Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   Australia / New Zealand (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/australia-new-zealand/)
-   -   Thoughts on routes - Sydney to Darwin - which way would you go??? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/australia-new-zealand/thoughts-routes-sydney-darwin-way-37097)

J1mbo 11 Aug 2008 19:01

Thoughts on routes - Sydney to Darwin??? EDITED- Change of plan - what tools &prep??

See my reply to this post for the update....




I know it really depends on what I like seeing etc, but after some of your thoughts on a route from Sydney to Darwin.

To set the scene:

Its going to be at the start of a trip from Sydney to London, probably leaving Sydney Feb 1st and taking 4-6 weeks to get to Darwin.

I'm riding a Aprilia Pegaso Strada, so capable of going on tracks etc but certainly not an off roader. It has a tank range of 220-250km, although I'll probably take another 10 litres of fuel when necesary, so probably up to 400km with that.

I'm keen to see some of the more remote areas, but also will be travelling on my own and haven't done anything like that before, so I guess the Tanami/Gunbarrel etc etc are out.

I'm doing a week/10 day trip in December which will be Sydney-Melbourne (via coast), Adelaide, Sydney (via Wagga etc) and have also seen a fair bit of this area already, so no need to spend much time round here on the main trip. I've also seen around the Ulru/Alice area too, so no need to visit again.

The options I've thought of are:

1) This is was the original plan:

Sydney - Port Lincoln (via Dubbo, Broken Hill etc) - Perth (via Nullabor) - Broome (via Coast) - Darwin (via Gibb River Road, weather allowing)

2) I've been looking at the map though and it seems a very long way to Perth and the West Coast!! So this is the other option:

Sydney - Bourke - Mt Isa - Tenant Creek - Broome - Darwin

It will be around 2000km shorter, i'll still get to see a fair bit of the middle and the top, but will miss out the whole of the East & West Coast, so will be mainly inland.

3) In the same direction, but getting to see some of the QLD coast, which I haven't seen any of, but still seing some of the middle/top, but about the same distance as the 1st option:

Sydney - Brisbane - Cairns - Mt Isa - Tennant Creek - Broome - Darwin

This seems interesting but I'm not that interested in seeing that much of the Sydney - Cairns stretch, I'm thinking the West Coast could be much more appealing?

Any thoughts on the above routes as well as ideas about timing would be greatly appreciated, plus any other suggestions!!



RogerM 11 Aug 2008 20:48

I'm not sure that February (often the hottest month) is the time of year to be contemplating a semi Outback trip. The Gibb River Road may or may not be open - that will depend on how much rain is falling/has fallen, you'll need to check on that prior to committing yourself. Have a look at exploreoz.com.au for some good road info.

Sticking to the coastal route is sensible at that time of year, but you still have some hot travel from Townsville across to Darwin. Also the coast North of Fraser Island is nothing to write home about (a lot of mangrove and mud) - its the Islands offshore that are great. But you can head up into the hills to have a bit of a cool off now and then.

If you could postpone until mid April, I'd do something like - Syd - Canberra -Alpine Way - Albury - Murray Valley Hwy to Mildura - Broken Hill - Flinders Ranges - Lyndhurst - Oodnadatta Track - Alice Springs - Darwin. Plenty of side trips available and cool enough to enjoy the country at that time of year.

Frank Warner 12 Aug 2008 00:11

Umm what have you not seen?

Oonadatta track is normally fairly safe trip and worth doing.

Febuaray .. well Litchfield and Kakadu will be wet .. but if you can they too are worth seeing .. even if the crocks are everywhere .. just don't do deep watercrossings! It would be a pitty to miss these for the WA west coast ..

West coast of WA .. long streches of sameness ....

flying biker 15 Aug 2008 09:33

When I rode from Sydney to Darwin in 2005 I covered that stretch from Mt Isa to Tennant Creek.

Sections of the road from Mt Isa to Camooweal were by far the worst I encountered on the whole trip, although the sections that had been rebuilt were excellent.

The leg between Camooweal and Barkley roadhouse is about 270km, so your normal tank range won't be sufficient there.

Highways in the Northern Territory are generally in pretty good nick.

