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Old 06-03-2013, 05:01 AM   #1
Donshe
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Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Hi all, sorry if its the wrong section, but thought I'd share a ride I did recently.

I usually post my rides and travels on my blog. Feel free to hop onto my FB page for the write-ups I periodically upload

www.facebook.com/7days1shower

No business affiliations, just want to share what I've seen and learnt and hope to do many more rides in the future

Part 1 - The long dash into the Outback

Since my last long ride through the Alpine region I felt it was about time for another. With the arrival of my HEMA Australian motorcycle atlas I was able to make my decision; last time it was south, this time I would be headed North. The route was to be a fairly direct one and on a short time frame due to work constraints with only the following 3 landmarks in mind; The Qantas Pioneers Museum in Longreach, Queensland; Karumba, Queensland (the northern coast of western Queensland and finally, Cairns.



With a route in mind, it was time to prep the bike. A quick check over was done, chain and sprockets replaced and a 12V power outlet installed. Left for last was the easiest of the work, an oil and filter change; or so I thought.





After breaking two filter removal tools, stabbing the filter numerous times with a screwdriver to gain leverage my salvation finally came through Facebook. A friend who had seen me post about my despair was able to call on one of his friends who was a complete stranger to me to come around at 1am at night and help me with…a chisel and hammer. One stubborn filter but if it wasn’t for the help of a relative stranger this trip would have never happened.



Due to the trials and tribulations of the past night, the next morning I set off late…and being Easter long weekend this not only meant dealing with the masses of traffic but also the setting sun in my eyes as I made my approach into town for the night.



I had initially planned to rest in Bourke for the night however due to aforementioned delays it turned into Nyngan, rolling in at 8pm at night. Although a small town, they had a few motels…..each of which displaying a big NO VACANCY sign. After buying some meat pies for dinner from the near-closing servo in town I was able to find one of two possible options; either try one last motel in town or thanks to the servo owners kindness, park my bike behind the servo and sleep on the ground next to it. Having carried no camping gear with me, I can’t say I wasn’t a bit relieved to get the last room in the last available motel in town.

The next morning was an early start after adjusting the new chain on the bike to try and make up for some lost time from the previous day, and it would also be my first day of getting into the real heart of the Outback. Or so the signs coming into Bourke told me anyway.





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Old 06-03-2013, 05:02 AM   #2
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Now although I had planned ot get into Bourke the last night, once I was in my motel I was informed by some locals that Bourke wasn’t the … most civilised of places; especially to leave my bike parked.
This was confirmed when I stopped at the local bakery in town for a late breakfast. Whilst parking the bike I had a local Aboriginal girl approach me; in what I thought was going to be to ask for “a dolla”. As I was pre-emptively saying no, I heard “Can I have a kiss?”. Not really knowing how to react I ignored her and carried about my business. Fast forward to a few minutes later; whilst I was sitting outside the bakery waiting for my food, she approached yet again and this time tried to go in for the kill not once but twice. The only way I was able to get my message across was a firm no and my boot planted straight in her gut. Although I get the feeling she may have decided to try another tactic as she then proceeded to ask if I wanted to share her sandwich… Needless to say I ate my breakfast and get the hell out of Bourke.
Before I left though, one thing I had wanted to do was get a photo with a sign I was sure I’d find; ‘back O’ Bourke’. A phrase that goes hand in hand with journeying out to the middle of nowhere; exactly what I was doing.



From thereon it was dead straight highways with only the horizon for me to gaze upon. Oh…and hundreds of dead kangaroos.







As night rolled in, so did the rain and I once again had to consult my maps to see what town I could call home for the night; and so, Tambo it was. I had initially planned to cease riding before sunset every day so as to avoid wildlife making its way onto the roads but so far this was not happening and I was dodging the odd kangaroo bouncing across the highway while I barreled along at 120kmh. I also learnt my first lesson about road trains (more on them later when halfway through passing one, I saw an oncoming car. Unfortunately I had to stay committed to my pass and just hope I could pull the gap between the truck and the car. And as guilty as it still makes me feel, the oncoming car realised I was not going to back off and ran off the road in order to save us all from a big mess.



The further into the country I got, the more road trains I encountered. Basically, a semi-trailer…with a LOT of trailers carrying all sorts of good across the country hurtling along at speeds in excess of 100kmh.





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Old 06-03-2013, 05:02 AM   #3
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

On my third day I was finally able to reach Longreach; promoting the great event of ‘Easter in the Outback’ which I was perfectly timed for, but no idea what they actually had on for it. This was also one of my key milestones for this trips to see some jumbo jets parked in the middle of nowhere. However once I got there, it just didn’t seems as impressive as it did in my mind. So it was a couple of photos with the jets, the Australian Stockmans Hall of Fame and back on the open road.









