Australia 1993

G'day mate!

 

These were the first words what the Aussies said to us when we arrived in Melbourne. Immediatly we feel like home. This is a good start. We picked up our motorbikes at customs in the harbour and started our journey.

Three months and 23.000 km later we arrive in Perth were we ship our bikes back to Holland. We got attacked by emu's, shared Whitecherry grubs with Aborigines and drove the 1200 km long

Gunbarrel highway through the Great Victoria Desert. Read some of our adventures from the amazing Down Under.

 

Hungry emu's.

We make our way along the east coast, visiting the Blue Mountains, Sydney and all the way to Cairns.

When I heard the sound of the didgeridoo for the first time I liked it but after visiting the aborigine Tjapukai Dancers I love it. The show they gave about their "Dreamtime" and the drowning sound of the didgeridoo is very impressive. We like it so much that we learned to play the didgeridoo (ok, a little) and bought one for ourselves. Over steep dirt roads we travel through the Daintree rainforest to CapeTribulation. We have to pass some rivers that show big signs of crocodiles. Do we have to cross here? And if they bite our tyres and we get a flat???? What then? We plunge with the bike and see on the other side a crocodile in the river.... but lucky he is not hungry... We reach the other side safely, only wet.

For days we are riding through the Barkley Tablelands. The landscape is arid and it is very hot. We are boiling under our helmets. The only encounters are with road trains. These huge trucks are passing with 100 km/h and they supply the people in the remoted areas. And if they are on a dirt road you have zero visibility for kilometers.

Every hour we have stop to drink some water. It's very hot, but we keep our motorbike gear on for protection. We are not riding like the Aussies in shorts, t-shirts and thongs... At one stop vultures are circlinga bove us.....No, we are not dead yet..... At the end of the day we reach Burke and Wills roadhouse and pitch our tent for the night.

The next morning at breakfast two emu's are visiting us. First they check the contents of the alu-boxes on our bikes and then they start to eat our muesli. They are bugging us so much that we have to stop eating and safe our food. They step with their big toes on my plate and and kick over our milk. When I put the food in the tent one of the emu's is so impudent and walks into the tent.......

Uluru.

On our way to the "Top End" we see a lot of termitehills. The more north we go the higher they get. Some of them are as high as 4 meters! And build by these little ants...Amazing. An adventurous road over big boulders leads us to "Lost City". Rocks carved out by harsch weather looks like houses. There is nowbody around and we enjoy the quietness.

Last night we had tons of rain and when we after breakfast are back on the road we see a lot of flooded area. A few kilometers further the road is flooded. We see a car waiting on ther other side, but on our suzuki's we can make it. We think...

We spend some days at Kakado N.P. We make some tours in the NP to see the wildlife. Kangaroos, koala's, all kind of birds, lizards and crocodiles. There are also a lot of Aborigine rockpaintings. Some are dated at 40.000 years! They show how the Aborigines lived and hunted. Very interesting to learn something about their culture.

 

The Stuart Highway takes us to Alice Springs in the "RedCenter". It is a nice city and the Aussies are relaxed. At a motorcycleshop we buy some new nobbies because we want to do some serious off road riding. But first we visit Ayers Rock and learn more about the Aborigine culture. The Aborigine name is Uluru and it is a sacred place to them. We kick on our Suzuki's and head for Uluru. Then suddenly this giant rock comes in our sight. It seems that it rises from the earth, like a gigantic spaceship. The more close we come, the bigger it gets. WOW. We stop and absorb the rock in our mind before we make a picture. First we ride around Uluru to see her from all the sides. And then we climb it. A steep track goes up and on the most steep parts there are chains to give a help with climbing. From the top the panorama is great. When the sun sets a lot of people go to Ayersrock to see it change her colors. We go and view as well. And it is a spectacular view. Different kinds of red are lighting up as the sun sets.

The next day we make a flight over Ayers Rock and the Olga's. From above it seems even more spectacular.

Bushtucker.

Today we go with a guide a to an aborigine family that still lives in the outback. When we arrive we see some simple huts made from branches. We are welcomed and we get a tour around their huts from one of the women. The other women start to prepare dinner and a man is showing us how to throw with a boomerang. We also try it. That's difficult! But after a few tries it gets better and the boomerang is coming back. WOW! For hunting they use also a spear with a launcher, to get more speed. We practise on a dummy kangaroo but it is very difficult to hit it. One of the aborigines shows his experience and hits everytime. Finally they show that boomerangs are also being used to make fire. They make a sawing movement with the boomerang in a piece of wood and because of the friction heat you can ignite some dry grass.

