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Old 07-29-2013, 04:44 AM   #1
Tomdog OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Kiwi on the Gold Coast. Australia
Oddometer: 398
X-C Delivery; Gold Coast-Darwin

It all started back in Jan of this year (2013). A fellow X-C owner friend of mine was moving to Darwin and he put it to me, “Tom, ride my bike to Darwin and I’ll fly you home”, ( he must have detected a spit second of hesitation on my face at that point) “and you can mix it with some dirt on the way”! Seemed like to good an opportunity to pass up so I agreed and he threw me the keys.
Prior to this point I hadn’t ridden further West (from the Gold Coast) than Miles and as seeing some of Australia’s Outback was definitely on my “bucket list” of things to do, was very excited at the prospect.
Brownie points were earned at home and a two week time frame was organized, June 16-31st.
The bike; 2007 BMW G650X-Challenge. Modified for long distance Adventure riding.
Fuel capacity; 26 Liters= approximately 575 Kilometers range

The Route

Departed the Gold Coast at 05:00 into a very black and cool clear morning. As I was climbing the Toowomba range up popped the sun over my right shoulder but descended into this very damp pea soup fog just out of town. Visibility was severely restricted due to condensation forming on the helmet visor and glasses so I pulled over to dodge trucks that were steaming through it at the speed limit (110 klm/hr) !

Lets have a brew and warm up. First meal on the road.

After a while I realized the small town of Oakey was just a few K’s up the road so called in for a look around. Oakey has a railway station.

Love these trees lining the main street of Mitchell

Found a great camping area just out of Town

Some of the local architecture

1st night I decided to Motel it. Interesting sign in the Unit

Super friendly cat wanted some attention as I checked over the bike

Day two and Birdsville is sighted

Straight forward riding, some road works and plenty of road Kill on the side.
Quilpie for the night.

Some scenic shots from “Bald Top”, just out of town

Selfy with “Spot Tracker” clearly seen on my shoulder.

Spot the bike? Quilpie in the distance looking East.

First night in the tent. Had a bit of trouble getting erected thanks to chatty Grey Nomads. One of the goods things about traveling solo is the people interaction. Seems people are more inclined to initiate contact, great when you have the time but a little annoying when trying to get things done, like the tent that hasn't seen daylight for a good while.

Time for a hot tub before dinner. Tough gig this bike delivery, but I guess someone has to do it.

Happy hour and a feed (Sweet and Sour Pork, $10.00) at the camp restaurant

Packed up and hit the road by 08:00. Very pleased with the new sleeping bag with pre dawn temp of 1 deg c.
Country opening up here on the way North towards Windorah on the Diamantina Development Rd.
Heaps of dead Roo’s, plus a big black Captain Cooker Pig. Healthy looking Dingo wandering alongside at one point.

This is the Cooper Creek with good and free camping 5k out of Windorah.

Windorah’s high tech solar power station but no Cellular coverage in town!

Loading up here with an extra 10 liters of fuel (in 2x disposable containers I’d brought along) plus water. Last fuel before Birdsville and I wanted to do some exploring along the way.

These Eagles are huge.

Set up camp 100k’s West of Windorah at a windy road side rest area. Massive sky here on this desert plane. A pair of Grey Nomads pulled in for company before dusk. Wild cat snooping around taking an interest in my opened can of Tuna!

Road train pulled in at Midnight with a load of coiled pipe on board. Chatted to the driver. Pipe bound for a station three properties up (another 400k’s) where it’ll be used to deliver artesian water that comes out of the ground at just below boiling!

This was one of my planned little excursions off to the south today.

Nearly there. South Australia spotted.

Camera in QLD, me in SA.

Haddon Corner survey marker

This was the view looking back East from the corner. Had a couple of small dunes to negotiate.

Back on the Birdsville Development rd. These guys are king out here and don’t move off centre. Best pull over and wait till the dust clears if there is no breeze about.

Some handy advice.

