Around Australia with a KTM sidecar.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by WoutenAnnie, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thursday 17 and Friday 18 September.
    Wout:
    A longer stage today, 310km. Because of the heat we always start around 7:00h and stop at 10:30h. Because we are now approaching Darwin, the ocean makes it a little less hot. That is 36ºC instead of 40ºC. Still not cool but more tolerable. We have chosen a campsite 10km north of Darwin. The campsites around Darwin are all in the vicinity of the airport, so that is not a good idea. Again a very empty campsite. The season is clearly over, but not for mosquitoes. Deet works.
    We stay for 2 days and see many different birds. The Bush Stone-curlew, cockatoo, Masket Lapwing, Ibis, and more.
    Masked lapwing 1.JPG Bush Stone-curlew 6.JPG Parrots in boom 2.JPG
    They like de water.
    #61
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  2. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Saturday 19, Sunday 20 and Monday 21 September.
    Wout:
    Today we moved to a campsite closer to the motorcycle store. That also means close to the airport. According to the receptionist there are regular planes, but the inconvenience is not that big. First a single-engine machine and once a helicopter. But at night the bigger airplanes go, at 1:00h, 1:06h and 1:12h they take off and that is noisy. What is also very audible, are cars from a nearby race track. In short, don't stay on the campsite too much, or go into hiding in the swimming pool. Well, you get used to everything and after a day it doesn't stand out anymore.
    We went to the centre of Darwin on Sunday. There was a lot of bombing here in the 2nd world war by the Japanese. Therefore there is no old town. Only a single old building that stands firm and also has survived the regularly passing tropical cyclones.
    Along the Esplanada are many plaques and memories of the war, and along the main road are still many landing strips in tact that were then used.
    We walked through the botanical garden, with many beautiful trees, streams and vistas. This garden too has been damaged by surpassing tropical cyclones.
    On Monday we brought the bike for a new chain, a rear tire, small service and a total check-up. It's okay after almost 7000km in these temperatures.
    Finding a rear tire was finally successful, the chain has been replaced, and it runs audibly better. I regularly heard a rattling of a camshaft chain, and that's gone.
    We are going to make a serious start on the trip to the east coast.
    #62
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  3. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Tuesday, October 22nd.
    Wout:
    The first stage towards Rockhampton is 310km to Katherine. The campsite I chose on Camps Australia Wide was the Ibis Styles Katherine Caravan Park. The friendly receptionist showed us the way to the tent camping terrain. That turned out to be more of a hard hit parking lot than a place for the tent. Nowhere any shade and I can’t get a pin in the ground. In the heat we pitch the tent on a corner of the terrain. After that we went slow shopping in an air-conditioned shopping mall.
    My right ear is clogged. I wear earplugs while riding, against the wind gauze around my helmet (like many bikers do) but that keeps pushing the earwax in and it forms a clot, so we bought Cleansing Spray which after many times of spraying finally gave results.
    In the Ibis restaurant we use the buffet (3 courses). We moved the tent to a place close to the toilet building. This has the disadvantage that there is a lot of light in the tent, but the noise of the highway is a bit less. Slept badly because of the itching of mosquitoes, light and noise, but we still want to get up early tomorrow.
    #63
  4. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Wednesday, October 23rd.
    Wout:
    Today 240km to The Daly Waters Pub. We take turns driving 70km, which is a lot less tiring than driving until you're tired or until the heat gets too much.
    The Dali Waters Pub turns out to be a very positive surprise, 3km from the Highway. Everything exudes "it's nice here". Each message is with a wink and let you smile.
    The Pub itself (or actually the whole village) is a collection of old and new. Founded in 1924 and thus a gigantic collection of 100 years: signs; an old Chevrolet; half demolished helicopters; a few planes from WWII; strange statues; etc.
    On the other side of the road is "Tim's Junkyard" with 3 old cars and half a helicopter on the roof. Under that helicopter is a sign with: "Cenic Flights" with under it "Cancelled". A very old Bedford drives through the village, with which 2 men came to camp next to us.
    The tent can be pitched behind the toilets, on a well-maintained lawn that has been watered recently and where a pleasant cooling breeze blows.
    Museum 5.JPG Tim's Junkyard.JPG Apostelbird 2.JPG Chevrolet Daly Rivers Pub.JPG
    #64
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  5. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thursday 24 October.
    Wout:
    From The Daly Waters Pub to Banka Banka is 310km. Banka Banka is nothing but a Cattle station with a campsite, no shop, no swimming pool, but a lookout mountain to climb and a spring at 2.5km walking distance. At first we are the only one on the camp site, by the evening a small tent is added.
    After we put up the tent and ate something, the caretaker gives us 2 garden chairs, she thinks we are a bit to primitive sitting on a alu-box.
    In the evening many clouds are forming east of us. Rain does fall out, but it doesn't reach the ground. That night we are woken up by (still far away) thunder and lightning. Just put the top on the tent. When it starts to rain we can close the tent quickly.
    Kangoeroe 02.JPG
    #65
  6. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Friday, October 25th.
    Wout:
    No rain that night, but when we leave we see after the exit at Three Ways Crossing that there are some puddles on the road. East of Banka Banka it has clearly rained.
    At Roadhouse Barkly Homestead we put up the tent again. Lots of grass for tent campers and a nice restaurant.
    Here we meet a Dutch man who stood next to us in Coral Bay. We have an hour to catch up. He travels with a car that he bought in Perth with the guarantee of the seller that he will buy it back for at least 33% of the price.
    Boom in bloei 3.JPG

