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Old 06-06-2011, 01:39 AM   #1
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Around Australia, Super Tenere style

Just got back from a 57 day, 21254 km (13210 mile) trip around Australia on motorcycles with my father and son. I rode a XT1200Z Super Tenere, my father a Kawasaki Vulcan 900 cruiser and my son a Suzuki GSX650FU LAMS sports tourer. Due to the types of bikes my father and son were riding, the trip was done predominantly on sealed roads. We camped for about half of the trip when in warmer climates and stayed in motels or with family/friends along the way for the rest of it.

We started out from Canberra, crossed to Batemans Bay then went clockwise around Australia until we ended up back at Batemans Bay and then Canberra. We also made a bit of a detour from Tennant Creek down to Ayers Rock. Highlights of the route from a riding perspective were the fang on the Great Ocean Road with great weather and virtually no traffic, the fantastic scenery of the Kimberley and a perfect run up the Oxley Highway toward Walcha.






My Super Tenere turned out to be a great bike to take on such a journey. It was very comfortable to ride, with the adjustable windshield bracket allowing smooth airflow, Rostra electronic cruise control taking care of long constant-speed cruises, grip puppies to minimise vibrations, heated grips for those cold mornings and an Airhawk seat cushion to eliminate monkey butt.

The gear I carried made the bike quite bulky, but once going it had minimal impact on handling and performance, even in the twisties. The Yamaha luggage system worked out very well, being reasonably spacious, weather proof and easy to put on and off the bike. I accidentally toppled the bike to the right side one time while getting on the bike and the Yamaha crash bars did a great job of minimising damage to just a few small scuffs on the handgrip covers, the right side case base and a dent in my pride.

As my son is on his provisional licence, we kept at the speed limit in each state, which was generally 100 kph on the east coast, 110 kph in the west and 130 kph (81 mph) in the Northern Territory. We travelled in a clockwise direction to optimise temperature and rain probability but this meant we encountered headwinds about 95% of the time. Nonetheless, the Super Tenere did pretty well on fuel, averaging 5.4 l/100 kms (43.5 US MPG, 52.3 Imperial MPG) overall for the trip. On two occasions I had to refuel with standard unleaded as premium unleaded was not available and that didn’t cause any problems at all with the bike.

Maintenance-wise, the Super Tenere was pretty low effort for the trip. As I had changed the spark plugs and final drive oil just before heading off, maintenance for the trip just came down to oil/oil filter and tyre changes, the former that I did myself. The higher speeds and straight roads of the north of Australia took their toll on my rear tyre (Metzeler Tourance Exp) with me only getting10 000 kms out of the tyre I changed in Perth. The front tyre lasted the entire trip and now has 28 000 kms on it, but I will change it soon as it started getting out of shape about 3000 kms ago.

Reliability-wise I only had two issues. The first was the failure of my Oxford heated grip controller about a third of the way into the trip after a brief but solid downpour. Not a showstopper at all for this trip but something I need to get fixed before I start riding again to work on cold Canberra winter mornings. The other was the rear suspension adjustor knob rounding off about two thirds of the way through the trip, again not a big deal. Otherwise, the bike ran and performed like a champion for the entire trip.



Anyway, the trip was a fantastic experience, especially being able to share it amongst three generations of my family. Here are a few pictures from the trip:


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Old 06-06-2011, 01:57 AM   #2
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The start point on the coast: Batemans Bay



Our first night camping, in Eden.



Crossing into Victoria on Day 2.



I'm such a Yamawhore!



We had to drop into Phillip Island to pay our respects.




Start of the Great Ocean Road.
The cast of this trip: my son, Cameron, me, Gary and my father Bill.



"Refuelling" at Warrnambool



A wet rest Day in Adelaide.



Taking in the sights at Elliston, on the way to Ceduna.



Setting out across the Nullarbor.



$14 for a hamburger at Nullarbor. At least it was a good 'un.



Posing at the Old Telegraph Station, Eucla.



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Old 06-06-2011, 02:03 AM   #3
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Flyby on the 90 mile straight.



Met some fellow bikers at Balladonia.



The Old Railway Hotel in Norseman. Very basic but also very cheap!



The scenic loop ride at Esperance.



Stirling Ranges, on the way into Albany.

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:07 AM   #4
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Keeping in touch at Pemberton



Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse



Where the Margaret River meets the sea.



Wine tasting in the Margaret River region, of course!



Mr Whippy takes holidays too, this time at Augusta.