Another junction and off to the South again

Never been to the state of South Australia before, now its twice in one day.

11 Kilometers south of the border to this spot.

This dwelling comes with a vehicle!

Those are not beauty spots. Hard to get a photo without flies on my face.
Got to hand it to those early pioneer farmers out this way, so far from anywhere and coping with extreme’s of temperature, drought, loneliness etc. Not forgetting our Aboriginal brothers either who passed through on trading missions.

“Sturt Stony Desert” close up

Obligatory Birdsville shot

Got to be two prices here. One for the locals and one for unsuspecting motorcycle travelers @$8.00 a Schooner.

Got myself settled into the caravan park and met some fellow travelers. Birdsville is the hub of outback travel out here with it being at the junction of various tracks and roads so at this time of the year (cool) there is a constant stream of rigs coming and going.
Kiwi John here on his well prepped KTM 690

This group of 6 (2 Brothers and their respective sons) plus driver were about to head across the Simpson as part of their Coast to Coast ride with support truck.
Would like to hear how they went so if anyone knows, please drop me a line.

Support truck ready to go

This rig was heading out across the Simpson next day. Nicely set up for long distance outback travel, if you need 4x wheels that is.

I’d decided to have two nights in Birdsville and hang out. Next morning I headed to this salubrious establishment, the Birdsville Bakery.

To see this.
Never met Bill but I’d read about “Tugboat” and Phil’s exploits across Australia on this forum plus seen the videos. Felt like I’d known him so was shocked when he succumbed to the “Black Dog” last year. Bill was obviously a skilled endurance rider / navigator and genuine good guy. RIP Bill.

And eat this

Then out to the West a few Kilometers to Big Red, a sand dune that marks the Eastern edge of the Simpson desert.

Turns out I had climbed “Small Red”. Big Red here looking from the West. Didn't attempt the climb as my sand riding skills are minimal and on my own etc.

View SW into the desert.

Then back to the Bakery for this. A fantastic Curried Camel pie.

Nice “Sturt Desert Pea” growing outside the Bakery

Next destination, Boulia, 387 km north via the Eyre and Diamantina Development rds.
Just what you need in the desert, a stove and fax machine.

Something to break the monotony of straight black top rds, a hill with a lookout.

Hours of this

Lunch stop on the bank of “King Creek”. Junction of Eyre and Diamantina Development rd

Stars out tonight.

Turn left here. Looking forward to some more dirt rds.

The Donohue Highway in good condition

This was the only vehicle I saw to the border (200 km approx)

My third and final State

Tobermorey Station for fuel

Station Mustering machines

Good Camping here on well watered, manicured lawn

Lots of little “Finch” type birds here

Back on the road and the “Donohue” Hwy is now the “Plenty”. Cruising long and I started noticing the odd termite mound then this monster.

These beautiful Eucalyptus trees tend to grow around creeks and water holes. Alongside the Arthur River (dry)

Destination “Jervois” station for fuel and camping.

Time to swap out the Chux Pre filter. Doing a good job by the look of it.

Neighbors for the night.

Lots of birds flying overhead at dusk

Back on the Plenty Highway next morning

Interesting entrance to the Town of Atitjere

My original intention was to take the Cattle Water Pass Track but it wasn't to be. I found out later Plod were getting fed up attending incidences of people towing vans through here and getting stuck. Shame, as it winds over some ranges. This shot taken from the South end.

This was the Alternative. Binns Track

Nice winding dirt road through some low hills.

Inside the Artunga Historical Reserve. An old miners dwelling

This is a typical river crossing in the area at this time of the year, looking upstream

Into Alice Springs for the Sunday roast at the camps nearby Tavern then to a Moto shop Monday morning for a tyre change.

Mmmm, Dunlop 606 heading north.

Some big things get moved around the NT. (Sorry about the photo quality)

Some fellow travelers out there doing it. KLR650 and a DRZ400

Surprisingly green roadside despite the area being in drought. Well over 1000 ks on this road (Sturt Highway) and not one stop for roadworks! Dead boring though sitting on the bike just holding the throttle open. Very few corners on this stretch.

