Australia 2003: First Annual HU Travellers Meeting

Why Come to a Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers Meeting?

You can meet people who don't think you're crazy for wanting to ride your bike to South America or Africa or across Asia, or even around the world! Admit it, all your 'normal' friends and most of your family fears for your sanity! So, this is your opportunity to meet the people who will encourage you in that craziness, share their experiences and advice on how to do it, and maybe you'll meet them again in Mongolia or Timbuktu!

Ulmarra NSW, Australia, April 25-27, 2003

Click photo for larger image. Photo by Simon Hughes

2003 speakers:

  • Ken and Carol Duval - Alaska and Africa
  • Haydn and Dianne Durnell - Australia
  • Cheryl and David Lange - North Asia, and all about Carnets
  • Cliff and Jenny Batley, UK to Oz
  • Ralph Dixon, Oz to UK

Meeting report from Ken and Carol Duval, meeting organisers 'extraordinaire,'

"Donning our full 'wets' forty minutes out of Brisbane we concluded that the First Horizons Unlimited Meeting in Ulmarra was going to be a very moist affair. Five plus hours later, waterlogged but undaunted we rolled into the Commercial Hotel just as a huge cloud emptied it's contents. Riders arrived through the afternoon completely unfazed by the weather and proceeded to erect their tents between cloudbursts. Australians generally are very thankful for rain when it comes as, in this driest of all the continents, these heavenly drops are a rare commodity, and besides, it is generally 'warm' rain. The Hotels' limited number of rooms were booked out early, and our hosts Dale & Kate Berney ensured we were all comfortable. Even the campers were catered for with a pile of fresh towels.

Photos from here down by Cliff and Jenny Batley...

and the heavens opened...

Friday was a 'get to meet everyone' day with some arriving well into the evening. The dirt riders being the last to arrive.... strange lot... they always seem to have the biggest grins. The covered, open-sided BBQ area provided excellent shelter and stories were exchanged of road adventures past and ones yet to be encountered.

Breakfast, which was included in the camping/room price, consisted of orange juice/tea/coffee, toasted bun loaf or bread and cereals.... sadly there was no Vegemite!

Phil Smith, (from the UK but living in Brisbane)

Ride organizers explained routes and endeavoured to entice riders out into the inclement weather to sample the surrounding roads. A brave few ventured out after we explained our intentions to commence our 'meeting' around 3.00pm with an informal discussion and question/answer time. This would be followed by a BBQ dinner and slide presentation from Ralph Dixon, Cliff and Jenny Batley, Haydn and Dianne Durnell and ourselves.

Opening the meeting, Jane Johnson read an E-mail message received from Grant & Susan Johnson. The meeting was very informative with questions being directed across a broad spectre of subjects to our panel of "experts", David & Cheryl Laing, Ralph Dixon and ourselves.

Haydn Durnell, Simon Kennedy - UK (with bike) and Rachel Delavaud - France

'Carnet de Passages' were discussed at length, problems with the fuel systems of modern bikes and their intolerance for the low quality and leaded fuels. The free flowing discussions were preceded by brief accounts of when and where our speakers had travelled. It was difficult to slow the momentum of discussion even when our hosts commenced preparations for our evening BBQ.

International visitors included Simon Kennedy (UK) Honda Transalp, and Rachel Delavaud (FR) KLR 250, who departed the UK in September 2000 on one bike travelling overland to Australia where Rachel purchased her own two wheeled transport. Cliff & Jenny Batley (UK) on 2 BMW F650s departed the UK in May 2002 travelling overland, but only recently arrived in Australia from New Zealand. Jeremy Franklin, (UK) Moto Guzzi, purchased the bike in NSW for a circumnavigation of Australia. Mark Deeley (AUS) NX650 was enroute to East Timor via Darwin heading to the UK.

Cheryl & David Laing with Cliff Batley

Slides proceeded quickly with Carol & I clicking through our adventures in Africa and Alaska followed by Ralph Dixon's exploits from Australia to the UK on a BMW F650. His journey was a fund raising effort for Multiple Sclerosis. A flamboyant storyteller, he often had us in fits of laughter. Our English overlanders, Cliff & Jenny Batley rushed together an impromptu digital presentation of their travel achievements in the Middle East, Asia and South East Asia.

The coup de grace was Haydn & Dianne Durnell's journey around Australia on their Harley Davidson. It was difficult to finish proceedings for the evening with several people talking well into the early hours of the morning.

