Australia and New Zealand

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by djeady, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 18 - September 16

    Got up and made my coffee and started to pack up.

    Was able to use the phone in the campsite office to phone around and check for availability on iPhone 8. None of the major stores that were advertising them in their web pages had any in stock. Finally found that the Big W at the south end of Cairns had 4 in stock. Asked them to hold one for me and headed off. The store was about an hour south.

    I got there by dead reckoning (my phone is my god) and picked up the phone and restored from my laptop at their electronics counter then went out in the mall where wifi was available and had a ham and cheese toastie while all my apps reloaded.

    Then I was back on my way north.

    One good thing about this whole misadventure was that I got to ride the beautiful Captain Cook highway two more times. Beautiful twisty road with lots of scenic ocean views.

    Continued on up the highway through miles and miles of sugar cane plantations and melon farms.

    I got to the Daintree River and paid $7 to take the ferry across.

    As soon as you were on the other side you were in a different world. Lush sub-tropical forest with a narrow twisty road and signs warning you to watch out for Cassowaries. I finally saw one come out along the side of the road and while I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of it on the road, I was able to shoot it hiding in the trees.

    A little further along I stopped and had an ice cream cone and chatted with a couple from New Zealand for a bit.

    I had been told I should take the Bloomfield track with runs out of the top of the Daintree and shortly after my stop I found myself on travel.

    My first clue that it was going to be interesting was the wrecker pulling a car out of the ditch along the side of the road.

    5 km in there was a 50 metre water crossing through about half a metre of water. The bottom was round stones packed together to make a bit of a track.

    I was so focused on getting across I neglected to take a picture or turn on my GoPro!

    I made it across safely and carried on. It was a bit rough in places, but the big challenge was the hills over the ridges which were posted as having a 30 degree gradient. I stalked on one of them and had the interesting experience of having to restart the bike while sliding backwards down the hill either the brake on. It took three tries, but I finally made it.

    There were quite a few more water crossings, but only a couple had any water - just a trickle. I also went past two small brush fires and with the smoke from the fires, the dust from the passing utes and the low sun that was straight in front of me, visibility was becoming an issue.

    I made it through and followed a nice twisty road to my destination for the night - the Lions Den hotel. It’s a historic old roadhouse that offers a bar and meals and either rooms or camping. I opted for camping as set up my tent down a hill a couple of hundred metres from the river. They had told me I could swim in the river if I wanted and I walked down and had a look, but didn’t go in.

    I chatted with a few of the other campers, then walked up to the hotel for dinner. Their special that night was pasta and meatballs with garlic bread, so I had that with a pint of Wild Yak.

    Chatted some more after dinner with some other campers and the owner, then headed back to my tent for the night. IMG_8829.JPG IMG_8865.JPG IMG_8866.JPG IMG_8870.JPG IMG_8873.JPG IMG_8874.JPG IMG_8875.JPG IMG_8951.JPG IMG_8952.JPG IMG_8954.JPG
    #41
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  2. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,886
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Hi from Christchurch.

    If you fancy a coffee here yell out.

    Also have a list of things to do see and eat for Queenstown for you

    Email address please.

    Shane
    #42
  3. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 19
    A change of plans and a long day in the saddle.

    I got up and started packing up - was a little bit slow in getting away.

    Rode into Cookstown and filled up with Gas, then carried on towards the Cape.

    I rode the Development Road up to Laura where I stopped for a snack.
    While eating I talked to a few of the locals and they told me the Development Road heading north wasn’t in great shape - hadn’t been graded in a while. I continued on up and after about 20 kn the road turned to gravel. It was badly corrugated ( what we call was board) and had 3-4 inch deep ruts with loose sides and it was a constant struggle to keep the bike upright. In addition the dust from the utes and the road trains made it really hard to see. If it was only going to be a day ride I might have carried on, but I just couldn’t see 4-5 days of it. I would have been exhausted, I would probably have dumped the bike multiple times, and I don’t think there would have been enough bolts left in the bike to allow me to complete the trip.

    I turned around and headed back south taking the Mulligan highway around the back of Cairns., then following the Savanna Way west.

    I was disappointed, but it was the right decision. It was going to be 4-5 days of hard riding just to put a tick in a box.

