Australia - that's one big island

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by -Z-, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    After a great night I head towards Darwin,

    a short ride to get there, stopped near Adelaide river for a great pie and then got to central Darwin.

    Temperature there was quite humid and as it was the wet season, lots of strong rainfall.
    But not as bad as I was expecting, you're still able to do some walks-around without getting drench every 5mins..

    2 cops show-up early morning while I was sleeping and wanted to get me done for "illegal parking" the fine was up to $700 (!!!) but thankfully the dude from the reception talk to them and say " no worries mate we got a french tourist here, he probably don't know the rules :D "
    The cops walks off and I quickly move to another place with a carpark!

    I can highly recommend the Chilli backpacker and the YHA just in front. Great place to stay, and secure carpark.
    They do have $10 jugs. Can't go wrong!

    I stay in Darwin for a few days, doing a few parties and exploring the city.
    The MAGNT : Museum or Art Gallery of Nothern Territory is absolutely amazing, I love aboriginal history and it was full of pictures, arts, and great stuff. A few hours needed there!

    While In Darwin I had 2 choices, either going south to Uluru, Adelaide and Sydney or Getting to Townsville and keep going south to Sydney, following the coast..
    Either way I had to be in Sydney to catch a flight to Vietnam.

    I really wanted to go south to visit Uluru as it's kind of once-in-your-lifetime experience, plus, I had time and money to do so, but from another part I missed socialized and see more stuff, riding in the outback was great but you don't meet anyone on the road, I only stopped for fuel / pictures & food.
    Great for a few days but I needed a change. And wanted to swim also!

    The "new" Darwin, featuring some fancy residential buildings w nice restaurants.
    The laguna is the only safe place to swim, as all the beaches around are full of crocs
    I was surprise to see that the laguna wasn't free of entrance.

    Many backpackers come to Darwin and get to the port trying to get a job on a fishing boat, can make good money and get some "days".
    We (foreigners) need to work 3 months or 88days in a farm, food/meat factory or agricultural plant to be able to get a second visa and stay another year in Australia.
    That's also why I stay 4 months in Bunbury working in a meat factory. I needed both the days for my visa, and some money.

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  2. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    Enough time in Darwin, it was time to set off again!!

    I decide to check again the bike, to make sure everything was fine.
    Stocked by how the bike was rock solid.. I did not even need to tighten up the chain.

    I left around mid-day, going south for a short drive to Mataranka, there is some hot pools there ( I'd have prefer a cold one!)
    There's some campground spots around the pool.

    Pictures don't do justice but the place was absolutely stunning!

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    This was just a normal water near-by.. looks like crocs paradise :clap
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  3. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    wow almost a month since the last post...

    I should come here to write more often!

    After a short night in Mataranka, Peacocks and Kangorous keep comming at night and woke me up several times..
    Plus the night as been extremely hot, Air goes below 28° only from midnight till 5am..

    Anyway, I sort my bags up, and.... Hit the road again!

    Today destination was Tennant Creek.
    Another long day in the bloody hot outback!

    Trick of the day was a find a good place to sleep, Tennant Creek looked like a dodgy place and unsafe to stop, All the campground had barbed wires, lots of restrictions regarding liquor supplies etc.. Well not the best place for an overnight!

    Instead I stopped 20kms earlier in a Petrol Station that had a campground. location : Threeway Roadhouse, 10$ camp, power, kitchen, restaurant and a small supermarket for small groceries

    I did stop at the Iconic Daly water pub on the way, Out of time pit stop, but definitely worth a visit tho!

    Great atmosphere inside :clap

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  4. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    Alright, hope everyone is doing ok in quarantine!

    After a peaceful night at the threeway roadhouse, I jumped again on the Bike.
    Townsville was now 1600kms away.

    I just wanted to be back on the coast as quick as possible!

    Outback is great, but, really time is long when you don't meet people and don't talk for the entire day.

    As the temperature was too high, it would be ridiculous to do it in 2 days, I decide to make it in 3 days to be a bit more comfy.

