Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Map Details:
    Day 40 (150), Saturday, October 7th, Onslow to Day 43 (153), Tuesday, Kalbarri. Via, Coral Bay, Hamelin Pool.
    Distance = 1200kms.

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    Also a few of the better random photos during that period.

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    Onslow last Friday, a massive full moon rises over Beadon Bay.

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    Panorama of Coral Bay, Western Australia, it really is a special place.

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    It's only a 28C day in Coral Bay the water temp isn't to cold.
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  2. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Great stuff guys, just caught up again for some reason I'm not getting alerts when you post and had a few things happening here last 3 weeks so hadn't looked into it. Almost home not long to go now, you will be sorry and happy I'm sure. All the best
    Garry
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  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Days of tour 153, 10/10/17,
    Hamelin Pool to Kalbarri ..... 290kms

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    Out the back of Hamelin Caravan Park, which was the Telegraph Station back in the late 1800's is an old quarry where Coquina Shell Bricks were Mined over 100 years ago. It is now a historic site & Shell Bricks are now only Mined for restoration of local historic Shark Bay buildings.

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    Compacted Coquina Shells, zoom in...:-)

    Last night at Hamelin Pool turned out to be our final night of this epic motorbike tour in our little tent. Of course being the last one it rained on us at about 6am just to give it one final wash.

    We are 3 to 4 days from arriving at the Travel Home Base in Mandurah & will be staying with either friends or family along the way for this last 650km section.

    Apart from the headwind our ride to Kalbarri was pleasant enough. Being Spring we are starting to see some of Western Australia's famous wildflowers now.

    Just north of the Kalbarri (& Murchison Nat. Park) turn off is a free camping area of Galena. We stopped there for a break, there are clean long drop toilets, shelters, fire places & a nice view over the river. After we finished our lunch we were about to head off when a new model Landcruiser with NSW plates, towing a big grey Caravan with bright orange accents & wheels pulls in.

    We have been seeing, passing & spending time at the same camp grounds as these guys since before Timber Creek in the Northern Territory. So ride our bikes over to say hello. They appeared a little nervous at first with that look of "uh oh what have we done now" but soon recognised our bikes & we had a great talk for an hour about life & travels. Didn't get there names I think the lady was Karen (?).

    Once you turn off the North West Coastal Highway (No.1) onto the Kalbarri road it's a further 60kms into the little coastal tourist town. We have been here numerous times so sight seeing isn't on the agenda this time. For those of you who haven't, put it on your wish list.

    Only West Australian's know how great & unique it is. There is a fantastic National Park, great beaches, fishing & surfing. I've probably said to much & will get told off by my fellow Sandgropers for giving the secret away.

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    Hello Kalbarri, always good to be here.

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    Being the last time we are on our own for the night for this trip we decide to get a room. The Kalbarri Hotel is the most economical option, clean & tidy.

    Anyway it's good to be back so we book a room at the Pub & later have dinner there as well. Both of us are starting to feel that "end of tour blues" it's such a bittersweet emotion, a combination of success & loss. The only real cure is to do another trip somewhere & we have a couple already planned on our horizon.

    Thanks for following my RR, not many posts left now.
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  4. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Garry,
    Great to have you along for the ride. The end of a tour is always a bit of a sad time, but we have more awesome trips planned so that should fix the mood.

    It was a bummer that the opportunity to catch up with you didn't eventuate (remember the rain !). If you are ever in the West look us up.
    Will & Jenny.
  5. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Shall do, I enjoyed Perth the 2 times I have been there. Went for the Red Bull Air Race in 2008 spent a week there and had a ball. Visited Wave Rock, the Mint, Rottie, Freo jail, Kings Park and the 2 days of the air race. Only thing I missed out on was the V8 Supercar experience as it's only on weekends and the only weekend I was there was the Air Race.
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  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Sadly it's time to wrap up this Ride Report after 157 Days the tour around Australia & month on the North Island of New Zealand is over.....for the past few days we have stayed with Friends around the Geraldton/Dongara region about 450kms north of Perth. None of them had wifi or decent mobile phone reception so I didn't bother posting any RR during that time.

