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Old 09-20-2011, 07:29 PM   #1
Guzzioverland OP
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Guzzioverland2 RTW Trip

Please see our original post Guzzioverland RTW Trip for back story but we are an English couple doing a round the world trip on a very different looking 1979 Moto Guzzi Spada. (Mad max style)

We have noticed our original thread seems to be taking an age to load as it has to open up everything not just the new post so the only solution I could think of was to split it up a bit (hope thats allowed). If anyone has any better ideas about how to solve the slow loading issue we are all ears, we already downsized the pictures to 30% of original and now they are even less.
We are currently in the Northern Territory of Australia and intend to go right around this big ol country.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:30 PM   #2
Guzzioverland OP
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Blog 181 The Olgas and Kings Canyon 30th August – 2nd September 2011



We woke early to beat the heat and rode the 50km to the Olga’s an ancient rock formation. Its Aboriginal name is Kaja Tjuta meaning many heads and it is a remarkable formation of 32 weathered rock domes exposed by 500 million years of erosion. Incredibly these are just the visible tops of slabs of rock some of which extend 6km down into the earth. We did a 7 km walk called “the valley of the winds” which lead you right through a beautiful valley into the heart of the formations giving spectacular views over the desert below. It was our favourite walk so far and this area was well worth the 2000km detour to get there.
Here are some pictures to give you a taste of what it was like. The lizard was well camoflaged against the rocks and Karen only spotted him because he moved.

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Due to the early start we were back by lunch and had the afternoon off to catch up with the blogs and washing etc, there are some spectacular sights in Australia but there is also a huge expanse of nothing. Many days in the outback we pretty much did nothing but ride, camp, eat, sleep and wake up and do it all again just to cover the miles, when you get somewhere like Uluru you are so busy looking around that you need time off now and again to catch up especially as they are at their best both sunset and sunrise.
The next morning we were away early again, we made good time and were at Kings Canyon by about lunchtime which gave us chance to put up the tent in the campsite and drop some gear off before doing the walk through the canyon that afternoon. We met a few familiar faces and some new ones in the campsite and it was quite a social affair. The walk followed the creek bed through the sandstone canyon which has weathered over millions of years into spectacular shapes and colours. The light in Australia is completely different and the sun on the rocks lit them up making the colours even more vibrant.
Early the next morning we did the rim walk around the top of the canyon, that was quickly our new favourite place. About half way through the walk you descended into a permanent waterhole called “the Garden of Eden”. It was well named, a shady green oasis set amongst sheer yellow and orange walls of rock. Spinefex pidgeons were busy eating some biscuit crumbs left by tourists they came almost close enough to touch. Although it was still a little touristy it had a magical feeling about the place and at times you could get a sense of what it must have been like to discover this vast sandstone chasm for the first time, we certainly felt like we were following in the footsteps of people over many thousands of years. Aboriginal people have lived here for an estimated 22’000 years, white Australians only discovered it in the 1960′s

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Leaving early the next day our original intention was to travel up the dirt road to Alice Springs but at the last minute I changed my mind so we went out on the longer tar seal route instead. We don’t mind a bit of dirt but varying reports on the condition of the road and the risk of breaking something out here made me play safe. We did take to the dirt to visit some meteorite craters on the way which were quite impressive. They are fairly eroded now and so would have been deeper but it’s still scary to think that those craters were caused by a meteorite no bigger than an oil drum.

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Thanks to our 06.45 start we were in Alice Springs by lunchtime, Alice is the only big town for thousands of km’s so we stopped to top up with food and water. Lots of people came over for a look at the bike as usual and among them was Ray an Irish guy who now calls ‘Alice’ home, he asked how long we were intending to be in town and invited us to stay. We planned to be back on the road that afternoon but as things often change we thanked him and took his number anyway. I left Karen with the bike in a car park while I went shopping and when I got back she had met lots of people including some local aborigines and Miranda a local volunteer reporter for the ABC network who asked if she could write an article about us and our trip for their website which we were happy to do. We rode up to Anzac Hill ’Alice’s’ most iconic viewpoint to take some pictures and record some audio and she seemed pleased with the result. By then the afternoon had slipped away so we rang Ray to ask if we could take him up on the offer of somewhere to stay in town. On the way there we had a look around the historic telegraph station which was the first settlement here and rode back up Anzac hill to watch the sunset over the town.

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Ray and Carol lived in a shared house in town and it was one of their housemates birthday so we had a great evening with them. They didn’t have a spare room so we were going to put our tent up in their back garden when Ray suggested trying their swags for the night. Swags are an Australian invention and are basically a sleeping bag with a built in mattress, they roll up and anyone travelling by 4X4 usually has one in the back. Some have built in mosquito nets etc, they work well here because the weather is so predictable. It felt slightly strange to be stripping off in the back garden and climbing into a sleeping bag with no tent around us but we had a really comfy nights sleep. We left a note to say thank you in the morning to Ray and Carol as it was the weekend and they were having a well deserved lie in.
We needed to get some km’s in so we rode all day only stopping for a look at the sculptures at Airelon. The bike intrigued the man who sculpted them and he came over to say hello.
Our next stop for fuel was at Wycliffe Well the UFO capital of Oz. It was here that we noticed the bevel box was still making a noise when we rolled the bike, we couldnt hear it when we were riding it and other than that it seemed to be working okay but to be on the safe side we contacted Kev in Cairns to ask if he had a spare. It didn’t seem that serious but the distances get even bigger when we head west from Darwin so we thought we probably should be on the safe side. Kev said he had a spare and kindly set wheels in motion to ship it to Darwin for us via the greyhound bus freight service. Trying to think ahead we also rang the ever helpful “tyres for bikes” to organise a spare rear tyre to be shipped to Darwin so that it would be there when we arrived. The other problem I could forsee was our 400-450km fuel range was going to be pushed to the limit in a couple of places out west. I had already looked into folding fuel bladders and found a good manufacturer in Australia called “Liquid Containment” so I gave them a call to ask if they would be able to help us out. Luckily for us they agreed to supply us with some older sample models for nothing if we paid for the freight which we were happy to do so we got those on their way too. Nick from Cairns had already asked on AIGOR the Australian Guzzi owners forum if anyone would be willing to let us use their address and Colvin helped us out there, thanks mate !
We camped that night in one of Australia’s excellent free camp spots and put our air mattress on the concrete by the picnic tables and slept under the stars again. It was only when darkness fell Karen remembered snakes, spiders, scorpions, etc but we both slept well.
There was a lot of controlled burning going on in the outback, the theory is that if you burn off the grass and scrub in small cool fires it stops big wild fires getting out of control later. We saw lots of dead wallabies and kangaroo’s on the road a reminder of the hazards of riding out here. The emu is one we saw at a roadhouse although we have had them jumping out in front of the bike as well. The alcohol and pornography ban signs are on the edges of some prescribed areas, alcohol is quite strictly controlled in the northern territory and you cannot buy it without ID no matter what your age. Quite a lot of aboriginal settlments are “dry” as some Aboriginals don’t tolerate alcohol well and it has caused problems in some communities.

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Next up Litchfield national park and Darwin
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Kev and Karen
Our website http://www.guzzioverland.co.uk
Our photos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/guzzioverland
1979 Moto Guzzi Spada 1000
RTW trip May 2010 - current day
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:33 AM   #3
zadok
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Well done, guys. Interesting what you have done with the Guzzi.
Magnificent pics of the rock formations etc.
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:45 AM   #4
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Sweet!

What a bike!! Amazing pics! I will keep watchin for more! Good luck!
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Old 09-23-2011, 06:59 AM   #5
OneOff
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Hey K&K,

Even this first post seems to take longer to open than others on here. I can only guess it must be Posterous that is slowing things down. Most people here use Smugmug. It is run by the owners of this forum so as you can imagine it works pretty well.