    Got to Innot just after dark and checked into the Campground at the hotel office. Had a nice dinner of butter chicken (the chef was Indian) and then went over to the campground and set my tent up in the dark.

    After the tent was set up I went over and had a nice long soak in one of the indoor pools, then called it a night. There was an amazing night sky as I walked back to my tent - you could see the milky way all the way across the sky. IMG_9105.JPG IMG_9106.JPG IMG_9112.JPG IMG_9115.JPG IMG_9116.JPG IMG_9117.JPG
    #43
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  4. Adventurepig

    Adventurepig the bike, not me !

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    157
    Location:
    Maitland, NSW
    Hey mate..yes the cape can be hard work..Been great to tick that box. Smart decision. We want you to see the place and enjoy it. Loaded bikes with gear turns them into pigs. Good luck, looking forward the rest of the adventure.
    #44
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  5. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 19

    Lots of highway riding.

    When I woke up in the morning it was quite cool, so there was only one thing to do - head over to the hot spring to warm up.

    After a leisurely soak I got out and took a wander around the grounds. The sun had come up and it was starting to warm up.

    I walked down to the river which was steaming in the early morning sun. I put my feet in the first pool and it was just lukewarm. I stepped in the second pool and it was too hot to stand in. The hot water was sleeping out of the sand bank and by building up little walks of sand and rocks they had created pools of different temperatures.

    I walked back to my campsite and lit up the Kelly Kettle to make coffee.

    Afterwards I packed up and got on the road.

    I stopped a few kilometres up the road at a little information centre and got a local map. The little town of Mount Garnet took great pride in having the largest cockroaches in the world the specimen that was on display was probably 4 inches long and 3 inches wide. The lady assured me they don’t come in the house.

    I carried on to Mount Surprise where I stopped and checked out the little gem shop which had a collection golf local stones, mostly quartzites, but also some emeralds and sapphires. I was surprised that the had a lot of stones they called topazes, that were completely clear like a diamond.

    I carried on to Croydon where I stopped and had a cold drink and chatted with a fellow who worked for the local railroad. He’d lost his wife to breast cancer about 4.5 years ago and now all he did when he wasn’t working was travel around.

    He gave gave me some advice about what to do in Normanton and invited me to drop by and visit the railway station if I had time.

    I continued on to Normanton and got there about 5. I was quite low on gas, so I filled up first then went to the tourist park. They had just closed the office and told me to go ahead and set up and I could settle up in the morning.

    Nice big place with a large pool and spa. I picked a place close to the amenities and set up. My tent.

    As I was coming into the park there was someone else going out on a KLR that was so dusty you had to look twice to see what it was.

    We chatted for a few minutes and he came over after I’d had a swim and we chatted for a while longer.

    He was telling me I absolutely had to ride the Nathan River Road and we went over what was there in detail.

    I walked over to the Albion Hotel and ordered their special for the night which was a half decent empanada.

    Afterwards I went back to my campsite and called it a night.

    IMG_9131.JPG IMG_9140.JPG IMG_9143.JPG IMG_9144.JPG IMG_9146.JPG
    #45
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  6. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 20

    Left Normanton and headed west with a bit of trepidation as the next 200+ kilometres of road were marked on the map as being gravel.

    It turned out to be about 50% sealed with some long stretches of two lane and also some long stretches I single track.

    The gravel was actually pretty good and I was able to maintain a steady speed of 60km/h plus which smoothed out the corrugations. Lots of Kangaroos and wallabies on the road as well as cattle - the roads here are not fenced. Very light traffic - I probably saw less than a dozen vehicles across the entire road.

    I got to Burketown and gassed up and had a eat pie for lunch at a little roadside shop. I then continued down to Gregory Downs. My plan was to turn there and get to a place called Adel’s Grove which I had been told was a nice place to camp.

    Didn’t see a single other vehicle on the 100km plus road to Gregory Downs.

    I turned into the road to Adel’s Grove. As I turned on I could see there were lots of people camped along the Gregory River which I’d also been told was very nice.

    The first bit of the road was sealed and easy riding. About 20 k in it changed to gravel and it wasn’t too bad. Then it changed to some pretty loose gravel and it was fairly tricky. I noticed a lot of vehicles had been driving beside the road, so I went down there and it was a bit better.