A quick visit en route to the Waltzing Matilda centre paying homage to Banjo Patterson



And right back to the open road where the most fun I had was testing my mileage on the bike







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Old 06-03-2013, 05:03 AM   #4
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

The rest for the night was once again determined by how far I could ride for the day and todays destination was Kynuna. Now, I thought I had been through some small towns; that is until I got into Kynuna. A grand total of 1 pub, 1 roadhouse and 3 houses made up this town. Once I had set down my gear in my ‘room’ behind the pub I made my way to the roadhouse for dinner, but not before a quick stop for some Outback sunset shots.







Why is QLD beer called XXXX... ? :P



Once I got into the roadhouse, I saw the same collection of 3-4 people that were previously at the pub. These included an angry old lady serving me food rather reluctantly, her husband who wore short shorts, a button up shirt, trucker cap and aviator sunglasses no matter how dark it got and finally his friend who was severely disfigured with skin grafts all over his face and ….no nose or ears. My mind straight away started thinking Hills Have Eyes…I was sure that chicken sandwich didn’t taste like chicken.





The lonely Blue Heeler pub in the midst of darkness



My mind went further into overdrive once I saw my room by night. Actually, to call it a room is overstating the truth; it was a box with a bed and a light…a green one. That night I slept with a chair against the door and a metal bar by my side and the Simpsons keeping me company.





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Old 06-03-2013, 05:17 AM   #5
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

So far so good, just waiting on the rest of the trip.
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:55 AM   #6
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

: scenery is awesome .


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Old 06-03-2013, 06:22 AM   #7
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Looks like fun mate

How many ks ?

And how many days?
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:32 AM   #8
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Awesome pic's, looks like a great trip.
If you need a bed, tools or knowhow on the GC just send a PM.
Keep the epic pics coming (I've done an awesome road trip like that before, and the small towns, pubs and locals can be very "unique").
Stay safe, Ad
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:42 AM   #9
8you4t
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Fantastic ... I need a trip like this to get away from it all !!!
As already said , keep the pics coming and good luck !!!!
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:48 AM   #10
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

^Mate if you are ever up from the deep south "me casa es su casa".
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Old 06-03-2013, 05:00 PM   #11
8you4t
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Thankyou sir ... Same to you if your ever crazy enough to road into the freezing state that is Victoria !!!
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Old 06-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #12
sir stackalot
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

looks and sounds like an adventure!

Ive allways wanted to go around oz on a sport bike, but that would be a major challenge Id say?

Nice work
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:17 PM   #13
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Looks like you're running power pures for this trip How many km's you doing?
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Old 06-03-2013, 09:51 PM   #14
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Thanks for the kind words guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petchy View Post
Looks like fun mate

How many ks ?

And how many days?
I did this over 11 days. 4 days up north, 1 day across from Karumba to Cairns and then 4 days back down. I had a 2 day rest in Cairns to rest my sore ass and just chill out with backpackers for a bit haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adsuzukiboy34 View Post
Awesome pic's, looks like a great trip.
If you need a bed, tools or knowhow on the GC just send a PM.
Keep the epic pics coming (I've done an awesome road trip like that before, and the small towns, pubs and locals can be very "unique").
Stay safe, Ad
Thanks for the offer mate. I did this trip in April. And yeah the small town pubs and stuff can either make for some great convo with really down to earth people or you just think to yourself; 'I am so not meant to be here'. And I don't exactly look like a typical Aussie, so that and being donned in full leathers on a sport bike, stand out like a sore thumb haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 8you4t View Post
Thankyou sir ... Same to you if your ever crazy enough to road into the freezing state that is Victoria !!!
You guys got some great riding roads there. Great Alpine Road was mind blowingly good. I'll post up that ride report next !

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir stackalot View Post
looks and sounds like an adventure!

Ive allways wanted to go around oz on a sport bike, but that would be a major challenge Id say?

Nice work
I know of a couple of people first hand who have gone around ALL of Australia on Hayabusas. I also know of a Dutch guy who has ridden his R1 around the world and prior to that too a CBR900 around Aus.

My dream over the last couple of years is to take my Gixxer around the world and targetted to start in 2014. However now that the date is closer, I am thinking realistically about whether I will attempt this on a 4cyl EFI bike :/. This Cairns ride was a bit of a tester to see how I go on a longer ride. Prior to this I have only done rides of upto a week in Southern Aus and also in Northern Thailand.

Also going to ride 2 weeks in the Himalayas in August but thats not on the Gixxer haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Islandtsi View Post
Looks like you're running power pures for this trip How many km's you doing?
Yep, Power Pures. This is actually my first bike. I started off on road rides, then got hooked on track days right up until I crashed out in December 2011. That will explain the reason my bike fairings are ...multi-coloured .

But yeah, I just use the bike as is for everything. I did pretty much all my road riding + 13 track days + a 4000km trip down south on a set of 2CT. This trip was just a touch under 7000km. And the PP were fairly new. I had just put them on the bike for the track day that I crashed on.

Couple of pics below from my road and track days before I post the next installment of my write-up.








