Posted On 22 Mar 2024
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This entry is part 13 of 30 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#25



I got the job! And that meant a move from the Sydney plant to work in the mines out in WA.

This was my chance: after seven years of living in Australia, I could fi nally realise my life-long dream of a solo ride around this great continent.

I had four months to prepare for the trip.

First stop: a new bike. My trusty FZ6 and I have had great times together, but she’d be no match for the dirt and sand roads that lay ahead. So we scratched around and got a loan for my dream bike: a BMW F800GS. The package included all the necessary accessories and some new clothes too.

Then, I had an idea: why not put the ‘hard yards’ to good use by making it a ‘charity ride’? And so I did: to raise funds and awareness for The Shepherd Centre, a terrific organisation which ‘gives deaf children a voice’ by helping them learn how to listen and speak. Prior to setting off, I even had the pleasure of visiting the Shepherd Centre central office in Sydney where I met with the awesome team, the kids, and got a tour of the their excellent facilities.

The planning of the route started much earlier, in dreams since I was in my early 20s, and more proactively over the last few years as I collected good advice and tips from other local riders. And of course, the seasons and weather play a big role in a trip like this, so after some research I decided to go anti-clockwise starting in April.

Due to work and finances, I split the trip into two stages: 1) Sydney – Qld – NT – Port Hedland (9500 km). Then work in WA for 6 months, followed by the rest of the trip: WA – SA – Vic – Sydney (8500 km).


Finally came the day of departure – my gear was all packed, and really heavy, but I couldn’t care less: I was smiling from ear to ear, and couldn’t believe it was finally happening.

I started my journey on 28th March, taking the inland twisty roads from Sydney – ‘cause soon I won’t have a choice and will have to stick to the long, straight highways. I camped in Uralla the first night, then headed off to Nimbin – a very relaxed and laid back hippy town. I got a few rocks in my tyres, but managed to avoid getting stoned!

I spent my last day in NSW camping in Byron Bay at the famous Blues & Roots Festival – and finally got to see some of my favourites live: Robert Plant, Robert Cray and Taj Mahal!

After crossing the border into Queensland, I managed to find a few free places to pitch a tent – sometimes in the bush, sometimes in a parking lot off the highway, until I finally arrived at the charming port town of Townsville.


I caught the ferry to Magnetic Island, famous for its turquoise water and coral reefs. The island is also known for its luxury, five-star hotels, but staying on the island doesn’t have to be expensive: I paid $25 for two nights at the campground, right on the beach.

Two blissful days of lounging later, combined with a nice ride around the island, I hit the road and headed north along the coast of the Great Barrier Reef.

Unfortunately, the weather was not so great, with the non-stop rain washing away any desire for going diving and the like. Still, a little aqua wasn’t going to prevent me from touring the Cape Tribulation region, although the irony of taking photos of waterfalls during a downpour wasn’t lost on me.

I finally headed west via the Savannah Way, and I have to say, in my life I have never seen so many wild animals; kangaroos, emus, dingoes and wild horses – all darting in front of my bike in a semi-picturesque, semi hazardous kind of way. Did I mention the pouring rain?


Crossing the border into the Northern Territory was a moment I’d been waiting for a very, very long time.

For me, this is where the “Outback” begins, the one I grew up dreaming about as a little girl back in Poland.

The wilderness, the red dirt and high temperatures, and the solitary journey on deserted roads. This is what it’s all about.

Most of the roads in the Northern Territory are straight as an arrow, and you can legally dart along at 130 km/h. Also, there are virtually no speed cameras, so it’s very tempting to see if you can squeeze out whatever it is they put in when they were building this bike, but I was good: I limited myself to a comfortable 140 km/h, and kept an eye out for kangaroos, which don’t seem terribly aware that we share the landscape with them.

Next stop: Darwin. And on the way, in the surrounding region, I chanced through some absolutely magical national parks (Nitmiluk, Litchfield, oh, and Kakadu), full of natural thermal pools, caves, waterfalls and crocodiles.

