After two days in transit we arrived in Sydney on Saturday the 7th of March. We had flown from Buenos Aries via Lima, El Salvador and LA. We made our way out to the northern part of Sydney to settle into our hotel anticipating the bike on the 10th, giving us a few days to explore the city and get acclimatized to the time change.
Our hotel was located across from a bus stop allowing us easy access to the downtown and waterfront areas where we spent our afternoons site seeing and enjoying the abundant Australian comfort food.
Tuesday the 10th arrived, but not the bike. It’s new date of arrival was the 12th. A few more days to while away. We enjoyed time with an old friend, Ian, walking the beautiful waterway from Spit Bridge to Manly.
D day. The bike arrived. We made our way to Customs Clearing at the cargo area of the airport to process our carnet and quarantine documents. The process was very fast and the officers friendly and informative. What we hadn’t realized was that from the clearing house we needed to make our way to the Quantas warehouse down the road to arrange to have the bike transported to a Quarantine area a few kilometers away for inspection before we could take possession.
Sitting in the Quantas waiting area for our turn to arrange possession of the bike we approached one of the many men sitting waiting with us. We realized they were all picking up freight for customers, so we asked if it was possible for any of them to assist us with the transport of the crated bike to our next destination. Turned out it was all possible and within the hour we were our way to Quarantine.
After the inspection the warehouse operator asked us where we wanted the bike delivered to have it uncrated. We had already said good bye and thank you to our truck and driver as we were under the impression we would be riding the bike from the warehouse. After some discussion we came to an agreement regarding the dismantling and disposing of the crate and we finally managed to ride the bike away and were once again back on the road.
Our original plans were to make our way to Perth, across to Alice Springs and Uluru, then up to Darwin to ship the bike to East Timor. But we decided to shorten the travel gap between Tom and Tracy and ourselves by riding the East Coast first then make our way West.
Visiting old haunts.
Riding North towards Brisbane.
From Surfer’s it was a short visit to Brisbane for Lindsay to reconnect with his old work mate, John. We had contemplated going further North but cyclone Nathan was playing havoc with the coastline. So Brisbane became our turn around point.
We left Brisbane in the pouring rain Wednesday morning. We had to stop and suit up in our rain gear. By the time we stopped for a bite to eat in Beaudesert the rain had stopped, we were wet and the sun was poking out from behind the clouds. We laid our coats out to dry on the bike and went in to enjoy some fresh baked goods and a cappuccino.
From Beaudesert we rode the New England Highway and Thunderbolt Highway to Gloucester, beautifully cultivated landscapes filled with historic English and Celtic towns.
Breakfast in Gloucester before riding to the Nabiac Motorcycle museum.
School kids out on a field trip in Gloucester…..
From the museum we made our way to Maitland to visit some of Lindsay’s old work mates from Kurri Kurri, Malcolm and Doug. Then it was on through the Hunter valley. As it turned out the vinyards were finished for the season with the vines losing all their leaves. We still enjoyed the countryside and seeing the expanse of the growing areas.
From the Hunter Valley we made our way around Sydney to the coastal area of Wollongong.
From the coast we rode inland towards the Snowy Mountains overnighting at Jindabyne. We left Jindabyne in the rain which lightened to a mist as we made our way into the mountains.
From here it was to Melbourne. When we took a break at a roadside café we ran into several guys making their way to the annual Ulysses gathering…. a motorcycle club that is the largest social club in Australia with over 40,000 members, membership criteria requiring member to be 40 years of age or older….. its motto, “growing old disgracefully”. Two riders on vintage Ariel Red Hunters – a ’48 and a ’53 – one pulling a bike trailer!!
One of the really great attributes of being on the road in Australia is all the little cafes and bakeries that are full of charm, character and history, making roadside stops one of the main social events of the ride.
Dinner in Melbourne with Geir and Wenche.
After a short visit to Melbourne we took the Portsea ferry to Queens Cliff.
Now the ride we had been looking forward to since our arrival to Australia, The Great Ocean Road….and it lived up to it’s reputation of beauty.