Good luck with it, I'll bookmark this new thread now. Don't forget to check the old one every now and again, people will probably still put a reply there.

Pete.
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:46 PM   #6
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Oz adventure

Excellent pictures of what must be an absolutely stunning adventure. Keep it up and have a safe journey.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:00 AM   #7
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Blog 182 The Top End 4th – 11th September 2011


Continuing our journey up to Darwin we stopped off at Newcastle Waters. This was a cattle drovers stop off point back in the day and is now virtually a ghost town.
There is a preserved general store and pub both made old corrugated iron that serve as a reminder of what a busy place this once was. In the days before reliable long distance road transport cattle were moved around the country by stockmen on horseback along droving trails thousands of kilometres long. Cattle and horses need regular water and that was why they stopped at Newcastle waters as it has plenty of that.
There are some pictures below, the guy in the rocking chair didn’t say much.

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That same afternoon we called in for a look at the Daly Waters Pub, we splashed out on lunch and a light beer which gave us chance for a good look around. A couple of coins in the charity box also allowed us to stick our calling card to the bar too.
We met the car travelling up the street, he stopped for a look and commented that we have the same air conditioning.
The last pic is of the now redundant Daly Waters airstrip and hanger one of the oldest in the NT. This was used during WW2 and right up untill the 1970′s.

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Here are some sights from our journey up the other Stuart highway from Alice Springs to Darwin, the roadkill is a bit bigger out here as are the termite mounds which were getting bigger the further north we went.
The old truck (a Chevrolet I think ) was being delivered to it’s new owner to be restored.
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That night we stopped at Bitter Springs, a truckie down the way recommended it to us. There is a posher resort at Mataranka just down the road but this is the locals spot and free !
The campsite at the end of the road was walking distance from the warm springs and it was great after a hot ride to go for a dip. It was a lovely temperature and crystal clear, I took my facemask and snorkel with me and we took turns swimming up and down watching the thousands of tiny fish and turtles. You can just drift down about 100 metres with the current-bliss !
There were three other bikes in the campsite too. They were Aussies on their own adventures one of them Dave was a mine of information about where we were headed next which was really useful.

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We rode back to the springs to photograph them before we left then got on our way and after a few hours riding arrived in Katherine.
After filling up with fuel and ordering a tyre from Tyres for Bikes in Brisbane to give it time to get to Darwin (while we explored the area) and topping up our food supplies we headed for Katherine Gorge.
There were boat trips but we opted to hire a kayak and paddle ourselves instead. The first part was a bit of a mission as the current and wind were against us. The really scenic part was at the end of the first section, the river turns into a set of small rapids and we moored the canoe up here to have a look at some of the rocks. We crossed the river and had a look at some of the aboriginal rock art before having a dip and a relax on the small sandy beach.

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The paddle back was much more relaxed and we dawdled along enjoying the views and keeping a look out for freshwater crocs. We were back just before closing and after retrieving all our bike gear we turned our attention to where we were going to stay that night.
A few fellow travellers had recommended Edith Falls and it looked fairly close so we headed there. It was in a national park and the campsite was a very reasonable $7 each, once the tent was up we grabbed our towel and swimmers and took the short trail to the falls.
Our timing was good as the setting sun was making the rock surrounding the falls glow deep orange, after taking some pictures we had a quick dip in the large pool beneath them. We were still having to be careful where we swam because of crocodiles so this was a treat after a hot afternoon. The water was cool but refreshing and it was almost dark when we got out.
We slept well and woke early to do the walk to the upper falls in the cool, it was a 2.5km loop walk and was well worth it, not only were the top falls more impressive but the pools were beautiful too. We were the only people there as it was still fairly early and it was like paradise swimming in the crystal clear pools with the falls crashing behind us.

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By the time we got back and packed we were into the heat of the day but it was worth it. Our next stop at Pine Creek was initially just for fuel but a sign to a lookout led us off on a tangent.
The lookout itself was over a man made lake which was the flooded remnant of an open cast gold mine that was sunk here in the early 1900′s this was latterly reworked in 1985 for 10 years. As we descended the lookout and headed out of town we passed a railway shed and mining display that looked interesting. There was all sorts of old pit equipment: steam engines, pumps, winches and a stamp battery which is a machine for crushing rocks to extract the gold. There was also a restored English built loco there and it was an interesting place to have a poke around and free which was good.

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Our planned destination that night was a small town just outside Darwin. Nick (from Cairns) put us in touch with Marge and Alistair and they invited us to stay. We had arranged to meet Marge at work but unfortunately we were running about 10 mins late and we just missed each other. They weren’t at home either and after a bit of detective work we found out they had gone out to their block of land in the country. With the help of a neighbour we managed to get them on a mobile and got some rough directions so we set off to meet them.
Their block of land was well tucked away but with Doris, the instructions and Karen’s navigating skills we managed to get there fairly easily. We had a great reception when we got there, they had some of the family there and we all got along well.
The farm itself was Alistair and Marg’s country getaway and it was great, simple and comfortable with everything you need and open plan in a way that’s impossible in the UK climate. The pictures below explain better than I can, to our delight Al & Marg said we could stay there and use it as a base to explore Darwin for as long as we liked.
It wasn’t until we got there that we received three old messages from Tyres for bikes saying that the tyre I ordered previously was out of stock with their supplier so they were waiting for a call to know what to do.

We had a great few days at the shed and loved every minute of it. Below is the shed, plunge pool, green tree frogs in the bog, Wally the Basset Hound and his self service dinner and a picture of Karen with Marge and Alistair. (Incidentally the green tree frogs disappeared a while later and Karen found out why when she walked into the toilet one morning and came out very quickly after coming across the black snake that probably ate them.)


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With everyones help we hatched a plan to explore Lichfield Park next day. This is the smaller and more easily accesible of Darwin’s two national parks. We rode in on the dirt from the top end working our way south through the park.
The dirt road was hard packed and easy riding which meant we could easily cruise along at 60-70kmh, everything was going great until we suddenly hit a patch of deep soft sand which whipped the front wheel out from under me and resulted in our scariest fall since Mongolia. The bike went down hard on it’s left side but I managed to stay on until the world stopped bouncing around. When I looked around Karen was nowhere to be seen and for one terrifying moment I thought she must be under it but when I called out she had been spat out the side when it dug in.
Fortunately we were both fine if a little rattled, the crashbars did their job yet again and only the left hand water jerry suffered any damage. These never normally touch the ground even when the bike is on its side but I think it dug in and pirouetted on it this time causing the damage which hopefully should be repairable. The bike ended up on the right side of the road but facing in the wrong direction. There was orange dust in everything afterwards but she still fired up okay and we carried on slightly more gingerly although there were no more sandy surprises.
Pics of the road, termite mounds and damage below


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Our reward for our efforts was a great day in Lichfield, the temperature was in the high 30′s by then so it was great to discover that there were lots of good places to swim.
Our first stop was Wangi falls which has a huge pool beneath it which you are allowed to swim in .Once we had dried off whilst having lunch we moved on to Tolmar falls which was just a walk down to a spectacular viewpoint. Then it was on to Buley Rockhole which is another great swimming spot set in a series of cascades, after this we went to Florence falls which has a big deep swimming hole at its base.There were lots of big fish at this one and we both had a snorkel around looking at them, there is also a huge submerged rock in the middle which is what Kev is sat on in the picture.
The last thing we looked at were some magnetic termite mounds, these are alignned on a north south axis to control the sunlight on the mound. The termites aim is to create a stable comfortable temperature in their home, they are clever enough to alter the mounds bearing slightly to suit local shade and wind conditions.
The other picture is us with a huge cathedral type termite mound this is thought to be about 100 years old. Termite’s are amazing creatures despite their tiny size they are the principle grazers in the top end consuming more grass than everything else put together. They live on cellulose which they store in their nests making them nutrient rich silos, eventually the colony will abandon their nest which eventually degrade to release nutients back into the impoverished soil. The walls of the mounds set hard like concrete and are made from a mix of the termites saliva and excretia so even this adds to the huge nutrient rescouce left behind when a mound degrades. It is only in recent times that people are beginning to understand how important termites are to the ecology here in a region where any nutrients in the soil are washed away in the wet season.

