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Old 09-30-2009, 04:05 PM   #1
enookway OP
Are we having fun yet?
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Leeton NSW
Oddometer: 265
Australia, Victoria, Big Desert

Big Desert 26/27th September 2009

After a few trips to the “Little Desert” and a supported ride of the “Big Desert” last year, we thought we were ready to take on a multiday, unsupported ride. The Big Desert is in North West Victoria, in between the “Little Desert” and the “Murray Sunset National Park” further to the North. Basically 3 areas of Mallee scrub on sand with crop farming in between.

Starting Point was Kaniva, chosen for its abundance of blokes we knew with sheds, beer fridges and pool tables. Two of us travelled up from Portland, the other 4 were locals. Bikes included 2 x XR650’s, WR450, WR426, WR250 and a lone KTM400.

The Route as it ended up. Original intention was to come back down the Border track, but the plan changed due to lack of time.

First stop of the day just North of Nhill. Even though the sun was out, the wind chill was about -5.

First catastrophe of the day, stand spring missing off a WR250.
Roads were a bit sloppy after 60mm of rain through the area in the previous week.

Reached Lake Hindmarsh and found a nice flowing track up the West side:

Complete with shelter just before a brief shower:

Lake Hindmarsh looking south. This lake has been dry for a few years but used to be a pretty popular water skiing lake.

Down onto the lake bed. Western side is this sort of scrubby shit

Then it turns into flat sand on the East side. There was about an inch of water in big sheets that was creeping slowly eastwards with the wind.

Gettig off the lake is a bit tricky if you cant find an access track. So we steamed through this lot.

Got into Rainbow just before the servo shut. This family had been out in the mulga for a week:

North of Rainbow is Outlet Creek, actually the Wimmera River, which has like the lake, been dry for a while. About 25km of a bit of this:

And some of this:

And a lot of natural MX track carefully bermed and whooped to buggery by locals on MXers. No photos of those bits as I was hangin’ on far too hard.

Next Lake is Albacutya. Not sure how many times the boat ramp was extended before they gave up:

Bit of a picnic on the beach:

North of Albacutya is some rolling dunes with an absolute hooter of a track through it:

If you like sand:

Then its back into the Wimmera River heading into Wyperfeld National Park, then more windy through trees stuff:

Being a typical national park, there are hundreds of really good tracks, of which the untrustworthy public can only use 1, or less preferably. From Wonga Camp through to Pine plains is pretty open. Be good fun on a 950, except for the 40kmh speed limit:

The top end of Wyperfeld comes out at Lake Agnes near the Pine Plains homestead:

The wind sock in the last photo suggests this is an airstrip:

The day was getting away a bit by then, so next stop was the Underbool pub:

Room, Dinner and Breakfast for $50.
The bar was a bit rowdy after some football game on that day.

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Old 09-30-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
enookway OP
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Leeton NSW
Oddometer: 265
Big Desert Day 2

Day 2
Parc Ferme the next morning:

Security was proven when we couldn’t raise the landlord to unlock the gate. Then when someone did finally turn up they couldn’t find the key. So the only way out was the front door:

Refuel at Underbool caused the second catastrophe, ironically caused by the first catastrophe the day before. A Honda was used as a stand for a Yamaha with no stand spring, and they both fell onto the kerb cracking a clutch cover:

Repairs were made while the owner swore and cursed anything blue:

So the wounded Honda headed down the train line beside the highway to Murrayville, while the rest of us headed through the top end of the Big Desert State Forest:

Had a fart around on White Springs Lookout:

This section was around 100km but mostly sand, with some clay pans:

And more sand which varied from chopped up washy crap from recent traffic:

To cleaner stuff which was much easier to ride:

The map showed a dotted line to the North. Don’t think it had been classed as a road for some time:

Refuel of guts at Murrayville:

Then refuel of bikes. Bowser operator had a Husky 360 so had some handy tips:

The Old Murrayville track is a rollercoaster of dunes and Mallee scrub:

Not sure what the frown is all about. I must have swallowed a lemon.

The Old Murrayville track ends on Cactus Bore Track:

Which comes out onto the Murrayville Track:

At Sim Perrys Hand Bore Pump. Evidence of the stock droving history:

Tourist Stop at the lookout at Delisio Track

Then another play on the lookout at Chinaman Well Track:

After that, it was pretty much straight down the road to Kaniva.