    Then I tried to avoid a big patch of bull dust by going around in and wound up sliding sideways into it and then I went down. No damage except I tore a strap on my tank bag.

    I got he bike back up and walked it out of the bull dust.

    I checked Google Maps which said it was only another 3 km to Adel’s Grove so I carried on.

    Reached the point where Google said it was supposed to be and no sign of it. Checked Maps.me and it said it was another 50 km.

    Turned around and slowly picked my was back. I was very happy to reach the sealed portion of the road.

    Stopped at the pub in Gregory Downs and had a cold beer to wash the dust out and bought two to go.

    I asked about the camping and they said it was good, but I might have trouble getting the bike down. I rode over and had a look and rode the bike down carefully with no problem.

    I picked a nice spot and set up my tent under some willow like trees. As I was setting up someone came over and offered me a cold beer which I gratefully accepted.

    The river was safe for swimming and so I went for a swim. It was a nice temperature and not very deep, but had a very strong current. People were going in further up the river and floating down on the current.

    After my swim I got changed a walked the kilometre or so back to the pub. It was pizza night. They started serving at 6:30 and when I got there at 10 after 7 they only had one pizza left - ham and pineapple - so guess what I had. It was a reasonably good pizza for an outback pub in the middle of nowhere.

    There were a couple of young aboriginal men who’d obviously had a fair bit to drink and were sitting down at various tables trying to engage others. They sat at my table for a bit until the waitress told them to move on. They were also trying to buy a bottle of rum which was allowed, but didn’t have the required ID.

    After I’d had as much pizza as I wanted I had the leftovers put in a takeaway container and walked back to my tent where I called it a night. IMG_9148.JPG IMG_9150.JPG IMG_9155.JPG IMG_9156.JPG IMG_9154.JPG IMG_9157.JPG IMG_9159.JPG IMG_9163.JPG IMG_9164.JPG IMG_9167.JPG IMG_9168.JPG
    #46
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  7. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 21

    Woke up at the Gregory river after a lovely sleep and made my coffee, then went for a stroll around the area.

    Spent some time reattaching the clip that had torn out of my tanks bag yesterday when I went over.

    I talked to some of the other campers and they told me the gravel road going south was very rough with a lot of loose material so I pretty much decided I would go around even though it meant backtracking for over 100km.

    I talked to a woman who was filling a water container from the river and asked her if the water was drinkable She said yes and promptly scooped up a handful of water and drank it. She did say they ran it through a filter in their camper. I grabbed my filter bag and filled it up and had a drink. Most of the water around here is bore water and it is heavily mineralized and often comes out quite hot - 150 degrees plus, so it was nice to have a drink of fresh water.

    I refilled the filter bag and used it to top up my hydration bag.

    I went for another quick swim and then packed up wearing my wet shorts to keep cool. I also dunked my technical shirt just before I left and it felt wonderful.

    I stopped and looked at the gravel road and even from the start it looked nasty, so I headed out on my long detour.

    Another long ride with not much to see. About 40km in there was a van by the side of the road that had obviously rolled recently. The boat that had been attached to it was sitting nearby. This had happened on a long straight stretch of road. While you tend to think of road conditions, kangaroos and wallabies as the big hazards, you see a lot of wrecked vehicles on the side of the road that look much more like the driver fell asleep and lost control. It’s a real problem here with the heat, long distances, and unchanging scenery.

    There are lots of rest stops along the road and signs encouraging drivers to use them. I try and stop at least every 200km or so, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, and it makes a huge difference in my alertness.

    A bit further along there was a large emu on the road. I was so focused on her and what she might do, I almost didn’t see the two chicks that were right behind her!

    Stopped at the Burke and Wills Roadhouse for a pie and a soft drink. Burke and Wills were two early explorers of the Australian interior who met a tragic end. Look it up on Wikipedia. Very Reminiscent of the Franklin Expedition

    I had hoped to make it to Camooweal for the night, but realized that wasn’t going to happen so I decided to stop in Mount Isa. When I stopped to look at campsites that all had really horrible reviews on WikiCamps.

    People talked about huge theft problems in town and run down dirty facilities.

