Two Adventure Noobs plan an 8-day ride, 2-up on Australia’s EPIC Alpine Roads

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by siswati, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    For the seasoned adventure traveler, this thread is sure to be a waste of time, but for adventure noobs like my wife and I, and those first timers considering 2-up adventure touring, it might offer some insight into what it takes to get your asses off your couch, onto a plane and get out of your comfort zone in a faraway land.

    For context, I am originally from South Africa, an experienced motocross and enduro rider having raced pretty successfully over there, and completed the Roof of Africa a couple of times. I have been happily residing in America for the past 30 years, and now spend my weekends racing cars with cages.

    Until recently my wife was not enamored with spending more than a few minutes on the back of a bike, and my early attempts, 15 years ago, to get her interested on touring on my Harley never went anywhere.

    But a couple of years ago, when I got my KTM 1290 Super Duke, my nervous and risk-averse wife, out of nowhere, started to love the rides, amazingly got comfortable with the front wheel in the air, and warmed up to the idea of extended rides around Florida, and the seeds of doing something outside our comfort zone were sewn.

    Skip forward to May of this year when I purchased a used KTM 1290 Super Adventure R, and we started making day-long trips into the Everglades and I could tell she was ready to attempt a multi-day trip.

    So, what better way to attempt our first multi-day trip than to fly 30 hours to Australia and take 8-days to ride some of the most epic alpine roads that stunning country has to offer. So tomorrow, Saturday November 23rd, we embark on our journey from Sydney to Melbourne, taking 8-days to traverse what could easily be done in one 10-hour stint.

    We plan to follow some of the epic alpine roads that unfortunately right now are unfortunately covered in thick acrid smoke from the destructive bush fires that have been raging to the north.

    And there is rain expected in the next day or two and while it will be hugely welcomed by the entire Aussie populace, for us the nerves are on high alert, considering that we might start our 8-day adventure in heavy downpour conditions on our very first day!

    But hey, it is precisely unknown aspect of traveling that makes this an adventure.

    We plan to upload videos of that tell the story of our journey, from our first thoughts of making this happen, to our preparations, and daily trip reports. Hopefully we will have enough time to edit and upload videos each day, but here is Episode 1 of Danny and Kim’s Aussie Bike Adventure.

    Hope you will follow along, subscribe and more importantly tell us just how lame we are.

    #1
  2. Richarde1605

    Richarde1605 Long timer

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    I am sure that you will enjoy the hospitality and some great riding in our alpine areas.
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  3. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Richard - in all our dealings with the Aussie's it has been nothing but smooth sailing, helpful and welcoming. We head out today, Sydney had a nice rain last night and hoping some of the bush fire smoke has subsided. Excited about what the adventure has in store for us.
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  4. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Episode 2. Danny & Kim’s Aussie Adventure – Kim does the planning ………….

    The camera loves Kim and she does such a great job discussing her preparation for our ride, what she did to get us ready for this trip, from searching for the curviest roads, the cutest B&B’s, and more. Hopefully you will find it entertaining, and feel free to SUBSCRIBE. Of course we look forward to reading your comments.

    #4
  5. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Episode 3. Danny & Kim’s Aussie Adventure – Dry Run – packing the mock-up pannier ………….

    The prospect of living out of a shopping bag for 8 days can be quite a challenge when you are facing weather with lows in the 30’s and highs in the 100’s. So, Kim mocked up a replica pannier and we spent a few days figuring out what we could live with and what we would have to leave behind. Have no idea if we got it right or not, but we will soon find out.

    Hopefully you will find it entertaining, and feel free to SUBSCRIBE. Of course we look forward to reading your comments.

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  6. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Episode 4. Danny & Kim’s Aussie Adventure – Figuring out how to tell the story ………….

    This is where it gets ugly!! As a seasoned traveler and a professional photographer, I am always disappointed when I return from an exciting trip and all I have is a few crappy cell phone pics that do nothing to to convey the joy, excitement and emotion of the adventure.

    So, for this adventure, one that will completely take us out of our comfort zone, I wanted to make sure we captured some of the emotions of our journey. My plan is to equip our bike with an array of GoPro cameras, video cameras on gimbal stabilizers and of course a drone or two to establish the context. Unfortunately, this means heaps of gear, lots of weight, and figuring out how to carry it all, not to mention that neither Kim nor I had flown a drone before, let alone tried to get a drone to follow our bike.

    Hopefully you will find it entertaining, and feel free to SUBSCRIBE. Of course we look forward to reading your comments.

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  7. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Finally managed to get our prep videos uploaded to YouTUbe and post up here as we made final preparations in our hotel in Sydney last night. As most of you know, dozens of bush fires have ravaged the Australian country, and most of the cities are blanketed with thick smoke. Flying in from Brisbane to Sydney yesterday, I swear we touched down before we even saw the runway. And the view from our hotel room last night was a city covered in smoke.

