Posted On 08 Apr 2024
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This entry is part 36 of 26 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#27



My planned stopover for SIX months in ‘iron ore country’ stretched into 10 months … and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was working on a Fly-In Fly-Out roster, which gave me a chance to go back home to Sydney once a month anyway, so I made the most of my time on my days off: I was back on my bike and exploring the region. Some of the local gems I found include Millstream National Park, Cleaverville and Karijini National Park.

I left the North-West and even though I was used to ‘Pilbara temperatures’, riding in 45 degree heat and near 100% humidity was very exhausting. The air was burning my face, and I had to drink about 5 litres of water every day.

I started going ‘a bit’ over the speed limit thinking “the faster I go, the cooler I’ll feel” … that theory didn’t work out so well, AND I had to pay big bucks for a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, my ‘innocent Polish adventurer’ routine didn’t work!

From Karratha, I headed down south to Exmouth, and then on to Ningaloo Marine Park, which includes the highlight of the region: Turquoise Bay.

Ranked the 28th most beautiful beach in the world, Turquoise Bay is simply breathtaking: pure, white sand and still, turquoise water … truly a perfect picture!

The temperatures were so high that I decided to sleep on a picnic table, hoping that I’d get a little bit of a breeze at night. That worked out well, and became the accommodation of choice for the rest of the ride. On the flip side, the many, many, many kangaroos wouldn’t leave me alone, so here’s a pro tip: take earplugs if you plan to sleep!

The next stop was Coral Bay. This relaxed little town is famous for diving with whale sharks. Bush camping is not allowed in this area, so there’s no choice but to cough up $40 for an unpowered site. Pricey, but after a few hours of snorkelling on this coral beach, it seemed very well worth it.

It was a 450km slog through extreme heat to get to Shark Bay (famous for its stromatolites), with the only relief being a stopover at the Satellite Earth Station.

I camped at Hamelin Pool, an old town that has been turned into a caravan park, and it’s one of the coolest camping spots I’ve ever seen. Not that I bothered setting up the tent: I ended up sleeping on a picnic table between the post office and some old-fashioned tea room.

The other big attraction in Shark Bay is Monkey Mia, a popular destination where wild dolphins arrive virtually every day for interaction and feeding.

There were plenty of emus too, which was entertaining until they started pinching food from my side cases … but in fairness: even that was funny!

To round up the first week, I swung past Kalbarri and then visited the magnificent Pinnacles Desert. It’s something else: for a moment there I felt like I was on another planet!

Unfortunately, that planet’s gravity was equal to ours, as I discovered when I had to pick my bike up off the soft sands. The limestone pillars (up to 4m tall) rise up from the sand dunes to create a spectacular, extra terrestrial landscape. Best of all, there are driving tracks around them!


A quick stopover in Perth for a tyre change and a catch up with friends, and I was back on the road again. I left the ‘concrete jungle’ for a brilliant ride through the famous Margaret River wine region. And oh! riding life can be cruel … you see, I couldn’t really ‘explore’ it properly (which of course is via wine tasting) … but I still made the most of it all through some select acquisitions: local cheeses, crackers, olives, and a few bottles of fine wine of course!

I took my loot and headed off to Canebrake Pool, only a 20 minute drive north from Margaret River. This terrific bush camping spot features superb picnic tables, perfect for sleeping on, and a simply perfect natural pool to swim in.

After my Margaret River adventures, I went down south to Cape Leeuwin: the most south-westerly point of Australia, and the place where the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean meet (them crazy hipsters).

There is a café right next to the lighthouse; their scones and tea are a must. From there I rode across to Pemberton, via a jaw dropping road through a forest of giant karri trees!

The next morning I made my way to Gloucester Tree, a 60m high tree with a sort of ‘spike ladder’ around it. There was no one around at that time, plus it was still raining so I thought “great, the tree is all mine!” Half way up it turned out to be not so exciting any more … I totally freaked out: “I’m alone, up a tree, in the rain, and there’s no one around – what am I doing?!?!” After a short break I managed to pull myself together and continued climbing up.

120km later, between Walpole and Denmark, I took the ‘Tree Top Walk’ – a brilliant suspended walkway that soars 40m into a forest of red tingle trees and rocks delicately as you walk on it. Definitely worth stopping by and checking out if you’re in the area.