And it’s hard to explain, but you tend to overlook the whole crocodile thing when looking for solace after riding in 40-degree heat. Not completely though – seriously: pay attention to the signs.

In Darwin, unfortunately, I had one of the few negative experiences of the whole trip. I had to have a service done in a local workshop, and after eight hours of waiting, some unpleasant discussions with the management (to put it lightly), I had to make a few calls to BMW Australia to set things straight. In the end, I was able to prove that they were incompetent (or to be more frank: trying to trick me) and reduced the unnecessary $1200 bill they racked up down to the $600 of parts and labour that I actually needed.


When planning the trip, I assumed that I would stay out in the bush on my own, in a tent, every night, and anyone who knows me knows I’m happiest when I’m camping. But, purely from a hygienic standpoint, I had to make some exceptions. 600 kilometres a day in 40 degree heat, and impossibly high humidity, and there came a point where a proper shower is just called for. Virtually every petrol station is a ‘roadhouse’ with simple, but nice accommodation for every budget.

Personally, I used the cheapest option, or a camp ground with amenities. Speaking of camping, it was in NT where I set up camp at the lovely Timber Creek, just 20m from a picturesque river. As it turns out … it’s full of crocodiles. Jam packed. Fortunately, I woke up in one piece, but like I said: pay attention to the signs.

And speaking of crocodiles, the border with Western Australia greeted me with a wide, wild and red landscape, an incredible sight. The first night of camping was on the great Lake Argyle, in which 30,000 crocodiles live. That’s not a typo, but to be clear, that’s thirty thousand crocodiles. For obvious reasons, swimming in the lake is not advisable, but the camp site up on the hill itself is safe, and has a large swimming pool which overlooks the lake.

The next day, despite some fast and efficient riding, I was unable to do more than 500km. The heat was terrible. I drank about three litres of water but was somehow still completely dehydrated.

So I took the first camping sign I encountered … and ended up on a cattle farm. This so called “camp site” (read: uninhabited steppe with a toilet) would have to do, and I was so tired, so drained from the heat that I decided to sleep on a picnic table. Made sense at the time.

And despite the swarms of mosquitoes that attacked me from all sides, I regret nothing. Nothing. This was a night I’ll always remember, because for the first time in my life I could see stars from horizon to horizon. It’s an amazing experience. Simply unforgettable.


The first town that welcomed me on the west coast was Broome. After thousands of kilometres in a cloud of red dust, it was nice to see sandy beaches once again. And do something touristy, like riding a camel as the sun set over the Indian Ocean. That’d do nicely thank you very much.

So came the last day of my tour (well, the last of the first part, anyway) with a brilliant night at 80 Mile Beach. And just 150km from the finish line I decided to suddenly dismount in an acrobatic display of artistry. This, I might add, was not planned. No bull, just some bull dust. Fortunately, the motorcycle and I walked away unscathed, and, looking on the bright side, I was able to prove to myself something I needed to know: that I can lift my GS all alone – something I’m incredibly proud of. This was our first fall together, and it wasn’t to be the last … (hint: you have to read Part 2).

So after 30 days and 9500km of riding I made it to Port Hedland to start six months of FIFO work. Part 2 will encompass heading south to SA and then east across Victoria on the way back to Sydney: stay tuned!


At the end of the first stage of my trip I felt sort of sad – couldn’t believe it was over so quickly (admittedly, I took my time, but still). Riding through the deserted northern parts of Australia, where the only sign of civilisation are gas stations about 300km apart, was an amazing and eye-opening experience: I found, despite the fact that most of the time you only have yourself for company, you somehow don’t get lonely.

Other things I learnt that seem a bit ‘Captain Obvious’ in hindsight include how on guard you have to be, even ‘in the middle of nowhere’ … e.g. when passing and overtaking road trains, at high speed, the windy air pressure next to them can almost knock you off. And, of course, you have to remember about the wild animals: we’re in their territory, Outback, and they’re not terribly fussed about the difference between bush and road.

And so I worked at my new job (which I love!) before getting back on my bike to finish the tour, which was again full of surprises, unforgettable moments and adventures.

Join me on my blog: ;

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