    I finally decided to go to the AAOK Moondara Accomodation which was a little outside town so I figured it wouldn’t have the theft problem. I got in and the office was closed, so I called the number and the lady came and let me book a campsite. There was a young man from the UK who came in at the same time and we wound up at adjacent sites. While they do have campsites, the facility really exists to provide temporary housing for workers in the local mines (lead/silver/copper/zinc).

    The site is full of large trailers that have been divided into 4 units each - probably about 8x12 in size. In addition there are a large number of camping trailers permanently parked there housing families.

    The amenities (shower and toilets) were ok. The camp kitchen was a disaster- the water was shut off and while there was a fridge it wasn’t working and was full of putrid food.

    Since there really wasn’t a suitable place to cook, I decided to eat in the miner’s mess where you could pay $25 for an all you can eat buffet. There was a good but basic selection and I had a half decent meal. The highlight was being able to have a large dish of chocolate ice cream for dessert! I sat indoor ate my dinner watching Pawn Stars and a bit of footy. The American Reality shows are big here. I’ve had countless people talk to me about “Ice Road Truckers” when I told them I was from Canada.

    I went back to my tent and had a half decent sleep in spite of a defective light in one of the adjacent trailers that strobed every 30 seconds. IMG_9174.JPG IMG_9179.JPG IMG_9185.JPG IMG_9182.JPG IMG_9181.JPG

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    #47
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  8. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 22

    Up early and packed up and on the road.

    I rode back into Mount Iss to pick up some oil for the bike, then stopped and gassed up and bought a banana muffin and a coffee.

    Really just a long day of riding to get to Threeways.

    I stopped in Camooweal for lunch. I had a steak burger which came loaded with salad and pickled beats which I still can’t get used to on a burger. The next step up is to order “the lot which adds fried egg, bacon, and pineapple slices. A bit much for me.

    I fought the flies for possession of my burger, but watched one do some sort of acrobatic and land wings down in my coffee.

    When I crossed Day 22

    Up early and packed up and on the road.

    I rode back into Mount Iss to pick up some oil for the bike, then stopped and gassed up and bought a banana muffin and a coffee.

    Really just a long day of riding to get to Threeways.

    I stopped in Camooweal for lunch. I had a steak burger which came loaded with salad and pickled beats which I still can’t get used to on a burger. The next step up is to order “the lot which adds fried egg, bacon, and pineapple slices. A bit much for me.

    I fought the flies for possession of my burger, but watched one do some sort of acrobatic and land wings down in my coffee.

    When I crossed the line into the Northern Territories, I stopped and took a picture of the bike with the sign and also added one of my stickers to the many that were already there.

    The day had started out very hazy. I though at first it was pollution from the mines at Mount Isa, but it turned out to be widespread - probably blowing dust.

    There were also strong winds through the day and I noticed it really affected my fuel consumption. Monitoring this is a bit tricky because my speedometer and odometer died the other day. They had been flaky for a while. I’ve checked the cable and the hub and everything is fine so I think the actual gauge will need to be replaced.

    Got to Threeways and checked into the campground. Spoke with a couple from Germany who were camped behind me, then went into the pub and had dinner. Over cooked lamb chops, but it was nice to have some proper veggies.

    Went back to my tent and read for a bit before calling it a night. line into the Northern Territories, I stopped and took a picture of the bike with the sign and also added one of my stickers to the many that were already there.

    Once I crossed the border there was a long stretch of nothing but grasslands and it stretched to the horizon in both directions. You could actually see the curvature if the earth.

    The day had started out very hazy. I though at first it was pollution from the mines at Mount Isa, but it turned out to be widespread - probably blowing dust.

    There were also strong winds through the day and I noticed it really affected my fuel consumption. Monitoring this is a bit tricky because my speedometer and odometer died the other day. They had been flaky for a while. I’ve checked the cable and the hub and everything is fine so I think the actual gauge will need to be replaced.

    Got to Threeways and checked into the campground. Spoke with a couple from Germany who were camped behind me, then went into the pub and had dinner. Over cooked lamb chops, but it was nice to have some proper veggies.