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The next day we had a doing day in town trying to source some spare bearings etc without much success. We found a good camping shop to replace a couple of worn out things and buy a mosi net to sleep under when it’s hot and give us a break from the flies when they are troublesome.
We also met Colvin and his family who kindly took in a couple of parcels for us, he is a fellow Guzzi rider as is Phil his mate who popped over for a look at the bike. Phil invited us to stay at his place if we were in town later which we gratefully accepted. The parcels were the fuel bladders kindly supplied by Paul at “Liquid Containment” see http://liquidcontainment.com/fuel_bladders.php if you are interested.These are collapsible lightweight petrol containers to help with the big distances between fuel stations coming up.
The other parcel was a rear differential (drive gearbox) from Kev in Cairns, he had a spare and kindly let us have it until I can get my spare in the UK shipped out to replace it. Our old one is still making some noise and although they are rebuildable its a lot easier to just swap the whole unit((4 nuts and 1/2 an hours work). The old one is making a clicking noise when you roll the bike, its not discernible over the engine and its not whining so I am probably being a bit over paranoid but we are just playing safe as we are entering some remote places. Kev (in Cairns) is going to take a look to see if he can work out whats going on with ours when he gets a chance.
We also took our water jerry in to see if anyone could cut the damaged section out and weld a new piece in but it’s an awkward job and no one was very keen and the quotes reflected that. In the end I found some chemical metal that said it was drinking water safe so I bought some to see if I could make it water tight. Water is scarce and precious in the outback and we could not afford to lose the capacity.
We also tried six suppliers in Darwin to see if anyone had a tyre in stock, the only one I could find was a Chinese one called Kings Tyre. We have always tried to stick with premium tyres for obvious reasons but it seemed now we had no choice, besides it was load rated higher than the Metzeler Marathon we were replacing and a few people here had said they weren’t bad so we bought it.

Below is Colvin,Phil and Kev; a picture of our new fuel bladders and Kev repairing our damaged water jerry which was successful (wonderful stuff, chemical metal)


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Coming up: More of Darwin and our journey into Kakadu national park,
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Kev and Karen
Our website http://www.guzzioverland.co.uk
Our photos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/guzzioverland
1979 Moto Guzzi Spada 1000
RTW trip May 2010 - current day
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:10 AM   #8
Guzzioverland OP
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Blog 183 Kakadu 11th – 18th September 2011.

Blog 183 Kakadu 11th – 18th September 2011.


We spent a few days in and around Darwin taking in the sights at East point and Fannie bay where there was a military installation from WWII to prevent Japanese invasion. After wandering round the installations we met up and had a nice chat with a husband and wife on a bike and side-car.

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On Sunday we headed into town and ended up at Mindil market which was next to the beach, it had loads of food and craft stalls and was lit up after dark making a great atmosphere. There was also an awesome fire display, the performance was enhanced by a guest traveller from Canada who did a hoola hoop fire display that defied belief.
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A few of the days were spent at the farm doing repairs and maintenance to the bike and our equipment, Australia has really racked up the miles. It is true a stitch in time really does save nine as Karen discovered when she had to sew a very large rip in our silk sleeping bag liner instead of the small tear it started as a few days ago.
I had a list for the bike including welding a nut to the handlebars that has been stripped since Kazakhstan, straightening one of the outrigger arms where it got bent in the Litchfield fall, making a lever for the operation of the oil cooler fan to swing it into place when riding, balancing the carbs, swapping the rear diff and changing the rear tyre. This turned into a mission itself involving Karen and I chasing around for a compressor on a Saturday. We did learn a new trick though thanks to the great guy who was just shutting up his workshop for the weekend when we arrived. The problem was getting the tyres beads (sealing edges) to pop out enough to seal, he got some rope and wound it around the centre like a tourniquet twisting a screwdriver in for torque before attaching the air gun, that did the trick.
I refitted the exhaust cookers with heat sinks to a new position below the engine directly on the exhaust, I hoped this would allow more airflow over the engine and give the cookers more heat. I also welded an extra exhaust bracket to try to stop it cracking the flange under the exhaust clamp which it has done a few times now and added a cross bar in the roof to stiffen it back up as the plastic side rails have lost some of their spring in the heat and it taps Karen on the head when the wind is in the wrong direction.
Karen meanwhile had been busy catching up with washing and backing up all our photos to a DVD as well as trying to write the next blog. We had an interlude where Marg and Alistair’s horse managed to slip the electric fencing and ended up walking round the living areas but Karen used his feed to entice him back out whilst I laid a plank over the fence.
Karen freaked out the morning after as the nearly finished blog saved as a draft seemed to have disappeared, it was more than three days work. Our blogging site had changed its layout overnight and although everything else was there the draft had vanished. Luckily there was a contact us button so we wrote a plea to the website to see if it could be recovered. About three hours later we got an email saying how to access it Phew!
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We were headed out to the greyhound bus depot in town to post the old diff back to Kev in Cairns and were running a bit late, mysteriously the bike was handling really badly weaving all over the place. I struggled to keep her in a straight line and Karen was struggling to keep a grip on the heavy diff she had balanced on top of one pannier. We had to stop to try and work out what was wrong as it was getting too silly and we had pushed our luck a bit already trying to catch the depot open.
We were crawling under the bike trying to see what was wrong but nothing was obvious when a guy (John) stopped in his car and said he recognised the bike from a friends description and owns a Guzzi himself, he invited us back to his place nearby. This seemed like too good an offer to refuse as we could offload the bags and Karen could ride with John in his car making the bike a lot easier to ride. The bike was marginally better but was still snaking around on the back end.
We shared our room with Nudge a very friendly parrot who we formed a good bond with, John also had two dogs Harry a large but friendly Boxer and Duchess a descendent of a dingo.
He also had a very inviting pool we made good use of. John was great company it was a shame we didn’t meet his wife who had just left for England the reason he was using the car that day.
While he was at work we looked into sourcing another tyre but no one else in Darwin had one in stock so we organised another to be sent from Brisbane to Phil and Megan’s in Darwin. The estimated 4 days delivery time would give us chance to visit Kakadu national park first and come back into Darwin to collect it. I also found the rear wheel spindle hadn’t seated fully home so that could have been the cause of the weaving issue. As a precaution we arranged to leave all unnecessary stuff at Johns whilst we did Kakadu in case the cheap Chinese (King’s) tyre was a problem. It still felt squirmy and I didn’t fully trust it but the next few days would be a chance to test it. At least we would have a spare if it caused problems.
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After an early start we said a temporary goodbye to John and of course Dutchess and Harry the Dogs, Salami the Donkey and Nudge the parrot.
We headed out via Humpty Doo ( I am not making this up) stopping at the post office to post the lost camera back to Iris who was ecstatic we found it. (We found it at the termite mounds in Litchfield where they stopped and took photos of us).
There was an information centre on the way to Kakadu so we stopped there for a look, they had some displays about the wetlands there and a talk about Crocodiles (mostly about how not to get eaten by one). Karen is holding up an old green tree ants nest, she was delighted to discover there are over 70 different types of mosquitoes in Australia that can bite her, nice to have a bit of variety. Back on the bike we rode until we got to the Corroberee Roadhouse and camp site where we had lunch and a swim in the pool afterwards. They also had their own fresh and salt water crocodiles so we made doubly sure we had the right swimming pool. We then had a chill out afternoon, I actually got chance to read a book for a few hours and Karen caught up with the diary. The tyre seemed better but still squirmy, the jury was still out.
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Phil amongst others had recommended the Corroberee boat trip, it was half the price of the more touristy Yellow waters which is in the park. We had to pay $5 each for the bus to pick us up from the camp site to take us down to the billabong but it turned out to be money well spent as it was a long rough dirt road and we got back in the dark. The trip itself was great we saw Jabiru (big storks), a sea eagle, jesus birds,(they walk on water) kingfishers, and lots of crocs. It was good to do a bit of a croc tour as we didn’t get chance in Daintree and it might have been our last chance before we left the tropical top end. They really are evil scary looking reptiles and are relics of when dinosaurs roamed the earth, from the relative safety of our boat we were able to get really close to some. Here are some pictures.
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Exceptionally large saltwater crocs can reach 7 metres and 4 or 5 metre ones are common here, Think about how big a 5 metre long croc looks when you are up close to it. Crocodiles have some amazing evolutionary adaptations (most of which are designed to kill things more efficiently). They have an extra clear eyelid which enables them to see clearly underwater (a bit like a scuba mask) so they can see you on the riverbank even when they are totally invisible. They can also slow down their heartbeat to a handful of beats a minute which enables them to stay underwater for an incredibly long time when they want to. The nodules on their backs are a bit like solar panels and absorb and store heat from the sun because of course they are cold blooded reptiles, hence they have to spend some of their day basking in the sun to warm themselves up. Sometimes when they were doing this they would gape their mouths open, I asked our guide why and it seems that this allows them to cool their brain down independently of the rest of their body allowing them to absorb more heat than would otherwise be possible. They are also very smart, many people warned us here not to fall into patterns of behaviour like always going for water at the same spot or where other animals drink. They notice this kind of behaviour and remember it and one day one might be waiting for you, it would not be a nice way to go either. Their main tactic is to grab you, drag you back into the water and roll you over until you drown when they will either eat you or pin you under a log underwater to save for later Nice huh !

