Corrugations to Queensland

October 30, 2013 in Australia, On the road

Off into the outbackWe were really happy, when we were finally back on the road when we had waited for our motorcycles for such a long time in Darwin. After a short detour through the Kakadu National Park, we went east on the corrugated dirt roads of the Savannah Way to Queensland – right through the famous Australian outback with its kangaroos, bush camping, and lots of dust.

We had already been to the Kakadu National Park with a campervan whilst we were waiting for the motorcycles to arrive, but now we also wanted to explore it, at least a little bit, with the bikes – especially the dirt tracks were tempting us.

The last photo with clean bikes

The first kilometres through the dust and dirt were very painful after all the effort that we had invested in the cleaning of our motorcycles in Timor in anticipation of the strict Australian quarantine inspection in Darwin. But soon we had forgotten all about it, and we really enjoyed getting the bikes dirty again. Right on our first day on the road in Australia, we managed to cover the bikes completely in dust, we dropped the 1150 in the Alligator River (which made us a bit nervous due to the huge saltwater crocodiles in this area), and we fought our way through deep sand tracks to an idyllic bush campsite, where our first task was to dry out our box with the provisions that we had drowned in the river… what a fun day!

Oups - Fillippo dropped the bike into the Alligator River! A bit sandy here....Through the rivers at Kakadu National Park Yes, all dirty again - but happy!

We continued further south to the Katherine Gorge. However, we didn’t like it very much – it was too touristy and too expensive for us. But the wallabies (small kangaroos) there were particularly curious, and we introduced them to their “relatives” in burger-shape….

Kangaroo burger for dinner! :) Katherine Gorge

We then said goodbye to the civilization and headed east right through the Australian outback, over the Savannah Way. At first, the roads were still sealed, but soon only dirt and gravel roads were leading further east.

On the Savannah Way

Everywhere along the road, we saw road kill – dead kangaroos, pigs, cows, dingos lined the roads –hundreds of them. The smell from the cadavers in some places was almost unbearable. In relation to the extremely little traffic on these roads, the high number of dead animals is unbelievable. Apparently, the animals in Australia have no sense for the danger and are not afraid of the roads, because there is so little traffic everywhere. We could also see now, why most Australian vehicles have mounted massive bull bars.

Lots of roadkill on Australias roads - kangaroos.... .. and cattle. Don't want to hit that one with the motorcycle...

The ride through the outback, through the deserted landscape, was a fantastic and unique experience. We saw only very few turn-offs leading to remote stations (farms) or mines – usually up to 100 kilometres apart from each other. We could just stop and camp everywhere – completely undisturbed and alone. We cooked our dinner over the fire (well, mainly because our stove was broken – but still, it was very romantic!), with millions of star in the sky above us. We went fishing, and prepared the fresh catch over the fire in the night. In the morning the cockatoos woke us up, and in the evenings kangaroos visited our bush-campsite. Without the millions of bush-flies, the mosquitoes, and the mean sandflies that were hunting us day and night, it would be perfect!

Bush camping Somewhere in the middle of nowhere.... Dirty, sweaty cloths after a long day riding.... Campfire cooking Dinner! Termite mounds along the way

However, the sometimes heavily corrugated road took a toll on our bikes – and us…. We constantly had to tighten nuts and bolts, and lost a few. And in the evenings, we still had the feeling that our brains were still vibrating in the rhythm of the corrugations….

After a few days in the outback, and back on sealed roads, the landscape suddenly changed. It became first more hilly and then greener; soon we saw some small mountains, and eventually we had the feeling that we were riding through one of the lower mountain ranges of Central Europe. We were stunned, gaping at green meadows, black and white blotchy cows, and dense green forests. Did we take a wrong turn somewhere???

Did we take a wrong turn? This looks like Europe! The Gillies Range near Atherton

We stayed in this area for a few days, in the small town Atherton. The Australian motorcyclist Jev, who we had met over the internet, invited us to stay at his house, where he lived with his Dingo, and we took the chance to sort a few things out, and to tighten all the bolts on our bikes.

With Jev, who invited us for a few days Disco the dingo

Along the coast we went further north, over the Cook Highway. The landscape there was again completely different, and really beautiful. We rode through the dense and wet tropic forest along the coast, via Cape Tribulation, and over the very scenic but also very slippery Bloomfield Track.

Along the Cook Highway further north The wet tropics in Northern Queensland at Cape Tribulation Bad weather whilst camping on the beach The rain was following along the coast

Unfortunately the rainy and stormy weather there made us change our plans. We had originally planned to go over the dirt roads all the way up to Cape York, the most northern part of mainland Australia. With the rain, the many river crossings on the way were now filling up, and the dirt tracks had turned into mud. Our motorcycles are too heavy for such conditions. In Cooktown we therefore turned back south.

Cooktown Two Germans in Australia....

However, the rain was following us – almost all the way south until we reached Townsville.  We stayed a few days there with John, whom we had met in Timor (and we had then shipped our motorcycles to Australia together). Thanks to his wonderful hospitality, we could sort our gear, do some work on the bikes, and enjoy some of the tastiest sandwiches we ever had!

In Townsville at John's house.... John is the creator of some of the world's tastiest sandwiches

On our way further south, on the way to the Horizons Unlimited Meeting near Brisbane, we for some time went along the coast, through endless sugar cane fields, and along very busy and expensive places full of tourists on their way to the Great Barrier Reef. But mainly, we stayed further inland, avoiding the crowded coast, and enjoying the many little National Parks there, with their fascinating nature and scenery.

Sugar cane fields Fishing at Eungella dam Koalas! But we saw them only on the road signs.... Rainbow Lorikeets

We have already written about our time at the Horizons Unlimited Travellers Meeting in Dayboro. To read how we got from there then through some only scarcely populated areas right into the “Red Centre”of Australia, you have to wait for our next blog post that is coming soon….

outback camping