Last edited by Donshe; 06-03-2013 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-03-2013, 10:08 PM   #15
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Day 4 of the ride was the final leg to the trip North, the final dash to the coast of the Gulf of Carpenteria. This was actually quite unnecessary and even meant a bit of back-tracking in order to get to Cairns, however I like getting to the end of things and like I pushed onto the southern coast at Lakes Entrance last trip, this time I was headed for Karumba. This also meant traversing through the parts of Australia that had recorded the countrys highest ever temperatures. Of course I thought it a great idea at this point to stop to make a video mimicking the steps to a Brazillian sertanejo (Brazillian country music) song (AI Se Eu Te Pego, Michel Telo)









This was also the part of the country through which legendary Australian explorers Burke & Wills made their ill fated journey. This was evident by the numerous tracks and stops named after them









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Old 06-03-2013, 10:16 PM   #16
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

Finally getting into Karumba and parking by the coast of the Gulf of Carpenteria felt like an achievement but I was also excited to take a picture of the bike alongside a model of a huge crocodile captured in the region. That is, until I was told the statue was located in a town called Normanton…one I had passed through roughly 50kms back. Luckily though, I would have to pass back through Normanton in order to make my way to Cairns the next day.



The next morning I was up early as I knew I had to make Cairns today and it was a good 800km away. So after my first shower in 4 days (didn’t want to push for 7) I was back on the road with my first port of call the statue of ‘Kris the Crocodile’. A large 8.64m saltwater crocodile captured in 1957 and immortalised in the middle of sleepy Normanton.









After this it was pretty much back to business, trying to cover as many kilometres as I could without stopping for breaks which were either to fill up the bike, or me with a combination of drinks I was carrying to keep me both alert and hydrated, Brief stops included one at a 1800’s train stop and another to get a picture with some termite mounds (I saw some that were easily taller than 1m but couldn’t get my bike close enough)







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Old 06-03-2013, 10:18 PM   #17
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

After countless kilometres of dead straight roads and cows/kangaroos all over the place I felt a reprieve as I started hitting my first kinks in the road…which opened up to the beautiful surroundings of a wind farm. Had never seen one before so it was quite something to stand there and hear nothing else but the huge blades spin in accord.



I knew when I was getting real close when the road started getting twistier and the weather went from just straight up hot to tropical and humid. This combined with the tropical forest surroundings signalled my exit from the outback and into the Northern tropics.



I also started to get a bit too excited with the twisties and after one or two errors on decreasing radius turns, decided to take it easy, especially as the sun was setting. Without doubt though the road leading into Cairns was a bikers paradise.

The technical road also meant that it was well into the darkness that I was able to get into my hostel, Travellers Oasis, and finally have a place to call home for the next 2 days. As I started talking to people at the hostel, my plans for the next 2 days were set, spend a day riding to Port Douglas and up through to the Daintree rainforest and since I happened to be in the area; scuba dive the Great Barrier reef

After a good night of socialising I was up early to head into the Daintree rainforest towards Cape Tribulation. The Daintree I had learnt about in school whilst Cape Tribulation was the point after which there were no more sealed roads. My original intentions for the trip were to aim for Cape York (Australias northern tip) however wet season combined with unsealed roads, made this near impossible; especially so on a street bike.

Whilst the road up north was beautiful with the coast on one side and lush green forests on the other, the humidity took its toll. Especially so after I crossed the river into the rainforest.











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Old 06-03-2013, 10:18 PM   #18
Donshe
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

After 30 minutes or so into the rainforest, I called it quits. A combination of road works slowing progress, the humidity and the bike running high temps I decided to turn back. However upon passing a sign for Cape Tribulation, I decided it’d be a good idea to take the turn off….onto an unsealed roads for 4WD’s only. I have to admit whilst this wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve had, it was a good learning experience with speeds of upto 70kmh on loose gravel. Deep potholes did seem to abuse the forks though.



After my little off-road adventure, I decided to head back towards Cairns for the night with a quick stop off in Port Douglas to meet up with some friends from the hostel to relax by a great sunset.





That night I had my first evening early evening and when in a backpacker hostel, what better way to celebrate than goon! (Very very cheap cask wine, a favourite amongst those travelling the east coast of Australia)

Although not riding related, the next day was also a memorable experience for me, having dived the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought the waterproof casing for my GoPro with me so have no footage or photos and will have to rely on my memory only. However, having done my dive training and a few dives in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, I couldn’t say I was overly impressed with what I saw. Although overcast weather did result in poor visibility so it could just have been poor conditions.



Although I had never really intended to do much else in Cairns than relax I was lucky to have seen some great sights in a short time and established new friendships, but then again, that happens in nearly every hostel I have ever stayed at. I just hope I’ll be able to see some of these great people again when they make their way down the coast to Sydney.

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Old 06-03-2013, 10:26 PM   #19
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

:clap: great ride bro. I hope to pull something like that sometime in the near future. Thanks for sharing :


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Old 06-04-2013, 02:20 AM   #20
sir stackalot
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Re: Touring Australia on a GSXR (Sydney to Cairns)

great pics mate.

No way i could do mileage like that each day, these days.
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