March 15, 2002 GMT
Vicious wombats

After leaving Brisbane, I rode South in the company of fellow British overlanders Mark and Clare (Also on XT600's), who were heading for Sydney to catch a slow boat to NZ. I had recently spent a month in NZ myself, sans bike, and cautioned them that large quantities of water were likely to drop continually from the sky, in a way horribly familiar to residents of the UK; but they were still determined to go. We managed to successfully avoid asphalt roads for a large proportion of the trip, by staying a couple of hundred kays inland of the Pacific Highway. Oz is a country so wonderfully endowed with dirt roads, and equipped with excellent, cheap roadmaps, that spending the entire day blasting through the dust is a thoroughly pleasurable experience.

Looking down the road.

After passing through the Northern end of Wollemi National Park, we parted company just north of Lithgow; I headed west to Canberra, while M & C disappeared into the clouds of smoke emanating from the bushfires surrounding Sydney.

Australian countryside - clouds of smoke on horizon.

Meeting up with Mike in Canberra, we headed westwards by an extremely circuitous route, via Deua National Park to the coast, then looping round through Wadbilliga NP, crossing the Snowy river and then north to the Alpine NP. Our objective was not so much the achievement of Westerly movement, more a sort of dirt-road training cruise.

Doing the dirt with Mike, on a circuitous route from Canberra to Melbourne.

Doing the dirt with Mike, on a circuitous route from Canberra to Melbourne.

After five days of travel, we had made it as far as the town of Nimmitabel, approx 2 hours drive South of Canberra!

Mike, as an ex-KTM owner, now on a BMW R100 equipped with Michelin deserts, was by far the more capable offroader. Yours truly, as the Horizontal Irish Biker, was distinctly less talented, and almost became Horizontal on a number of occasions. Particularly when we picked a 4x4 track 3kms North of Harrietville in the Alpine NP to take us in the direction of the town of Bright.

Mike with bikes.

Ye gods. On the way upslope I was standing on the pegs, bent over the tank so I could inspect the front wheel from close range. Halfway up, I knew I wouldn't be able to get back down, so was obliged to keep going. The other side was, if anything, steeper and very loose - really lucky that I had removed the luggage, which used to sit on the seat behind me, as I felt like I was hanging my ass over the taillight.

Sorry Grant, this is precisely the sort of thing you never get photos of... I mean you can hardly say 'Hang on Mike, just hold it there with that expression on your face while I find somewhere on this rubbly 45 degree nightmare to park, and once I've fumbled my camera out and stopped shaking sufficiently to operate the shutter, I'll take a great picture.'

No. Doesn't work, really, does it?

Tree on the road.

So we plummeted down the other side to the 5 or so creek crossings which finished the whole job off, and I discovered that Mike's BMW has a cleverly designed bashplate extension which sluices the water to either side thus keeping your feet dry. Whereas the Yamaha has an equally ingenious system which fires it straight up your trouser legs, thus (presumably) keeping your feet nice and cool on hot days, (and scaring the Bejasus out of your pet ferrets).

And so to Melbourne:

Out of cash and out of options, I return with leaden feet to the profession of animal doctor, at least for a little while.

At some unspecified point in the future, my bank balance may be sufficiently recovered to tolerate a trip to Western Australia -

Connor prepares to fight off vicious wombats!

Connor prepares to fight off vicious wombats!

Till then, keep an eye out for 1/2 inch flying beetles, and avoid exposing any open-ended tubes...(doesn't bear thinking about really)...


Posted by Connor Carson at March 15, 2002 12:00 AM GMT
Sorry, due to heavy form spamming, Comments are OFF.

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!