ZephyrLGreen 17 Aug 2008 03:39

Up through the centre

I totally agree with the comment, if you can post-pone till April then do so. Tasmania is really nice that time of year.

BUT .. if you are going to do that trip then go up through the centre ... it will be bloody hot .. 40+ before 9am some days ... stay pretty much on the highway and travel in cool of the morning and cool of afternoon ... comparatively speaking. It will not be as interesting as other times of year ... but the evenings in the desert are nice and if you carry plenty of water and stay near to where there is some access to services (fuel, food cool places to hang out in the heat of the day) then it is still an adventure.

Be really careful about traveling at night ... it is cooler and all the animals know that as well. Try to stick to daylight travel and enjoy camping under the stars.

A few days staying underground in Coober Pedy will be a good break from the heat. The stretch between Roxby Downs and Coober Pedy is 330km between servos. I did the Darwin to Melb trip on a 84 XT 250 ... so whatever you are riding you will have more capacity that i did ... carry extra fuel and water. Don't drink the water in the Maralinga exclusion zone ... it is radioactive. God i sound like someones mum ... i'm sure you work all these things out.

It is actually ok up round Darwin that time of year ... hot but a few storms maybe and some places where it is ok to swim.....................want to continue the adventure then you can ship to East Timor quite cheap and have a look around up there as well.

Hope this little observations are useful. Look me up when you get to Darwin.


J1mbo 19 Aug 2008 17:51

Thanks for your thoughts and advice!!

Feb 1st is pretty much set in stone, so looks like I'm just going to have to deal with it being bloody hot!!

I'm thinking now the middle could be much more of an experience than the coast, I'll see plenty of coast in SE Asia etc...

So, the Xmas trip for 7-10 days could look something like:

Sydney - Melbourne - Adelaide all via coast, then Mildura, Shepparton, Albury, Canberra via Alpine Way, Sydney.

The main trip of around 4 weeks could be something along the lines of:

Sydney, Tamworth, Bourke, Tibooburra, Broken Hill, Flinders Range National Park, all the way up the middle to Dunmarra, west through Halls Creek to Broome, then back to Halls Creek, up to Kununarra and finally to Darwin.

Any thoughts on this? Sound like more of a challenge than the coast, although a fair bit hotter!!



swaino 22 Aug 2008 23:22

4 Week trip
Sounds like a great trip, if you manage the heat properly, it'll be fine. Thats a big side trip to Broome, be careful that time of year, it's not uncommon for the fitzroy river to flood and block the road, you might have a lengthy camp on your hands there.

Chris D (Newcastle NSW) 23 Aug 2008 22:11

Syd to Darwin
With 4-6 weeks I would not be going via Perth there is far too much to see and experience by staying in the Centre or making your track through coastal or outback Queensland. The distances via Perth and Broome are vast and need more time than 4-6 weeks in my opinion that is unless you just want to sit in the saddle.

The Barrier Highway via Broken Hill from Sydney is not my choice, have a look at the Murray Valley Highway along the Murray River to Mildura and Renmark, then on to the Flinders, Oodnadatta Track is a well maintained allweather gravel road nowadays, overnights at Maree, William Creek and Oodnadatta are all worth a look as is Coober Pedy.

If going to Yalara, which is a busy but wonderful experience at least once, have a look at the road west from Mount Cavanagh on the Stuart Highway through Mulga Park. When returning to the Sturt Hway after Yulara take the Luritja Road north through Angus Downs then either past Henbury Meterorite Cons Park, or continue north past Kings Canyon and into Alice via Larapinta Drive. This way you avoid the highway that all the tour buses use and there are lots....

East and west local trips around Alice will take up at least a week if you are interested.

Don't discount the Tanimi you can do it on a bycycle, unless it is wet, great well maintained all weather gravel road that is a wonderful outback experience. This takes you to past Wolfe Creek Meterorite Crater and on to Halls Creek a great little outback town close to Purnululu Nat Park and Bungle Bungle Range. Choices here include Gibb River Road and if you really want to see Broome here is your chance. Gorges a plent in this country as well as Tunnel Creek.