    Went back to my tent and read for a bit before calling it a night. IMG_9183.JPG IMG_9185.JPG IMG_9187.JPG IMG_9270.JPG IMG_9271.JPG IMG_9272.JPG IMG_9278.JPG IMG_9284.JPG
    #48
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  9. ZiggyInNc

    ZiggyInNc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    28722
    Thanks very much for taking the time to do this trip report. I was wondering if you could comment on your average budget per day? Dont see many prices mentioned..
    #49
    BC Brian likes this.
  10. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    I’ll try and put some prices in over the next fee days, my rough budget is $100 per day, but I think I’m exceeding that, particularly here in Central Aus. Where fuel can hit $2 per litre. The cost per day can vary wildly depending on the distance covered and the conditions. Im finding with the higher speeds here and the wind, my gas consumptions much higher. I’m also eating at pubs more than I should be - just too convenient.

    ———-

    Day 23

    I woke up when my German neighbours got up and packed up their rooftop tent at 5 am.

    Had a shower, then packed up and went into the roadhouse for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich.

    I’d decided I would head down to Alice Springs, the Uluru and possibly Coober Pedy before turning back north.

    I headed off and just a few kilometres past the turnoff there were a couple of dingos on the shoulder.

    It was a cool morning, partly cloudy and once again strong headwinds/crosswinds.

    Partway down I stopped at The Devils Marbles, an interesting series of rock formations that look like some giant piled them up, but were actually formed by natural erosion. I wandered around a bit and took some pictures.

    I stopped at the Barrow Creek Hotel for lunch and gas. While I was there I checked out the old telegraph station which has been preserved, but it would be nice to see the interior restored.

    I bought a pie for my lunch and while I was there, the bus stopped and a group of young aboriginal kids came in to buy snacks. They were barefoot and a bit grubby, so it was a bit of a surprise to see one who was about 11 or 12 fish out a credit card to pay.

    I talked to two guys on Harleys while I was there. They were just locals riding around. I also talked to a father and son from Switzerland who were riding BMWs. They were with a large camper for support.

    They told me they had stayed the previous night in the campground at Uluru and someone had come into the camper at night and stolen a backpack with the father’s credit cards and money.

    Phone reception is intermittent here, but many of the rest stops have large parabolic dishes with a cradle in front where you can set your phone and get signal.

    Further down I stopped at the Tripic if Capricorn market to take a picture or two.

    I also stopped at the Alice Springs welcome sign for a picture before going to the Gap View Motel and Campground where I camped for the night.

    It’s a bit of a strange place with small sites that were jam packed. There’s a lot of lighting at night (seems to be common here - I’ve seen wikicamps posts complaining about not enough lighting) and a large and loud outdoor bar.

    In the plus side, it’s cheap and right in town.

    I walked over to the adjacent bottle store and bought some beer, then went back to the campsite and did a little motorcycle maintenance - tightening bolts and so in.

    Afterwards I went into the bar and had dinner. The special was roast pork for $13 so I had that and a beer. I sat with a couple from Queensland who were my age and we had a nice conversation over dinner.

    Afterwards, back to the tent to read and sleep.

    Attached Files:

    #50
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  11. ZiggyInNc

    ZiggyInNc Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2018
    Oddometer:
    208
    Location:
    28722
    Thanks - from my initial investigations that’s bout what I was figuring. Prices look similar to North America and that’s a ballpark figure I used in Canada and the Us as well. Mexico is a lot cheaper :-)
    #51
  12. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Oddometer:
    902
    Location:
    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    IMG_20190614_125803.jpg
    #52
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  13. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 24

    Got up and had a shower and packed everything up.

    Went up the street to fill up the bike and had a bacon and egg toasty for breakfast.

    I’d decided that because it was going to be cold and rainy around Uluru that I would head south to Coober Pedy and stop at Uluru on the way back up.

    It was cool and overcast and rained intermittently for the first part of the ride. Very strange weather for the middle of the desert and everyone I spoke with said it was unusually cold.

    Stopped for gas again at Stuart’s Well where I took a self with a plastic camel and then stopped for gas and lunch at Kulgera.

    I also stopped for a picture when I crossed the state boundary into Souther Australia.

    It got stopped raining and got a little warmer as I approached Coober Pedy and I stopped to take a picture of some of the small mines in the opal fields. Imagine that as far as the eye can see the ground is covered in what look like oversized anthills and you get the idea.

