Not So Long Way Round – Motorcycles and Adventure

2 Kiwi blokes, 2 BMW Motorcycles, 9 Days, 3000km. Motorcycles and Adventure.

Where it started!

“Hey Dad, I just had a great idea, you could hire a bike and we can do a trip round OZ” half expecting to get the answer of ‘too expensive’ or ‘can’t get time off’ etc. Instead I heard ‘That sounds awesome lets do it” coming out the speaker of my phone. This was the launching point for the great trip that was about to unfold.

About 6 years ago a friend of mine gave me a copy of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s Long Way Round where they rode east all the way around the world starting and finishing in London. Instantly my love of adventure drew me into this as my next expensive hobby, to my Mothers horror I was going to purchase a motorcycle.

The Trip

Before hitting the road, we had to sort Dad out a motorcycle, we found a hire BMW G800 through bikeroundoz. Although much more expensive than hiring a car, they were one of the best deals we found and their customer was great.

With this sorted we headed for my place and started packing and culling what we did and did not need for the trip. Eventually managing to get Dads stuff down to the essentials we were ready to go.

Days 1-3 – Long and straight.

Day 1 – We were finally off. The bikes worked a little harder than normal with the extra weight of our gear as we climbed the hills that lead us to Blackheath then Katoomba. Riding around the cliff road we decided not to stop and look at the famous 3 Sisters Lookout as there were multiple tourist buses clogging up the area, instead deciding to motor back to Blackheath to checkout Perry’s Lookdown my favourite lookout in the Blue Mountains. This also gave us the chance to have a go on a bit of dirt with the extra weight on.

The day cooled and the clouds darkened. Travelling through Lithgow and towards Mudgee we started to become concerned about getting wet on our first day out. Arriving into Mudgee we found ourselves a cheap motel that had undercover parking for the bikes. No sooner than we were unloaded the heavens opened and the great deluge fell upon our roof as we remarked “glad we’re not out in that.

Day 2 was a bit of a blur of small towns and long straight roads as we passed through Wellington, Dubbo and then onto our next overnight stop of Nyngan where we made friends with a camel and a alpaca.

Day 3 the roads got quieter as we droned along the long straight between Nyngan and Bourke. We stayed in Kidman’s Camp in North Bourke which was a lovely place and had a Bush Poet that ran dinner and poetry from the campground, cleverly named poetry on a plate. I highly recommend stopping in for this if you have the time to stop here for the night.

Bourke is signposted as the ‘gateway to the real outback’ and for us it was the start of the more adventurous part of the trip.

Days 4-5 – Orange Dirt.

Waking up on day 4 we were excited about the coming 200km of orange dirt and sand that lay ahead of us to Hungerford. Getting out of the camp early it was only a short ride until the tar-seal gave out to the stunning orange dirt that the Australian Outback is known for.

SAND oh no! As the bikes wiggled and squirmed around under us, every bikers worst nightmare and for us it was one of the first experiences. Soon enough we started to get the hang of it and despite a couple of close calls neither of us came off. Later we both revealed the “oh crap is it going to be like this the whole way” moment we had in the safety of our helmets. The further we got the firmer the ground became.

Eventually we arrived at the border to cross into Queensland and unlike most Aussie border crossings this one is on the Wild Dog Fence so you have to get off and open the gate, which was quite a unique experience and gave the sense of crossing a border somewhere in Africa.

Our accommodation for the night was the Royal Mail Hotel in Hungerford. Not quite the Hilton but a great Outback Australian Pub, with fantastic company to have a good yarn.

Day 5 saw us fueling up and heading back out on the dirt to continue our exploring into Currawinya National Park, we stopped into checkout the remains of Caiwarro Homestead. After turning back into the blacktop we passed through Eulo, Cunnamulla and finished up the day just on dark in a free campsite in Bollon.

Days 6-8 – To the sea

Day 6 We crawled out of our tents to another awesome day. After a leisurely breakfast at a local cafe we kicked the bikes into life and turned East for a day of putting on some kms pushing our way through to St George and then turning south and back into NSW, eventually ending the day at a motel in Inverell.

On Day 7 the terrain started to turn from red to yellow then eventually turned green. We followed the Thunderbolt Way (named after an infamous bushranger) then onto the legendary (in motorcycling circles anyway) Oxley Highway. The Oxley did not disappoint its sweeping bends and hill climbs through subtropical forest a pleasure to ride. The Oxley led us into the now foreign bustling center of Port Macquarie.

Day 8
Turning South. We had to make time to explore the town and beaches before heading south. On a friends recommendation we rode up to the top of North Brother, a 487m mountain with commanding views of the area.
Hitting the highway we made reasonably good time pushing towards Newcastle, unfortunately we arrived in the dark and peak hour traffic. We arrived at our accommodation after an hour of trying to navigate in the dark busy streets, fending off the advances of stressed drivers on a mission to get quickly home from work, this was the scariest part of the trip.

Day 9 – Home Straight.

The last day. It is raining we got so close to a dry trip. We rugged up, waterproofed up and carefully got out on the road, fortunately most of the morning traffic had dissipated. Trying to avoid the highways as much as we could we turned off towards Mangrove Mountain and around the Hawkesbury River to Wiseman’s Ferry. Dad couldn’t get over the ferries being free and part of the roading system, they are pretty cool. An hour later we pulled into my street and driveway to finish our 3000km journey.

Motorcycles are such a different way to see the world, you are immersed in it, you feel the cold, the heat, breathe in the smells both good and bad. People come up to you to have a chat where normally in a car they wouldn’t.

For me motorcycling is the best way to truly experience a place and I was lucky enough to experience this place with my Dad. I look forward to our next trip together.

Follow him on IG @clouseau1

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