Posted On 28 May 2024
Comment: Off
This entry is part 18 of 25 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#33


Get your feet up, Gumby! The Bear on a Beach’s tour at Lake Garda, Italy. (Photo Gretchen Beach)

As I write this, Australia is just getting used to a new Prime Minister. Will anything change because there’s a new face at the despatch box?

Well, maybe. Despite a couple of years of studying economics at university, I’ve never been able to get my head around all the reasons for currency revaluation.

I mean, a lower currency is good, right?

Then again it’s bad. I can actually follow that. Exports earn more, imports cost more. But why a currency drops or rises in value – that seems to depend on which side of the bed international currency traders got out of that morning.

What I do know is that a lower currency is bad for us travelling motorcyclists. Not just if we’re going overseas, but also locally because it always seems to result in increased prices here in Australia. Presumably the reason is that everyone feels overseas visitors will pay more because the exchange rate has been so favorable.

Fine for them, but not for us. The only thing we exchange is our labour for the same number of dollars.

But the lower dollar is not in fact as bad as it might look on the evening news. As I write this, once again, one Aussie dollar gets you 71 cents American or 63 Euro cents. Given how cheap a lot of things are in the US and in many countries in Europe, that will still buy you a lot of fuel, food or.. er.. feather beds. Air fares, in the meantime, are remarkably low. Qantas is offering return fares to Santiago, Chile from about A$1300. So don’t write off overseas – or local, for that matter – travel.

There’s a whole world out there to see and, more importantly, to experience on a bike. The key consideration, to my mind, is always: if not now, when? PT


You may have read my story about exploring the Balkans with Adriatic Moto Tours, recently. Martina and Matej launched Adriatic Moto Tours— the region’s first motorcycle touring company – in 2004, confident that serious motorcyclists the world over would share their love of riding some of the most beautiful, least discovered roads in Eastern and Central Europe. At first, it was just two BMWs, an F650GS and an R1200GS, and two countries, Slovenia and Croatia.

Now, a dozen years later, AMT has expanded to a fleet of ninety expertly maintained new or 1-2 year old touring motorcycles from BMW, Ducati, Triumph, Yamaha and others, and added 22 countries to their itineraries, including a part of Europe often overlooked by Western travelers: the Balkans.

AMT is based in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia – a great gateway to start and end diverse tours from the Alps to the Black Sea. Led by knowledgeable guides, there are several tour options, starting with their best seller, the Beautiful Balkans Adventure: Romania to Istanbul Adventure, Tuscany- Sardinia – Corsica Tour, Alps Deluxe & French Riviera, Greece Tour, Czech Hungary Tour, Top of the Alps, and many others.

This year, AMT debuted an Italia Espresso tour and sLOVEnia tour.

The first one could have as easily been named “La Vita e Bella on two wheels,” as the ride takes you from the East to the West coasts of the Apennine peninsula, revealing romantic Tuscany. The second tour will introduce the hidden gem between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, a two million population country of Slovenia, considered a bikers’ heaven.

Tours are mostly 9 to 15 days long.

“In 2016 we are looking further east towards Turkey,” says Martina. “We are also planning on adding some longer tours, up to 18 days. One is discovering old and always beautiful European capitals – Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, Salzburg and so on. The other one stays in the Balkans with the addition of more days at the Adriatic Coast.

“In addition to these professionally guided, full service tours, complete with chase/luggage vans and no detail left unaddressed, clients may choose simply to rent a bike and go it alone, or, somewhere in the middle, to draw upon AMT’s vast experience in the form of written instructions, maps, and pre -arranged lodgings, in addition to the motorcycle rental.”

For more information see or get in touch with Martina at .

What we are sure about is that Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures run wonderful tours; I’ve experienced one of them and still dine out on some of the stories. Here’s their 2016 season at a glance:

Maori Meander, New Zealand 3 Weeks, North & South Island. March 14 – April 3
South Island Scamper, New Zealand 2 Weeks, South Island. March 21 – April 3
South African Saunter, Garden Route. April 10 – 24 & November 6 – 20
Island Interlude, Corsica & Sardinia. May 1 – 15
Adriatic Amble, Slovenia, Bosnia &Herzegovina, Croatia. May 22 – June 5
Classic Alpine Adventure, Central

From left – Roads along the Adriatic coast have improved vastly, Europe’s landscape is not necessarily crowded. The Durmitor Range looks barren but is beautiful, Mostar’s unity bridge, a symbol of hope, High above Kotor, about to tackle the road down.

Dinner venue in Corsica, Beach’s tour.


Ava Gardner did not in fact say during shooting for On the Beach that Melbourne was the perfect place to make a film about the end of the world. She may, on the other hand, have said that she had been in Auckland but couldn’t say anything about it because it had been closed… we are not sure. She did say “Deep down, I’m pretty superficial,” for what that’s worth. (…continued over page)


Manuel’s not just a good guide, he cooks a mean hot dog too!

Next February I’m going to Cuba.

Edelweiss Bike Travel kindly invited me to take part in their Classic Cuba tour from the 24th of February to the 5th of March, and I have to tell you I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. I have been thinking about visiting Cuba for longer than I can remember; mind you, that’s only since last Thursday week…

Where was I? I’m going to be riding a Harley around the island of ‘Papa’ Hemingway, ‘Che’ Guevara and Fidel Castro. Can’t wait. More info as it arrives; meanwhile, you can find out all about Edelweiss at, or you can ring them on +43.5264.5690; they’re based in Austria.

I found this comment from Vivien and Paul Newrick from the UK about a previous Classic Cuba tour on their website: ‘This Cuba tour must be one of the best Edelweiss tours. Excellent riding, varied scenery, history, culture, vibrant colour and vintage cars just everywhere.

We even swam in the ocean [?]. The highlight for us was to visit Havana with all its wonderful old buildings and bright 1950’s cars. That ride along the Malecon is unique. We also enjoyed riding through the old colonial towns full of colour and character, the roads lined with revolutionary slogans and images of Che Guevara… Cuba is a unique destination – thank you Manuel (our tour guide) for your excellent guiding!’

I know Manuel and I agree that he’s an excellent guide, except when it comes to finding his way out of parking garages… just my little joke, Mannie!

European Alps. June 12 – 26, July 3 – 17 & July 24 – August 7
Alpine Sampler, 1 Week Central European Alps. June 19 – 26, July 10 – 17 & July 31 – August 7
Alpine Adventure West, Western European Alps (New Itinerary). August 21 – September 4
Transylvania Trek, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania (New Itinerary). September 11 – 25
Italian Idyll, Tuscany & More! October 2 – 16.
It sounds as if Rob and Gretchen will be having a big year! Get in touch with them at
Beach’s Motorcycle Adventures, Ltd;,, 14072-2053.


Please do come and visit South America. Bring nice green grass…

While we’re on the subject of my various travels, please note that Motolombia , the Colombian-based tour operator, has invited me to share one of thier tours as well. They have a good range of tours and bikes, and the bikes are available as rentals as well.

My neighbours’ son married a Colombian girl earlier this year, and the neighbours came back absolutely raving about the country. The Colombians, it seems, know how to party – and the country is staggeringly beautiful. Not that I needed their assurances, but they’ve made me all the more keen to explore the place. So keep an eye out for my story – and in the meantime check out Motolombia at or ring +57 (2) 392 91 72 if you’re in a hurry for more information.

Series Navigation<< CONFIDENTIALADV TEAR-OUT MAP #18 >>
About the Author
Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.
Page Scroller Supported By Bottom to Top