After these "huntings" we get hungry and its lunch time. They make us a bushtucker lunch. The women sit around a fire and some food is divided in wooden bowls. There are different kinds of bush fruits and in one bowl we see some things crawling. I ask what is that??? These are Whitecherry grubs, replies the woman. They are delicious... These white grubs are 5 cm long and one finger thick. I pick one from the bowl and hold it between my fingers. It looks straight into my eyes with his black eyes... The aborigines eat them raw but also fry them in hot ash. The woman put the grubs in the ash and after a few minutes they are done. I try one and I am surprised about the taste. It tastes like fried egg. The aborigine woman explains that it is has a high nutritious value. It contains a lot of proteins and water and low fett. So they are healthy. I want one more...

 

Gunbarrel Highway.

On the many outback tracks we rode we saw some typical australian signs. They warn you for crocodiles, emu's, kangaroo's and much more animals. So even on remote tracks we have to pay attention.

Last night we had a lot of rain and some parts of the roads are flooded. After a few kilometers we arrive at a river that flooded the road. A car driver is waiting. He waits already 3 hours until the water will drop so his car can go through. He tells us that this morning the water was 1.5 m high! The water level is dropping already but is still too high for the car. The air inlet of our suzi's is quite high so we should have no problems to ride through the water. Harald goes first and he opens his throttle. The bike makes a big wave and the water comes over the fuel tank. But he makes it. He got only wet feet.....

 

We take food supply and water for a few days and fill up our fuel tanks. We will do the Gunbarrel highway which starts behind Ayers Rock and goes all the way to Laverton, almost 1200 km straight through the Great Victoria Desert. The gravel road is not too difficult to ride but after some kilometers the road is very corrugated. At Warburton the Gunbarrel highway splits in two, in the real Gunbarrel highway and the Warburton road. At the roadhouse the people tell us that the real Gunbarrel is very difficult to ride and therefore no one is riding it the summer. So if we get problems......We take their advise and take the Warburton-Laverton road. For this part we need for almost 600 km fuel, so this can be tricky.

It is very hot today and the road gets more sandier. A lot of times we have problems to keep our loaded bike upright but we manage every time. The Great Victoria Desert is surprisingly green. It is not a big sand plain but covered with little bushes and spinifex grass. At the end of the day we pitch our tent under some gumtrees. Tired but satisfied we enjoy the peace of the outback and have a beautiful sunset.

The next morning we see tracks of animals around our tent. We think they are from lizards. As usual when we camp in the wild, we make our coffee, eat a sandwich or muesli, pack all the stufff back on the bikes and kick on our DR's. It's great to ride early mornings through the desert, great colors, not too hot and the feeling the you are alone out there. Amazing! But a few kilometers later Harald stops because of a flat front tyre. We fix it, and ride on over the red straight track. We feel we are flying...

At Kalgoorlie we reach civilization and at the first petrol station we fill up. It seems that we had 1 liter petrol left...Then a guy walks to us and ask where we are from. We tell our story and then he says he is from the local news paper and want to make an interview and some pictures. Now we are world famous in Kalgoorlie. Good on you!

 

Western Australia.

Perth hit us with a modern city and a lot of traffic. Specially when we were used to have the outback dirt roads to ourselves. In Fremantle we go to our shipping agent and plan the shipping of our bikes back to Holland. It is quickly and easy arranged and that gives us some time to make plans for Western Australia. We plan to ride through the hot and arid Pilbara, which has a lot of mining industry. On our way to Newman, suddenly Harald's bike stops. We try to figure out what is wrong. She starts, but does not respond when Harald opens the throttle. It seems something with the carburator. It's hot, there is no shade and we have a little water. We check our map and it's 150 km to Newman. We decide to tow the bike, instead of trying to repair it here. Slowly Udo tows Harald on his bike. Because the road is straight like a ruler and no traffic, it's easy to do. After a few hours we reach Newman and a campsite. We are glad we made it. The next morning Harald takes the carburator apart and find out that the slide came loose. So when he opens the throttle nothing happens...The next problem is to connect the slide we need a 2 mm allen key, but that we have not in our toolset. We go asking around at the campsite manager and he make a few calls and a few minutes later a man shows up with the allen key. Harald tights the allen key bolt, build in the carb and starts the engine. It rev's up. GREAT!

When we approach Port Hedland on the coast we feel a cool breeze. This is nice after days of riding in an oven-like hot air desert. We continue to Broome, relax on the beach and eat delicious fresh fish.

 

Our time is running out and on our way to Fremantle to ship our bikes via make a few short stops at Monkey Mia, to feed dolphins, Shark Bay and ride through the amazing Pinnacles desert in Nambung NP. Then it's time deliver our bikes for shipping to Holland. Back in the plane, memories of beautiful people we met, great roads, amazing animals and hot deserts pop up in my mind. Thank you to make this an unforgatable trip.

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