Nuts and Bolts for the Trainspotters:

Leg 1, Kaniva to Rainbow, 122km:
Zig Zag of back roads heading North East to Lake Hindmarsh, then across to East side then back roads to Rainbow.

Leg 2, Rainbow to Underbool, 172km:
West to Wimmera River, followed river to Lake Albacutya, then North via Outlet Creek to Park Road into Wonga Camp. Then Dattuck track, North South track, Ginap Track, Eagle track, Moonah Track, Merdian track, 9 Mile Square track, Racecourse track, Gunners track, Patchewollok road.

Leg 3, Underbool to Murrayville, 101km:
Shearing Shed Road to Park Boundary, Majorlock Soak track, White Springs Track, Johns Bore track, Firebreak track, South 5 Chain Rd, Murrayville Nhill Road.

Leg 4, Murrayville to Kaniva, 171km:
Murrayville Nhill Road, Old Murrayville track, Cactus Bore track, Murrayville track, Milllers Rd, Boundary rd, then zig zag of back roads to Kaniva.

Don’t have accurate fuel figures but I planned on 12km/l in sand and 14km/l or better on roads and wasn’t too far out.

Local Contacts:
Most of the servo’s will open on call if you ring ahead and give them some idea when your coming.

Pfeiffers Fuel & Rural Supplies
03 5397 2008
Sat 8:30 -10, Sunday Closed
Kaniva Servo
03-5392 2587

Murrayville Hotel Motel
03 5095 2120

Peers Motors - Holden Garage
(03) 5095 2081
Open on call weekends
Murrayville Hotel Motel
5095 2120

Queen Bee Roadhouse
03 5092 1141

Patchewollok Community Store
(03) 5084 1242
Fuel Sat and Sunday 10am-12pm
Schilling Service Station
(03) 5395 1026
Sat 8am-1pm then 5pm-8:30 sun 8:30am-5pm
Underbool General Store
(03) 5094 6270
No Fuel
AJ Gloster
(03) 5094 6291
Sat to 12pm
Underbool Hotel
(03) 5094 6262
Single $50 includes Dinner & Breakfast
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:20 AM   #3
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: was Kununurra, now Carnarvon, Australia
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great pics mate
Some men like the fish'n,
Some men like the foul'n,
Some men like to hear........
to hear the cannonball a roar'n!
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:42 PM   #4
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Location: bald knob
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looks good!
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:43 PM   #5
Bok Befok
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Location: Montana
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Great pics there
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:31 PM   #6
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challenging terrain,.........great....
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:39 PM   #7
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Location: Gtown,SA
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Awesome riding there mate!
`08 KDX200
`08 SE950R
`11 KTM690
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:13 AM   #8
Little Man
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Joined: Jun 2006
Location: wollongong South Coast NSW Australia
Oddometer: 638 the report,and thanks for the logistics too!
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Old 10-02-2009, 04:57 AM   #9
Enroute to a PUB
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Lake Macquarie , NSW, Australia
Oddometer: 3,674
Some of those tracks look like heaven to this ole sand lover
KTM 950 SE
Yamaha WR 450 F ( + Rally spec )
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:57 PM   #10
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Oddometer: 2,160
What a fantastic ride report!!

I've been meaning to get down to that area for a while.

SAND!!!!!! Love it.

I like this rig:

2006 640ADV

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Old 10-13-2009, 04:45 AM   #11
enookway OP
Are we having fun yet?
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Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Leeton NSW
Oddometer: 265

Originally Posted by pugsley the report,and thanks for the logistics too!
Logistics is probably a good idea for a thread if one doesn't exist already. With our tiddler bikes and limited fuel range (up to 250km), the hardest part of rides like this is finding out where fuel is available and when they're open.

The most successful method I've found is to bung the town name into whitepages and hopefully find the local pub/shop etc, then ring them to find the servo's number. Yellowpages returns very little as the servo is often called something totally irrelevant from the town name.

So I have a list of a lot of servo's, shops, bush nursing centres, and pubs baround the Victorian Deserts and further south if theres anywhere useful to post it.

Cheers Ian
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:55 AM   #12
All Orange :-)
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Northern Rivers, NSW
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good report mate.

Did someone mention sand DannoJ to the bat phone pls

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Old 04-04-2014, 07:21 AM   #13
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Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Brisbane(ish), QLD, Australia
Oddometer: 46

That looks nice.

I would like to get down there to ride that area one day.
2000 KTM 250 EXC
2000 KTM 520 EXC
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