The Alps in Australia

May 18, 2014 in Australia, On the road

DSC_8496Australia has some real mountains! – Quite a surprise for us after we had already travelled thousands of kilometres through the mainly flat and monotonous landscape of Australia. So, we had some great fun riding our bikes over the last kilometres through the country, on our way from Melbourne via Canberra to Sydney, all the way through the Australian Alps and the Blue Mountains.

We passed the highest mountains that Australia has to offer, and came through several Skiing Areas in the Australian Alps. They mountains and the landscape are not as high and impressive as in the Alps that we know from home, but quite a few of the peaks are still higher than 2000 Metres.


Unfortunately, a terrible heat wave hit us during that time, and we had temperatures of more than 35° C, which made riding rather strenuous – and stopping was even worse. Even in the nights the temperatures didn’t really go down. We always tried to stay as high as possible in the mountains during these days, which made the hot weather bearable.

We explored some fantastic off-road-tracks and 4×4-trails that were great fun to ride. Some of them were so steep that we had really trouble to control the heavy bikes going downhill, and prevent them from sliding down without control. Unfortunately, the pictures never show how steep it really was….

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We discovered beautiful (and free!) places for camping, such as the cosy little Tomahawk Hut, which we found by coincidence besides a small 4×4 track in the forests. We had it alone to us, and decided to camp there for the night – great location.


Another spectacular location was our camp on of the peaks in the Silver Mountains, right beside a radio transmitter station. The view over the mountains around us was fantastic, with all the silvery shining skeletons of the dead gum trees on the surrounding flanks. And the sunset was so beautiful….

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Another highlight was our visit to Mount Buffalo – not only because of the stunning view from the top. We ate our dinner on the picnic ground at the top watching another spectacular sunset….


… and afterwards, we were assaulted by millions of moths. During the hottest summer months these moths gather on the highest peaks of the mountains, where they hide in crevasses during the day. And as soon as it gets dark and cooler, they swarm out all at once. An absolutely magnificent spectacle.

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We found another great camping spot in a valley, where we had our own private pool in the river right next to us. We spent the whole day building dams and pools in the water, and washing the dust out of our riding gear. Not the worst work on such a hot day, sitting in the cool water…


A rather bad experience, was our night at Mt. Kosciuszkio (with 2228 metres the highest mountain of Australia ). In the night, we suddenly could smell smoke from a fire, and it got worse with every minute. Due to the hot temperatures and the dry weather the fire danger was really, really high. If you have ever seen or heard how fast a forest fire can move, and how devastating it is, then you will understand that we were really scared. We took the bikes to find out where the smoke was coming from, but we couldn’t discover any fire. Luckily, it started to rain later that night – actually it was not only rain but a heavy thunderstorm. There are not many occasions in which we were so happy about the rainfall. That night was one of the very few times during the whole trip where we were really scared!

Canberra, the political heart of Australia, was built as a compromise between the rivalling cities of Melbourne and Sydney. It is an artificial city, and a rather sleepy provincial town. However, our visit to the parliament and the rest of the city was still quite interesting. But our favourite attraction there was the Deep Space Communication Centre, which is located a few kilometres outside the city. The giant antennas there are used to communicate with space crafts and satellites, and are used for all kinds of missions in space. There is a really interesting exhibition there, with a real piece of the moon, and lots of great films.

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North of Canberra, we took the way through the Blue Mountains towards Sydney. The only thing that we liked there were the spectacular Jenolan Caves. The road leads you right through one of the caverns – stunning! The rest of the Blue Mountains we found not too special, but extremely crowded with tourists. Obviously, the travel companies in Sydney have done a great job marketing excursions into this area….


Our last night in the nature, we spent on a free rest area not far from Sydney. It was our last dinner on the road in Australia…..


From there we went right to Sydney, where we had to prepare our motorcycles for the shipping to New Zealand and the biosecurity inspection there. You can read more about it in our blog post about the air freight to NZ….

After we had everything packed, we eventually found time for sightseeing in Sydney – of course we had to see the famous opera house before we were going to leave after about 27000 kilometres on the huge island!

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In our next travel report, we will take you with us onto the South Island of New Zealand, to rain and snow, really spectacular landscapes, millions of sheep, and some really wonderful people! See you there….