On to Broome and completing the Savannah Way

On to Broome and completing the Savannah Way

Leaving Halls Creek there were sights to see but I had my heart set on Broome.

A stop at the big Boab on the side of the road.

It 43 years since, as a young man, since I was last riding a motorcycle up in north Western Australia, the Kimberley.

The road was unsealed and rough then.

Remnants of the old road still exist. Including the old corrugated iron shed that was the garage.

When I had some bike problems all those years ago. The owners let me use a corner of the workshop to replace the head gasket on my Norton Commando!

Finally Broome and the end of the Savannah Way crossing the north of Australia from the Pacific to the Indian Oceans.

And swim at Cable Beach. My first swim in the ocean since late June in Queensland.

With its Camel Rides,

Sunsets,

Coastal birds

And the Stairway to the Moon.

Given Western Australia’s covid free status and Broome’s beautiful weather it’s crowded and I had to camp 25km out of town for a couple of nights.

It was a good place to give the Steinbock a wash.

In company with the bush birds like this little Sparrowhawk

Now I have a room in a hostel in the town of Broome which is in the throws of its annual festival, the Shinju Matsuri.

But more on that next post.

The World Heritage Purnalulu National Park aka the Bungle Bungles.

The World Heritage Purnalulu National Park aka the Bungle Bungles.

The Purnalulu National Park contains a number of unique rock formations one of which is the Bungle Bungle Ranges.

It’s 53 km from the Northern Highway into the Park and I have to say possibly the most challenging 53 km I have ridden this trip.

The road was extremely rough with 4 water crossings 2 quite deep.

As this 4wd came through the first water crossing (above) my heart started thumping as I thought this is a challenge.

At the third, and deepest crossing I thought I was beaten. I let a 4wd go through. The next thing it was stopped at the top of the embankment and the driver is down into the water.

“You can do it. I’m.a biker too. Keep to the left side there are less rocks”

“This is the deepest part” he said, standing thigh deep in water. “You can do it”

And I did as he talked me through the crossing.

I set up camp at the Kurrajong campground and the view of the Bungle Bungles at sunset told me the ride in was worth it. I was looking forward to riding out to the walking areas the next day.

The Bungle Bungles are unique rock formations formed around 300 million years ago.

The colours and contours of the landscape just breathtaking.

At the northern end there are huge gorges of red firey rock

The Northern walk (above) are is named Piccaninni after the creek that cuts through the land scape and is noted for its dome shaped rock formations and steep gorges. Cathedral and Whip Snake were the ones I visited.

The southern walks are characterised by amazing chasms. Echidna chasm is a thin passage through the 200 metre high cliffs.

The southern chasm entrances provide the perfect environment for the Livinstona Palm

Especially in the Palm Valley.

Purnalulu was a special way point on this trip and what an overwhelming beautiful place to visit.

I was even lucky enough to have a fellow biker for company.

Burke and Wills, Burketown and Gregory Downs. It’s remote out there.

Burke and Wills, Burketown and Gregory Downs. It’s remote out there.

Sitting comfortably in Fannie Bay, Darwin, its time to recap on the wild ride across the remote country just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Not far along the road from Normanton to Burketown is the Burke and Wills Monument.

The trees at the camp were scarred as proof of the camp.

The last camp of explorers who perished in an attempt to explore this harsh land.

There were in the exploration party. Only one survived because he was found and saved by local aborigines.

The monument to this day is a warning to respect this land.

Travelling west along this section of the Savannah Way land is dry and dusty and the rivers, torrents in the wet season are just strings of waterholes that as summer progresses will disappear.

This can be seen clearly at Leichhardt Falls.

Where I stood on the dry rocks over which only a few month ago water roared and photographed the waterhole no longer flowing and turning green as it stagnates.

Arriving Burketown I’m again reminded that water in the desert comes from the ground as well as the sky.

Water has been bubbling out of the mound spring in Burketown at a temperature of 68c since before history.

The hot water and the minerals it carries from deep in the earth painting the mound and surrounding landscape.

The old post office is now the tourist office. Unfortunately, there were no places left to do the balloon ride over the desert so I had to settle for the sunset river cruise.

Gregory Downs is little more that a hotel

And a small shack that sells dry good, some locally grown vegetables and …

Espresso coffee and home made apple and cinnamon muffins!!!

What an oasis!

As was finding the Gregory River. A spring fed watercourse in the desert and my first introduction to the spring fed rivers of North West Queensland.

More about those next blogs.

The road north into Queensland

The road north into Queensland

It was a well worn path along the Lions Road over the Border Ranges back into Queensland.

Back into the Sunshine State on the first day of winter in Australia

It’s amazing that no matter how often a route is travelled there is something new to find.

The first find was Goomeri on the western side of the Great Divide.

The pear danish would rival any patisserie in the world and the Goomeri emporium and saddlery a blast from the past.

But my aim was the sea again.

To 1770, named after the year of Cooks landing, was where I came back to the Pacific.

Back at the long sandy beaches and the fisherman casting into the sea after Australian Salmon

Sunrise heralded the dawn of a glorious day.

Perfect for some sight seeing on the estuary

Or a walk in the coastal forest

And good weather even for a swim.

Ah nice to be in warm water.

And heading north in winter

Central Australia Adventure 7 – Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta

Central Australia Adventure 7 – Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta

The road from William Creek to Coober Pedy was rough with lots of sand drifts – my biggest weak spot – SAND.

A large part of the track transverses the Woomera Military Base. I’m sure the leave the road rough so no one dare look left or right for fear of hitting a big sand drift.

But due to rare summer rain the desert was green and I arrived in Coober Pedy, where the populace live underground to escape the heat on a mild afternoon.

