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Old 05-26-2012, 05:52 AM   #1
rvt OP
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Location: Western Australia
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Perth to Cape York and back

Hi there adventurers! Welcome to my first ever ride report.

The general plan for this ride was to get from Perth to Cairns fairly quickly. Nothing too demanding on this leg, as the bike needs to be in good shape for the Cape. Time available for this leg was about 3 weeks.

Next would be to ride from Cairns to the tip of Cape York, then fly back to Cairns, as part of an organised tour. The bike would return 3 days later on the ferry. This was the plan anyway.

A week or two would then be spent around Cairns, maybe a dive or two and a nosey around.

The return leg to Perth would be less constrained by deadlines and will hopefully include the Great Central Road, from Alice Springs to Laverton.

Within these guidelines, I was careful not to over plan the route, accommodation and other details. Weather, mood, advice from fellow travellers and locals would be my guide.

The bike of choice is the mighty DR650. All the usual modifications, including safari tank, pannier frames, racks, suspension and more. I won't go into this in any great detail, but can answer any questions along the way. Perhaps at the end I will do a brief review of all the gear used. No sponsorship deals or special discounts here.

Please enjoy!
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Cheers, RVT

This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-27-2012 at 07:36 AM
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Old 05-26-2012, 06:46 AM   #2
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Got comfy seat?

Safe riding; looks like you''ll have loadsa fun!
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:30 AM   #3
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Perhaps I should clarify. I got home from this ride yesterday night. Funny you should mention seats...thought I would tough it out and get used to the lovely standard seat. Read on to see how that went!
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-27-2012 at 06:37 PM
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Old 05-27-2012, 05:39 AM   #4
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Day one finally arrived! A quick stop to drop the keys in at friends, who will be minding the house. Then I hit the road!

First stop is the very good cafe in Kellerberrin, for a much needed coffee and snack. This is a regular stopping place for work too.


Not too much site seeing on this day, as I often travel the road to Kalgoorlie for work. Head down, bum upward and onward to the east.

Just as I am slowing down for Roadworks, the speed goes silly and then drops to zero. A convenient picnic table come workbench is nearby. Turns out the cable fell out of the speedo. Finger tight is not enough. Nipped up with pliers this time, all sorted.


A quick fuel top up in Coolgardie. Should I camp here? Nah, enough daylight left for a bit further to Widgiemooltha.

A nice cheap grassy campsite, with a pub meal and refreshing ale or two. Then a good night sleep in the tent, which will be my ever moving home for the next two months.
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-27-2012 at 09:27 AM
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:10 AM   #5
rvt OP
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Widgiemooltha to Port Augusta

You see some interesting setups out on the Nullabor...like this one. Good candidate for trailer brakes?


Some Ulyssians were returning from a big meet, including this kind gentleman, who made me a coffee at the first bush camp out past Cocklebiddy.


A quick feed and coffee in Wirrula, a nice friendly little place. Also the location of the stupid thing I did. Note to self...always hang the neckbrace on the bars, where you can't forget it. Not on the right sidebag, from where it likely fell onto the highway and was smashed into little pieces by the numerous road trains.

Thanks to the advice of a fellow adv member, a look around the Gawler Ranges was in order.

I had planned to stay here a bit longer, but the sky loomed dark. Numerous signs warned of impassible roads when wet. Oh top of this, I had not seen another car all day. It was starting to feel a bit remote and isolated. Beautiful country though.

Next camp is the caravan park at Fowlers Bay. Nice little place, very friendly.

Starting to feel the seat now. Spending a lot of time standing, leaning on the tankbag, sitting on the water bladder, and various other interesting poses to ease my aching cheeks. A call was made to Airhawk and Pt August Motorcycles, to arrange for a cushion. Long weekend just starting, but the motorcycle store will be open Saturday morning. Phew!

Next stop is Whyalla caravan park. Not really on the way, but I had never been there, which seems reason enough. The ride into town was interesting, with 65knot gusting crosswinds. Manage to keep it straight enough to satisfy passing constabulary. The caravan park was nice, cheap too. The footy club was nice too, cheap hearty dinner with a helicopter pilot from Barrosa Valley.

Port Augusta next, for my Airhawk cushion. The kind gentleman at the motorcycle store also gave me some oil and a syringe for the auto chain oiller. A huge help, as Scottoil refills are not common as it turns out. Some 80w gearoil seems to work fine though.
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 06-27-2012 at 09:01 AM
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:24 AM   #6
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Port Augusta to Cunnamulla

I had always wanted to see the Flinders Ranges. On the way there, I come across this bunch.