    I got in to Coober Pedy and checked in to Radeka’s Backpacker Hostel which offered underground rooms and secured the last single room they had. It’s school break time here and most of the tourist places are pretty busy.

    Coober Pedy is known for two things, opals and underground houses. The name is a corruption of the aboriginal words for”white man in a hole”.

    I walked up to the Outback Bar and Grill (no relation to the chain we have in Canada) and had a meal of a deconstructed kangaroo yiro gyro). It was pretty tasty.

    Then I walked back to my hotel room/cave and called it a night.

    Someone asked me to provide info on my budget and expenses, so I’ll tack this information on for a few days. This was an unusually expensive day because of the distance I travelled (3 fillups) and I stayed in a hotel and had dinner out. Also, the gas is more expensive in this area, sometimes more than $2 per litre.
    Gas/toastie/coffee. 37.25
    Coffee 5
    Gas 38.28
    Pie, soft drink, sticker 13.25
    Gas 25.27
    Gas 32.51
    Hotel 87
    Outback Bar and Grill 34 IMG_9537.JPG IMG_9540.JPG IMG_9543.JPG IMG_9544.JPG IMG_9549.JPG IMG_9552.JPG IMG_9594.JPG IMG_9596.JPG IMG_9597.JPG IMG_9598.JPG IMG_9599.JPG IMG_9600.JPG
    #53
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  14. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 25

    Had a coffee in the communal kitchen then checked out of my cave.

    The Catholic Church in scavenger was right next door, so I went in and had a look then I went over to look at the spaceship that was used in the filming of “Pitch Black”. I did a little opal shopping and looked at their exhibits, then I headed over to The Big Lift which is an attraction based around a big buffet and winch used to raise ore from the opal mines. It wasn’t really open - a signed advertised a grand opening in 2017, but I talked to someone who went in to do some work and his comment was “we’re a little behind”

    One interesting thing was a sculpture of a tree made from metal tubing recovered from a truck that had crashed and burned. The sculptor made it so that the children of Coober Pedy would have a tree to climb.

    Next I went to the Public Noodling Ground which sounds a bit dirty, and it is but not in the way you expect. It’s in an area that was once a productive mine and the public are free to go in and search through the till for opals that may have been missed.

    I poked around for a bit, but didn’t find any opals however I did meet up with an iguana.

    I stopped for a sandwich and a drink for lunch, then headed North again.

    It had been quite warm wandering around Coober Pedy, but when I got on the highway it was quite chilly and I had to stop and dress more warmly.

    My destination for the night was The Kulgera Hotel. I had realized I couldn’t make it to Uluru that day. It was going to be a cold night so I was hoping they had a hotel room available.

    It rained lightly for about an hour around Marla, but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful ride.

    I got to Kulgera and it was already quite nippy. They had a fire going out front in half a barrel and I walked over and warmed my hands.

    They had a budget room available for $60 so I took that. No amenities, but it did have an air conditioner that also functioned as a heater and I put that on full blast.

    I went into the pub and had a nice dinner of flatheads and chips sitting next to a glowing wood stove. It was just like being at the cottage in the late fall.

    I then headed off to my little room for a sound and warm sleep.

    Steak sandwich and beer 16.50
    Gas 33.56
    Hotel 60
    dinner 27.50 IMG_9604.JPG IMG_9619.JPG IMG_9614.JPG IMG_9617.JPG IMG_9620.JPG IMG_9621.JPG IMG_9625.JPG om IMG_9626.JPG IMG_9627.JPG IMG_9632.JPG IMG_9636.JPG IMG_9638.JPG IMG_9639.JPG IMG_9640.JPG IMG_9642.JPG IMG_9646.JPG IMG_9651.JPG
    #54
    Peter640, Serp, chudzikb and 6 others like this.
  15. yokesman

    yokesman Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,030
    Location:
    SW. Idaho
    might consider a second dedicated andriod phone for gps service, so as not be left without should one be a loss. samsung 5s n later are fairly water resistant, the kyocera AD is a huge screen phone.
    #55
  16. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 26

    I got up early and went over to the amenities block and had a nice hot shower, then loaded up the bike and went out front to gas up and get some breakfast.

    Then it was on the road again towards Uluru.

    The day started out cloudy and cool, but it had warmed up a bit by the time I reached the turnoff for Uluru.