After the Great Ocean Road we visited with Tom and Mon, friends we met during a ride to New Mexico. It was great meeting again and sharing riding plans and stories.
Then it was on to Adelaide for the Easter long weekend. One of the most beautiful rides just outside of the city, the Barossa area, small country road undulating through the hills and valleys of the wining estates with Fall colors setting in.
We rode into a deserted Adelaide on the Easter long weekend and lucked out finding a great deal at the Intercontinental located right on the river.
The city came alive as the weekend progressed, even giving rise to protest.
At the finish of the long weekend we started to make our way into the Outback with a small diversion to Port Lincoln.
We left Port Lincoln in the morning and spent the night in Port Augusta before starting our route through the Outback to Uluru, our route and stops were Port Augusta, Coober Pedy, Erldundo, Uluru.
Originally we had planned to stop at roadside picnic tables to enjoy refreshments and snacks, but as it turned out we found that the bush flies found us the minute we stopped and it was hard to enjoy a meal while keeping the pesky little kritters out of our eyes, nose and mouth. So ultimately we used the roadside pullouts for body breaks and made use of the Roadhouses for our meal breaks. As it turned out, the Roadhouses had a captive audience and charged accordingly for their sustenance.
We reach Uluru.
Set up camp.
And find Uluru.
Saturday, April the 11th we received an email from Tom and Tracy, they are on their way and will be in Uluru today. So after saying good bye to them in Buenos Aires on Feb. 25th we will once again be travelling together for a short while.
When they arrived we hiked Kata Tjuta, near Uluru.
The next day were on the bikes again and making our way to Darwin, originally our final destination in Australia, where we were to ship the bikes to East Timor. But due to shipping complications our plans changed with Lindsay and Marian travelling the West coast to Perth and Tom and Tracy making their way to Sydney via the East coast with plans to reconnect in Indonesia.
A couple of refreshment stops at Roadhouses along the way.
Creatures to share your lunch with.
Stories to share.
Road trains….AB-Quads, up to 53.3 m or 176′ long…..
The odd ‘roo’
An overnight stop at Mataranka Resort.
A roadside attraction.
We reach Darwin.
We spent a few days in Darwin taking a day trip to Litchfield park to see the termite mounds, waterfalls and swimming holes. Termite mounds litter the northern Outback……literally fields of them as we rode from Katherine to Darwin, and from Darwin to Carnavarn.
April 21, we said good bye to Tom and Tracy in Katherine and started our journey to the West coast. Lindsay wasn’t feeling great, fighting the flu, which would follow him until we arrived at Broome. To add to his difficulties we were riding 600 km days between accommodation and the flies increased from being a nuisance to being a plague. Apparently the worst investation the West had seen in years. Good news, no flies while riding…..bad news, clouds of flies the minute you stopped.
We had hoped that the onshore breezes would keep the flies at bay, but that was not to be. While visiting the Stromatolites we kept all our gear on as the temps were cool enough and it allowed us a bit of protection from the bush fly onslaught!
May 1st we arrive in Perth. Our time here will be used to get the bike maintenance done, have it crated and then shipped to Bali where we will start our journey through Indonesia.
The bike needed new tires and the 60,000 km maintenance as we were heading to Indonesia with 52,000 km on the odometer. Heidenau tires were found at Steve’s Motorcycles where the bike was taken in immediately, the tires changed and balanced. The 60,000 km maintenance service was done by KTM West. Being a major service including valve check and possible setting, the bike was left overnight to be picked up the following day. Following the service it had been arranged through our shipper, Bikes Abroad, to have the bike crated by BMW. When trying to start the bike the morning of the crating it would not start and error codes showed up on the control display. Lindsay managed to get it going and rode back to KTM West. It was discovered that the twist grip electronics had failed and needed replaced. Luckily the KTM Australian distributor was located in Perth and the part was available immediately and we were on our way to crating by noon.
Once again the heavy luggage was packed and we were ready to go. The bike was scheduled to meet us in Bali on the Wednesday May the 13th, we flew out on the 10th. Looking forward to Indonesia.