October 11, 2006 GMT
G'day and G'bye Australia...

Here we are at the end of our 25000km ride around Australia...


It has been fantastic.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur of heaps of socialising, and increased beer, wine and food consumption (which explains why the four kilos we'd managed each to lose on our camping menus have come rudely back!) but I'll attempt to outline where we've been since I last wrote.

After watching five fantastic sunsets from our camping spot in Rawnsley Park, we left the Flinders Ranges and added it to the list of places to visit again when we come back with more time. With wonderful walks and beautiful bush camps, ancient rocks and loads to explore it's an area I'd definitely recommend.


We spent the next couple of days riding South towards Victoria through vineyards and orange orchards, the air heavily fragrant with blossom. We'd ridden into Spring. We rode along next to the Murray River, (through 'Riverland' named in the Australian way of being obvious!) stopping off at villages full of well-preserved old buildings and great campsites next to the river.


The nights were cold, we heard that the week before we'd arrived there had been a heavy frost which had wiped out the entire apricot crop for the year. Farmers here are up against so much, the ongoing drought, occasional floods, strange weather patterns, and China, which is taking over the production of so much stuff, and of course doing it more cheaply.


We visited a few wineries, with Hame at the handlebars I did the tasting for both of us (he was very patient as I got giggly by 10am) and discovered, amongst several other delicious wines, red champagne - another fab Aussie invention!

We called in to visit Kevin, the BMW enthusiast we'd met near Cairns months ago. He was really happy to see us and eager to show off his four restored old BMWs, they were pretty impressive. He had the most amazing tool collection I"d ever seen, I caught Hamish drooling over it when he thought no one was looking!


We'd been in touch with Gayle and Henry who we met on the Gibb River Road back in August. Gayle was away but Henry invited us for the night on the way to Sydney. And then we fell in love with yet another state, Victoria. Just when you think you've seen every kind of countryside there is to see in one country, Australia surprises you...

We rode thorugh green rolling hills, past distant snow-capped mountains (The Snowy Mountains, another imaginative name) and along windy roads until we reached Henry's farm tucked below the hills. Hame and I took one look and said, "We could live here!".


We could actually, within about 10 minutes of our arrival Henry asked us if we'd like to house-sit for him for a year from April. Although it was incredibly tempting we will be exploring South America by then... but what an offer!

We had a great night with Henry, he told us all about the area and his life there. In the morning Hame was up way earlier than me as is normal, rushing back in at 6.30am to tell me to come and watch a calf being born. Being an urban girl this was something I'd never seen so I ran off to watch Hame and Henry deliver a calf, who I named Hamish. I watched the cow softly lowing to him to get up in the early morning light and felt all full of country romance... then Henry said Hamish the calf would be ready to eat in a few months.



We admired Henry's merino sheep and alpacas - we'll be seeing a lot more of them in South America - before we had to go, somewhat reluctantly. We had a long journey to Sydney ahead of us, mostly on a highway which was a bit of a shock after all the months of outbackness.

It seemed to be ages before we were off the highway and I'd forgotten to charge the iPod - so no music - but finally we arrived in Gosford, to visit Steve and Rose (the camp-cake experts from Lawn Hill). Rose had prepared a fantastic meal (which accounts for at least one of the extra kilos) and we went for a lovely cliff top walk with the the following day.


It was great to catch up again. We feel very fortunate as we've been welcomed by so many people, too many in fact as we've had to turn down a few invites due to lack of time. But we'll be back, we're quite sure of it.

By chance old friends of ours, Bill and Jean, were holidaying in Gosford too so we spent the night staying with them in their caravan - which was more like a small house! We had a great night catching up and playing cards and laughing a lot.


After a Big Aussie Breakfast and more goodbyes it was time to hit the city...


We managed to navigate our way through Sydney (reminiscing about the time we were there together seven years ago, who'd have throught we'd be back on a bike!) to Andrew's house, a friend from bike days in Malaysia. An old mate of mine, Matt, who I'd not seen for ten years came too so we had an evening of lots of talking accompanied by lots of beer. I was fairly fragile the next morning.

It was a lovely drive down from Sydney to Kiama where my Dad and stepmum Sue live. Dad had called and told us to make sure we drove through Stanwell Park, it turned out to be a really stunning road built out over the sea next to the cliffs.