    And then the rains came, and this morning we will see how much of the smoke has been washed away. In a few hours we make first contact with our 1250GS that will be our mule for the week. So wish us well!
    #7
  8. crashkorolyk

    crashkorolyk just happy to ride

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    Looks like a brilliant trip,good luck.Heading there to rent bikes as well next year,so looking forward to your perspective!
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  9. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Day 1 - Sydney to Mount Victoria

    Our first day of riding was full of surprises. We picked up our great German mule (BMW 1250GS) at Bike Around Oz in Sydney, who we immediately christened as Greta. The proprietors of Ride Around Oz kinda rolled their eyes at us when we arrived wearing our riding gear, with our 4 shopping bags of clothes, electronics and stuff, and commented that it will never fit. So we proceeded to pack our gear into the panniers, just as we had practiced with our cardboard mock-up, and sure enough everything packed in perfectly and we neatly folded up our shopping bags and placed them in the panniers as well. Neatly done, no suitcases needing to be shipped to Melbourne for us!

    Greta is Great! She holds all our gear and transports us with ease. She will be our home for the next 8 days, and we expect to ride around 2,500km

    First days riding was a breeze, getting out of Sydney avoiding anything that resembles a motorway. One of the surprises was discovering that my wife gets motion sickness in the twisties. Jowza - did not see that coming! We also get caught in the rain and heavy mist. We ride for about 5 hours arriving at the amazing Majestic Hydra Spa just outside Mount Victoria where we spend the night. All in all a very easy start to our adventure.

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  10. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    DAY 1b.jpg
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  11. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Day 2 - Mount Victoria to Batemans Bay

    We left Mount Victoria and headed north before taking the Jenolans Cave Road west.

    It should have been a lovely 5-hour ride on some pretty stunning tar roads, but I made an epic mistake with the GPS, capturing the same way point twice, which meant that we kept on going around in circles in the forest somewhere near Boggy Mountain Creek, Shooters Hill.

    Finally figured it out, and proceeded on, stopping for lunch at the Tangled Vine Cage in Taralga, then stopped for gas in Gouburn. Despite running over the speed limit, and 2-up, we are easily managing over 300km per tankful.

    Stopped at a rest area alongside the Shoalhaven River, flew the drone and dealt with the flies!

    Unfortunately we had an issue with power to the Sena Evo10 C camera and did not capture the last few hours including the spectacular descent down the Kings Hwy coming into Bateman's Bay - really a pity as this is such a great road.

    Stayed the night at the Esplanade hotel and enjoyed an upgraded suite right on the water


    #11
  12. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    DAY 2sm.jpg
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  13. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Day 3 - Batemans Bay to Buchan

    Mike Tyson famously said…”everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.

    Day 3 was supposed to be a 6-hour ride from Batemans Bay to Buchan

    It started well, first heading south along the Princes Highway, taking a quick detour to check out Moruya Heads, before turning North towards Numbugga, taking the curvy mountain pass up the twisty Snowy Mountains Highway, and stopping for a short break at the Fred Piper Memorial lookout.

    We then headed south on the Monara Highway stopping for lunch in Bombala and gassing up in Delegate. While I was finding the proprietor I heard a scream and turned around to see Kim getting flung off the bike as it tumbled off the side stand. She hurt her knee, but said she could go on.

    We then headed south along the spectacular Bonang Highway that we had read so much about, possibly on the best damn road ever made for motorcyclists. About two hours into the ride, we were forded to turned around by park rangers due to forest fires in the area, and had to head all the way back to Bombala and turn South to Orbost and then up to our motel in Buchan.

    When we got to Orbost we were informed the road at Nowa Nowa was also closed, cutting us off from our booked accommodation for the night, but fortunately a good Samaritan told us of a back way around, following the Bete Bolong and old Orbost Buchan roads. Boy, were we in for a treat

    Stunning roads filled with 100’s of sharp turns, hairpins and switchbacks. And not a car on the road for over an hour. We finally pulled into our motel almost 9 hours after setting out.

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  14. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    DAY3sm.JPG
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  15. Ol Man

    Ol Man Long timer Supporter

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    Wow...just wow...what a wonderful adventure. Love how you two have added each or your own spins to the story. Really enjoyed how you worked out your packing. We were in Australia for our first time in September/October and thoroughly enjoyed our trip (my wife does not do motorcycle riding as a passenger). Looking forward to more.
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  16. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    thanks Ol Man - appreciate the kind words, and yes, my wife and I often do see the same thing from different perspectives.
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  17. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Day 4 - Buchan to Jindabyne - well not quite

    The forest and bush fires have been wreaking havoc with our travel itinerary. so many of the roads in the Australian Alpine Naitonal Park are closed due to fires. Our plan was to ride from Buchan to Jindabyne to ride the twisty dirt road alongside the Snowy River in the Australian Alpine National Park, but we got turned back by the Park Rangers, and with the freezing wet conditions we decided to call it a day and headed south down to Lakes Entrance, the largest fishing port in the Southern Hemisphere. Still a nice ride, but we were happy to get off the bike and into a warm room.

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  18. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    So sad to see how much of Australia was burning while we were there - here are the road closures on Day 4 - the Vic Roads App is very useful showing road closures and status


    road closures-2sm.jpg
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  19. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    This was the intended route from our Motel in Buchan along the Snowy River to Jindabyne, but the road was closed before Butchers Ridge

    day4-sm.JPG
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  20. siswati

    siswati Adventurer

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    Here is the track of the shortened ride after we were turned back near Murindal, and we called it quits in the freezing rain and headed for the comfort of a motel room in Lakes Entrance.


    day4b-sm.JPG
    #20