They were once hunted and their numbers got seriously low but they are now a protected species in Australia. The Northern Territory alone is now thought to have over 100’000 crocodiles (there are only 250’000 people in the NT so its approaching 1:2 crocs to people).

From Corroberee we headed into Kakadu park itself, there was a $25 entry charge but some of that goes back into maintaining the park so we didn’t mind. We stopped for a look at Mamukala which is a wetland that is an important habitat for birds. There are some pictures below.

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Back on the road again we reached Merl camp ground by about midday, we were in luck as they were having an Aboriginal painting demonstration and have a go session. Our two Aboriginal teachers showed us how to make paint brushes from the stem of a plant. We chewed the end of the stem until it turned into separate fibres which we then trimmed down with a knife to leave just 3 or 4 long ones left. It makes an incredibly fine organic paintbrush and we watched the two masters at work painting incredibly intricate patterns. Their paintings take days of work to complete, our efforts were not even in the same league but we had fun trying. The paint we used was just acrylic poster paint but the Aboriginals still use some traditional materials as well as modern ones, they explained that someone was “out bush” at the moment collecting the various clays and ochres needed to make paints with. These come from many different areas and are highly sought after.
Here are some pictures of our paltry efforts and some of the real thing, we gave our half finished ones to some of the kids who were there to finish off later. It was great fun though and we almost had to dragged away when it was time to leave.
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In the afternoon we broke our sacred rule and rode the bike 2k on tarmac in shorts to Bardedjuliji. We both felt very vulnerable and only trickled along at 30kmh but by then the temperature was nudging the 40′s and we didn’t want to get all dressed up for 2 k. The walk was worth braving the heat, the rocks in this area were in pancake like stacks and were weathered into all sorts of interesting shapes. It was only a 2.5km circular walk but there was so much to see in a small area.
Here are some pictures so you can see what we mean.

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Old 10-24-2011, 03:11 AM   #9
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Blog 183 continued

On the way back we rode into Ubirr which is a sacred Aboriginal site and our reason for staying here. Ubirr is one of the best examples of Aboriginal rock art in the world and is a very special place. We wandered around the site looking and photographing some examples and then stopped to listen to another “Ranger Talk” about the main cave.
Most of the rock art depicts events or animals caught in the hunt, Barramundi (a big game fish) are much in evidence as are turtles and kangaroos two of their other favourite foods. All the paintings have a story associated with them and some a very very old. The ochres and natural stains used to paint them are very strong pigments and last a long time although some paintings are allowed to be repainted when they become too faint although only a person of the right standing and someone who understands the story would be allowed to do this. Some of the paintings depict people too and many contain stories from the dreamtime when all beings were created.

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It was thought that Aboriginals had lived in this area for 20’000 years but recent evidence and new techniques has changed that estimate to up to 50’000 years. Some of the rock art depicts animals like the Thylacine that are are long since extinct, scientists have a fairly good idea of when events like this occurred which has helped date some of the art. Look closer at the centre of the picture to see what a thlosine looked like. They are thought to have died out when Dingo’s came to Australia as they were competing for the same food.


As the sun was starting to set we walked up to the highest point of Ubirr to watch the sun set over the Nadab flood plain. It was a beautiful spot and as we were climbing up here we very much felt like we were walking in the footsteps of people thousands of years ago. At the top the ranger pointed out some of the landmarks and talked a little about how this landscape changes over the seasons, the geography of this landscape is so varied with wetlands, savannah, and pockets of tropical rainforests all within view from this one spot. There is a marked wet and dry season here and in “the wet” the entire area we were looking over would be underwater. It was a spectacularly beautiful sunset which nicely rounded off a great day.

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Next day we were up at 5am after a quick breakfast and coffee we got packed up and were on the road by 7.45 heading for Jabiru the biggest town in the park. We got there around 8.20 am and had to stop and ask directions for fuel and shops as it was very confusing. Everyone gets lost laughed the local lady they must have been drunk when they designed this town its all dead ends. After topping up with fuel, water and supplies we headed to Nourlangie (Also known as Anbangbang) which is another Aboriginal art site with a good walk and lookout point. We had lunch here also, which reminds me the flies here are a complete nuisance in the spring/summer. There seem to be about 20 gazillion of them and they are incredibly persistent so much so that you see some people walking around with head nets on during the day.
We do have some head nets but they trap the heat and make you even hotter so for now we just relied on that they call the Aussie wave and batted them off the little b#@**$#@^%

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In the afternoon we stopped for a look around Warradjan Aboriginal centre which showed some of the history and artefacts of the different tribes here. We walked very slowly around as it was air conditioned and was a nice break from the afternoon heat outside. Our next stop was Yellow Waters Billabong, there was a boat cruise here also but it was expensive so we just went for a wander on foot and to watch the sunset as it was now late afternoon. There was a raised board-walk which went several hundred metres out over the water and gave us some great views and photos. I got some good shots and just as the sun was dropping the crocs all appeared. We had no idea they were around until Karen spotted the first nostrils and eyebrows appear, after that more started to surface and swim out into the billabong to hunt. We were only a couple of feet above the water and Karen got a bit jittery as some were quite close by but we were fairly safe as there were double metal rails along the bottom to stop them getting up. I would not have wanted to be on the team that built his walkway though. Some of the crocs were really big, when they are semi submerged swimming on the surface you can only see about half their length.
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Waking early again to beat the heat we packed up and moved out to Barramundi falls (Aboriginal name Maguk), we were at the turnoff by 8am and then had to do battle with 14km of sandy dirt road. This was a 4wd recommended road and was approaching the limit of what we could manage loaded, Kakadu national park is huge and much of it is only accessible by 4wd only tracks. We are starting to understand why everyone owns a 4wd here, Australia would grind to a halt without them.
We were amongst the first people at the falls which is accessed via a windy path alongside the creek, there were shallow clear rock pools along the way which gave us chance to wet our hair and shirts to cool down. Kakadu is riddled with crocs and nowhere is officially safe to swim although a couple of French backpackers had a quick dip in the pool by the falls but we thought better of it.
It was a great walk though and worth the effort of getting there.

