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  #106  
Old 17 Mar 2011
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Bunderberg.

Time to be heading south and the first natural stop was going to be Bunderberg.

Famous for its Rum and where it produces said rum and also the untold millions of fruitbats that inhabit the surrounding forests and take flight at every dusk and dawn, this tends to be a bit of a backpacker magnet due to its location and because of its size as a town.The original plan was for me to spend a while here and take the chance offered of learning to scuba dive....quite affordable to train up as a acomplete novice.

I have worked in confined spaces and have worn a respirator/gasmask with no problems at all for days on end....as a work requirement and not some strange fetish I might add. But as soon as I started to don all that cumbersome gear for scuba diving I was getting out of my comfort zone.

I also soon found out that an after effect of getting into brawls when I was younger was that I could not shut off the breathing through my nose....not a very useful ability when underwater and trying to breathe with a mouth feed only.

I have never had a panic attack in my life until this point, but being weighed down with equipment and having water trickling down my nose and breathing it in was an utter horror.....I was not cut out to be a diver for sure.
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  #107  
Old 17 Mar 2011
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Fruit Bat Bomber Command

I would have loved to post a few thrilling and scenic pictures of the waves of fruitbats rising from their roosts and ascending into the orange skys...I really would.

However, this was not to be.

Bit of random knowledge for us all here. Fruit bats when they awaken tend to do what most animals do and urinate before getting to work hunting and in the case of bats that means immediately after they have taken wing.

Underneath the roosts on their flightpath are the dozens of tourists taking photos, and having observed this airbourne attack ahead of me ...like a instant cloudburst of reeking,rancid rain soaking them....I did a very quick U-turn and headed for tourist information centre which was the one and only cover nearby. And spent the next 10 minutes watching tourists running around in franctic circles and getting soaked in bat urine.

I personally think that this should be number one on the list of things to see before you die.......really, you have not lived until you see a few Korean tourist girls running around in a field, covered in bat wee.

Last edited by BaldBaBoon; 3 Jun 2013 at 01:38.
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  #108  
Old 17 Mar 2011
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Random Photo time.

Flooded road North of Rockhampton....took me ages to find a semi-naked Australian girl and throw her in the river to get soaking wet before I could produce this picture for you.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-1.jpg  

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  #109  
Old 17 Mar 2011
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I think for most people, If you do not have a substantial amount of time to spend in Australia....this is the point of the journey that would be worth travelling.

The other places are stunning and filled with adventure ( or mis-adventure ) but....by God...there are some big distances involved and unless you are flying/railing across the country, it is a tad impractical to expect to cover much of this stunning land in a month or less.

The East side of Australia is the most populous and the vast bulk of the tarmac roads are here as well as the cities, its a beautiful place and everything is pretty much achievable without going all survivalist/expedition mode to see it.

The climate is not a massive problem ### this is back in 2009 before that horrendous weather hit recently #### and you would not need anything more impressive than a dual-sport or even a road bike to see this gorgeous place.
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  #110  
Old 20 Mar 2011
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Mitta Mitta

When I first flew out to Australia, I was aware that there was going to be a HU meeting in the coming months and if I kept an eye on my route...I could arrange to be at the meeting. Never managed to get to any HU meetings back home because of the horrendous 100 hour weeks I used to work.....this would be my first!

Still several weeks ahead and a fair distance I set my self a winding and pretty much random route that would cover a lot of the coastline and then swooping back into the inland areas to see things as I wanted at a whim.

Time to put my new budget tent to the test and wallow in the delight of actually having room enough to move inside it......First things first, a good old meal of spam and fried egg.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0280.jpg  

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  #111  
Old 20 Mar 2011
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After moving down the coast and visiting the almost traditional places to see like Hervey Bay, Fraser Island and the Gold coast......The terrain was now moving into a more familiar look of what most of us in europe would be used to......lots of farmland and rolling hills, woodland and more tolerable temperatures for us lily white skinned Brits.

Still keep an eye on your UV exposure though, the temperature might be lower now but the sunburn risk is still far higher than anywhere I can think of back in europe.

Every once in a while I would see a place name that appealed to me and cause me to dart in land just to see it....Toowoomba, Goondiwindi,Bogabilla etc etc, To find some roads that were a great pleasure to ride upon. A nice hilly tarmac road can be a treat after months of gravel riding.

