stock. A number of GS riders in Perth have fitted them on their bikes this year and I haven't heard a complaint yet.

Try them, I think you'll like them.
Where do you get them Ben? (The tyres)
Great report mate, bit of a killer photographer too!
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