Tom Forde on the F650 with Katy Harmsen

The venue was brilliant considering the weather, with ample space to escape the elements. Only positive comments were received about the food and our hosts who are more than willing to have us back again. Our first HU Meeting attracted 60 travellers or future travellers and special thanks go to the following people who, without them, the whole show would not have been possible.

Mike Stokes, Jane Johnson, Haydn & Dianne Durnell, Janette Connolly, Tony Cuffe, David Bell and Brian Tunks.

See you there next year!

Ken and Carol Duval, Event Organisers

And we want to add our thanks to all of the organisers, you did a terrific job, and thanks to the folks who came and had a great time - see you on the road someday, somewhere...

Grant and Susan Johnson

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Some comments from those who were there...

I had a great time at the HU meeting. Great dirt roads to get there, met up with some good friends, made several new friends and enjoyed lots of interesting conversations. Ken and Carol (and others) did a great job. I think the same time and same place next year is an excellent suggestion.
Cheers, Tink, F650 Dakar, Brisbane, Australia."

Ron Durkin to the Oz Adventure Riders list

"G'Day All

The 1st Horizons Unlimited OZ gathering was held last weekend on the banks of the mighty Clarence at Ulmarra.

Good roll up (56) with at least a dozen travellers (and good participation of the BMW Bris GS team). Good presentations on overseas travel, some very funny stories and a large slide show & tell in the evening. Only let down really was the weather.

The OAR (Oz Adventure Riders) list got a good nod from HU's Brisbane Community Champions (Ken & Carol) It seems nearly all travellers are aware of or use our list and have to varying degree sampled OAR hospitality (I have even met some that have never heard of Nunawading!)

OARs Mike & Jane also did great support for the event and it seems that this could become a regular event.

It seems I was supposed to do a GPS presentation (wasn't aware) but did deal with the topic one on one with attendees. Will offer a treatise (an IMHO) to the list shortly.

Simon (UK) was there still looking for that sunshine (Mate ... come to Brisbane this, week it's here now!)

Mind you I want to change the logo of the event tee sheet though! From "One World - Two Wheels" ... to "One World - Two Wheels but no Kalashnikovs! (thank you very much)"
Cheers RTO"

We made the papers!

News story and photos by Simon Hughes:

Click above photo for larger image.

Click above photo for larger image.

Cliff and Jenny Batley, UK, F650's

Chris And Trina Weinberg, Cedar Creek, Australia

Brad Harker, Ken Andeson, Noel Harker

Camping at the back of the Hotel.

Haydn and Dianne Durnell, Toowoomba, Brigitte and Erik Waegeman, Gold Coast, Australia,

Jenny Batley, UK, F650

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Graham Healey, Alan and Trish Geritz

Barry McDonald and Jan Robinson, Lismore, Australia

Bryce Wentworth, Armidale, Australia

Rachel Delavaud (France) and Simon Kennedy (UK).

Haydn Durnell and Cliff Batley.

Murray Brown - drying out.

Ralph Dixon and Mark Deeley (head down)


The Rally Location

Ulmarra pub 12 kms from Grafton, NSW, on the Clarence river

The Commercial Hotel, Ulmarra

Dining and slide show covered area

Camp ground at the rear of the pub, backing onto the Clarence River

Getting There - GPS, Maps

GPS location: 29° 37' South 153° 02' East map. Zoom in for more detail.

Frank Warner sent us some links to great info on Ulmarra from, and the pub we're going to be at. Also Government of Australia, Ulmarra info here.

Other Accommodation Possibilities

So far as we know ... - enter "Ulmarra" for links to accommodation etc. The Commercial Hotel is the pub - and the only accommodation. See info above for rates for the event. Grafton is also possible and only 12kms away.

Jacaranda Motorlodge , (9kms south of Ulmarra, 3kms north of Grafton.)
266 Pacific Hwy Grafton NSW 2460
Ph (02) 6642 2833
Fax: (02) 6642 6351
Single: $70
Double $80
Twin $90 Price does NOT include breakfast.

You need to do your own bookings there. Contact David at the lodge.

Jacaranda Motor Lodge

Jacaranda Motor Lodge, and Map here

"This beautiful unspoiled valley provides some glorious contrasts. Waterways are a major local feature and the mighty CLARENCE RIVER meanders out to sea at Yamba. Rural industries, farms and bush land, rugged and spectacular gorges, WORLD HERITAGE NATIONAL PARKS and stunning beaches are all within an hours drive of the Jacaranda Motor Lodge."

Any other suggestions anyone?

Information about the area and enter Ulmarra for links to what to do where.


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