    I stopped for another coffee and then turned for the 3 hour ride in I stopped about 70km outside Uluru and filled up at a roadhouse for $2.11 a litre - the most expensive gas so far.

    I arrived at the Ayers Rock Resort and checked in - no problem getting a campsite even though I didn’t have a reservation. Probably helped that I was there just before noon.

    I found a spot and set up my tent and unloaded the bags from the bike. I took a minute to book a park pass online, then headed over to the park.

    The park entrance is about 11 km from the campground and then it is about the same distance from the gate to the rock.

    I headed for the Uluru Kata-Tjuta Cultural Centre and had a walk through the display. I then went in to the gallery/gift shop and had a wander around - they had lots of interesting things and there were two aboriginal women painting in one corner.

    I’d forgotten how rude and pushy German tourists could be until a woman shoved past me to get a better look at the two women painting, knocking the lens cap off my camera. She was followed by her husband/ boyfriend who literally pushed me out of the way.

    I bought a couple of small items then went into the little cafe and bought a sandwich and a bottle of water for a late lunch.

    Afterwards I walked a couple of the trails around the rock.

    It really is an amazing place. It’s quite hard to describe how alive and varied it is. The rock gets its red colour from iron oxide leaching out, but underneath that crust there are many different materials and it is pockmarked with caves and crevices. It isn’t a smooth mass, but has a deeply grooved surface as though it had been shaped by glaciers. Around the bottom it is deeply undercut in places as though from the action of an ancient sea. Around the Rick you can see dark streaks running down the surface where water runs off and collects in pools at the bottom. Even with the rain if the last few days the pools were dry.

    All around the base there are various aboriginal sites, many of which had traces of paintings on the wall.

    You were asked not to take pictures at some of the sites, particularly the women’s camp at Mala Puta, but photography was ok at most other sites.

    At one point I encountered a bearded dragon along the path and was able to take a few pictures.

    I stopped and sat on a bench just before Kantju Gorge which was many of the water runoff sites. It was one of the quietest and most serene places I have ever been, in contrast to the many tour groups going around, some talking loudly, others in bicycles or doing Segway tours. It truly is the Niagara Falls of Australia.

    At one point along the rock you could see a long ribbon of people climbing to the top. Climbing Uluru has been done since the 1940s but the Aboriginals object to this and say the rock should be appreciated from the ground and not climbed. As of the 26th of October, climbing will be permanently closed off. This had had the effect of creating a mad rush for people to climb the rock and its at its peace right now during school break.

    I walked back towards the cultural centre, but somehow missed the main path and so decided to walk through the scrub and that turned out to be very interesting. There were lots of animal tracks and also large circular nests on the ground that had small holes going into the ground in the middle. I’ve no idea what lives in them.

    When I got back to the cultural centre I got in the bike and rode back to the sunset viewing area where there were already hundred of people waiting to see the sunset. I talked with a woman from Melbourne who had flown in specifically to climb the rock before climbing is closed. She was there with her 8 or 9 year old son who was far more interested in digging holes In the ground than watching the sunset!

    Many people made a picnic of it setting up tables and chairs. Others were in the roofs of their vehicles for a better view. Some climbed over the fence so that they could have their picture taken with the rock in the background, also ensuring they made it into other peoples pictures as well.

    The inevitable horde of Germans showed up, jabbering loudly and pushing themselves in front of everyone else.

    The sunset was worth seeing. As the sun slowly drops the rock changes colour and even shape and it is fascinating to watch the progression.

    After the sunset I headed back to the campground. I didn’t feeling like cooking so I bought a pulled pork roll and some fries from the little vending truck in the campground and ate it while chatting with my neighbours and their 4 kids. The sandwich was actually quite tasty.

    I then climbed into my tent and read for a while before calling it a night.