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We were going to head into Gunlom before heading out of the park but it was another sandy 4wd track and by that time the heat of the day had really kicked in. We did have a go but very quickly the sand got silly deep and we decided to give it a miss, just as it to confirm our decision I dropped the bike trying to turn it around in the soft sand, no damage done though.
It was a fair trip back to Darwin anyway so we called it a day had some lunch and them headed back to John’s where we had left some excess stuff. We were back by 5pm and rounded off the evening with some very welcome cold beers and a dip in the pool.
Next morning we were up bright and early with John who was on his way to work, he liked a joke and Karen inadvertently got her own back on him by misreading the time and convincing him it was an hour later than it was thus making him think he was late for work. It got as far as him ringing up the school where he works who were delighted to have got one over on him (it doesn’t happen often apparently)
He was good value.

Next up: leaving Darwin heading for the wild west.
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Old 10-24-2011, 06:28 AM   #10
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Old 11-02-2011, 05:54 AM   #11
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Blog 184 Leaving Darwin heading for the wild west 19th – 28th September 2011

After a leisurely pack up we headed back into Darwin to stay with Phil and Megan and hopefully find our spare tyre. They were at work but I headed into town to get the locating pin on the damaged jerry can welded in place and sort one or two other things out and left Karen doing a blogging and photo session in case the tyre was delivered. Phil and Megan got in around 6ish and spoilt us rotten, we had roast lamb and all the trimmings for dinner and it was a nice relaxing evening of easy conversation.
It was another work day for them next day but they said it was fine to stay for as long as we liked, the tyre had not shown up yet so we stayed in and made the most of the rare opportunity of Wi-Fi and wrote and published another blog.
In between times I washed my bike jacket and trousers as they were both really filthy, both scrubbed up well. We also burnt some pictures to DVD to send home in order to clear some memory cards and back them up. We rewarded our efforts with a swim in the pool to cool down before wandering down to the nearby beach to watch the sunset.Another pleasant evening of conversation, wine and good food ensued and it was like a bit of a holiday in itself for us.
There are a couple more pictures of Darwin sunsets here.




We were still waiting for the tyre the next day so it turned into another computer session. I had to upload some pictures to flickr for Roger the editor of Gambalunga the UK Moto Guzzi club magazine for an upcoming article and we wrote some of the next blog and got the pictures ready.
The day seemed to vanish all too quickly and suddenly it was time to get ready to go out, the plan was to go to the deckchair cinema in Darwin. Phil and Megan wanted to see a film and asked if we would like to go too. Karen’s birthday was also looming close and it looked as though it would be on the road so this was a good way to treat her for an evening.
There are not many places in the world with an open air deckchair cinema but Darwin is one of them. Megan went straight there from work to save us a place in the queue Karen, Phil and I went into town on the bikes. Phil has got a beautiful old Guzzi Ambassador and the two bikes riding into Darwin city centre together turned lots of heads. We met Megan outside and got a really tasty take away curry from the cinema foyer, We enjoyed that washed down with a cold beer and then took our seats for the performance. It was the opening night of the Darwin film festival so there were a few speeches beforehand and then the main feature “Eye of the Storm” which was excellent. Aussies know how to enjoy themselves and it was a great setting.
Here are some pictures of the cinema trip and Megan and Phil.


The next day (our last in Darwin) was another blur, we had a great time there and got lots done, it was good to have the days to ourselves to blog etc and Megan and Phil for company in the evenings. We extended our stay to give the tyre time to arrive but as it still didn’t show we felt that it was time to move on so we arranged with Phil to forward it via the greyhound bus service, he would text us when it arrived in Darwin we agreed that Broome would be the best place to provisionally send it.
We woke early next day and said our goodbyes over breakfast, it was a really pleasant few days.
The first couple of hours to Katherine we had no choice but to back track, the road was fairly dull and Karen was unusually quiet so I asked her over the intercom “are you alright” it turned out she was reading her book on the back. She would normally get travel sick doing this in a car but it seems that reading a book on the back of a motorbike doing 100km/h was not a problem.
We pulled into Katherine for fuel and when we went to pull out of the filling station onto the road we heard an ominous clonk and suddenly had no drive. We pushed it back in to the service station and took off all the bags so we could get it on the centre stand easily, I pulled out the back wheel to discover we had sheared off the drive cog from the cush drive plate like we did in Siberia. I pulled the necessary bits apart and after asking where I might find a welder set off to hitch hike the few km’s to the industrial area leaving Karen with the bike on the forecourt. As it turned out I only had my thumb out for a few seconds and the first guy I saw stopped and gave me a ride right to the door a good start.


After breaking the last one our mate Casper got Dave Batchellor our local custom bike fabricator and welding guru to run a bead of tig weld around this replacement drive plate to strengthen it. Dave’s weld was still good it just cracked the other side of it instead but at least the two halves fitted together well which enabled them to be welded back together straight. An hour or two later it was fixed and they even got one of their lads to drop me back into town, too easy as the Aussies would say.
Our nice early start had evaporated but at least we were mobile again, we looked in our free camp book and saw we had two options one 54km and one 106km. The first one looked nice and had shade so we pulled in, got the tent up and started cooking dinner (corn on the cob, lamb, veggies and cous cous yum)
We were up at 5am next day and on the road by 7am, we stopped briefly at Victoria River for toilets and to damp down our water absorbing wrist and neck bands to help keep us cool.
We had developed a few strategies for dealing with the heat by now, I had some shock cord around my back attached to both sides of my jacket to make it gape open and catch the wind, we also wet our t shirts when there was enough water and I bought a $2 plant sprayer to squirt ourselves with when we are overheating. This is surprisingly effective as when you spray it as a mist it feels cool despite the fact that the water in the bottle is hot, it’s much the same as sweating as soon as you get moving the air evaporates the water and cools you down.
The heat was still bearable but ramping up into what they call “the build up” to the wet season.
It’s all topsy turvy up here the winter is the cool dry time and in the summer it’s hot and wet. We only have to cross the Kimberley region to the west coast before we start heading downwards so we should be okay. We need to be out of the tropical north before the cyclone season starts around November but it will get steadily hotter and more humid from now until the rains start. It has been quite fortuitous timing in other respects as it’s been easy to find spaces in campsites that 4 to 6 weeks ago were chocka so there have been benefits to being late in the season.


We then crossed into Gregory National Park, we had been told Policeman’s Point was worth a look so we stopped there for a photograph and then headed on to Gregory’s tree. This is huge Boab tree at which was the camp of a British expedition in 1864 sent to recce the area. They left their calling card by carving the date of the expedition in the boab tree they camped by which is still clearly visible today. They also left a message on the tree for the next party that followed them telling them where to find a letter. Graffiti as a rule annoys me but given a few hundred years it becomes fascinating.
Heading back to the bike we managed to photograph a willie willie or dust cloud as I had the camera in my hand, they come fast out of nowhere and are gone just as quickly. The second photo is Policeman’s point. This area was the first place we had seen the giant Boabs anywhere in Australia and they are concerntrated in certain areas presumably because of water. Africans call this tree a Baobab.



