The trip and how it all started....

My dream was to ride a bike across the Stuart Highway from Adelaide to Darwin. To do this I first had to get myself to Australia. After having saved just enough money to buy myself a ticket and some cash to spend on my stopover in Thailand, I arrived in Australia with a little bit over AU$300. Not enough to realize my dream, that was for sure.

Back home I also got myself a Working Holiday Visa which allowed me to work in Australia. After some jobhunting I managed to start two jobs within a couple of days of arriving in Melbourne. During the daytime in a factory and during the night in a restaurant.

To cut the story short, after three months of working my ass of in Melbourne, I had enough money to buy a decent bike (an '86 Honda XLV 750) and all of the other gear I needed (jacket, pants, helmet, camping gear, bags, spares, tools etc.).

Monday the 3rd of June I will leave Melbourne. The trip has changed a little bit, well actually quite a bit. I will first head to Adelaide and continue the trip to Perth. In Perth I will problably stay for a few days. After that it's up to Broome where I might work again for a couple of weeks. From Broome it's up to Darwin and then down South to Alice and back to Melbourne. All and all a pretty long trip covering more then 12.000 km. Wish me luck!!!

June 13, 2002 GMT
Melbourne to Adelaide

Day 1 - Monday June 3 2002
Finally it was monday, the day I was going to leave Melbourne and drive to the West of Australia. I planned to leave early but ofcourse that didn't happen. All these things that have to be sorted out at the last moment took ages. Anyway, I managed to leave around noon and tried to leave the city. Easier said that done. After some driving around in the city, not being able to find my way out, suddenly my clutch started to give me troubles, lots of revs, but no power. I parked it at the side of the road and found the problem pretty quick. A week before I changed my clutch lever for a new one and hadn't adjusted the clucthcable to it. Easy fix!

After about 45 minutes I was finally on the freeway to the West, but because of roadworks there were speedlimits all the time and I just didn't seem to move on. Finally after having passed Geelong I was out on the Great Ocean Road and drove allong this beautiful coastal route untill Apollo Bay. I reached this little beachtown around four and it was already getting cold, so I decided to find some accommodation and call it a day.

Day 2 - Tuesday June 4 2002
After having fixed a leaking clutchcovergasket I left Apollo Bay around ten o'clock. The Great Ocean Road first took me through the winding roads of Otway National Park and after that along a amazingly beautiful road right along the high cliffs and rock formations called the12 Apostels.
At the end of the afternoon I crossed the border with South Australia. Soon after that I arrived in Mt. Gambier and spend the night in an old jail which functions as a backpackers hostel right now.

Day 3 - Wednesday June 5 2002
Today my goal was to reach Adelaide. The ride from Mt. Gambier wasn't very interesting in the beginning but as I came closer towards Adelaide the scenery became really nice and I before I knew it I was right in the middle of town. Adelaide isn't that big, especially not compared to Melbourne, so that was quite a surprise. I found some accommodation and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the city.

Posted by Dennis van Aken at 02:06 PM GMT | Comments (0)
Adelaide to Perth (across the Nullarbor)

Day 4 - Thursday June 6 2002
After having packed up and being ready to go the first sounds that came out of my bikes engine were scary enough to turn it off again immidiately. I had no clue what was wrong, but I thought it came from the rear cillinder. I started it again and the funny noise wasn't there all the time. I thought I better have it listened to by the Honda workshop which was luckily enough only 300 metres away. They told me they didn't have the time to look at it and so I had to go to another Honda workshop in town. I left the bike with these guys and they spend some time on it. When I picked it up again in the late afternoon they told me the funny noise I heard earlier that thay came from a loose baffle in the exhaust right behind the rear cillinder, luckily nothing really serious. So I decided to leave that like that and leave Adelaide the next morning. That night I met up with some English guys who were heading to Perth in their car the next morning as well and we agreed the drive across the Nullarbor together.

Day 5 - Friday June 7 2002
When travelling with more people than yourself it always takes a bit longer to leave in the morning, so on Friday morning it took till about noon before we made it out of town. We were trying to get beyond Port Agusta to a little town called Kimba. After a hell of a windy ride to Port Agusta (I was just hanging of the left side of my bike to keep it on the road) we checked in to the local tourist information kiosk and the English guys made sure that the England - Argentina match would be broadcasted in this little town of Kimba where we were going to. After a few phonecalls back and forth it was clear that the match would be broadcasted in the local pub so off we went, another 200k's to Kimba. We got ourselves two rooms in the local pub/hotel and watched the English team win with 1-0.