    As usual, early morning breakfast and departure,

    Road was straight for on & on & on Until I reached Mount Isa. I stayed at a small hostel there, this is actually a fair big outback town, lots of shops, and activity.
    Looks like most of the work activity is related to the mining industry, don't know if there is much work going on at the moment? I've hear the mining is going down since a few years..

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    Sky wasn't looking super friendly but didn't get any rain.
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  5. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    This will takes too much time to describe the rest of the East coast journey..
    So, long story short!!

    After I left Mount Isa I headed straight towards Townsville, did the ride in 2 days, atmosphere was getting very humid but super happy to get back to civilization !!

    I found an amazing hostel, one of the greatest i've ever been in ( and i've been to quite a lot over 4 years of travels!! )
    Swimming pool, garage, balcony... Couldn't have dream of any better!

    Next day I did a day trip to Magnetic Island.


    Then some maintenance on the bike, new coolant, Oil & filters, sparkplugs and a general check over.
    Still hasn't tight the chain since the beginning of the trip! And no top-up of any liquid was needed!!
    I left most off my luggage at the hostel and did a 2 days loop trip up north.

    Went to Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas.
    Such a nice place, one of my favorite place in the country, landscape was pristine and so different from what i've seen before in the outback. Just unbelievable!

    Note that swimming is prohibited as water is infested by crocs!


    Finally some twities - it has been a while !!

    Attached Files:

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  6. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    After that lil loop up north, I put all my stuff back on the bike and head south.

    Whitsundays islands is just unbelievable!! I went with the cheapest company, but luckily they got a small boat! They take us right inside the inlet, and we spend 1hour on a "private" beach, as the other boats were to big to enter..

    Airlie beach is ridiculously busy.. Only stayed there to visit the Whitsundays and then back on the road..

    Then Rockhampton, Noosa heads & Brisbane...
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    I stayed in Brisbane a couple of days, nothing too excited in the city center, but some nice hinterland loop! Did get a bit of rain also, it has been a while!! ( it was actually a storm! )

    I then kept going till Gold Coast, absolutely loved that city, it's super excited, lots of nightlife, very nice beach, and great motorcycle roads around.

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    I had to catch a flight to Vietnam about a 10 days later, so I decided to carry-on and enjoy some time-off in Sydney to pack my bags and find a storage solution for my bike.

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    the 3 sisters - Blue Mountains - Sydney


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    The road took me to Byron Bay, then went to a motorcycle festival in Wauchope, I met some fantastic fellow riders there, John & his friends, they invite me for bbq and had some chats about motorcycle traveling in OZ and Europe... Great times.

    I finally ended-up in Sydney, I had about a week off to find somewhere to leave my bike and visit the city.
    In fact I was going on holidays with a friend in Vietnam and then visiting my family, I needed a place to leave my bike & gears for about 2 months..

    Some people proposed me to park my bike at their place, but it would have been to annoying as I wanted to leave my computer and other stuff aswell..
    Parking in a street wasn't an option.. I did some quote at some storage place, most of them where expensive.. like 170USD for a month...

    I then rand National Storage, explain them the situation, and the guy ask me "how much you want to spend mate ? "
    He sort me out and found me a spot 50kms from the CBD ( but 5min from a train station ) for 70USD a month... Bargain!

    The place was under 24H CCTV, fully secured and in a private garage, I left my computer, riding gear, camping stuff, give a good wash on the bike, lube everything up, disconnect the battery and left her!

    I then take a train to the CBD, stay in central sydney for a few days and then flew to Hanoi.
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  7. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    The trip in Vietnam was a real adventure, my friend as never ride a bike before

    We bought the bikes at 10pm for 150 USD, and head for a 200kms journey the next day

    ( 200kms in Vietnam is like 1000kms in the US haha )

    The mighty Kawasaki in the storage in Sydney


    So this would be the new wheels for the next couple of weeks!!
    A chinese copy of the Honda win 100cc.
    1 black and 1 red. I took the red one.. apparently red bikes are going faster!!?