    Gas, bacon and egg roll, coffee 46.20
    Coffee 5
    Gas 37.23
    Campsite (Ayers Rock) 45
    Sandwich and water )14
    Dinner 20 IMG_9661.JPG IMG_9676.JPG IMG_9699.JPG IMG_9705.JPG IMG_9714.JPG IMG_9722.JPG IMG_9748.JPG IMG_9729.JPG IMG_9730.JPG IMG_9748.JPG IMG_9756.JPG IMG_9764.JPG IMG_9771.JPG IMG_9787.JPG IMG_9862.JPG IMG_9871.JPG View attachment 1912641
    #56
    B10Dave, Peter640, BC Brian and 4 others like this.
  17. Suncoaster

    Suncoaster Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2015
    Oddometer:
    902
    Location:
    Where the girls are green and the grass is pretty.
    That nest is interesting, I wonder what it is.
    We had a widespread species called the stick nest rat that nearly went extinct. It survived on islands and is being reintroduced, at Roxby Downs and other sanctuaries. Ernest Giles the explorer wrote about seeing them while passing through that area.
    #57
  18. djeady

    djeady Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2017
    Oddometer:
    383
    Day 27

    I was up early to see the sun rise at Uluru , first stopping at the sunset viewing to catch the sun coming up behind and the moving in to the sunrise viewing area. Not many people out this early in the morning and definitely a bit nippy out.

    Then I went back to the campground. Pretty much everybody was still asleep so I made my coffee as quietly as possible and started to pack up.

    I headed back in to the park. I had decided I was going to climb Uluru in spite of the aboriginals’ wishes. They were going to get their final resolution in a month anyway when the climb will be permanently closed. Since so many Australians were eager to climb before it closed, I wanted to find out why.

    I locked all my gear to the bike and changed to my hiking boots. There were a couple I other motorcycles in the car park, but no one was around.

    I started up and the first bit was steep, but easy. The second bit has a large chain on posts down the middle for people to hang on to and there were already some people on their hands and knees.

    I walked up, pausing occasionally to hold onto the chain and rest.

    About halfway up the chain ends and you follow a series of white dashed painted on the rock like the dividing line on the highway. It wasn’t a smooth climb as you had to go along and up and down steep sided ridges. Many of the ridges had pools were water had collected from the recent rain.

    I finally reached the top and while the view was spectacular, it wasn’t nearly as spiritual as sitting next to some of the ancient sites along the bottom.

    The climb back down was easier. I basically just walked straight down past all the people on their hands and knees or sliding in their backsides. Lost track of how many times I heard “mommy there’s a hole in my shorts”

    When I got to the bottom I had a refreshing lemon pole, then walked over to use the facilities and fill my water bottle.

    The other bikers were there - they were from central NSW and we talked for a few minutes before we all headed off.

    I got on my way and headed out to the first roadhouse at Curtin Springs where I stopped to fill up and have an early lunch of a meat pie and a soft drink Talked to another biker who was heading south and we rode out together stopping again at the Eridubda Roadhouse at Ghan. When I got off the bike both my legs cramped up and I had to walk around for 10 minutes looking like I had two wooden legs.

    I decided I would ride as far as the Finke River Rest Area where I would stop for the night.

    I pulled in and picked a site, then walked down to the river to gather enough dry sticks for a small fire.

    I talked to a couple from Hervey Bay who were travelling in their camper with their cat Sota - a Cornish Rex who was quite a character. They were kind enough to offer me a cold beer which I accepted. They had travelled extensively by motorcycle in the past and still had a aural with a sidecar.

    I built a fire and heated up my dinner of ramen and tuna. Another car had pulled in and a young man from Taiwan joined me at the table. He ate his packaged sandwich and salad while I ate my ramen and tuna. He is on a 1 year work visa in Australia and when he is not working he is travelling to see as much of the country as he can, sleeping in his car each night.

    I took a picture of the sunset behind the amazing red gum that is at the entrance to the park, then called it a night.

    Lemon Pole 3
    Gas/pie/ soft drink 52
    Coffee 5
    Fly net 9
    Water 3

    IMG_9880.JPG IMG_9883.JPG IMG_9886.JPG IMG_9889.JPG IMG_9891.JPG IMG_9896.JPG IMG_9903.JPG IMG_9907.JPG IMG_9913.JPG IMG_9922.JPG IMG_9926.JPG
    #58
  19. Adventurepig

    Adventurepig the bike, not me !

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    157
    Location:
    Maitland, NSW
    Awesome photos..great adventure
    #59
  20. chicky

    chicky BMW Rider

    Joined:
    May 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    915
    Location:
    Red Cliffs Vic 3496 Australia
    Hi Dave...
    Where are you at the moment..
    #60