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Having worked here in Malaysia for a few years, we've jacked the work thing in and plan to leave via bike in April, planning to ride at first through Indonesia and East Timor en route to Australia. The approximate plan is arrive in Darwin around end of May / beginning of June, ride down the West coast, through the Kimberly region, Broome and Perth, before heading North East along the Great Central Road to Alice Springs, continuing in that general direction until we reach North Queensland, before heading South and eventually reaching Melbourne towards the end of September. We then hope to catch the MotoGP before flying ourselves and the bike onto Santiago, Chile.
I have sufficient info on reaching and entering Australia, however I'd appreciate any relevant information with regard to routes, tracks, timing, etc. We'll be travelling two-up on our BM 1100 GS, so whilst keen to explore dirt trails, I'm not so niaive to replicate the Australian Safari! Have checked out the exploroz.com site, which appears to be useful, however any additional info anyone may have would be grately appreciated.
The timing is right for the Northern part of Australia. It'll be the dry season, best time to visit. Once you reach southern WA, it'll start to get colder but nothing bad.
Don't forget Kakadu National Park, and enjoy the Kimberleys.
The time of year will suit you well, my only reservation might be the distances you plan to do in the time available. There is so much to see - riding straight past would be a shame. The western and central parts of the country offer lots of space. The big joke about the outback is "mate, you gotta see it - there's nothing there!" So be warned - in the outback you are travelling vast distances with little to see other than kangaroos and road trains. I find the eastern seaboard and great dividing range more interesting country, with plenty of top dirt roads. I'd also suggest riding at least as far north as Cooktown and maybe Musgrave station via Lakefield.
If you're in a big hurry, you can get from Cairns to Brisbane in 3 days, Brisbane to Sydney in 2, and Sydney to Melbourne in 1 day, without too much stress (faster if you're happy with 1000k days), but that's riding the main highway. Allow considerably more time if following the more interesting routes.
As for maps, routes etc, there are plenty available in Australia and you can get lots of help once here. I find the HEMA range of maps very good.
BTW, our dirt 'roads' range from graded, quality firm dirt to bulldust, potholed, rutted tracks which turn from hell in the dry to murder in the wet. So just because a map says it is a 'road' you should ask for some local knowledge before passing through as conditions can change quickly.
Sorry to barge in, but Ross, how are the tracks from Hann River RH (Cape York Pen) across to Dunbar and further to Normanton in the dry season? Also, what about the route from Borroloola to Roper Bar past Nathan River?
Em & Hame, good luck with your ride. Can i be really cheeky and ask of your route from Malaysia through Indonesia? Two guys and I are looking to go exactly that route later on in the year, about 2 to 3 months behind you. All being well we were planning on through China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia before shipping into Darwin, then on down the West coast to meet some friends who have moved out there recently from England.
Any info you could share would be amazingly helpful. My email is colin-patrickattiscali.co.uk
[This message has been edited by knobbly (edited 17 January 2006).]
There now is a Ro-Ro ferry operating between Penang and Belawan (near Medan); sailing every Tuesday, contact Alan in Penang on 012-438 3916 for current details when in Malaysia.
Once in Indonesia, I understand there are regular ferry services between islands all the way along the archipelago until East Timor, where you are able to ship your bike to Darwin, although passengers have to fly. Contact Rafael Ribeiro (Email address removed by moderator...use icon at the head of this message if you want to email Hamish for this person's email address) at Perkins in Dili for further information.
Hope this information is of some help and have a good trip.
[This message has been edited by Nigel Marx (edited 18 January 2006).]
[This message has been edited by Nigel Marx (edited 18 January 2006).]
we are on our way back to Australia. The bikes arrive in Miami from England today and then we will ride US and Mexico for a few more months before returning home. Home is Bribie Island a bit north of Bisbane. Plenty of room for people and bikes so remember to contact us when you are all close if you would like help and/or accomodation for a few days. We will want/need to stay in contact with travellers once we return home.
Lots to see of course all over and not enough time - when you reach Alice Springs considering you are heading to the Barrier reef etc, Id say to head north towards Daly Waters and turn at the 3 ways across instead of the Plenty Highway - instead of heading direct across Queensland turn left at Cloncurry amd head to Normanton - Karumba and then across to Cairns via Georgetown - Nice country plus you go past the Undara Lava Tubes - well worth a look.
After reading the various responses, I'm somewhat concerned our rough itinerary is perhaps a little ambitious for our 4 - 5 month trip, maybe not. I'd rather see less, but enjoy the time we've got, as apposed to tearing round the countryside, attempting to tick sights off a list.
Therefore, any experiences, advice, would be appreciated as to possible routes, etc.
Unlike some of the other posts here I think you have heaps of time - but then I'm more of a ride-through with the occasional day trip kinda person.
If you are looking for an interesting route, I'll replay a route I took in '88-'89 - I'm pretty sure not much has changed in central Australia in that time. Excuse me if I forget some of the names.
I started in Darwin (actually Sydney, and went to Darwin via the Birdsville Track and western Queensland) and headed south before turning west at the Victoria Hwy. Leave the main highway near Wyndham and take the Old Wyndham Rd south - unsealed but comfortable and amazing scenery. Down the coast highway to Perth, around the coast to Esperance, up to Kalgoorlie, up to Laverton, and then on to the Warburton Road (maybe 500 kms of dirt before fuel at Warburton town). This road goes through Docker River and on to the Olgas, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and then on to Alice Springs. Head north and then turn east at the Barkly Hwy. Ride to Mount Isa and Cloncurry and turn north for Normanton and Karumba (can't remember if it's before or after Cloncurry). Head east for the Atherton Tablelands (gradually turns from desert to dense rainforest) - there was a fair bit of dirt, but reasonably well-graded. Ride down the Giles Hwy into Cairns (fine riding). Head south for Melbourne! Good inland or coast roads - although the coast road from Townsville to Brisbane is pretty boring. I went inland to Charters Towers and down to cross into NSW at Goondawindi. Down through the northern tablelands, Hunter Valley and into Sydney. After Sydney take the Princess Hwy south, down the escarpment into Kangaroo Valley, and all the way along the coast to Bega (very pretty and not too much traffic). Then turn inland (I get a bit confused at this point) and drive up into the Snowy Mountains before turning south on the Monaro Hwy (beautiful snowy views and amazing tall forests) and back down to the Princes Hwy and on to Melbourne.
That was my route. I worked along the way so it took me 18 months but you sound like you are already cashed up. Hell I'd love to do it again.
With the route you have planed - you can shorten it considerably by leaving out North Queensland. From Alice Springs you could go south east on the Oodnadata track to the Flinders Ranges (beautifull) and then on to Melbourne. I'd see how you go. There are lots of options.
[This message has been edited by Frank Warner (edited 02 February 2006).]
from the bluemountains i went to jenolen caves and did a bit of dirt roads to reach yass.from there to tumut thro the wee jasper,reached jindabayne and from there took the barry way to near philip island , did a lil bit of the grand trunk dirt to philip island fer the gp. and headed back thro the dirt but diff route back to BM.would be interested to do dirt roads again to the MOTOGP, gimme a Shout,
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