Stopped to say g'day and check if they were OK. Turns out this is the location of the memorial for Davo, the far rider who most of us in Oz have come across or seen in magazines. Time to pay respects.

The Flinders were incredible. So was the road that would through them, especially after the long straights of the Nullabor. A stop at the lookout, which requires a few km's of pretty good gravel road, is well worth the effort.


A very wide gum tree at Orraroo.

Not to mention the first pic of me.

Border crossing, amidst much fanfare and celebration.


Broken Hill caravan park is the night's camp. A pricy camp too, on a busy long weekend. But the nearby pub was friendly, had a good chat with the only other customer. Hopefully the ongoing renovations will bring more in.

Always interesting to see how others pack all that stuff in, especially two up.


Fuel and brekkie at Little Topar, then on to Wilcannia. Despite the warnings, I found the town warm and inviting. The two lovely ladies in the free coffee and bickies van were anyway.



Cobar also came with warnings, but seemed a really nice place too.

Bush camping at Meadow Glen, where the small black birds were fearless, and keen to clean up my campsite.



No more pretend outback...


Lunch in the park and big machinery in Bourke.


Another border, another bunch of signs, this time entering Queensland.


Camping at the Cunnamulla caravan park was pleasant. Even if the servo dude disagreed. Apparently he took issue with them changing the name to, of all things, Cunnamulla Caravan Park.
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-27-2012 at 05:58 PM
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:38 PM   #7
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Cunnamulla to Cairns

A stop for lunch and supplies in Charleville, where the locals were very friendly and gave some great advice on the best way to go.

Two options for a campsite in Tambo...the expensive one at the caravan park, or the nice grassy shire camping area. Guess which one I chose.

Balcaldine next, then Aramac and on to Torrens Creek. Had my first near miss with wildlife on this section, when a big brolga took off in front of me. Lots of water up here, either side of the road. The verge was quite overgrown too, meaning not much time between animals hopping/walking/slithering out and reacting.

Moorrinya National Park is the campsite of choice for this night. This would be a great spot for a big meet. Big clean shearing shed for sleeping, or open air camp sites. About 16km of good dirt road, with a shallow stoney creek crossing.



About 30km of pretty good dirt with some sandy patches coming into Torrens Creek. No problems there, but nearly stacked it turning right onto the bitumen, where there was a patch of deep loose aggregate. Too busy rubbernecking, but a quick dab with the foot just saved it.

A quick stickybeak at White Mountain, then on to Charters Towers and a night at the caravan park. No single load washing powder sachets here, but she would sell me a 2kg packet....umm...but a friendly caravanner gave me some. Dinner in the one of the pubs in town, looked like a nice olde English pub tavern. Good food, struggled to start a conversation with the locals though. Tough day at the mines perhaps?

The following day brings a cruisy ride into Townsville. Got off to a great start, when I pulled over to check this biker was ok. He was just fiddling with his camera, and kindly offered to show me around.


I loved Townsville at first sight. It was great to see the ocean again too. I was a few days ahead of schedule, so some touristy site seeing was in order. First was Mt Stuart, where the views are spectacular. There is a wicked mountain bike trail down this mountain, that I would be tempted to try.


Magnetic island is well worth the ferry ride across. Some great walk trails, interesting restaurants...

...and tried something new, which was a real rush.

Best to hang on to the bike if it's a bit choppy on the ferry.

Unless taking a photo of new friends


Time to head north. A night at Paluma Range, right near Crystal Creek. There is a natural rock water slide here. A swim was enough for me though.


A stop next morning at the Frosty Mango. Good breakfast, good coffee and good advice here. But strangely, this was the only place that would not let me fill my camelbak from a tap. Could buy a bottle of water though...

Onward to Innisfail, then a left turn up the Palmerston hwy. Coffee in Atherton, then camp at Lake Tinnaroo.


The long awaited Gillies Highway beckons. What a road! Bend after spectacular hairpin bend. Considering that I was on a loaded dr with worn knobbies, perhaps it was a good thing that slow traffic kept the speed down somewhat. Crater Lakes made for an interesting stop, with a walk trail through the rainforest. Then into Cairns, where I planned to prepare my bike for Cape York. Stay tuned.
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-31-2012 at 05:42 AM
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:12 AM   #8
rvt OP
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Cairns to Cape York

Time to prep the bike for the Cape. New chain and sprockets, with a bigger tooth count on the rear. New d606s, although there was some life left in the front. Wayne Leonard's were very helpful with support, which made life easier.