    So where were we up to ??? Ah that's right Kalbarri, let's start off with the Map of our route home to the Travel Home Base (THB) in Mandurah.

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    As I packed up my bike & did some bike checks I noticed the rear tyre on Jenny's CB500X was shot, like wires sticking through what remained of the tread....whoops not good, I really thought it would get home ! So on the phone to Rev's Motorcycles in Geraldton 160kms south of us. Ross said he would be able to get an OEM tyre for the little Honda on short notice, a Pirelli Scorpion Trail. I don't really care at this stage so long as the thing has tread & holds air. The Avon Trailriders seemed ok but I thought you'd get more then 16000kms out of them.

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    Kalbarri, the rear tyre on Jenny's CB500X, will it do another 160kms to Geraldton ? Yes, glad it didn't rain.

    Ross at Rev's said he would also chuck a tube in the S-Tenere's rear to help get me home. Thanks Mate.

    Just as we were about to depart Kalbarri, Jen & I spotted the KLR650 belonging to the young Brazilian couple Adriano & Clariana, sitting in the Foreshore Carpark. But the guys were no where to be seen, we found them sitting in a little lean to on the beach playing with their gadgets. They were having bike hassles of their own, the max speed they could achieve was 80km/h. Adriano & I ran through the most likely causes & mostly came to the conclusion that the Carby was blocked. The KLR was well overdue for a service so I suggested he drop it off at the Kawasaki dealer in Geraldton & get it all sorted for the next leg of their journey. (Currently the Brazilian's are stuck in Geraldton waiting for the arrival of a carburettor diaphragm).

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    Kalbarri, after talking & engine fault finding with Adriano & Clariana for an hour it's time to "Bust a Move".

    The ride to Geraldton was great, we followed the coast, passing the Pink Lake near Port Gregory, stopping in at Northampton for lunch, then arriving at our friends, Annie & Keith's place around 2pm.

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    Pink Lake near Port Gregory, Photo Courtesy of Adriano & Clariana, of Ruta Roots on Facebook.

    We spent 2 days in Geraldton getting the Bike tyres sorted & sight seeing, catching up with Keith & Annie was fantastic.
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  7. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Some photos from around Geraldton & district during our stay on Days 154-156.

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    Keith takes us on a tour of the area in his massive Chevy Silverado. We stop at Coal Seam for a look.

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    Jenny, Annie & Keith at one of the Coal Seam look outs.

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    The "Waiting Woman" at the HMS Sydney II Memorial in Geraldton. HMS Sydney II was in a battle against the German Raider Kormarant in November 1941 about 200kms off the Western Australian coast, both ships sank the Sydney lost 645 sailors. In the background of this photo the memorial canopy is made up of 645 seabirds representing each Sailor lost.

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    The view of Geraldton from the HMS Sydney II Memorial. (Geraldton's population is 45000).
  8. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    DAY 46 (156) Fri 13/10, Geraldton to Dongara 65kms.

    We head down to Dongara to spend the night with some of Jenny's (& now mine) long time family friends, Anne & Willie who live on a small farm just out of Dongara. As usual another top day !

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    Bikes parked up at Anne & Willie's place, the previous owners were Mad Hawthorn Supporters (the Hawks AFL Football Team) which is the reason for the house colour :-)

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    Anne, snaps off a photo on her phone as we depart for our final day on the road for this tour.

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    Back in Geraldton we stumbled across our new travel Mascot...Pikachu . In our rule book you have to find or be genuinely given a Mascot. You aren't allowed to purchase one. Also notice the travel snacks hanging on Jenny's windshield brackets.
  9. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Day 157, our final day Dongara to THB, Mandurah, 460kms. October 14th 2017.