Dad and Sue had moved since we last saw them to a great house with a pool, despite the fact it was winter I managed to get in it every day! We had an excellent week exploring the area and eating lots, going for walks and chatting. We all had a lot of fun and it was really hard to leave.



But leave we had to, with only two days to get to Melbourne. Hame didn't want to miss the Australian Bike Show on the 6th and 7th October but we had to get there to allow at least a week to sort out some bike issues and details for flying the bike to Chile.


On the way we stopped off with Ron and Liz at Lakes Entrance and shared another hangover (the last one was shared up on the Gibb River Road where we met them when I asked if we could buy a six pack from them! Their answer was "No! But you can have one, come and drink it with us...") Another fun night - even Bertha got into the party spirit!


I got quite sad on the way to Melbourne thinking that this was our last big ride in Australia...

We're staying with my cousins Martin and Fiona who've very kindly given us a key and let us use their house as a base - this is a real blessing as we've so much to do this week. It was good to meet up with relatives I'd not seen for ages and catching up on all the news.


Hamish gave Bertha a total service yesterday at a workshop whose owner, Keith, let him work outside at the back (usually people are too scared to do this because of insurance issues.) Keith was a top bloke and we were ever so grateful. It took Hame most of the day as there were one or two things to sort out. Today he's off getting the shock rebuilt. It has been leaking gently for weeks and is still under warranty, luckily the agent is here in Melbourne. Then we'll have to get new tyres, tighten a few nuts and bolts, give her a good wash and generally get her ready to be freighted.

We've also met our shipping agent, Margaret. The whole process seems pretty straightforward (famous last words?!). We've been fortunate to aquire a steel crate from BMW in exchange for a crate of VB, and we'll be allowed to crate her up ourselves, which has saved us quite a bit of money.

We've got a pretty fantastic schedule for the next few weeks. In a few days we fly home for a family wedding in Scotland, then back here to Melbourne via Dubai - the plane stops there anyway but we're visiting old friends from Malaysia. We've another week here in Melbourne to get the last bits sorted for South America, crate the bike, catch up with a few more of my rellies and friends of Hamish, then we fly off to Chile on November 17th, via Tahiti and Easter Island. It's tough, this travelling thing...

When we booked the flights back in June we got pretty good deals, and as the agent was finding out about the Chile flight she asked me if I wanted to stop off at Easter Island as well as Tahiti for the same price as flying direct. Hmm, tough choice. Took me about 0.2 second to say yes. We finally arrive in Santiago on November 28th, and the bike should arrive a day or so later. We are very very excited!

So, Australia as a place to live?

Definitely. Australia has so much to offer, you could live here in any climate or environment you chose simply because of the size of the country. You could choose not to have seasons at all, or only very mild ones. You could choose dry or wet, hills or plains, mountains and snow or rolling green hills, desert or lakes... the list goes on. It's all here, if you have the skills Australia needs. Talking to people who've emigrated here has been interesting, and it seems as if Hamish and I would qualify - we've been offered jobs several times already and apparently there is a bit of a shortage of teachers and engineers, in fact there's a bit of a shortage of most skills.

Australia has much to offer everyone and it would be a great place to bring up children, there is just so much more for them here - more opportunites, more space, more freedom. The cost of living is cheaper and house prices are cheaper. There seem to be so many advantages, and we've yet to meet anyone who's emigrated and regretted it.

Australia is many times bigger than the UK but has a third of the population... it is healthier, friendlier and more relaxed. Culturally there are some similarities to the UK, it is 'Same-same but different' as they say in Thailand. Coming here we really have the feeling it is a land of opportunity, as cliched as it sounds. I could go on and on.

Of course there are negative points too; nowhere is perfect. But the positive points far outweigh them, as far as I can see.

I came here having been on short visits before, and not thinking of it as a place to live, mainly because it is so far away. Now though, I can't see any reasons why NOT to try and emigrate - after all it is only a plane ride away from the UK... However, we've a whole new continent to explore yet, so who knows where we could end up!

Next time I write in here it will be from South America...Must go and get on with those Spanish lessons. So far I think we know enough to order a beer and say thank you. What else do you need I wonder?

Adios for now and muchas gracias for reading our blog.


Posted by Emma Myatt at 03:53 AM GMT

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

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

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

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!