AUSTRALIA 2006

AUSTRALIA 2008

AUSTRALIA 2012

AUSTRALIA 2015

AUSTRALIA 2021

EUROPE 2008

SCANDINAVIA 2009

ITALY/BALKANS 2010

MOROCCO 2011

ICELAND 2012

UK 2013

EAST/BALKINS 2014

SCANDINAVIA 2016

EUROPE 2017

EUROPE 2017 PART 2

EUROPE 2018

EUROPE 2019

INDIA 2015

USA 2010

AUSTRALIA 2021

 

Motorcycle: Ducati ST2 2004

 

A LAP AROUND AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

I left Bunbury on 31st January, and didn’t find out about a 5-day lockdown for Perth and the SW until I got to Esperance. As the WA / SA border was closed for 5 days, I spent a couple of days on Woody island, off Esperance and a night up on the lookout in Norseman before heading East across the Nullarbor.

 

All set to go, with swag etc

Nullarbor cliffs

Nullarbor road

 

Crossing the Nullarbor into South Australia, I became aware of a vibration, and when I stopped for fuel at the small town of Wudinna on the Eyre peninsula, found that one of the rear wheel bearings had collapsed. I spent the next 5 days in Wudinna, until a replacement rear wheel frame arrived from Melbourne.

 

Wudinna hotel, home for a week

ST2 speedo passes 100,000km

Beach concert in Adelaide

 

Finally, on the road again, the ST2 speedo hit the 100,000km mark north of Adelaide. In Adelaide I got a free ticket to a beach concert thanks to an old friend of mine Deb from the 1970s. Arriving in Melbourne on 19th February, I spent about a month at an Air B&B in Richmond with Dale doing stuff with Edith, Rebecca and James, before catching a ferry to Tasmania on 29th March for a two-week lap of the island. Managed to get in a chilly SCUBA dive on the East Coast.

 

Rebecca and Edith (age two months) Tassie

West coast roads in Tassie

Cave dive at Eaglehawk Nek,

 

I left Melbourne on 14th April heading for SE Queensland via NSW, stopping in Wollongong and Medowie to visit friends, following the coast and riding over the Sydney harbour bridge on the way. Halfway up the north coast the speedo stopped working, so I used the rev counter to estimate speed. After a couple of days on the Gold Coast, I rode up to the Sunshine Coast and left the ST2 with friends in Palmwoods. Dale and I flew back to WA on 26th April.

 

The VIC / NSW border

Forward gun on ex-HMAS Brisbane

Big grouper on the Yongala

 

I flew back to Queensland on 19th August, staying with cousins, in-laws and friends all the way up to Mackay in North Queensland. Before I left SE QLD, I tried unsuccessfully to fix the speedo with a new hub worm drive, so for the rest of the trip it was rev counter only. Managed to do two days of SCUBA diving on two shipwrecks, ex-HMAS Brisbane (off the Sunshine Coast) and the Yongala (off Cape Bowling Green, NQ). When I got to Townsville, I caught the ferry out to Magnetic Island and spent 3 days there chilling out. From there I continued north as far as Innisfail, stopping at Cardwell and Mission Beach, hoping to get out to Dunk and Hinchinbrook islands respectively, however it was too windy for the boats. From Innisfail, it was due west, over the Tablelands and into the northern Savannah country below the Gulf of Carpentaria still on Highway 1.

 

Townsville from Magnetic Island

Rainforest and beach Mission Beach

Purple pub at Normanton

 

West of Normanton the road becomes a mixture of sealed and unsealed sections, until at the NT border for about 300 km it is totally unsealed with plenty of corrugations and bulldust plus 4 river crossings until it reaches Borroloola. The ST2 and rider took a beating on this section but made it through more or less unscathed.

 

Anthills are a common sight

The QLD / NT border

One of 4 river crossings

 

From Borroloola and for the rest of the trip the road was sealed, although from Borroloola to Daly Waters on the Stuart Highway it is mostly single track, with plenty of road trains (with 4 trailers) coming the opposite way. It pays to pull over when you see one coming. Stopping overnight at Mataranka I arrived in Darwin on 9th September.

 

Beware of oncoming road trains

Two ways of touring Australia

Clear water springs at Mataranka

 

I spent a week in Darwin, giving the swag a rest and staying in an apartment complex with a pool in the CBD. I planned to spend 14 days in total in the NT, so that I could enter WA without having to self-isolate. Darwin is quite an interesting and cosmopolitan city, and at this time of the year is getting very hot in the build-up to the wet season. I learnt from experience that the best way to travel on a motorcycle is to start early (when it is coolest) and stop early (preferably by a swimming pool), and to carry as much water as possible.

 

Street scene from my veranda

Mindel Beach sunset market

Josephine Falls in Litchfield NP

 

I managed a day trip out to Litchfield NP, before leaving Darwin for the Kakadu NP where I stayed 2 nights, complete with crocodiles, aboriginal rock art, wetlands and sunsets. After Kakadu I had a night at Katherine Gorge NP, before heading west to the NT / WA border via Timber Creek. I calculated that when I got to the border on 20th September I had been in the NT 15 days, however the police donít count the first and the last day and wouldnít let me in until midnight! It was going to be a 40 degree temperature day and I was faced with a round trip back to Timber Creek of 440km, and come back the next day, however the lady who brought fuel out from Kununurra (I didnít have enough to make it back) convinced the police that I could enter if I went straight to Kununurra, got a Covid test, and self-isolated in a motel for the rest of the day instead. So that what I did!

 

Kakadu crocodile warning sign

Saltwater crocodile

Kakadu sunset

 

Having negotiated the tricky WA border, I continued on with the remainder of the trip, stopping at Halls Creek, avoided staying at Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley, (there are a lot of issues with aboriginal kids stealing there and in other towns in the area), then Eighty Mile Beach, and on to Marble Bar, using the swag all the way and sticking to the early start and stop with a swimming pool nearby mantra. When I got below the Tropic of Capricorn, south of Newman on the Great Northern Highway, the temperature gradually became cooler, then on the last day from the northern Wheatbelt to Bunbury, downright cold!

 

WA border police Covid control

Photo of me at the border

Ord River / Lake Argyle dam

 

Eighty Mile Beach sunset

The bar at the Marble Bar pub

Sunrise from free campsite Marble Bar

 

A wide load of mining equipment

Pilbara scenery

Pilbara brown snake

 

I got back to Bunbury on 27th September and according to Google Maps the trip was 15,000 km long, with both the ageing motorcycle and rider still in one piece.

 

The ST2 back where it started from….

 

Andrew

1st October 2021