The Bussleton Jetty.

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:13 AM   #5
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Met up with fellow Super Tenere riders in Perth: me, Gordon and Greg of Waspworks fame.



Camping at the Perth Vineyards.



Strong winds south of Geraldton make trees grow like this.



The beautiful rugged coastline near Kalbarri.



Shell Beach on the way to Shark Bay.



Monkey Mia, with no dolphins to be seen!



Soggy camping at Carnarvon. 40 mm dumped in just a few hours.



Enhanced bike stand for the Super Tenere in wet conditions.

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:20 AM   #6
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The GSX650F fell over in the heavy rain and this is where we reparked it at 2am. Fortunately, no damage done.



Another Yamaha fan. Who uses phone boxes nowadays, really?



Termite mound on the way to Exmouth.



Overnight stop at Pardoo Roadhouse, between Port Hedland and Broome.



One of the longest legs on the trip between fuel stops. Bonus headwinds too, but it was no problem for the Super Tanker.



Topping up with water on the way to Broome. These were the warmest conditions for the trip, with days getting up to 36C.



Look how much fuel the Super Tenere takes to fill. OK, maybe it was someone with a couple of 44 gallon drums before me.

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:25 AM   #7
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Cable Beach, Broome.



A couple of BMW riders we met up with in Broome who had ridden over from Cairns on mostly dirt.



I was going to take the Gibb River Road, but heavy rain from a few weeks before closed it as a throughway to Kununurra.



Boab trees aplenty up here.



Some of the fine scenery on the way through the Kimberley.



The NT border at last. Gee WA is a big state to traverse!

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:34 AM   #8
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Well done guys, great family trip Really interested in your trip, especially the bits from Darwin to Cairns, Really interested!!!!!!!! Doing this trip with next yearlooking forward to more photo's
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:34 AM   #9
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Fine food cooking at the Camp Kitchen in Kununurra.



Katherine Gorge.



Working on the Vulcan. It exhibited a hesitation issue from Perth all the way back to Sydney, but never actually stranded us.



Makeshift washing line.



Taking a dip at the hot springs in Mataranka.



Wycliff Well in the NT, famous for UFO sightings.

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Old 06-06-2011, 02:56 AM   #10
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A dog in need of some tucker at Ti Tree.



Cameron finally finds a woman who towers above him.



On the highway out to Ayers Rock.



Mount Conner, aka Fool's Ayers Rock.



The Ayers Rock Resort Campground. Markedly cheaper than hotel rooms there, but temps were down to 5C overnight.



Cameron climbed Ayer's Rock.



Whereas I did the base walk.

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Old 06-06-2011, 03:03 AM   #11
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Super Tenere meets Ayers Rock.



Sunset at Ayers Rock.



The highest fuel price we found on our trip was here at Curtain Springs: $2.15 a litre!



One of the runways used by Australian and US forces during WWII near Daly Waters.



Devil's Marbles near Tennant Creek.



The turn off to QLD.

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Old 06-06-2011, 03:08 AM   #12
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The QLD border. No more 130 kph speed limit



A dog we befriended in Mount Isa.



Burke and Wills Roadhouse, on the way up to Normanton.



Big croc at Normanton.



Sunset over the sea at Karumba.



Camping at Georgetown. Only $20 a night for a powered site - the cheapest on the trip!

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Old 06-06-2011, 03:15 AM   #13
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The beach front at Cardwell, still damaged from Cyclone Yasi earlier this year.



View from my Brother's place in Townsville where we rested and recouperated for a couple of days.



The suspension adjusting knob from my Super Tenere rounded off and now useless.



Sugar cane train crossing on the way to Mackay.



Jucy things near their Jucy Mobile at Marlborough.



Sarina Beach.

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Old 06-06-2011, 03:24 AM   #14
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Beach front camping at Yeppoon.



Rainy walk back from dinner in Yeppoon.



Lunch stop in Rockhampton.



Paying my respects at the Bundy Distillery.



How much do you want for the killer scooter mate?



Back in our home state at Tweed Heads.



The Fredo Pie Shop near Kempsey.

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Old 06-06-2011, 03:29 AM   #15
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After tackling the Oxley Highway, I found this gravel road detour to Nowendoc.



The one and only General Store at Nowendoc. Diesel fuel only!



A frosty morning at Nowendoc.



-2C reads the bike's temp gauge.



My cockpit as refined throughout the trip. My poor old car GPS took a pounding in the elements, but it just won't die!

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