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    We met some amazing peoples there..
    Broke the bikes everyday.. crash, punctures... I did have to change my clutch, cost me 10USD, incl parts & labor.. makes me feel sad to think that it's more than 200USD for my Ducati.. haha

    Somehow we manage to get back to Hanoi in 1 piece and sold the bikes for the same amount of money.

    it was a round trip of about 1500kms.

    Then we took a flight Da nang, stayed there for a few days and rent some 135cc Yamaha to do the Hai Van Pass.
    That road wasn't as amazing as we were expecting and believe it or no but we had more issue with the original yamaha engine than with our crappy chinese bikes!

    Good fin tho! for the price i'll 100% a motorcycle trip in Vietnam to anyone
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  8. sledrydr

    sledrydr Been here awhile

    Sep 28, 2012
    Sweet report! Gotta chuckle thinking about everyone herding there behemoth "ADV" bikes around! Your proving that small cheap bikes can get it done nicely. Thanks for the inspiration. Stay safe and update your adventures when possible.
    LS650 likes this.
  9. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    Thanks for the comment @sledrydr
    Yes, it's possible to achieve a lot even with a small displacement engine, as long as you take care of your ride!

    So, after that amazing trip in Vietnam and other places in Asia, I finally get back to Sydney.
    Went back to the storage the next day to pick the bike up, Everything was still there..!

    I've met an Aussie lady that proposed me a room to stay for a few days, without really knowing me.. That was extremely nice from her! Thanks again Lee!
    So I stay for about a week, the time to do a good washing machine, change my tires and find a hostel - sharehouse to stay.
    I cooked her crepes, apparently she love'd it !

    One of the Highlight of the trip would be my arrival in Sydney, driving on the Harbour Bridge is an amazing experience, it was so nice that I did it back and forth ( later-on I discover that I WASN'T free, there was a toll at the entrance haha )
    Driving on that bridge felt like " I did it" " I made it to Sydney" !

    I stayed in Sydney for 2-3 months, a very nice city to stay, but such an expensive place to live, restaurants / appartment & hostels crazy expensive / tolls & cops everywhere.. Plus, I wasn't making a lots of hours at work, make it hard to save enough money..

    I did my "first time" on Track, i've done that crazy trip so it doesn't matter anymore if i broke the bike nor engine on track.. I book for a track day at Eastern Creek ( ex moto GP racetrack ) with some friends.
    I bought some cheap leather on Gumtree 48h before going on the track
    Called the guy and explain him that I needed urgently the leathers and he goes :
    " look mate I'm working a lot, won't be able to catch up, so i'll left the leathers in my veranda, try it, if it fits left the 50$ under the chair. "

    So I got myself the cheapest leather available online, they actually fits me perfectly.. Headed to the racetrack, the inspector goes " well, are you gonna ride that stuff on the track ?? where is your real bike mate ? "

    I was a bit confused, specially that everyone around was riding some fully tune 1000cc bikes or race-ready Ninja 300, I definitely got the crappiest bike around hahaha

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    Even tho the bike surprised everyone!
    I was riding balls to the wall with my clapped-out 250, and did some better times than some others Ninja - CB500 and even ER6

    The temperature was between 30 to 35°C, riding between 8.000 to 13.000rpm all day long, didn't missed a beat, I even drive back home without refueling !

    Attached Files:

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  10. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    After that surprising day at the track, I decide to go for more of it, And went once again to Eastern Creek and once in Wollongong.
    It was a tiny-technical-go kart track

    My top speed has been 80km/h!! as there was so many corners, I did not even put the 4th gear.
    Definately the best to learn leaning, quick direction changes, position, cornering...
    A bit hard to keep up with the supermoto, but did well against the others Ninja 250-300.