    What do I say, the Aus Bike Tour is basically over, we are within striking distance of home so decide that's it ... trip over. The Bike Gods put on a cracker of a day for us, 27C, clear sky's, no wind, some nice winding roads as we rode along the Indian Ocean Drive to Perth.

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    Riding along the Indian Ocean Drive on a brilliant day, sand dunes to our left, ocean on our right. Wow.

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    Jenny looks excessively happy, maybe the sugar in the lollie snakes are starting to kick in.

    Once in Perth the Saturday traffic was good & we just took the direct route across the city along the Mitchell & Kwinana Freeways.

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    Perth our home city, Capital of Western Australia (pop 2 million +). GPS is on but we don't need it, we know what freeway lane to be in as we cross the Swan River. If you plan to visit & ride Australia I would seriously consider starting in Perth. No motor vehicle annual checks, lower rego then most other States, good public transport, closer to Europe & Asia then Sydney or Melbourne.....just my own bias opinion...lol

    Once at the THB we didn't feel much in the way of emotions, we were just happy to be home safely after such an epic ride. I guess we will decompress & debrief over the next few weeks as we come to grips with what we have just accomplished.

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    Back to where it all started on April the 2nd, team wiljen's, Travel Home Base ! It's 4pm & we have done it !

    The ride was truly amazing & riding with Jenny was fantastic. We met so many great people along the way !
    Lastly I would just like to thank everyone here on ADVrider who followed this Ride Report, particularly all of you who made comments & clicked likes, it helped to motivate me to keep writing about our tour.

    During the trip I kept records of our spending so there will be one last RR in a week or two letting you know the financial details. I'll also let you know what we have planned next.

    Lastly I would just like to leave you with this one final quote.

    “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
    Steve Jobs

    Will...aka Happyidiot :-)
    https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com/

    Some final travel stats of the ride.
    ***Final Bike Kilometres ***
    Yamaha Super Tenere 35824km, Honda CB500X 32286km
    Total ride kms equals S-Ten = 19825, CB500X = 20922, Average between bikes = 20373km. (also NZ on GSA1200 1180kms) Aus/NZ total kms = 21553kms.
    Over 157 days, average per day = 137kms.
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  10. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Thanks for carrying us along......From your virtual mascots. :-)
    JJ
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  11. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Well done guys, good to see you home safe. Great pictures and great ride report. Happy and safe travels where ever you head next.
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  12. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Just Jeff, thank you for all your encouraging comments. Really happy to have you along as a virtual Mascot during our ride. If you decide to do another Aussie ride let me know if you need any help.
    Will.
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  13. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Richard,
    you are one of the many great people we met during our tour, but with the added bonus of being an ADVrider & following our Motorbike Ride, Jenny says "Kia Ora" as well. As I said to JJ, if you plan an Oz ride & need any assistance give me a shout. Really appreciated all your comments.
    Will.
  14. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Thank you both for a great RR, I look forward to the next adventure. Please post a link in here when you start the next one if you could.

    Garry
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  15. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Thanks Will! I do have one question for now. What are the best months, weather wise, to ride Australia. You are coming into spring/summer and I remember it gets smoking hot in Dec and Jan.
    JJ
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Garry, it was an absolute pleasure having you along for the (virtual) ride. Thanks for your advise on some of the NSW routes. The Oxley Hwy was memorable, even though the weather Gods decided we should get drenched at the start. As I said before it was unfortunate we couldn't catch up, but our Ride was pretty fluid & we just had to adapt to the conditions at the time.

    I'll make sure to link the next RR to this one. All the best, Will.
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  17. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    JJ, Australia is pretty lucky, we have a climate where it is always great to ride somewhere. In summer, late December to mid March the south is the go. Think WA's Southwest, SA's Eyre Peninsula & South East of Adelaide, Victoria's High Country & southern coast, all of Tasmania, Coast of NSW....