Still a bit ahead of schedule, so I squeezed in a dive on the reef. Gave the intro scuba dive a go, which I found challenging but amazing.

Finally the time has come for Cairns to the Cape.. This was a guided, supported ride with one of the big tour companies up there. Not cheap, but as I am a relative novice to serious trail riding, a bit of support can go a long way.

On arrival at the tour company's base at Clifton Beach, we had a deep and meaningful discussion on the track conditions, which resulted in me hiring one of their drz400s instead. While I was keen to use my 650, the other five riders were using the 400s. I had expected a few to bring their own bikes, but this was not the case. Being the heaviest bike could have been an unpopular choice if things got tricky. As it turns out, I was very glad for the lighter bike during the ride.

After fueling up the bikes, we headed some way up the Kuranda Rd, before turning right on heading through some muddy trails. My mud experience was very low, so I found this rather challenging. On top of this, I was running on a very small breakfast, which in hindsight was rather stupid. So I owe many thanks Greg who was the sweeprider that day. He was very patient with me, and helped me pick up the bike several times when I was feeling stuffed. Lighter, more vented riding gear might also have helped.

Somehow I find a second wind near the end of the morning, so I'm feeling good as we roll into Mt Molloy for a welcome lunch.

The afternoon brings an easy ride through Mossman and the Daintree, to PK Jungle Village for oh so nice beers, food and beds.


The staff even washed the bikes for us...not that they would be clean for long.


Day two on the Cape saw us heading up the Bloomfied Track, with some special secret tracks throw in. This included a nice deep river crossing, that we had to carry the bikes through. Two blokes either side holding the swingarm up, one pulling the front with a strap. Then a few minutes on the opposite side to dewater bikes and boots.


Rossville is the night's destination, at the Lion's Den Hotel. Nice place.


Having learnt my lesson on day one, a big breakfast was wolfed down, chased by real coffee.

Day three saw us heading for Cooktown, where the lookout was spectacular. The park in town has an old cannon with an interesting story that is worth a read.

The plan was to push on Lake field, but the Normanby River was too deep and flowing strongly.

So we had to reluctantly backtrack to Mulligan Hwy, then up to Hann River for the night, with a spot of Barra fishing thrown in. Lakefield NP was still shut.

Up to Musgrave on day four, then a private, swampy track through to Lama Lama NP. Another go at the barra , then the back way into Coen for a wonderful refreshing ale. Finished the day with good dirt into Archer River and a camp in a creek bed at Foxy's Hole.

Day five sees us head up to Bramwell Junction on good dirt. Good except for the dips, which often contained a deep washout. As a rule, when you see a dip sign, slow right down. From Bramwell it's onto the Old Telegraph Track. Palm Creek saw our intrepid guide sink deep into the mud at the approach to Palm River. After maybe ten minutes of pushing, pulling and dragging his bike back up the hill in waist deep mud, we found the alternate crossing and made it over.
Apparently Gunshot Creek would have been similar, so we took the bypass which was fast, flowing sand and a real blast. Into Twin Falls running on fumes. What a beautiful spot, and a refreshing swim before dinner.

A bit further up the old track on day six, then we cut to the west and north, to the Jardine River ferry. A nosey around some old plane wrecks just before Bamaga

then on to Loyalty Beach, where we will camp for next two nights.


We would have warned Paul, who was having an afternoon nap, about the horse that as about to lick his head, but where would be then fun in that?

But in true Victorian dairy farmer style, he gave it a scratch on the nose and went back to sleep.

Day seven and it's nice, flowing tracks up to the tip.

Then some more interesting tracks to the east, and a spot of beach riding. I manage to get bogged in the only hole in a small sandy creek while riding sweep, but manage to dig myself out just before Lee arrives to find me. Back to Seisia for the last night on the Cape.

On the last day we were meant to catch a ferry to Thursday Island, but the ferry was broken or beached or something. So we scored a charter on a smaller, faster runabout. A very cruisy morning on TI, then a ferry to Horn Island. From here we catch the plane back to Cairns.
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq

rvt screwed with this post 05-31-2012 at 08:17 AM
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:21 AM   #9
rvt OP
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Joined: Feb 2011
Location: Western Australia
Oddometer: 972
Cairns to Camooweal

Coming soon...
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This week's ride: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/f...Vcz6Icqrhsbbpq
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