As I cruised south, the temperatures started to drop, and in the space of a week I found myself going from riding in 45 degree averages down to 15 degrees – a drop of 30! Should’ve seen it coming as I was on my way to Denmark. Denmark, WA, to be exact. Beautiful local attractions including Green Pool and Ocean Beach are worth a look, and I’ve would’ve seen more if it wasn’t pouring the whole time. Completely soaked – yet again – I checked into a local motel to dry off.

After a refreshing 11 hour sleep, I headed for Torndirrup National Park via a stopover in Albany, a pleasant city with great surrounds. I was very impressed with ‘The Gap’ – a sheer chasm and natural bridge, which is basically a large piece of granite with a fantastic arch sculpted by erosion. From there I went to the famous Wave Rock, a spectacular granite formation in the shape of a wave, with beautiful vertical streaks.

Another ‘must do’ attraction is the nearby salt Lake Magic (10 times as salty as seawater). I was super excited as the information centre told me I’d be able to swim in it, so I put on my swimmers, started the bike and went off in search of some ‘living on the edge’ adventure (i.e. without riding clothes & helmet!) … for a whole 1km! The moment I saw the ‘white’ lake, I stopped the bike, took off the riding boots, grabbed the towel and ran in to the lake … which turned out to be 10cm deep, or should I say shallow!

The lake would probably have been 50cm in the middle, but it was hard to even walk there because of the salt crystals.

It was a great adventure anyway, and besides, I got some awesome pics!


There is a heaven on earth, and Le Grand National Park is its name. For the first time during the second part of Tour de Oz, I stopped for two nights somewhere and I didn’t want to leave! And even though the Lucky Bay camping ground was quite crowded, I didn’t mind one bit because I met some fantastic people.

So why is Lucky Bay so popular? Simple. It’s a magnificent beach with clear waters, white sands, and every day you can meet kangaroos down by the water! One of the most unforgettable experiences of the tour was hanging out with rescued kangaroos, and that included hugs, kisses, and even putting my hand in a roo’s pouch! All under supervision, of course: thank you Dave the Ranger!

Another equally unforgettable experience was riding on the beach (and the most perfect beach you can imagine too) … during sunrise! It was a truly epic moment for me, and this time it’s thank you to Chris the Ranger who went all pro photographer and took some amazing pictures for me!

On the way out I swung by the Stonehenge, as you do. Well, a full size replica of the real thing anyway. I took a few pics while I was at it, and then went off towards hundreds of kilometres of straight road.

The ride from Norseman (WA) to Ceduna (SA) took me through the aptly named 90 Mile Straight (Australia’s longest straight road at 145.6km) and the Nullarbor Plain, which has the distinction of being the world’s biggest, fl attest piece of limestone. It was a very, very long, very straight ride – pretty much without any bends for a total of 1200km.

After riding though all the long stretches in the NT, I was mentally ready for the Eyre Highway … it was just colder, windier and – surprisingly – the petrol was more expensive than the rest of the country! At $2.30 per litre, I felt slightly ripped off. On a positive note – the accommodation was free, courtesy of another 5-star stay on a lovely picnic table. I spent the second night at Nullarbor National Park, just past the WA/SA border where I set up tent right next to some scenic cliffs (at a safe distance of course).

Eyre Peninsula was up next, with one night at Streaky Bay, another at Lincoln National Park. The camp grounds are located on the beach and a short ride to Port Lincoln – Australia’s biggest fishing port – where a diverse range of seafood is produced.

Finally, I finished off the third week by catching a ferry from Lucky Bay to Wallaroo. The 2h ferry ride saved me 350 km of riding, which meant more time for the all-important wine regions around Clare.


It rained the whole time from Port Lincoln to Clare. Completely soaked,and with side-cases full of water, I decided to stay the night in a motel in Clare, as did 3 other BMW riders going from Sydney to Broken Hill. We basically occupied the motel, and in the morning had a good bike-talk over breakfast.

The rain hadn’t stopped all night, and it didn’t look like it’d stop any time soon, so I explored the region in the wet – still beautiful. I went to a few vineyards and dropped by Polish Hill – a settlement established by Poles in 1850.

Next stop was Barossa Valley – which is, in my humble opinion, the best wine region in Australia, and so I was happy to finally be there, despite the rain! I dropped by Yalumba Vineyard, where I was very impressed by the living tradition of ‘coopering’ (barrel making). Yalumba is the only winery in Australia to have their own on-site coopers, which gives them complete control of the quality of the oak used to age their wines.