    For the North, especially above the Tropic of Capricorn if you are keen to avoid excessive heat & humidity stay away from Northern Australia from September to April. You may recall as we rode from Darwin to Broome we copped quite a few 38C to 40C days, luckily the humidity wasn't to bad yet, that starts to get bad in November.

    IMO the best time to start a ride from Perth is late-August & head counter clockwise, heading east across the Nullarbor, that way you generally get prevailing winds (tail winds). Once you are at Ceduna you have two choices. Do a circuit of Eyre Peninsula (you will get the odd cool wet day) or head onto Port Augusta & head north up the Center to Alice Springs. From there the choices are numerous.

    Like anywhere else the best thing about touring in the "off or shoulder" seasons is there are a lot less other travellers & tourists. School Holidays, Easter & Long Weekends can be a PITA at all the tourist Hot Spots.

    I hope this helps a little, if you have a particular time frame I'm happy to suggest a possible route, there are fantastic places everywhere. Some of the unexpected highlights from this tour were, Eden (NSW), Mission Beach (Qld), Normanton (Qld), Lawn Hill (Qld). Neither Jenny or I had ever been to those spots before.

    Will
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  18. MaverickAus

    MaverickAus Long timer

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    Hi Jeff,

    Pretty much what Will said if you are going through the centre and NT May - August is the most pleasant, Tassie and southern states Feb - April, NSW / QLD East Coast Feb - Nov (avoid peak summer season). Most of the popular spots like where I live at Coffs Harbour are booked out and expensive during the summer school holidays. Feb and October tends to rain a lot on the east coast, also bush fires during the summer can make life unpleasant, think California at the moment.

    If I can help out drop me a line, I have toured most of NSW, a little of Vic, QLD, NT, SA. Never been to Tassie (yet) and only flown to WA, it is 5000 km after all.

    Garry
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  19. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    It's a BIG one so grab a beer, coffee or drink of choice & I hope you enjoy this final RR Post.


    Hi to you all this will be the "Post Script" to our mind blowing, 157 days, Married Couple, Australia/NZ motorcycle tour....After nearly 5 weeks at home thinking about it we have realised how fabulous it was and yeah we want to go again...!


    So what is this final RR post about ?

    Five things I wish to extend to you lot are:

    1. Final Thoughts & life after the Journey.
    2. How Did the Bikes Go ?
    3. What are the Happyidiots/team wiljen doing Post Trip.
    4. THE BIG ONE....COST !
    5. What is next ?

    1...In a word it was excellent, do it, do it, do it. :-)

    Life is to short, if you are in Europe, North America, Australia/NZ & a multitude of other great countries, just find a way. You don’t have to come to Aus. and ride, just hit the road where ever you are. Jenny & I loved it !

    21500 fantastic Kilometres over 157 Days on the road, heaps of highs & only a handful of lows.
    Would we do it again....YES in a heartbeat. I think that’s enough said !


    2...The Bikes, gawd how reliable are these bloody modern bikes. The Yamaha Super Ten 1200cc is made in Japan & the Honda CB500X built in Thailand. I have no doubt that our little 2014 Harley 883 in the shed could do the job but gee you'd have a sore butt & compressed spine at the end of each day.

    Both bikes were brilliant. If I had more time, money & smarts I might go for identical multi cylinder bikes in the mid-range. Say two 650 VStroms or a couple of Triumph 800cc Tigers. Maybe some smaller capacity BMW's ?

    Still don’t let the Bike choice stop you, as the saying goes "the best bike for a trip is the one you have" amen to that .

    The Super Tenere was great but it always felt heavy (I did carry the bulk of our gear). It’s saving grace was it’s suitability to the big open roads of Australia. No regrets I love it’s power, torque and supreme reliability. 5 star rating ... I give it just above 4.

    Jenny’s CB500X, is an unbelievable little bike, the bike that could. Sadly we both felt the 471cc motor was a little underpowered for our trip & the 17 inch front wheel struggled off the bitumen. Value for money & durability it deserves 4 stars out of 5. A very nimble & reliable bike.