Day 6 - Saturday June 8 2002
After a late start we headed of West again and drove to the little town of Penong. Just after Penong a right turn and a 20km gravel road takes you to Cactus Beach, a famous surfbeach in the middle of nowhere. Apperently, Point Break with Patrick Swayze was filmed here. We were welcomed by Ronnie, the owner of the beach and the campsites just behind the dunes. 5 bucks a night would give you permission to camp on this beautiful spot in the dunes. The sunset out there was absolutely spectacular.

Day 7 - Sunday June 9 2002
It's funny how you never know a day could turn out so damn nasty. After having packed up the bike and the guys filled up their car, the car wouldn't start. It has had these troubles before. A few taps on the startermotor and everything would be fine, well not this morning. After lots of attempts, finally the battery was drained and we decided to push it into a jumpstart. We first had to push it back a few meters. While I was pushing the bullbar the hood came down and smacked my face
onto the bullbar. Not a nice feeling I can tell you! A couple of loose teeth, a big cut in my lip and chin and a terrible headache was the result and still the car didn't start. While I was recovering in the sand, the guys got Ronnie to call a mechanic who showed up a couple of hours later and fixed the problem. I wanted to leave this place a.s.a.p. so in the end of the afternoon we left Cactus Beach and were on the way to Yalata, a roadhouse run by the Yalata Aboriginal Community about 200k's West. Somehow the bleeding wouldn't stop (maybe some stitches in my lip would have helped...) and the wind made the blood cover the inside of my visor constantly. That night we set up camp behind the roadhouse and spend the freezing night around a nice fire.

Day 8 - Monday June 10 2002
After a cold night with a bleeding lip (it still hadn't stopped bleeding...) we, again, had a late start. We ad a couple of sights to see a long the way and the first one was the famous sign which warned you for camels, wombats and kangaroos on the way. After that we too a right turn and went to Head of Bight. This is a platform between the dunes and the huge cliffs form where you can see whales between June and October. Fortunately there were a few. From Head of Bight it was onwards to the real Nullarbor the Treeless Plainwhich is a great thing to sea. 360 degrees of horizon with no trees. Somewhere in the afternoon we crossed the border and drove into Western Australia. Finally in the West! The Funny thing was that we hadn't seen any wild animals yet but in the first 10 k's in WA I almost drove into a couple of crossing kangaroos and the next minute I almost hit an emu. It was like as if the Australian Tourist commission had put them there as a welcoming comittee. As the sun was setting we saw lots of roo's in the bushes beside the road, absolutely a great feeling to see these animals in the wild. That night we spend on a campsite in Madura.

Day 9 - Tuesday June 11 2002
From Madura it was the last leg to Norseman, about 530 k's. We saw lot's of dead roo's beside the road but also a lot of running emu's. These are really the funniest animals. The way they walk looks so clumsy. We also crossed Australias longest stretch of road, 90 miles straight. One of our last stops was about a 100 k's before Norseman in the Dundas National Park and just next to to restarea was a huge dried out lake dried out lake covering a couple of hundred square meters. I couldn't help after all this driving on the tarmac to take the bike into the dirt. It was the best feeling ever, scrambling through the red klay. In Norseman we had our last night together, made a nice campfire, drank a few beers and enjoyed another freezing night.

Day 10 - Wednesday June 12 2002
Because I left alone this morning I had an early start. I left before 9 and made it to Kalgoorlie before 12. Kalgoorlie is one of the biggest mining towns in Australia. At first I was tempted into finding a job there since I heard all these stories about making a fortune there, but since I had no skills in the trade, I decided to just go to the museum and watch how they used to work in the old days. It was pretty interesting.

Day 11 - Thursday June 12 2002
Kalgoorlie to Perth is almost 600 k's. I wanted to get to Perth today and therefor had another early start. During the morning the scenery changed from the rough and red mining scenery into the hilly and green agricultural scenery around Perth. I finally arrived in Perth around 3 o'clock.

It was a great ride, but now it's time to get some cash in again!

Posted by Dennis van Aken at 02:24 PM GMT | Comments (1)

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