North or east to Wyndham and Kunanurra, Victoria Highway to Katherine and take the Kakadu Highway through that National Park at Pine Creek, then a short days drive to Darwin.

Any questions drop me a line.

Another real option is through central Queensland which is also a great part of the counrty, but will let you have a look at the other first.

We are also heading for Europe in early 2009, but will be heading via North Asia.


toasthall 18 Sep 2008 15:14

Like Chris D said, I think that it is really worth doing the meteorite tour, being Wolfe Creek Crater Wolfe Creek crater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia via the Tanami track, Henbury meteorite craters Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Henbury Meteorites Conservation Reserve - Find a Park - Parks - Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts and Gosses bluff Gosses Bluff crater - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Tnorala (Gosse Bluff) Conservation Reserve - Find a Park - Parks - Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts

I did it a few years ago (not on a bike though) and it was a great trip, there is quite a bit to see around Alice then the road is pretty much boring up until maybe Mataranka.

Have fun no matter which way you decide to go.


Frank Warner 18 Sep 2008 23:24


Originally Posted by Chris D (Newcastle NSW) (Post 203586)
JOodnadatta Track is a well maintained allweather gravel road nowadays,

Don't discount the Tanimi you can do it on a bycycle, unless it is wet, great well maintained all weather gravel road that is a wonderful outback experience.

"All weather Gravel Road" must mean something different to me then .. I'd not try to travel on those roads when they are wet.. think the loacl councils will say the same. I call tehm dirt roads .. because that is what they were when I travelled on tehm last.. and I don't think anyone has spent that much money on applying gravel to them ...

For the Oodnadatta Track - try ringing the "Pink Roadhouse" for information .. Pink Roadhouse - Oodnadatta Track (South Australia) Both Adam and Linn Pate were motorcycle riders .. so they have some perspective of a riders view.

J1mbo 14 Oct 2008 08:14

UPDATE - the plan has changed!!

Thanks for all of your previous replies!!

Things have changed a little.....the big trip back to the UK has been postponed by at least a year, but I am still planning on a 6 week trip leading up to Xmas.

The plan is to leave Sydney in the first week or two of November and spend 6 weeks getting to Adelaide for Xmas, then head up to Noosa for NYE and back down to Sydney.

The plan in terms of route will be pretty rough, probably head up the E Coast to Cairns, across to Darwin then down the middle to Adelaide.

I've got an Aprilia Pegaso Strada, which is a dual sport, but pretty road focussed. I don't want to spend much on prepping the bike as I can't afford it and also am planning on changing it before the big trip.

So the question is, based on the fact that I'll stick mainly to the tarmac, would you bother getting the following:

Crash Bars
Bash Plate

Also, I know next to nothing about maintenance. I'm going to get a full service before I leave and am likely to cover around 15,000km. I'll change the oil every 5000km and also clean the filter. I'll get myself a puncture repair kit too.

Other than that, any tools you'd bring with? Bearing in mind I don't know what to do with them!! I do have the service manual, so sure I can work it out though....

Thanks in advance!


Frank Warner 15 Oct 2008 02:24


Originally Posted by J1mbo (Post 210923)
So the question is, based on the fact that I'll stick mainly to the tarmac, would you bother getting the following:

Crash Bars
Bash Plate

I'd get the handgards for comfort .. but you can do without any of that.

The crash bar/ Bash plate too me is you get one not the other type situation .. and I'd get teh bash plate .. particulary if you do any off sealed road type stuff.


Originally Posted by J1mbo (Post 210923)
Adelaide for Xmas, then head up to Noosa for NYE

I think that is a bit quick .. you'll not be seeing much ... can be done easily but you won't have too much time for exploring ..

I'd do Sydney - NSW alpine region - Vic high country .. then along the Murry River, Grampions, Adeliade, Then fairly qickly through Broken Hill Dubbo .. then cut through to the coast and spend some time going up the coastal areas to Noosa .. That would be a relaxed 6 weeks .. depends on if you have done those areas before ..

J1mbo 21 Oct 2008 23:58

Thanks again for your responses. Once again the plan has changed, so I'm going to write another post. This one is for definite this time though!!!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:46.