The climatologists said it was going to be a mild summer – go climatologists.

Not a day over 30 in 4 days in the hottest part or Australia in late summer

The underground nature of Coober Pedy creates a different street scape.

The road from Coober Pedy to Oodnadatta crosses the Painted Desert. I can’t describe how beautiful it is and my photos can’t capture it.

The changes of colour from pink to yellow to green with glimpses of quartz glimmering in the sun.

Then there is the water holes.

And as the day warms up they siren call the traveller into the cool water.

Now I sit in the Pink Road House in Oodnadatta enjoying a cold beer.

Its 40 years since I last really road in the desert.

The desert and the sky in its vastness makes me feel small.

A speck on a motorbike in this huge space. How can one not be in awe of nature.

Central Australian Adventure 2 – into the Flinders Ranges

Central Australian Adventure 2 – into the Flinders Ranges

The Flinders Ranges or Ikara in aboriginal language run from the southern end of Lake Eyre ( Kati Thanda to the sea at Port Augusta

I’m many ways the Ranges are a set of steps, a staircase leading from the south to the the red centre of Australia.

Willow Springs Staion provided the site for a couple nights camp.

As sunset loomed I couldn’t help but climb the rim on the gorge the station is in to see the colours.

Then back to camp to set the camp fire and prepare dinner.

Great place to camp and the dawn gave a beautiful welcome to the new day.

There are special colours when you get to the edge of the desert.

A New Year, a new adventure – A new bike – OMG

A New Year, a new adventure – A new bike – OMG

Well after a 2020 full of upheaval and Australia acting as a island of refuge and safety in this strange covid 19 world it was time to take a change of direction.

Have no fear readers and followers the mighty Breva has not been cast onto the scrapheap of motorcycle blogisms

With over 180,000 Km on the clock at is time for the mighty Moto Guzzi Breva to get some TLC

So its place is on the work table in the shed at the moment

It is time to explore central Australia and the mighty Breva was not the bike for this trip

It was over 40 years ago that I rode a Norton Commando Interstate around Australia

Highway 1 – the main highway around Australia- in those days included around 2,000 km of dirt road up in the north of Western Australia and near the border of Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Heading south from Darwin the Highway turns east and Tennant Creek heading to the east coast and avoiding Australia’s red centre

In 2014 I took the mighty Breva to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia but the red centre still evades me

Its time to remedy this and the I’ve chosen a BMW F800GSA to do it

The aim is to head off from Melbourne in early March and head up through South Australia to the Flinders Ranges and along the Oodnadatta Track to Alice Springs and Uluru

The next 7 weeks will be about setting the bike up for the trip

And honing up my off road skills.

So stand by friends and followers the next adventure is Australia’s Red Centre

The Bunya Mountains and environs – SE Queensland

The Bunya Mountains and environs – SE Queensland

The Bunya Pine is an ancient tree, a living fossil from the age of the dinosaurs

These magnificent trees are very rare and found in only a couple areas of Queensland.

The Bunya Mountains lay west of Brisbane, the capital city Queensland

In an area called the Scenic Rim

The road to the Bunya Mountains takes you through the Somerset Region

An area with an interesting history and some great riding roads.

The historic town of Marburg has some very beautifully restore light timber framed buildings typical of Queenland early construction

The hotel is beautiful, well restored good food and a cold beer.

There is the old seminary which is now a winery, reception centre and accommodation is another insight into the early days of local European settlement

The Bunya Pine in the seminary grounds a reminder that this is the right track to the Bunya mountains

Coomba Waterhole is virtually at the base of Bunya Mountain a nice stop off .

The area had recently been burnt in bushfires and the fire tolerant Balga Grass Trees were flourishing as part of the regeneration.

The Bunya Mountain was declared a National Park in 1901 and there are beautiful walks through the forest

The Bunya pines grow higher than the forest canopy, which is mainly eucalypts. These eucalypts grow to about 45 metres high buy Bunya Pines of over 60 metres have been recorded

When you look across to the forest from the mountain lookout. You can see the Bunya Pines sticking their prehistoric heads out above the forest canopy.

Bunya Mountain is a rare and beautiful place to visit

The Motorcycle as Art

The Motorcycle as Art

The motorcycle has been used as a symbol in many ways;

the rebel,

the outlaw

the philosopher

The revolutionary

the freedom seeeker

the speed freak racer

the dare devil

and many more archetypes

The book Sons of Thunder in its anthology of writing covers many of these

To a rider their bike is a work of art

But as a public artform curated in an Art Gallery

This was special

The beautiful old Moto Guzzis took my eye

as the the Norton Commando and Laverda Joto-bikes I once owned

There were bikes so stylish

And bikes record breakingly fast

There were the off road bikes

And the electric bikes of the future

And my favourite – amazing hand built Britten

Still amongst the most innovative and eye catching bikes ever built

So if you love the image of motorbikes, the art of motorbikes and you are in Australia, head to the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane

whoops I nearly forgot the helmets

and if you go don’t forget to buy a tshirt!

Into Queensland

Into Queensland

The Pacific Highway is the most direct route from Yamba up into Queensland.

But motorways are busy and with the weather predicted to hit 40c to hot and exposed on a motorbike

So I chose a route inland which took me through the cool of the mountains

Along some twisty byways

I started early to miss the heat

At Lawrence the ferry was waiting

In the morning light

to take me across the Clarence river.

Soon I was on the Summerland Way

Through Casino and Kyogle and on the Lions Road that leads into the Border Ranges

The Border Loop lookout providing the perfect stop for a coffee stop and a mid morning snack in the cool of a bit of altitude.

It was a hot ride onto my destination west of Brisbane so I hustled along into Queensland