We stopped at the last free camp before we crossed the WA (Western Australia) border. We knew that there was a checkpoint coming that we were not allowed to take any fresh vegetables or honey over to try to prevent the spread of diseases. It was a bit early in the day to stop but we also knew we had some stuff to use up and it seemed a waste to just throw it away so we decided to stay.
We met a nice couple in their camper van who were doing the same thing and had quite a sociable day, someone else came into the camp and gave us a bag of salad to eat with tea as they were going across that afternoon.
It felt like we were entering another country, there was even a time difference of 1 ½ hours once we crossed the border. Surreal !
We had woken early to cross the WA border quite prepared to open most of our stuff for quarantine inspection for fresh fruit, veg, honey etc. It turned out to be a breeze and due to the hour and half time difference we arrived at Lake Argyle before we had left camp in the Northern Territory.
Karen asked if it was alright to take some pictures at the border and to our surprise they said “no worries”. We would have had a Kalashnikov pointed at us for doing this in Russia



We were not sure whether to stay at Lake Argyle or not, it was so ridiculously early that people who had stayed there last night were still packing up to leave before the 10 am deadline.
In the end we decided to stay, it was a Sunday and we had a parcel waiting at Kununarra post office in the next town that couldn’t be picked up until Monday. Also we needed the tyre that still hadn’t shown at Darwin to overtake us so there was little point rushing. Karen was requesting a day off as her birthday had been spent travelling. A look at the camps pool sealed the deal and we booked in.
The camp ground had an infinity pool overlooking the lake so we spent a good few hours swimming and lounging in that. We also rode over the dam and down into a shady picnic area for lunch meeting up with some bike riders out for a day trip.
We rounded the day off nicely watching the sunset over the lake with the fellow travellers from last night’s free camp and a sundowner.

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It was a lazy rise next morning as we were not far from Kununarra but we still had to wait a while for the post office to open. The steering damper was there, hooray,!!!
I had been planning to fit one before we left England but had never managed to source the right one for the right price, this was for a VW beetle so would need a bit of jiggery pokery to fit so we needed to find a welder. Previous google searches for motorcycle steering dampers turned up plenty of results but they were all $350 + this one was $45 shipped, much more like it.

As we searched the industrial area for a suitable welder Karen spotted a potential workshop.There were initial hesitations from the welder as it involved welding a lug onto the fork leg. When he realised I could weld after I explained I had made the forks he said “Oh do it yourself then mate” and gave me free run of the workshop, this was the best outcome we could have hoped for as it would take a few tacks and a bit of time to get the right position for the damper and brackets.

Job done he wouldn’t take any money as he said he didn’t do anything so we left him some beer money to say thank you. The damper made the world of difference allowing me to relax a lot more on long journeys and bumpy surfaces.


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Our initial plan had been to do some of the Gibb river road, a rough dirt road into some spectacular country but our new Chinese tyre from Darwin (the only one we could get) already had a cut in it from the course roads and still felt squirmy on the hot bitumen. Also we still hadn’t had any word on the spare arriving in Darwin. Without a spare and with a slightly dodgy feeling tyre we played safe and stayed on the bitumen/ tar and headed for the Bungle Bungles. The bitumen/ tarmac gets so hot up here you can barely touch it by midday and blow outs from over heated tyres are common, the roads are littered with shredded tyres especially truck ones.
Due to the delay fitting the steering damper we left Kununara fairly late and stopped in the first free camp. It was one of the more basic and the flies were the worst we have encountered so far forcing us to rig up the new mosquito net between the bike and the tipi to cook under. Dinner and washing up done we were just on the verge of heading to bed when Karen looked across and saw the nearby hillside on fire probably only a few kilometres away. The wind was in our favour but it changes quickly and we were close to the scrub. We only had two neighbours in the whole free camp and after a quick discussion we all moved to the centre of the parking area in the gravel and away from the bush.
Having taken the tent down we made the decision to just sleep on the airbed under the picnic shelter for a quick getaway should it be called for. A ute (pickup) pulled in close to us all and said mind if I join you.
This gives some idea of the flies and the fires together with our improvised camp.


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Karen left her earplugs out that night and woke once when the fire did a big jump closer she said she could hear the trees falling as they burnt through, the night was thankfully uneventful as the wind stayed in the right direction.
Next day we saw some of the devastation and even rode past a fire on the roadside, we could feel the heat on our faces as we rode past.
The birds you can see in the picture are eagles preying on the wildlife driven out of the cover of the bush by the flames.


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There was no water at our next fuel stop so we bought a 4kg bag (the only size) of ice and proceeded to stuff ice cubes into our drinking bags of course we still had half a bag left so we put our drinking bags down our jackets to help thaw them and cool us and strapped the remainder on the front.
It was like air conditioning !, here is a picture of me (Kev) wearing my water bag full of ice as a cool hat and having a cold drink at the same time. !


The average daytime temperatures were 40-42 deg c. We have been setting the alarm between 04.30 and 5am to be on the road by 6.30am which gives us two hours respite from the heat but the pay off is the roos and other animals are more active then. As most free camps don’t have water you can’t even cool off with a shower or swim so when we had the ice down our jackets it was utter bliss and we had an ice cold drink when they melted.
The free camp opposite the Bungle Bungles turnoff was a real treat however, a shady site with a shallow stream so no croc threat. As it was only midday we rigged up a solar shower for later and went and lounged in the stream, by laying down in a hollow we could just about get wet all over it was soooo good to be cool. We were delighted when later Geoff and Bev (a couple we have met several times on the road) rolled into camp as they had offered us a ride into the Bungle Bungles in their 4×4 if it worked out timing wise.
The track in is seriously 4wd only and even our motorcycle book said a small light dirtbike would make it but a 4wd would be needed to carry extra fuel and supplies. An indication of the state of the track is that the 50km to the entrance to the national park takes over 2hours in a 4wd.




We arranged with Geoff and Bev to meet at 6.30am the next morning to head into the park.

Coming Next The Bungle Bungles and Broome
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:34 AM   #12
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Blog 185 Bungles to Broome 28th September- 2nd October 2011

We met Geoff and Bev for the agreed 6.30am start, it was a hard 54kms of dirt road consisting of rocks, sand and numerous creek crossings one which would definitely have thwarted us on the bike as it was soft sand and very wide, it took Geoff a full two hours of driving in a 4×4 and this only bought us to the visitor centre at the edge of the park from there it was another hour from one side of the park to the other.
Piccaninny creek was our first destination and a short loop walk gave us a chance to closer look at the pancake type rocks the bungles are made of before we set off for the 3km walk into the gorge itself.

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The route meandered around the now dry riverbed and ended in a natural amphitheatre called Cathedral Gorge. The sides of the gorge towered above us, it was a magical place and a welcome shady respite from the 40deg + heat outside. We would have loved to fly over the Bungle Bungles as well but it was just too expensive, it would be awesome from the air.


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The range covers a huge area, this is just a fraction of it. The second picture is a termite mound built high on the rock face, this area floods badly in the wet season so the termites have adapted by building up high and having tunnels down to the ground to gather food.

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These two pictures show the power of the water that flows through here during the wet, enough to carve solid rock.

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Echidna chasm was our next target on the other side of the park across yet more creeks and this time a sandy track. When the sun is fully overhead it creates the light that bounces off the sides of the chasm and it glows spectacularly. Unfortunately due to the length of time to get into and around the park we missed this window so we had lunch first and chatted to a tour group that had just turned up. Our compensation was that we got to walk the 2km in to the chasm in the shade which was much cooler, the chasm was carved out by the river that flows through here every wet season combined witha natural fault in the rock.

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The further in we travelled the more the temperature dropped and by the time we were deep in the cleft it was probably 10degs cooler than outside. As the chasm widened out we reached a large chamber with a few benches to sit on and sheer rock faces on all sides. There was still a route past a squeeze in the rocks so we left Bev and started scrabbling up some sizable chunks of rock and some small ladders with the path getting steadily narrower all the time until we reached the end and the mysterious source of the river which appears from out of the rocks in the wet season.
The second and third pictures are the bottom and the top of the chasm as it was too tall to fit in one frame.


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On the way back there was a short detour to a lookout over the Osmand range before we started back to the visitor centre and it was at this point that we realised the last hour or so would be in the dark.

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Geoff did a sterling job considering the conditions and handled everything the road threw at him, between us we remembered where the river crossings were so we didn’t get any nasty surprises.
It was late by the time we arrived safely back at camp so we went our separate ways to cook dinner, we had a boil in the bag job that night – Thai curry. The water we left in the sun heating for a shower looked inviting so we had a quick shower before bed. We were both worn out so can only imagine what Geoff felt like thanks Geoff you did a sterling job.