    Here's a few random pics from around-Sydney-exploration

    Every Aussie & playstation gamer should recognized that place... (mount panorama)
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    Somewhere in the Alpine wonderland

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    On the way back to Sydney, from Canberra - the capital city. Did about 60kms of gravel road, I was scared that the road become rougher but it was all fine... (The kawasaki got 16" wheels )

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  11. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

    Mar 30, 2013
    Geraldton, Western Australia
    639FCC86-503F-461A-8380-5D593849C513.jpeg Mt. Panorama
  12. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    good news, I did a bit of cleaner in my hard drive and reunite all the pictures from the trip... It will be much easier to upload.. and I found a couple of oldies

    Byron Bay
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    With John, that host me in Port Mac. He gots a fantastic 1200GS with custom paint job
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    Some dudes wanted to race me...

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    Alpine hway near near Canberra Jindabyne and not too far from the border with Victoria. Fantastic roads there... Off season there's almost no traffic... Good to open up a bit the throttle

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    Outback Petrol Station ( aka "Servo" in australian slang )

    99% of Australians ADV riders will recognize that place :) !
    Funny how famous a place can be

    This was just next after passing the QLD border, coming from NT
    This prick saw me coming and run outside with his remote to change the gas price.

    Attached Files:

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  13. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer Supporter

    Jul 18, 2002
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    What a great adventure! You have certainly seen the best bits of Oz. Well done.
  14. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    Cheers Gone Troppo, yea just missing the Melbourne - Esperance leg... And Alice, but that's just another good reason to come back!

    After a few months in Sydney it was time to move again, Despite being an amazing place to live ; good climate, plenty of work going-on, nice beaches and surroundings.. it's an expansive city to live in, and a pain in the ass to ride around avoiding police - tolls - speed cameras...

    With 2 other French dudes we decide to move up north, to find some work and sunshine.

    - Theo was riding a 800VFR, with over 100.000kms on the clock if I remember... special note, he had his guitare in a hard case at the back of the bike hahaha

    - Louis was riding a pristine bmw F800ST

    - I carry on with my GPX250, I just changed the oil and flush the coolant.

    So we took off from Sydney heading towards Anna bay to see the sand dunes, a very nice place indeed.

    The heavy VFR wasn't successful riding in the sand... but the view was great

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    Afterwards we kept going north, staying at a mates place in Port Macquarie.

    I had a flat tyre since Sydney that I didn't fix properly, wasn't leaking too bad first, but then we had to stop every 60kms to had some more air as it was leaking too much....
    I had it fix in a repair place in Port Macquarie, the guy put a patch inside the tyre, worked out perfectly! hasn't been leaking anymore!

    The next day we head towards the Oxley highway.
    Which is basically a 200kms long racetrack / backroad.

    I remember scrapping the pegs in every corner, it was so much fun! We were riding fast (well 140kph is fast for a 250cc! ) but still had to keep an eye for the animals crossing

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  15. Travlintrent

    Travlintrent n00b

    May 11, 2020
    Xlnt stuff cobber doin mine in August 2020 anticlockwise from sunny coast on 650 BMW loving ya posts keep it up
    Balanda likes this.
  16. GezwindeSpoed

    GezwindeSpoed Long timer

    Jan 15, 2009
    The land of the Dutchmen
    I love this report!!!
  17. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    thanks for your comments guys!
    Good luck for your trip Travlintrent, keep sunny side up!

    here's a few more pics,
    the workshop at Port Macquarie, where the guy put a new patch under the tyre as it was leaking too much, don't remember the name of the place, but top bloke, did a top job!

    Anna Bay sand dunes
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    that's what a backpacker room look like when we usually rolled up, smelly 3 (or 4 ?) days old shocks, shoes, leather jackets, boots... + the battery of the VFR that was in charge in the room... That wasn't the best way to attract ladies.
    Lucky us, our friend Theo (with the vfr) bring his guitare with him.
    Go to any hostel in the world with a guitare & a french accent, you can be sure 99% it will be a winning night!
    This was in Byron Bay if I remember
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    Unfortunately all good things come to an end!

    We were riding on the highway when suddenly my engine seems to run out of petrol, so I quickly switch-it onto reserve. But didn't work, the engine stopped. Bugger.
    I try to start it again but nothing, even push-starting it, she didn't go!