    Saturday 26 October.
    Wout:
    Camooweal is an extinct town. Only the campsite and the roadhouse are open. Furthermore, all shops are deserted. At the Postoffice Hotel we can dine and have breakfast. As our stock of food is a bit small (we haven't seen a supermarket since Kathrine) we choose for that. It is a somewhat noisy room with a TV screen wherever you look. In the evening the local workers come here to eat and suddenly it is busy.
    At the campsite we share the camp kitchen and toilets with an Asian couple. It is also extinct.

    Sunday: 27 and Monday 28 October.
    Wout:
    On the way to Mount Isa. The road there is very bumpy and sometimes it is difficult to keep a course. Later on we hear that there are a lot of overloaded road-trains, which causes a lot of subsidence.
    We pitch our tent on the banks of the (dry) river at camping Mount Isa. We stay a day longer to visit the old copper/zinc/lead/silver mine. The corridors of this mine are for the most part underneath the town, and (for safety reasons) they are not allowed to be extended any further. It has been considered to move the entire town, but that hasn't happened (yet).
    Unfortunately the tour from Monday 13:00h has been cancelled because there are too few guides. Tuesday 9:00 am is possible, but then we will be on our way.
    Kamp.JPG
    #66
    Suncoaster likes this.
  7. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Tuesday 29 October.
    Wout:
    We only left Mount Isa at 7:00 am. Everything was wet because it had rained all night, which it did while packing. Packing everything wet takes more time. To put the clothes in the trunks, we put the engine under the roof of the camp kitchen in reverse.
    The pre-selected campsite in McKinlay doesn't look very lively, next to it there is a completely closed petrol station. The temperature is still very bearable so we decide to drive 90 km to Kynuna.
    At Kynuna Roadhouse Caravan Park an old crooked man is sweeping the leaves of the pavement in front of the shop. Together with his wife they live off the Roadhouse. We get a place in the back, on grass and near the toilets. We are the only campers. We used coffee and dinner in the Roadhouse.
    We see the man driving over the terrain with his mobility scooter a couple of times to turn the sprinklers for the grass on and off again later on.

    Wednesday 30 October.
    Wout:
    When we are at the gas station of Kynuna Roadhouse it starts to rain. Husband and wife come out to almost cheerfully welcome this natural phenomenon.
    As the temperatures are getting more bearable we drive 450km to Barcaldine to camping/teahouse Roses 'n' Things. Unfortunately the teahouse turns out to be closed.
    Because of the heavy rain just before Barcaldine (and because we had taken off our waterproof layer because of the heat) everything was wet except our socks (waterproof boots). We got a place next to a roof, behind a hedge. There would be a few more thunderstorms, so we got a very sheltered spot for our tent. There were indeed some heavy showers that night, but when we got up it was dry and we could quickly pack everything.
    #67
  8. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thursday, October 31st.
    Wout:
    We cut the 600km to Rockhampton in half. First we went to Emerald, to Emerald Tourist Park.
    The road to it is quite bumpy and winding. We have to cross the Great Dividing Range. A mountain range that runs over 3500km from north to south, parallel to the east coast. Behind 2 roadtrains with cows it turns out to be very slow on steep slopes. At a straight stretch the rear truck with its right hand flashing light indicates that we have the space. After that it goes a lot faster but the road remains bumpy, the road is locally so narrow that oncoming trucks have to drive on the edge of the asphalt in order not to touch each other. And that is called Highway and you can drive 110km/h.
    The surroundings offer beautiful views through the mountains.
    The entrance of Emerald Tourist Park you are over before you know it. So back and try again. The exit is clearly recognizable but the entrance ... First the hotel entrance, then the entrance for supplies of the hotel, and then a narrow passage (almost too small for large caravans) and that is the entrance. Tomorrow we will continue.
    Annie:
    It was dry when we left. During the second part it turned out that there was a police check. Well, the papers they might have wanted to see were in the trunk. No problem, it just takes some time. All the trucks were allowed to drive on, cars and other vehicles had to stop on a stopping-bay. It turned out to be an alcohol check. The policeman on duty grinned when I folded up my helmet. He had to blow, only drink water..., got his thumb raised and could drive on again.