Here was my destination, The Devils Marbles and a Parks run camping area on the Eastern side.

Sunset from camp

Good timing on my part. Monday nights the Park Ranger puts on a very interesting fireside talk, discussing local Aboriginal customs, flora and fauna.

Early dawn

Here we go, a bit of colour.

On the road North again. Thought I’d check out this place.

Plenty of room to camp in here

This airfield must have been a hive of activity once. Notice discarded fuel drums scattered around. Nice peaceful camp here but for a couple of howling Dingo’s at midnight!

This looks like a portable aircraft tie down point

Small termite mounds all through the grass here

Traveling around Australia and call into any remote Roadhouse, Pub or Caravan Park and you will no doubt be greeted by a friendly European backpacker, working to afford the next leg of their journey. This young lady from Germany.

Passed over this idilic river on the way to Batchelor

Batchelor was to be my base for two nights while visiting this place

Finally I’m back into summer and its time for a swim.
Sandy creek Falls. 1.7 k walk in from car park and well worth it.

Wangi Falls

Mission accomplished. Darwin at last and the owner very pleased to be re united with his beloved bike. Total distance covered 4,800km.

This is the life. Two nights as a guest of friends over looking the marina.

That water looks so inviting. East Point.


Must have been some lightening bolt!

Nice Aboriginal artists work on display at the Mindil Beach markets

My last sunset in Darwin for a while. Mindil Beach
1190 Adventure R

Tomdog screwed with this post 07-29-2013 at 02:14 PM
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Alice Springs Central Australia
Oddometer: 692
Awesome ride, thanks for a great ride report and fantastic photo's.


Geoff in the Desert
1983 XJ900R, 2000 XJR1300SP, 2013 KLR650
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:45 AM   #3
grand poobah
Joined: May 2011
Location: palm harbor, fla
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why don't i have friends that have bikes that need delivering?....
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Vt
Oddometer: 91
Nice variety of pics. I liked the monster termite mound
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Old 07-29-2013, 03:21 PM   #5
Captain Slow
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Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Great trip :)
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:29 PM   #6
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2010
Location: Snowy Mountains Oz
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Top trip and RR, and mate!
shed time IS quality time
BergDonk's DR650 BergDonk's XT1200Z
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:32 PM   #7
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Location: bald knob
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good stuff!
i must not post hairy buttocks
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:46 PM   #8
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Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Bendigonia, Vic.
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yeah nice work!.. some beaut pics in there!

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Old 07-29-2013, 10:02 PM   #9
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Hawkesbury NSW Australia
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And you were worried about doing a report!

Top work, great pics and story! Thanks TD
"Motorcyclist are always going to be frowned a pond..." an inmate in the AUS group

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Old 07-30-2013, 12:58 AM   #10
Big Willy
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Joined: Nov 2008
Location: Sunshine Coast
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Great photos and report Tomdog...or should that be Slydog ? (bit cosy with the backpacker )
He has a vairwee good fwiend in Wome you know
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:15 AM   #11
Joined: Jan 2006
Location: Bungendore, Au
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Ripper RR. Thanks.
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Old 07-30-2013, 01:51 AM   #12
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: 34.9290 S, 138.6010 E
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Great report. Thanks for sharing
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:25 AM   #13
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Joined: Feb 2009
Location: goodly satisfactory place, qld
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being wrecked by bored and stroked posties....braaaaaaaaaap
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:20 AM   #14
Tomdog OP
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Joined: Sep 2008
Location: Kiwi on the Gold Coast. Australia
Oddometer: 398
Originally Posted by Big Willy View Post
Great photos and report Tomdog...or should that be Slydog ? (bit cosy with the backpacker )
Thanks for your compliments fella's, and Big Willy, had I been 30 years younger (and single)
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:00 AM   #15
Joined: Dec 2012
Location: Ohio
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Just awesome, great pics !
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