    So we were now stuck on the side of the highway, yeehaa! Theo went ahead to check were was the nearest servo ( service station in aussie slang ) Fortunately it was just a few k's further. He help me to push the bike for 5 or 6 kms... While I was pushing on the side of the hway, many people stop and try to offer assistance.. A lady left me her number saying that his husband was riding bike and if we didn't have any solution we could stay at their place...!

    But as it was some carby issue, I was just thinking to clean the main jet and off we go again... aha if only!

    We ended up at the servo, taking appart the GPX250, then figured out that we didn't have the right philips screw driver to remove the carb.

    It was getting late and my friend didn't have any sleeping gears.

    I decide to call again that lady, and she said that it was still okay to stay at her place. Fantastic!
    About 1 hour later we get to her place, and meet Dave, he's riding a Triumph rocket and some oldschool harley's.
    He kindda laugh when he heard that I had a 250 " is that a girl bike or what ?"


    Long story short but we ended-up staying 3 nights at Dave place.
    He shake earth and sky to get my GPX running fine.

    As we weren't able to make her run properly the next day, he decide to call a mate of him. That mate stop is work, pick up a trailer and drove for 100kms to pick my bike, and then drove back to Dave place to drop the bike. How nice is that??
    But wait! there's more!
    Even if the bike was back to Dave's place, it wasn't riding properly, so Dave call another mate of him (!!) that stop his work too, and come to help n fix the carb'

    It's definately the craziest road-side stuff that happen to me, even nowadays when I tell that story to my friends nobody believe it!
    Dave, his wife, and all his mates were such and incredible bunch of humans beiing !!

    It didn't cost me a single $
    Dave refuse to receive any money, I couldn't even offer them a pack of beer or to throw a barbecue.


    Once the bike was running fine, we hit the road again!

    Attached Files:

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  18. -Z-

    -Z- Been here awhile

    Sep 30, 2012
    Aix en Provence, France
    After all theses little peregrination, we kinda settle down in Noosa heads, which is a very nice little town.

    We stayed there for a week or so, and decided to split... In fact, Theo with the VFR, was short on money and needed to find a farm job ASAP for is visa... So he kept going north towards Brisbane and start to work directly.

    Louis with the Bimmer, wanted to ride more up north, I was keen also, but I already did all that route and start to be a bit short on money, It was time again to work...

    So, off we go! We split and I drove back 200kms south and stay on the Gold Coast!
    That place was absolutely amazing!
    I quickly find a job - a room - and a girlfriend, stuff were going good indeed.

    Since Sydney I was looking to get onto a bigger bike, but didn't manage to find a good deal.

    One day I walked into a yamaha dealership and saw a pristine SV650S for sale. 65000kms on the clock for 3000AUD.

    I asked for a test ride but the salesman says that they would close the shop in an hour and it was cloudy... might rain...
    I told him that I was keen to take it if I liked it... He took the bike outside, flat battery... And didn't want to take the booster or to push start it...
    WTF??! This as to be the laziest salesman I have ever encountered!

    I come the week after to try to get a test ride...

    And finally it was possible!! Bike was running good, so I proposed a Swap.

    We agreed, the GPX + 1500 AUD ( about 1000USD ) and we were good.

    That was a good deal for me cause the gpx was still running good but needed some stuff to be done... ( tyres - brakes - broken footpeg - indicator .. )
    The SV was in pristine condition!

    with a full IXIL muffler and carbon tank cover ( a real carbon stuff! )


    1st ride with the bike :

    on the same day I realised that one of the fork seal blew-up, I bring her back and got a MT-03 as replacement for a few days

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    Moo-moo roadhouse

    Byron Bay sunset

    That's how I swapped the GPX! haven't seen her again after that.
    Absolutely no regrets, it was such a fantastic bike to do it all...
    Of course a little more power would have been nice, but to be fair, it was good enough for Australian speed limits.
    The most important stuff being such a bulletproof bike!

    Attached Files:

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  19. zzzak

    zzzak Long timer Supporter

    Mar 11, 2004
    Not often that the sun sets in the east.
  20. Balanda

    Balanda Been here awhile

    Mar 30, 2013
    Geraldton, Western Australia