And finally: Adelaide. It was Rad elaide! I loved the city: it’s not too big, not too small, and it immediately hits you with a low-key ironic-hip vibe.

There’s nice malls and funky places to hang out, but my favourite had to be Adelaide Central Markets: fresh produce, speciality groceries, and wall-to-wall friendly smiles. Loved it.

If you do find yourself in Adelaide, the Art Gallery of South Australia is definitely worth a look, as is Glenelg Beach with its picturesque jetty.

After Adelaide, I made my way through the nice, twisty roads of Adelaide Hills (another great wine region) and on to Birdwood, SA where I met Neil (a fellow adventurer) and my close friend Graeme. We went through the Germany-inspired town of Hahndorf where we stopped for lunch: on offer were German sausages, of course. Neil headed off home after a few hundred km, while Graeme and I went to a caravan park on Lake Albert.

The next morning, we travelled 500km, crossing into Victoria and stopping at the start of the Great Ocean Road. We settled at Port Campbell for the night and woke up to find the rain had followed us from SA. We thought we were destined to ride the famous road, known as one of the most scenic rides in Australia, in the rain, but luckily after a few wet twisties the sun came out and we could comfortably enjoy the experience, including the spectacular limestone formations known as the 12 Apostles.

I decided to ‘cut a corner’ in Victoria, because I’ve ridden through the coastal roads before, so after the Great Ocean Road we headed to Barmah State Park on the banks of the Murray River (border of Victoria and New South Wales).

Graeme had promised that I’d be able to see koalas in the trees there, and this was an exciting prospect. Well, by the time we got there it was already so dark that I couldn’t see a thing but I could definitely hear them: it’s hard to explain, but they made these creepy, low pitched brays, like a cross between a donkey being abused and a cow giving birth via its nostrils.

Lovely stuff.

With daybreak, I could finally appreciate how amazing this place was, made all the more magical by a dense fog which was hanging over the river. It’s at this point that I said farewell to Graeme and set my compass to home … via the one last adventure: the Snowy Mountains!

By this stage I can say that “I’ve been around the block” (if that block is the Australian continent) and if you were to ask me what’s my favourite ‘asphalt ride’ then I’d have to say that it’s the trip through the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park.

After a long, but fun, day of riding around this incredible region I headed off for the night to the historic cattlemen’s Long Plain Hut, a shelter used by travellers back in the day. My first plan was to ‘make a bed’ on the veranda under the awing but after a bit of scouting I decided to set up my tent … just in case some wild animals or something live in the hut. Sounds funny, maybe, but turned out to be a very good idea … the temperatures dropped down to minus 5 degrees at night!

I have a very warm sleeping bag and some good thermals … but it was cold! The morning was misty, frosty, and the bike wouldn’t start! Once the temperature was back up to zero degrees I gave it another shot and this time she started up just fine.


“It’s over. I made it.” … these were the first thoughts that went through my mind as I stopped to set up a photo of my bike with the world famous Sydney Opera House in the background. And there I found myself suddenly filled with a mixed bag of emotions…

Firstly, I felt sad that it’s over. Such a great adventure, so many incredible landscapes and terrains, and lovely people to boot. But then I thought: “I did it!”

Riding solo around Australia has always been one of my dreams in life, and I realise how lucky I am to have been able to fulfil this dream.

Not everyone gets the chance to drop everything and go on an adventure, and what an adventure it has been!

All in all, I’d say that was smooth sailing: I’ve travelled 19,000kms through countless terrain types, and have done it all without a fl at tire, without a breakdown, and only a couple of minor falls (on nice,soft sand).

On a side note: while travelling around this spectacular and diverse country, I not only gained a greater appreciation for this wondrous continent, but also learnt a lot about myself. I’ve overcome some fears (mostly of writing!) and pushed my boundaries: not just figuratively either, I literally had to give it my all to pick up my heavily loaded bike.

Last but not least, I feel much more experienced and comfortable riding (and camping) in extreme temperatures: from the high 40s down to below 0, from near 100% humidity down to bitter, frosty nights.

So it’s here that this journey ends, but there’ll be more to come: I’m already planning the next adventure, so stay tuned!

Join me on my blog:;

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