And have a quick guess at where I stopped to do the touristy thing from these photos.....first person to get it right will be bought a pint at the next HU meeting in Ripley....it is a hard question though.
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  #112  
Old 20 Mar 2011
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I Stayed in Brisbane for a few days in the AYHA hostel to basically have a good wash and meal after camping out for the week, several nights on a pretty impressive national park by the sea....and to dump the fresh pineapple that I had bought about 2 weeks ago and never got around to eating.....possibly because I started talking to it at night in my tent, and it would feel like canniablism.

It was at this point I was first exposed to the somewhat ' them and us ' attitude to the adventure biking out here.

I had met a fair few bikers out here already ( that I have not mentioned in the story, sloppy writing ) and they proved to be a varied but great bunch of people. A road rider I met in Coober Pedy was riding all the way to Darwin ( road ) from Melbourne to see his sister and celebrate his 50th birthday on a Kawasaki Ninja 600. I met a few in Alice Springs, off roader lads with KTM's who were happy to stop and chat and many others.

Brisbane AYHA had a few overland type bikes already there and as bikers do, you tend to park up next to the other bikes.After booking in and dropping my kit bag off, I then went back downstairs to do my routine maint and check the bike over like every night......To find that the other bikes had been moved and parked again in their own very neat line a few spots away.

' 3 fully dealer specced ' brand new BMW R1200 GSA's with a rather impressive assortment of various aluminium panniers and gubbins sat a dozen feet away and almost glowered at my little DR650 sat on its own.

Later on while sampling a rather fetching local wine in the bar, my ninja like perception alerted me to the 3 riders as they walked in covertly still dressed in their full motocross gear ( at 10:00 PM ) and as misfortune would have it sat across the bench from me.While eating my dinner ( lovely steak and chips ) and doing some paperwork I had the chance to overhear, well everyone was meant to overhear I think their opinion on the ' wannabe bike ' in the carpark amongst other stuff.....yep that would be my bike then.

Normally at this point I would have just stamped all three of them into to floor just on principle and also to improve the evolutionary gene-pool....however as I had mellowed out on this trip, I did not.....and even politely answered a question from one of them.

One of the gentleman enquired If I was travelling by road as he had noticed I was completeing a route map ( distance and bearings etc )...

" yes indeedy " says I.

" I am riding that little pretend bike out the front next to yours "

" It is a ride for a charity that has helped me and I want to help them back.....Sociopathic Dislocation and Paranoid Rage Society " .......I continued while letting a little bit of drool, dribble down my chin.

" I have ridden across Europe,Africa and swum to Australia and I just about to complete my 7th complete circle of World " ......if you would hang on, I will go and get some of the photos.( I may have lied a little here )

They did not want to be my friends and avoided me for the next 2 days.
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  #113  
Old 20 Mar 2011
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Snowy Mountain Highway

Named possibly because it is a highway up in the mountains that gets snowy.

Great area to have a play on, the national park roads wind up and down and across gorges, with views over landscapes of forest and hills.There are dozens of rivers to just amble alongside and well thought out camping spots in the trees to camp up if wanted.

Another bonus is that it is getting a tad cold up in the hills....well compared to the rest of Australia ...a welcomed and blessed variation on waking up and spending the rest of the day baking and sweating .I really enjoyed this part of the trip...except for the lack of cold weather clothing, but the wax-cotton ranchers coat was worth its weight in gold here.

I cannot even recall the rough route I rode for the next few weeks, it was just random stuff down any track that caught my eye, stopping off to grab some food and fuel and camping in the woods...awesome stuff for a loner.
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  #114  
Old 20 Mar 2011
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For those of an astute eye, you may have noticed that by following a map..this trip appears to be a little disjointed in its geography.

Two Reasons

1) There are parts of this trip that I cannot quite recall with any great accuracy in relation to timeframe.....highly likely to getting into a party mood/drunk on a regular baisis.

2) Some towns or cities, I just did not like the look or the feel of the place.....Sydney being a prime example, and simply avoided or bypassed them.

Sydney was the first proper sized city I had driven in for over a year ( being in the middle east prior to trip ) and it was an utter culture shock trying to fight through the city traffic..ergo, I did not even try and just turned round and left Sydney in less than an hour.
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  #115  
Old 22 Mar 2011
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Location.

