January 03, 2009 GMT
Oz Christmas

Christmas day was spent with a early swim on Coolum Beach. Dom Rafaele & Nick joint us for lunch and a few more swims be for heading of to Budrim to visit Peter and Sue for a delicious supper and a few x-mas cheers.

us at xmas.JPG

on Boxing day the beach called again for a swim and a walk to work up a appetite for lunch. after watching the start of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race we where invited to Peter & Sues for a traditional x-mas lunch. While Peter did all the hard work we spent the time in the pool with gin & tonics topped with lemon sorbet. Yummmm!!! Tash's recipe.

all of us.JPG
x-mas dinner

Saturday Peter & Sue organized for all of us to go to Trios Restaurant on Noosa Harbor for a lunch and a few more hours with our kids and peters family.
thanks again for a wonderfully x-mas and you very generous hospitality.

Peter Sue.JPG
Peter and Sue

Lunch at Trio's

It was now time to say our goodbyes as we are getting ready to set of on our journey.( just in time as I dint think our suspension could handle another lunch)
From Coolum we head north toward Rockhampton and the west toward Mt. Isa
we leave Rockhampton at 5.AM to make the most of the cooler hours in the morning the first few hundred km's nice and cool riding over the Dividing Range,
as the day goes on the roads are getting straighter and the temperature hotter.
we stop in Alpha to have a break and change in to some cooler riding gear, after a rest in the shade of a tree we are ready to hit the road again.We can see some dark storm clouds on the horizon but we seam to travel parallel to it so we are not to concerned about it. A few more ks further on, the road takes a right and we are now heading straight toward the storm ( its the only turn between Alpha and Tennant Creek) as we are getting closer the wind seams to push the rain away from us so we keep driving thinking all is good , no need to change in to wet weather gear.

after the storm.JPG
after the storm
So much for nature, another change in the wind and we are in the middle of the storm within seconds, drenched to then bone we emerge in to clear sunshine within a few minutes we are dry and hot again, so we ride on and arrive in Longreach mid afternoon and 600 Km's later.

Sunset at Longreach

from Longreach we keep riding west toward Mt. Isa the roads are long and very STRAIGHT.
Straight Road.JPG

Bike riding in Oz: you ride for hours and you still got a long way to go..........
The only thing that keeps you awake is looking out for wild life on the road, dead or alive, mainly Kangaroos, Cows, Sheep and Birds that feed on roadkill.

We arrive in Winton, in the distance we can see the monsoon clouds building as the day gets hotter, we keep our riding gear on so as not to repeat yesterdays episode, the sky is getting darker and we seam to drive right in to the storm...
Not a drop, totally missed it, the wind just moved it out of our path. As we come around a corner and over a crest there is a small river ruining over the road that was created with the last downpour, we are traveling at about 120ks, hit the breaks, straighten up and go for it we still doing about 60ks when we hit the water,
never knew that a bike creates so much wash, soaked again. The temperature is raising and as we approach Cloncurry we reckon it's about 40 C just outside town is a big sign claiming that the hottest day in town was 51.4C a couple of years ago, so what are we complaining about ? It's a mild day. After a stop at the local and some hydration therapy we tackle the last 120km for the day and arrive in Mt Isa about a hour later.

Mt Isa.JPG
Comming in to Mt Isa

We have a look around town and end up staying at the Irish Pub for the night. The following morning we set of early to cover the next 450ks to Berkley's Homestead where we stay and spend new years eve. We had a few beer's with some fellow travelers and wished each other a happy new year!!

Early in the morning we set of toward Stuart Highway ( Tennant Creek) after ca 180km we came to the three way Homestead where we met 2 Scottish guys, who are riding around Australia. We set off along the Stuart Highway toward Daly Waters, where we had to stop at the famous Pub for a beer.
Daly Waters.JPG
Daly Waters

In the Pub

It started to really to hot up, on our way to Katherine, we meet our 2 friends again and rode into Katherine together. With the help of Forbes's GPS we find a hotel for the night. After a few more beers and a Chinese meal it was bed time , traveled 850 km today.



Not to early the next morning the 2/1/09 we headed to wards Darwin ONLY 360km away (easy).
On our way we stopped at the Lichtfield National park at the Florence Falls for a very nice swim. Beautiful Falls, like in the pictures and because of the wet season a lot of water.

Lichfield National park

One hour later we arrived in Darwin, staying at the Pine City Resort ( Tip from Rod thanks Mate great place ).
Darwin is hot, wet, green and lush, a great place, lots of Restaurants, Nightspots, Shopping, great Harbor, lots of things to see and do. We are having a great time here, after a week of the outback.

Posted by Mark Allenspach at January 03, 2009 04:43 AM GMT

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