August 31, 2002 GMT
The Outback

I had ended up in The Outback without really realizing it. The road from Charters Towers to Mt. Isa is very open and isolated. It’s an amazing feeling to be out on the road with no other traffic. Lots of road kill and birds. I had my first kangaroo encounter. They are extremely unpredictable and bounce around in front of you before hopping off into the bush. I don’t ride at night or early in the morning for this reason, but they can be found during the day in very remote and quiet places.

bike fully loaded outback.jpg
There was room for me somewhere.

There is some very diverse scenery around Cloncurry, which is also where Australia’s highest recorded temperature was – over 50°c. At Camooweal there is a sign warning of no fuel for 265km. I needed had to carry a jerry can for this stretch as I only have a range of 200km when the bike is fully loaded.
I stopped for the night about 100km short of Barkley Homestead at a rest area (free camping) I nearly got back on my bike and left after the horror stories I was told by a couple who’d stopped for a bite to eat. Whilst giving me a cup of tea and feeding me biscuits they told me about a mad killer on this stretch of road who’d killed a guy who lay in his swag next to his bike (as I was planning to do) without even waking him up (well why would they?) I went and set up camp near a big pink bus. Later the owners of the bus invited me to sit around their fire and told me that the killing spree in this area had happened near Mt. Isa in 1978 and nothing had happened since. Silly man – I reckon he owned the caravan park in Barkley Homestead because he really thought I should go there to be safe! Instead I saw a beautiful sunset out in the bush.

sign flies 2 mil.jpg

At Three-ways it seemed to get real hot. I couldn’t ride with my jacket on any longer. I put sunscreen on my arms, but not far enough up, because when I got on the bike, the wind blew my t-shirt sleeves up and I burnt the tops of my arms. I am now stripy – brown forearms, burnt tops of arms and white shoulders.
At Daley Waters I went to a caravan park. I hadn’t had a shower since Cairns and I needed one.

I am now in Darwin and going on a four wheel drive tour. I’m not to keen on tours but it will be nice to let someone else drive and a lot of Kakadu National park is inaccessible by bike. (Especially when the rider has trouble staying up-right as soon as she leaves sealed roads.)

Posted by Nicky Austin at August 31, 2002 02:54 AM GMT

Hey Nicky

I popped on to check out this website as you suggested - it's excellent - you were right! Nice to bump into you in Airlie - glad to hear you have kept the shiny side up!

Blue and I headed down to Canarvon Gorge as planned, though my flat tyre continued to chuck out it's plugs throughout the morning, so we had to head backwards to Mackay to get a new tyre (luck had it the shop there had one!). Canarvon gorge was gorgeous (slight pun there t'hee). Not much dirt in as I expected, much of the road has been sealed. Consider doing it next time! From there we headed to Brisbane and took a boat over to one of the islands for a few days. The trip then came to a slow end via Dorrigo and Gulgong to visit friends. I'm now back in Sydney and Blue is back in Tumut.

Drop us a line next time you make it out to Oz. Don't forget to look at those websites for Australian bike rallies, you need to plan ahead due to the distance.

Say g'day to Catherine for us!


Posted by: Jenny on September 2, 2002 01:04 PM GMT

Well done love, glad you are enjoying yourself and fullfillin a ambition grannie
sends her love and thank you for the card
love from both of us
old grey head

Posted by: grandad on September 4, 2002 12:31 PM GMT

G'day! I'm vicariously enjoying your trip, revisiting the land down under where I lived eight years ago. I remember this Aussie scuba instructor at Cairns who insisted anyone could learn to dive in the time it takes to boat from Cairns to the reef. On the way back, he talked me into trying "boom netting." What they do is trail a net behind the boat, onto which brave (and foolish) passengers climb. Then the skipper hits the throttle. "It's like a saltwater sauna," gushed the Aussie tour guide. In other parts of the world, they call it "getting keel hauled." Anyway, happy trails to you and no worries, mate! Richard

Posted by: Richard Menzies on September 10, 2002 05:40 AM GMT

Finally found time to look at your site again. I envy you very much for all the experiences you are having. Never mind the dirt etc it must be the trip of a lifetime hope you manage to do it again someday seeing the places you have missed out this time. See you in Bali in three weeks. Love MumXXXXXX

Posted by: Mum on September 19, 2002 07:42 PM GMT

G'day Nicky,

How long di you stay in Isa? We were there in July. Had a great time. Did one of the last MIM mine tours. Saw Cloncurry and later on broke down trying to get to Mackinlay about 35k on in. Finally found some blokes heading back in to Cloncurry to organise a rescue from RACQ.


Posted by: Bob Milka on November 11, 2002 12:23 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

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