Somewhere heading south from the Snowy Mountains towards the blue mountains by the off-tarmac roads.

I had been riding all day and apart from a fuel stop and resupply of some meat for my campfire dinner tonight at a backroads servo, the route had been completely deserted until I met a couple of lads just pulling up next to me.

Dave and Brian as they introduced themselves were on their way to a weekend off camping up ahead on the route...something they have been doing as youngsters and an ever increasing number of friends had joined them until it became an annual event.After a and a bite to eat and a chat, They invited me to the event and gave me the rough location as on their map and bid me farewell.

Just a case of following these damn enjoyable dirt tracks through the hills and following the rivers until I found dozens of bikes parked off to the side, a few bonfires and hopefully the smell of roast pig wafting through the air.
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  #116  
Old 22 Mar 2011
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A full three days of mellowing out, drinking /wine/mead, eating good food and completely removed away from any towns and worries.....and a freshwater river next to it safe to drink from.

Met a lot of good people, happy to natter and share tips and info about Australia.

Most of the bikes were standard road bikes and the lads and lasses riding them had no travel whatsoever in getting into the hills, I looked for any HU stickers and found none, but this is the exact kind of thing these fella's were into.
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  #117  
Old 27 Mar 2011
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Just to prove that I was not going crazy.

Here are the photo's of the giant concrete sheeps genetalia that I happened to pass in a rather surreal part of the journey.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0303.jpg  

No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0304.jpg  

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  #118  
Old 27 Mar 2011
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Mitta Mitta

It was time to head for the Horizons Unlimited meeting at Mitta Mitta.

Positioned in a rather impressive setting that was cradled by hills and wooded areas, this was a refreshing ride to reach.The site was the extended back garden/lawn below a pub in the village of Mitta Mitta that had a river flowing at the bottom and a Bar-B-Q stand rather generously provided on the river side.A fair distance to reach away from any main towns......and that was all the reason I needed to eat like a king for the next 4 days in the pub.

I arrived early on the day before the event and pretty much had a free hand in where I wanted to place my tent.A corking little spot was located that was equal distance to the Bar-B-Q stand...the Pub...and had a good shelter of trees and was on firm,level ground.

Tent was struck, Bike was de-kitted and then it was into the bar to regale the locals in my well practised story of how I was travelling the world and working as a pole dancer to fund the trip.

A smattering of bikes were starting to arrive through the night.
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  #119  
Old 27 Mar 2011
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Mitta Mitta

Having crawled into my tent at some unknown hour, fuelled by a few sociable s, I had a very content and sound sleep.....in fact by the time I woke up, there was a fair amount of bikes parked up and a virtual tent village in half construction that I had slept through.

Poking my head out of the tent I was met by the immediate site of seeing a German registered bike and then another, a Brit plate and a smattering of others....

I had been told so many stories by ' people in the know ' about how much of a nightmare it would be to bring my own bike to Australia that I excepted their words as wisdom.
Here infront of me was the proof that that was utter tosh and people can bring their bikes here if they desired....in fact most of the bikes had actually ridden here overland from various countries of origin.

The rest of the day was pretty much people settling in and basically meeting and greeting that seems unique to HU events, these meetings really do appear to be a cut above in the way people can immediately just strike up a conversation and get along.

The Aussie lads next to me also had my love of making huge breakfast on the Barbie with obscene amounts of sausages....so things were looking damn good.
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No plan, no research....Australia, here I come.-pict0272.jpg  

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  #120  
Old 27 Mar 2011
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My little K-mart $25 tent deserves a whole posting to itself.

This cheap as chips budget, 3 man dome tent had worked without fail/leaking and was a real morale boost in terms of having room to stretch and actually move. The heavens opened over Mitta Mitta and stayed open for most of the four days, this is not the kind of weather where you want to find your gear somewhat lacking.

To combat the torrential downpour, I needed to do no more than attach the hoochies to the surrounding trees to act as an additional water break....and to dig a drainage channel in front of the tent to divert the literal deluge of water running down the hill.

Point of note.

You do not want to place your tent downslope from a run-off gutter, as a couple of unfortunate people found out when they found out that their incredibly expensive tents were actually starting to float down the river.
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