    Friday 01, Saturday 02 and Sunday 03 November.
    Wout:
    The temperatures here are much milder, so we decide not to set an alarm. We leave at 8:00 am and take a coffee break along the way.
    The second stage to Rockhampton is just as bumpy as the first, but the road is wider. We drive in mountainous surroundings with beautiful views on a regular basis.
    When changing riders Annie sees wetness on the left side of the engine. Since we just drove over a piece of wet road, I think that's the cause.
    Annie:
    Keep an eye on the bike, is it water? In Rockhampton the engine temperature starts to rise. Keep going, but............. the red light of engine temperature is on. I stopped at the Caltex petrol station. There is again a lot of liquid from the engine. This bike knew there was a KTM dealer within a100 meters...The liquid is not rain but coolant. Fortunately we can go to the KTM dealer for repairs.
    Wout:
    At Wurth's-Rockhampton the engine is directly driven to the workshop and investigated what is wrong. I told them that coolant is leaking, but they only found the oil level too low. When I ask why then the engine is overheating, it is immediately driven back into the workshop and the cooling system is checked. A short piece of rubber hose turns out to be torn and when the cooling system is pressure-tested, the coolant sprays out. The piece of hose is replaced, and everything is fine again.
    We drive on to the coast, to Keppel Sands. A sweet village glued to the dunes of the Coral Sea (a part of the Pacific Ocean), at the end of the road.
    The campsite is beautifully green. In the village there is a hotel, a shop and a (partly run by volunteers) restaurant. This restaurant turns out to be a gem. Everything exudes pleasure and the philosophy behind it is: to make people happy so that they keep visiting our village. The chef is an older woman who has gained experience in Paris and London, and is now the driving force here. We had dinner and lunch there several times.
    Rockhampton is a harbour town with a lot of past glory. Old buildings along the riverbank have been taken over by Accountants, Lawyers and Brokers, which has made it a dead place. The shop area behind it is a lot livelier. After 2 months I visited a barber. An old Greek who runs the shop for gentlemen together with his grandson, while his son has a women's hairdresser next door. The women's hairdresser turns out to be too busy, so Annie too had a Greek haircut.
    Fitzroy River 03.JPG
    Camp.JPG
    Strandwandeling 05.JPG
    #68
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  9. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Monday 04 and Tuesday 05 November.
    Wout:
    To a campsite in Cania Gorge National Park. The road from Burnett Highway (Australias Country Way) to the campsite (Cania Road) looks beautiful and promising. When we reach the campground the road goes 2meters down and up again through a streambed to get to the reception.
    Kangaroos graze around the tent, parrots come and sit with you and there are many cockatoos. At 5:00 am the birds are fed. There are at least 50 cockatoos and 30 parrots around. Everywhere there are announcements not to feed the animals to prevent them from becoming aggressive.
    The walk to the old Shamrock gold mine is further than we had estimated from the map. An old shaft is covered with a heavy steel grid, and the old stone masher is behind gauze. It gives you an idea of how difficult and dangerous these quests for wealth have been, most of which have ended in disappointment.
    In the afternoon we went to the 2 story cave. In the upper cave would be bats, but there is no way to reach that. It is a walk of 1.3 km over narrow paths along a mountain slope.
    Kookaburra 02.JPG
    Vogels voeren 11.JPG
    Wednesday 06 and Thursday 07 November.
    Wout:
    The campground on the coast near Frazer Island seems not to be allowed. First I miss an exit and only after 30km I see on the GPS that I have to turn around. I don't feel like it so I look for another campsite near the coast. Apparently I made a mistake by typing in the location because we are on the highway in the town of Gimpie and there is nothing at all, so again I enter a campsite. The road to it is a winding road through a valley. There's a mist of wood fire here. There have been a lot of fires in this area and apparently they haven't stopped yet. As we enter Boreen Point Campground there appears to be a nature fire at the other side of Lake Cootharaba, but it has almost been contained. There is a river at the south of the lake but the fire has crossed that already. By starting a controlled fire it is ensured that there is no fuel left and it should extinguish itself.
    That evening the manager goes around the campsite with the announcement that there is no danger, but if the fire starts again we have to take into account that we have to get off the campsite within half an hour.
    Nothing happened that night, so we slept well. We were awakened by the very loud call of the Laughing Kookaburra. A bird that makes a loud laugh-like sound, usually helped by other birds of the same species because laughter is contagious.
    On the other side of the lake there are still many plumes of smoke to be seen and a helicopter is constantly pouring water from the lake over the smouldering places.
    The history of the village can be seen on information pillars along the water, and on the water we see Pelicans. Furthermore, it is quiet and beautiful living here.
    Brand 01.JPG
    #69
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  10. WoutenAnnie

    WoutenAnnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2017
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Friday 08 and Saturday 09 November.
    Wout:
    On the advice of a Dutch woman (Chantal) who drove from Australia to the Netherlands in 2016 (Chickonthechookchaser) and now lives in Australia again, we have chosen a campsite at the mouth of the Maroochy river. A very busy site where they can hardly find a place for us. Still asked: "with grass?", "yes with grass!" Well, not so. Back to the reception and asked for a place with grass. It turned out they had one, but with electricity (which we don't need). In the evening Chantal came to visit us (with a friend who wanted to see the sidecar) and we ate at a Pizzeria. Because we had some repairs to do we were allowed to work in her garage on Saturday. Thanks a lot for the hospitality.
    #70
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  11. johnno950

    johnno950 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,828
    Saw you guys about 80kms west of rockhampton the other week,have a great trip.
    #71