After saying our goodbyes and thank you to Geoff and Bev in the morning we headed off but we didn’t get far before we heard a whap, whap, whap noise coming from the back end. On examination the rear tyre had lived up to expectations and split through the cut and started de laminating badly. We can’t remember how many times we had almost discarded the old front but because it still had 2 or 3000k of tread on it, we hung onto it as an emergency spare and we are really glad we did now !
Old Guzzi’s have a bit of an advantage here as they have 18 inch tyres front and rear and they are only once size (width) different so you can get away with swapping them around if you are desperate.
The ruined tyre put up as much of fight to remove as it did to fit in the first place Kev had to make use of the bead breaker on the bike then the replacement proved just as awkward even using the rope trick. The beads wouldn’t pop out to seal on the initial inflation and in the end Kev chose to take it off again and fit a tube inside. It was just at this stage Geoff and Bev caught us up and being the good Samaritans they are offered tea, biscuits and sympathy along with a more powerful compressor and ensured we were mobile before we all headed to Halls Creek. Thanks again you two. There are some pictures below.

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We took it really easy as we were now riding with a ¾ worn out front tyre on the rear but at least we were mobile. We remained in Halls Creek most of the day partly in an effort to secure another tyre while we had a mobile signal and partly to wait for it too cool down before we got going again. The good news was our tyre had finally shown up in Darwin and Phil had despatched it by greyhound bus to Broome it should take three days to arrive. Just to be on the safe side we ordered another spare from Perth to be sent to Carnarvon while we had mobile reception.
We left as late as we dared in order to arrive at the free camp before dusk when the roo’s come out but not put the tyre under too much stress on the hot tarmac.
Mary river was a gem of a free camp with grass and shade and some water in the river, Geoff and Bev were here so we exchanged news. We also met Brett a fellow motorcyclist on a sidecar outfit who lives below Perth. It was great to talk bike stuff, we hadn’t seen many bikers on the roads up here and we enjoyed his company even if was brief.

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As we didn’t want to beat the tyre to Broome we had a day off and enjoyed a lazy day walking by the river and reading, we even had a luxury lunch courtesy of the tour party we met in the Bungles whose chef catered for 30 when there was only 12 and it would have gone to waste, it was delicious. The local cows wandered through our camp making themselves at home, they obviously hadn’t seen a motorbike like that before and were very curious. The day ended with a great sunset over the river.

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The next day we detoured into Geikie gorge as it wasn’t far out of the way. While we were there we met and got chatting to Irene and Nick from Brisbane, they were great company as we wandered around the area with them marvelling at how high the flood waters had reached and having lunch in the shelter that would have been 6 metres underwater last wet season. Nick was an interesting guy to talk to, he and his brother flew right around Australia in a Gypsy Tiger Moth some years before and he was telling us some of the scrapes they got into. It would be a totally different experience and not without it’s challenges, some of the airstrips are miles away from towns to get food and water and fuel was a constant problem in remote areas. He and his brother still professionally restore Tiger Moth’s now and he promised us a ride in his if we get back round as far as Brisbane before we depart. There’s an incentive ! Here’s some pics of the gorge etc.

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This is Willare bridge roadhouse where we stopped to refuel before our next camp. Our liquid containment fuel bladders have been a big help out west and we would have struggled at times without them. They have also allowed us to fill up at the cheaper places and miss out some of the more expensive ones which makes the money go a bit further. Fuel is a lot cheaper here than the UK and Europe, premium unleaded is usually between AU$ 1.60 and 1.90 a litre (around 0.80 to 0.95 pounds/litre but then again because of the distances you need a lot of it.

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After another really early start we made such good progress that we ended up on the outskirts of Broome a day too early for the tyre so we camped in the nearby Roebuck camp site and had a day blogging and catching up.
There we met Vince on a Harley Davidson servi-car trike who was also touring around the Pilbara region. The family camped next door had two young boys who couldn’t keep their eyes off the bike so the next morning we asked if they wanted their photo taken sat on it you should have seen their smiles.
Our next job was to go into town and pick up the tyre and explore Broome but that’s another story.
Here is a picture of a road train that was pulling out of the depot next door to us, this is what you are sharing the roads with out here !!!!



Next up exploring Broome and Karijini national park.
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:34 PM   #13
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Blog 186 Broome to Karijini 3rd Oct – 9th October 2011

Our first job was to find the greyhound bus depot to see if our tyre was there. With some relief we found it was, never have we been so grateful as by now the 3\4 worn front tyre we fitted to the back was as bald as a coot.
That sorted we turned our attention to looking around Broome, our first stop was the visitor centre where we found out about camp sites and what there was to do.
We went straight to a camp site in town and put the tent up which gave us chance to dump all our excess gear. This not only made the bike easier to ride around town but also emptied a pannier to put the shorts and sandals into and gave us some room for shopping.
Our next stop was Chinatown which was a bit optimistic as there were only two streets but Johnny Chi Lane was an interesting walk none the less as was Streeters jetty. During our walk we spotted a sign for Win TV and decided to pop in on the off chance as they had covered our story in Hervey Bay. Xavier the reporter there was interested in doing a piece so we arranged to meet up next day to film it.
Broome was founded on Pearl Diving and there were two pearling luggers on display on the main street with lots of info boards about their history. The Japanese were amongst the most skilled and courageous divers and many people came from Japan to work and settle here. There was even a Japanese cemetery in town.
I had to run from a crocodile but luckily it was dead slow.


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Kev found his career as a pearl diver was thwarted as he couldn’t get his head in the Japanese diving helmet.

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We learnt a lot of history about the town from the various placards such as Cable Beach was so called because of the telegraph cables which came ashore there linking Australia with the rest of the Commonwealth. Broome has the oldest open air cinema in the world Sun cinema open to the public to explore through the day, an Australian film called Red Dog was showing that night which is based around this area so we planned to return to watch it.

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Gantheaume point had been mentioned a lot but we struck deep sand on the last stretch out there so rode down a side shoot to the harder packed beach instead which made for a good photo.
You are allowed to ride/drive on the beach in designated places here. We topped the day off with local fish and chips before settling in our deckchair for the film which was really good and very evocative of this region.

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Very early next morning we fitted the new tyre at a service station forecourt to ensure we could blow the bead out, it went on much easier this time. We then headed for our meeting with Xavier (Win TV) at cable beach. The setting was great and the interview went well, Xavier finished the article filming us riding up and down Cable Beach.
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After stocking up in town and bumping into Geoff and Bev in the supermarket (it’s very social this travelling) we headed out to the free camp which was deserted.
We were packed up and away by 6.15am and it was almost chilly, a rare and splendid thing. We had our jackets fully done up for the first time in ages.
Cape Keraudren was a beautiful detour across dried salt lakes to sandy beaches and stunning coastline but at 11.30am it was too early to stop for the day we did however have lunch as it was 6 hours since breakfast. We passed a large salt depot on our way into Port Headland where we stopped for fuel and topped up a couple of things as we knew we would be in national parks for the next few days, we also marvelled at a flock of birds swooping and diving as one mass.
After riding all day it was now getting late and a quick search in our camps book showed a good station stay nearby.