    On a quick side note we also rode that "High Mileage" 2011 BMW GS Adventure 1200cc in New Zealand. It was tops, everything worked. In it’s past life it had been ridden from Alaska to Argentina & around Australia twice... I was impressed. It felt significantly bigger and taller then the Yamaha Super Tenere but I would be happy to tour on one, ( so long as there wasn’t any sand involved).

    To put it in a blunt prospective I could have bought the 88000kms BMW GSA with panniers for $17900NZD (about $17000 Aussie) my S-Ten cost $20000AUD new in 2014 & I spent about $2000 on extras...I’m ok with my choice. High Mileage secondhand BMW GSA ... 3.7 stars out of 5.


    3...Initially there was a few days of us mourning the end of our trip & trying to readjust into our new reality. The trick is to keep yourself busy & productive.

    While we have been home, Jenny & I have kept ourselves pretty busy. All our weekends have been full. I’ve been away on a weekend camping Motorbike Tour with a Mate. Jenny & I attended the Horizons Unlimited WA meeting & gave a 50 minute presentation of our 2 month, 2016 Indian Ride.

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    3 Day weekend at Fairbridge where we give a talk about our 2016 Indian Bike Tour at the Horizons Unlimited meeting. A bit wet but still fun.

    Found ourselves on an excellent full day ride around Perth with 4 other guys who had travelled through India on various Nevermind Tours, we only knew one of them, so meeting the other 3 was a fun experience.

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    The Happyidiots team up with 4 other riders, who have all previously been on Indian Nevermind Tours for a ride around Perth. We take our Cruisers since most of the other guys are on Royal Enfield 500 Bullets. Quick drink stop at Cores Cidery in the Perth Hills.

    We took our 41yo VW Kombi down to the Bridgetown Blues, Music Festival & last weekend we got out for a small local ride with a couple of friends on the Yamaha Bolt & HD 883 Iron.

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    We take our old VW Kombi Camper down to Bridgetown to spend the weekend listening to the Blues. Parked up in a friends shed in Bridgetown.

    Any spare time we've had has been spent working on the "Travel Home Base" easy care gardens. Also I gave 3 of the Bikes & the Landcruiser a service, there’s always something to do. Jenny has been fully occupied with her knee rehab, which is slowly helping but just not fast enough. There has been lots of riding on both the Motorbikes & Bicycles, trying really hard not to use the car.

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    Jenny getting stuck into some Gardening at the THB.

    4...COST, Actually not so bad. Keep in mind if you sit on your ass at home you are spending money on food, fuel, beer, accommodation,entertainment, etc anyway.

    Travelling in a developed country is always pricey but the savvy traveller can still do it economically with some effort.

    Sadly Jenny & I aren’t very savvy. We like the good life, comfy beds, beer, restaurant food, but we do our best to spread the load & make it work for us.

    Like most long term travellers we know that if you can cut cost you can extend your Tour for longer. All these costs are for two people travelling together. A solo traveller would be at about 60%-70% of these amounts.

    I kept records of our spending, I’d round the daily cost to the nearest dollar but it will be a pretty close representation of our expenditure. Feel free to comment or pick on us, just remember it’s our tour, our money & I don’t mind spending the dosh if it keeps us both happy & keen to keep travelling.

    Lastly if you followed our RR you’d know our tour was really in 4 sections so that’s how I’ll lay out the costs. Also it’s worth saying the Southern section of Aus is significantly cheaper to travel in then the Tropical North. I’ve also excluded all bike maintenance & flights from the cost averages.


