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-   -   Sydney to Darwin (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/route-planning/sydney-to-darwin-2227)

flying biker 22 Feb 2005 03:03

Sydney to Darwin
Hi there.
Planning to ride from Sydney to Darwin in the near future.
Wondering if anyone has done the trip and can advise the best route, and best places to break the journey.
Thinking of heading up via Bourke, Longreach, Mt Isa, Tennant Creek.

gazzr 22 Feb 2005 19:08

Hi Mate,

I covered must of that route when I was living in oz in 97. I rode from Sydney to Bourke for the day and back the day after which was a long ride and as you can imagine didn’t get time to see much (apart from the odd dead kangaroo!). There’s a zoo at Dubbo that might be worth a visit on the way through. Can’t remember what was after that until Bourke. Bowling club does typical RSL food lol.

I have also travelled from Townsville to Darwin (via Mt Isa) on a different trip.

Mt Isa – Just a normal Aussie town but you can do some mine tours from there, change to stay at a half decent hotel, hostel etc.
Berkley Homestead – Just a service station with a nice little campsite at the back (and some good hot food).
Tennent Creek – As Mt Isa but with chance to do a Gold Mining tour (pretty good actually!)
Daly Waters – A well known place with just a pub left, worth a detour off the main highway.
Mataranka – A must visit, an oasis in the middle of knowhere with natural hot springs. They probably have a wesbite but have camping and probably motel caravan accommodation
Katherine Gorge – Worth doing a Gorge tour for a day and some good hiking, might be too hot though for that.
Kakadu – Also a must see, I don’t have a map in front of me but I think you can turn right off the main highway and pass through Yellow Waters (good boat tour), I camped at Jabbiru. Camp site was good (I think it was a big4 campsite (try big4.com.au)). Also a tour to Noulangrie rock (Aboriginal paitings etc). Theres a place that’s name escapes me but its north east of Jabirru that was quite scenic and looked over the wetlands. You can then head back to the main highway about 100kms north of where you left it and head to Darwin. You can do a Crocadile tour “Jumping Croc Tour” or something like that. Some people like it but others think its taking advantage of the crocs by turning them into circus animals etc.

Litchfield NP is to the left of the main highway and has some interesting waterfalls (in the wet season) and was quite pretty.

I tended to get brochures from travel agents on the way and use them to roughly plan my trip, without the sitting on a coach part!

Let me know if you need any more information though or have any questions, I was riding a ZZR600 and didn’t need any extra fuel tanks etc, just took it easy.


flying biker 23 Feb 2005 09:37

Thanks for all that.

I have visited some of those places you mentioned, such as Mataranka and Kakadu, but on that trip I was flying around in a light plane.

What was the range of your bike and did petrol availability cause any concerns? With a range of (usually) more than 300km per tank, I don't anticipate any problems, but from looking at the maps it seems refuelling opportunities are a long way apart on that section from Mt Isa to Tennant Creek.

DaveSmith 24 Feb 2005 13:01

I finished my lap round Australia a couple weeks ago. The longest I went between fuel stations was around 340k against the wind.

I have a 12 liter tank and used a 10 liter jerry can. It's a small bike, so the range is good.

The Australian Motorcycle Atlas says Mt. Isa to Camooweal is 189k. Camooweal to Barkly Homestead is 265k.

I can't remember where the long part between fuel stops was at but I didn't run out.


Trying to ride (and work) my way round the world on a 1965 Ducati 250cc. In New Zealand now. Japan in April. http://nokilli.com/rtw/

gazzr 28 Feb 2005 18:25

From what I remember the ZZR600 had an 18ltr fuel tank so made the journey from Mt Isa to Berkley Homestead with fuel to spare. I done longer runs in WA again with no problems. I'm sure that a 300km tank range will get you all around Oz (on the main highway) without having to take extra fuel.

flying biker 1 Mar 2005 10:16

Thanks for that. Looking at the maps I figure I should be able to make it to all the fuel stops shown, unless something untoward happens.

Not planning to leave the main highways.

Any other tips that anyone can offer will be appreciated.

DaveSmith 1 Mar 2005 16:36

I'm guessing you know to have plenty of fluid. A Camelpak was my best investment up north. I figured I'd stop plenty enough to drink and didn't.

Although you'll be up there in the wet if you leave soon. Very hot and the rain doesn't help. Usual Aussie warning: kangaroos, skinny cattle and roadtrains rule the road.

Trying to ride (and work) my way round the world on a 1965 Ducati 250cc. In New Zealand now. Japan in April. http://nokilli.com/rtw/

flying biker 3 Mar 2005 13:49

Yes I'll certainly be carrying plenty of drinking water.

Will be leaving fairly soon, so thanks again for the input.

Peter Colwell 10 May 2005 10:36

I rode right around Australia in 2003, and have also done three trips to the Centre.

Sydney to Darwin is no problem, the longest distance without fuel is Camooweal, - near Qld/NT border, - to Barkley Roadhouse NT. 265kms.

Sydney to Bourke, Longreach, Mt Isa is most direct route, but smoothest road, if that's important, is to Broken Hill, Port Augusta, Coober Pedy and Alice Springs. ie. via the centre.

On the trip around the country the longest stretch without fuel is Sandfire Roadhouse to Roebuck Roadhouse. Between Pt Hedland and Broome. It is 291 kms without any services of any kind. There are not even any farms or properties to go for help.

We had strong headwind on that section, but made it with fuel to spare, loaded on standard tank BMW 1100GS.


Mark Smith 18 May 2005 04:55


go via the Stuart and run the loop back - much better - thats a link to a trip report on where you intend to head

flying biker 4 Dec 2005 04:55

Thanks all for your suggestions - had a good ride to Darwin and back again.

The main problem I encountered was the heat on the section from Camooweal to Three Ways - having to stop at every rest area to drink some water to avoid dehydration.

The only scare was when an emu rushed out in front of me on the road just outside Charleville. For a moment it seemed a collison was inevitable but it veered away at the last instant.

michael cummins 7 Dec 2005 07:25

Syd/darwin. Look at heading through Wagga,Broken Hill, turn off at Yunta(just outside BH)ride over to Arkaroola & stay the night.Head back down to Wilpena Pound(Flinders Ranges)and Camp the night.Leave Wilpena and head up to Leigh Creek and get suppies and kick back. Then Ring the William Creek Hotel and book accomodation for the night,Jump on ya bike and head up the Oodnadatta to William Creek have a steak and a bottle of red /beers and sign the wall of the pub and make a donation to the RFDS. Next morning ride ove to Cooper pedy and stay at the desert cave motel. Check the place out.From here head up to Erldunda and turn left and go to the ROCK,stay a t the pioneer lodge its new and cheep.Walk the rock ?? depends on your beliefs, the next day head into Alice and check it out. Stay the night and have your bike serviced at RACE motorcycles . The next day head to Police station and tell them of your intended route. Head 25kms out of Alice and take the Tanami Track to Halls Creek this will take you two days solid riding, give yourself three if you want.Check out the track info as Rabbit Flat roadhouse is closed for three days a week and you will need petrol when you get there.After Rabbits Flat your next fuel stop is Bilyuna. From Bilyuna you are a 2/300 from the blackop and the Halls creek pub/resort. When you get on to the blacktop you can either go left to brome or right to halls creek and katherine and then Darwin.
Good luck
PS if you buy a motorcyle map (hema) it will have all of this but i suggest you get detail maps so as to plan your trip better.let me know if i can help.

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