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We arrived at Indee station in almost dusk Betty greeted us with you mad or something and promptly offered us a drink telling us happy hour was in an hours time where we could all bring drinks and return to the farmhouse for nibbles and a social. We promptly got the tent up and headed back to get happy.
Our plans to go to Karijini had to be put on hold as there was a fatal accident and the park was closed until investigations had been conducted. Instead we stayed another night and explored red rock which was 10k beyond Indee station on a deep sandy track.
It was a chance to test our outriggers with the new nylon wheels we replaced in NZ as it was deep sand most of the way. The first 2km was bad and even with the outriggers we lost control and slid into the deeper stuff at the edge after I pulled us out and straight for the second time I let some air out of the tyres Kev was convinced it wouldn’t make much difference given our bike and load but had to eat humble pie when we rode the rest of the track without incident.You can see the snaking route in the sand as we lost control. Red rock had a little bit of aboriginal art work and was worth the ride out although we had to borrow Collins ute to retrace our route as Kev lost his intercom lead, it was so much easier in the ute we flew over the corrugations and deep sand but had to go all the way back to the rock before we found it.
That evening we spent another happy hour with new campers who were also heading to Karijini which had been declared open again. The last picture of us sitting on red rock has the bike in the background if you can spot it.


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Next day we topped up our fuel bladder as a spare and reached Dales camp ground around 3pm, after the tent was all set up and we were dripping from the heat we explored Fortescue falls and a further walk to Fern Pool a secluded swimming hole, we impressed ourselves by swimming the entire way to the waterfall. We took swimming lessons before we left due to the fact I was afraid of going out of my depth and a very poor swimmer all of this pool was out of my depth but it felt good.
I was not so sure about the open air dunny though, lucky they had built new ones nearby.

We had steak to look forward to for dinner.

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We spent the next day walking the rim walk from the camp ground meeting up with our neighbours Geoff and Jill who we ended up spending the day with, cooling off in circular pool before walking the valley bottom to Fortescue falls and fern pool for another dip. The valley walk was a gem, shady and interesting, wading over rock pools and admiring unusual rock formations.
You could just see someone swimming in circular pool from our vantage point at the top of the cliff.(4th picture).


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There had been no phone signal for a few days so we read and began to compose a blog off-line before joining Geoff and Jill for a truly slap up meal, pie with all the trimmings and raspberry turnover for pudding with wine and great company ,thanks guys for a good evening.

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We all managed a quick dip in fern pool in the morning before we departed Karijini and Geoff almost trod on a Dugite snake as it was early in the morning and he caught it unawares. There were more gorges but they were all 4 wheel drive tracks and we had been advised against them by the rangers.
The road out was an interesting colour red sand on the exit side and black tar on the entry side.

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Tom Price a mining town was our next destination to re stock and take advantage of phone reception to check our emails and comments on the site but we didn’t have enough time to send off a blog. We paid for our long stay in town by only just scraping into the nearest free camp by dusk, we try very had not to travel late as the wildlife here is big and hurts if you hit it.
We barely had time to eat after putting up the tent before falling into bed.
Next up Exmouth snorkelling heaven
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Our website http://www.guzzioverland.co.uk
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1979 Moto Guzzi Spada 1000
RTW trip May 2010 - current day
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Old 11-15-2011, 11:37 PM   #14
pirate63
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Great update guys,you certaintly seen alot of oz since we met you at the horisons meet in Dalby
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:00 PM   #15
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Blog 187 Snorkle Heaven 10th – 20th Oct 2011


It was our earliest wake up yet 4am but we were rewarded with an ever changing sky a good stretch of road with beautiful vistas and perfect temperatures (for a while at least). It’s not only the distances that are big out here the vehicles are too. We also encountered an unusual airstrip, the main road is used by the flying doctors in emergencies and they have priority, something else to look out for.



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We made it to Exmouth by 2pm. Exmouth contains the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park with coral to rival the great barrier reef but snorkling distance from the shore. We were keen to explore.
Our timing was off it was the school holidays and all the cheap national park campsites were full, there were still plenty of commercial ones around but we had to stock up first.
It was only a small shopping centre and we chatted to many people before we could get to the shop, the townsfolk of Exmouth and the tourists were very friendly and generous with one family insisting on giving us a spontaneous donation to keep us going which we were extremely grateful for.
We used some of the money to purchase a snorkle for me and the rest went in the tank before we headed out to Yardie homestead campground.
Yardie proved a great base with really laid back managers who gave us good local info. It also had grassy sites our first grass for months, what joy to be able to bang the pegs in easily. They told us where to look for the turtles on the nearby beach so that was our afternoon covered. On our return to camp we spotted this double rainbow.

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Next morning after doing some washing we headed to the national park pleased to find the entrance fee for bikes was half price at $5.Our first stop was the beach known as Oyster stacks which we had to visit at high tide so close was the coral. We spent an amazing couple of hours watching all manner of fish and even saw a stingray. We quickly realised that a day or two here would not be enough.

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Next day we travelled to the end of the park and explored Yardee creek. It had a sand bar blocking the outlet to the sea and only breaks through on a king tide, we enjoyed a pleasant two hour nature walk and great views up along cliff edge.

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We had no means of underwater photography so Kev rode into town one day to hire a camera whilst I cut my hair and caught up with the essentials. Our camp was very social and we got friendly with three fishermen down from Perth who gave us some of their fresh catch for dinner which we cooked on the bbq later, delicious. The galahs were also very friendly but didn’t try to steal our food.


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One day we labelled black Wednesday started out promising enough the fishermen left early for the days catch, we had a good morning and by afternoon had decided to view the turtles again passing the fishermen on their way back before we headed up a different track. The sand started to get really deep and just as Kev was about to give up and park bang, no drive, the engine was fighting against the drag of the sand and our patched up drive cog sheared again. The bike stood up on its own in the sand but this time there was no way I was going to pull it out on my own as Kev would have sit on it to keep it upright.
I was just on the verge of walking back to camp to score a lift when a ute appeared we were in luck as it was the campsite managers. They deployed their winch to drag us out but it was attacked by the gremlins too and wouldn’t pull in so they hooked on and reversed the ute instead. I guided the bike while Kev sat on it to keep it upright. I rode back with them to camp leaving Kev to remove the drive box ready for when hopefully I would return with a lift to town.
Back at camp I approached the fishermen as they went into town most days. Their usual high spirits seemed missing and after explaining our woes they handed me a bottle of beer and packed a beer or two for Kev saying they had to go into town to fix their own problems anyway. On the way they explained that they had suffered an electrical fault on their morning fishing trip and lost all power culminating in them cutting the anchor free as they had no means to bring it in (not something you do lightly). They had to limp back to land on the auxilary emergency engine so their fishing trip was over if it couldn’t be fixed.

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Kev was ready for us and in need of his beer when we collected him. Luckily the fishermen knew a good welder who was cheap and our repair was only $10. They weren’t so fortunate so would be heading home tomorrow. They dropped us back at the bike and we reassembled it quickly to return to camp for the night.
The whole Ningaloo marine park runs alongside a huge spit of land which is full of the big Red Kangaroos and emus, we had to be back before dusk every day or it got a bit hairy. The fishermans brand new ute had a stoved in door and wing from hitting a roo, they are like a lump of solid muscle and do a massive amount of damage if you hit one. The coast ranged from rocky to pristine sandy beaches to coral with all types of shells. Up at the lighthouse the view out to sea was so clear we could spot distant whales.

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We stopped at Sandy bay a secluded curved shallow beauty, here we found the kite surfers and marvelled at their control of the wind and sea. A young lad swung right next to the beach picked up his girlfriend shot out to sea and dropped her back again barely getting her feet wet. Other people were doing tricks and jumps and it looked great fun.

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Turquoise bay was described as drift snorkel, the idea being you gently drfted with the current but the wind was strong so I opted to let Kev test it first. He said it was like hitting the fast forward button no swimming required with a strong pull out to sea so we moved to another more sheltered and safer location. We were lucky enough to see a reef shark and stingrays in the shallows but they were too quick to catch on camera.

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Over the course of our time here we explored every bay and snorkled every where we could, the colours were incredible and the varity of sea life outstanding especially as it was so close to shore but eventually it was time to move on.

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Next up Quobba and the blowholes
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Our website http://www.guzzioverland.co.uk
Our photos. http://www.flickr.com/photos/guzzioverland
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RTW trip May 2010 - current day
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