    Section 1. Mandurah WA to Melbourne Vic. 25 Days. ( NB: we did live it up on a family birthday in Melbourne for a week so I deducted those days).
    Average Cost Per Day $110. Possible savings, our takeaway Beer/Wine was $15p/d.
    Free Camping= 11 days , Camp Ground Tent Sights=9 days, Motels/Cabins=5 days


    Section 2. New Zealand, North Island. 28 Days...Note: these costs do not include Flights & Vehicle Hire (FYI, the Van & Bike cost us $1870NZD over 21 days). Also this is in NZ Dollars but at the time that was nearly at parity with the Australian Dollar.
    Average Cost Per Day $128NZD if I add the vehicle hire in it comes out at $193 Per Day.
    Free Camping= 19, Camp Ground in Van= 2, Motel/Cabin=5 Days.


    Section 3. Australia's East Coast, Melbourne Vic to Port Douglas Qld...30 Days.
    Average Cost Per Day $140, a cost savings measure could have been to avoid Restaurant/Pubs which equalled $26 per day on average.
    Free Camping=9, Camp Ground Tent=8, Motel/Cabin=13 Days.


    Section 4. Australia's Tropical North & West Coast, 47 Days.
    Note: Between section 3 & 4 we had to fly home for a close family members funeral. We were home for 6 weeks....so had to get our minds on the job for the final part of our tour.

    Average Daily Spend $173 per day. A cost cutting measure could have been to avoid Motel/Cabins which cost us an average of $34p/d during this section.
    Free Camping= 9, Camp Ground Tent= 25, Motel/Cabin= 12 Days.

    In final summary the whole Tour cost for the Happyidiots on average per day was $138, which is great since our budget for 2 people in a developed country is $150AUD.

    Over the 157 Days of our tour Free Camping Days = 48 (sometimes we stayed with family/friends so we'd shout dinner or drinks, therefore was it really free ?)
    Caravan Parks/Camp Grounds paid tent sites = 44 Days
    Motels/Cabins (hey we're happily married & want to keep it that way).= 35 Days
    .

    For the math Geniuses... the Missing Days...are in flight transit days & the week in Melbourne... travelling budgets aren’t an exact science :-)

    So there you go we toured around Australia/NZ over 157 Days at $138 per day predominantly on two bikes (remember this figure excludes vehicle hire, flights & bike maintenance).


    5...What Next ?
    In a nut shell, more travel. In a week we fly to the UK (in their winter, yuck). I don’t think there’ll be any Motorbike rides, though Jenny’s sister does own a couple of 125cc Vespa's, so you never know. Mainly we will be celebrating Jenny’s sister birthday & catching up with some friends.
    While over there we are picking up a couple of folding Bicycles for a future Vehicle Based Bicycle Tour.

    Shortly after our return from England we fly over to Tasmania in February 2018 to complete the missing State of our Aussie Motorbike Tour. Jenny’s, Step-Bro, Neil & his wife Tracey happen to have 4 Bikes in their shed (all sport style, 2x 650cc, 1x 1200cc & 1x 250cc Ninja). They have invited us over for a two week Tassie Ride....how cool will that be ! :-)

    Longer term we are planning 6 months in North America, mainly Canada & USA, we plan on taking our Thorn Nomad, Expedition Touring Cycles with us to ride down the West Coast, but it’s early days & who knows exactly what the trip will morph into.

    So that just about covers the "I'm Curious as to what the Happyidiots are up to" RR Post. If & when we have another epic multi-month motorcycle tour, I’ll consider putting it on this forum. In the meantime you can keep tabs on us by checking out our BLOG. https://wiljenblog.wordpress.com/

    I've also started loading our Australian Ride Vlogs onto YouTube but it’s a slow time consuming process. Search YouTube for wiljen's Adventures if you wish to check out some amateur GoPro footage.


    Once again thank you to everyone who contributed, advised, followed & showed interest in our Aussie/NZ Ride Report ....hope to see you on the road sometime having your own adventure.

    Will & Jenny
  20. just jeff

    just jeff Long timer

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    Location:
    LacLaBiche Alberta Canada
    Thanks for the update/wrap up Will! Looking forward to more of your travels in the future! Also looking forward to spring here in about 5 months!
    Best Regards....just jeff
    Happyidiot likes this.