Posted On 24 Feb 2024
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This entry is part 15 of 33 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#24



After six months on the road with my trusty Postie Bike Mo, I had begun to get into the groove of long distance touring. Mo had become as predictable as any long-term travel partner and I could easily tell when he was in a bad mood. Like most men, as long as he was kept lubricated he was happy enough and with some special attention at regular intervals he was turning out to be the perfect companion: low maintenance and reliable.

Darwin had changed considerably since my last visit in 2007 – it had “grown up”. It had lost its small town persona and high rises were popping up everywhere. It still possessed all its charm and laid back approach to life – particularly evident at the Mindil Markets where street performers and hippies still rule. The WWII museum has a stunning presentation of the bombing of Darwin and the Cyclone Tracey exhibition can be found at the Darwin Museum along with the taxidermied body of Sweetheart, the 5 metre long crocodile who loved to terrorise fishermen by tipping them out of their dinghies. The Deckchair Cinema was also a highlight – watching the sun set over the water and the moon rise behind the big screen, relaxing in the warm evening, reclined in a canvas deckchair. Pure bliss!

Heading into the bush once more, Litchfield National Park did not disappoint. I avoided the tourist laden Florence Falls and camped at the divine Buley Rockhole where caravans are banned.

The mozzies in the Top End are something else. You can throw away the pathetic Aerogard and Rid and simply immerse yourself in a 44 gallon drum of DDT. Clothes make no difference whatsoever, they just bite straight through denim! The most vulnerable time is when dropping your daks to use the long drop toilet. A bare, ripe, pink dairie aire is as good as an invitation to a smorgasbord. At least they don’t sit on your food as you are trying to shovel it into your mouth – unlike the flies.

Back through Katherine and then west crossing the Victoria River and into cattle country, I stayed at the lovely Timber Creek campground before pushing on to cross the WA border the next day. In Kununurra I was reunited with my friend Narelle, with whom I was arrested 31 years ago protesting the Franklin Dam in Tasmania. (In the first episode of this journey I revisited the “scene of the crime” by taking a sailing boat trip up the Gordon River to the police compound where we were held in custody.)

After a brief detour up to Wyndham to get a photo with the Big Crocodile, I looked longingly down the road as I passed the sign saying “Gibb River Road”. I would love to explore the Kimberley area and Mitchell Plateau thoroughly but unfortunately the Pentecost River is too high for Mo to cross. I also have a three week deadline to be back in Perth so the next 4000kms will be a bit rushed.

Stopping overnight at Larrawa Station, it was a delight to meet Brock and Wendy and hear their interesting tales of life in the true Outback on a working cattle station.

The politics of the Kimberley are a mixture of the needs of the tourists, the cattlemen, the indigenous population and the mining industry.

Never a dull moment!

Like Darwin, Broome had changed significantly – catering largely to the tourist dollar. Here I met one of the local characters, Ross, who owns eight postie bikes – all restored and painted in different colours. I also caught up with Ben and Adam who were doing a charity run on posties from Perth to Darwin in just 11 days. After the obligatory Cable Beach sunset, I pointed Mo south once more.

Passing through Port Hedland and avoiding the ten thousand road-trains I enjoyed the amazing hospitality of the Karratha Bikers and their incredible clubhouse. I was not impressed with Coral Bay but told later that I should have stopped at Ningaloo Reef instead. I loved Shark Bay with a passion and ended up staying longer than intended at Monkey Mia. It was deserted and tranquil and perhaps my last chance for peace before my return to the big smoke.

I bumped into the Ulysses Odyssey in Carnarvon, with about 40 riders from all over WA, and became a guest of one couple when I passed through Geraldton later in the week. I detoured to visit royalty at the Hutt River Province and learned all about their history and the technicalities of seceding from Australia.

And finally, to end the first half of this wonderful sojourn around this great country, in the true spirit of generosity, Mo and I were adopted straight off the beach in Jurien Bay by the gorgeous Veronica, a cattle station cook originally from Northern Ireland; taken home, fed and given a bed for the night. The hospitality extended by strangers who selflessly embrace the stray traveller, never ceases to amaze me. It is the most rewarding aspect of travelling.

And if you are wondering why I am naked at the Pinnacles, you’ll have to read my blog

About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
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