Australia, i never expected much of it, in my head it was just a very expensive country that has lots of kangaroos and the worst prime minister the world has ever seen (luckily for the Australians, and human race, he got voted out today!).
In total I spent about 3 month there, which is not really long for a country of this size.
I can't say that mainland Australia is raking very high on the countries i traveled so far, but this is just because i dislike developed countries in general. I need a bit of chaos to feel comfortable.
Having said that, there is some awesome riding, wildlife and nature in Australia that is truly unique.
My time in Darwin started with a bit of a shipping odyssey, almost a month delay in total and the most incompetent and unfriendly handling so far, ANL, one of the very big companies in the shipping business is really best to avoid. Unfortunately for the connection Timor-Leste -> Darwin there is no alternative yet.
Luckily a fellow biker took me in for two weeks, on his 5 acre land near Darwin.
Really not a bad view to wake up, beautiful place he had built on his own
Dave also happened to be a good chef, what a welcome dinner.
Getting the bike out took almost two weeks, lot's of time to do other stuff :)
Remember the 1 week cleaning marathon in my last post? this is the guy that decides if it's contaminated or not.
Contaminated could mean lots and lots of money, every time he comes to the depot, 170 AUD (around 130 Euro) are due (per 30min!). It's quite strict, he rolls around under the bike with some trolley and flashlight, opens up every part of the luggage, especially the ones hard to clean, toolboxes, tent, shoes...
But all good, he was nice and rather happy that my bike was so clean, less work for him he said.
Besides other bike paperwork i had to get a road worthiness test. No problem, i had ordered some spare parts in advance to Dave's place and the bike was in good condition. I checked lights and breaks before i left for the 20km ride to the check-station,
all good. When they were checking my lights, my rear light didn't work, i couldn't believe it, after all these KMs since Germany i never had a problem with it, and i was sure it was still working 20km ago. They were kind enough to let me check on spot what the problem was, indeed the bulb was blown out. I just couldn't believe this bad luck, fortunately the next service shop was not far and as we are in a big-bike country, my bulb size was readily available.
After all the hassle with the bike it was time to say goodbye to my generous host Dave and finally hit the road
Tarmac gone, for the next 180km it's just dirt. Heavily corrugated stuff with some soft patches in between. Hitting sand with ~90km/h is really testing your nerves. You have to keep a certain speed to get over the corrugations. On the first 2km where i tried a speed of around 60km/h my fuel gauge stopped working, no more rear light, no more turning signals, lost an oil canister (sorry nature)...
Just everything vibrated loose.
First night freecamping, wild horses came to visit during the night.
Mt. Conner, often mistaken for Ayers rock :)
Uluru, Ayers rock, only from the distance, after riding an 800km detour to come here, i was too cheap to pay the 18$ tourist ripoff price to enter the newly created "National Park" that was declared in a ~5 km radius around the rock.
A beautiful road train of yet another shipping company i cannot say many good things about.
Overtaking these beasts takes a while on my rather slow Transalp, but the lack of traffic on the Stuart Highway gives you plenty of time.
One of my favorite places in Australia, Coober Pedy. An active opal mining town.
I also tried my luck with noodling, that's how they call the search for Opal in the dumps of the mines here. Didn't find much tongue emoticon
Coober Pedy is the Opal capital of the world, everywhere you can see mining going on. Many people live below-ground to avoid the heat, so did I for a night. An underground campsite, what a special way of camping. A free mine tour was included, the owner explained step by step how to go mining here. Everything from Permits to how to make dynamite was explained in detail. Highly recommended if anyone ever comes to Coober Pedy.
on the way to my tent
Constant 20 degrees in here, while it's very cold or bloody hot outside.
Yes, you get your booze in a paper bag here!
Test-drills to check for Opal near Coober Pedy
These guys are serious trouble if you hit one on the road. What i didn't know, there are actually many different roos, small ones, big ones, huge ones, gray ones, white ones, brown ones...
it's really quite a funny sight to see these animals hopping around
Okay seen a kangaroo, now it's time to eat one. I went for a Kangaroo burger, but minced meat tastes the same for me, no matter if it's kangaroo or pork, beef...
Still in the Flinders!
Unfortunately it was freezing cold, the day before i had to stop riding, 9 degrees and strong wind was a nasty mix.
The famous great ocean road next...
I thought that's the first snake i saw in Australia, but it turned out to be a legless lizard :)
They call(ed) it the London bridge, but the real bridge already collapsed a while ago.
12 Apostels how they look now, about 7 are left, the others have been taken by the sea. Soon the massive tourism complex they built around here will be useless.
I only have a 18-55mm lens, animal pictures just don't work out very well, a koala...
beautiful birds everywhere
Even on my bike.I reached Melbourne and had to make a decision on how to proceed. I wanted to go to Tasmania, but It was already very cold in Melbourne, Tasmania showed an average of 10 degrees. Back and forth with my decisions, i finally booked the ferry, and god would I have regretted the decision not to go...
The Western Explorer, 80km dirt track along the west-coast, i was in the right mood, this ride was amazing. Usually there is always bad weather on the west-coast, i got very lucky...
Camping next to a river and bridge, nobody around at all.
The next morning was very foggy, gave the ride a really cool feeling
Massive trees along the way
And a small barge in the end to cross the river. The "Fatman's Barge"
Lot's of gold mining has been done here in the past, now the nearby town, that used to be in a gold rush is in fast decay
Strange patterns made by the sea
A blowhole, I've never seen one before, actually didn't even know the word. Watching it made it very clear.
Waves push water through a small channel and slash it against a wall of rock.
Tasmania is small enough that the coast is never far away, therefore a lot of spectacular views during a day of riding.
reaching campsites often looked like this...
saw this little guy on a morning hike
I love shipwrecks
Riding up Mount Wellington, it's just next to Tasmania's main city, Hobart. A really nice city btw.
Fresh Oysters anyone? I didn't know the rules, so i did not dare to try, but if you know the area, and Oysters,
you might just take one and slurp it.
Bruny Island, could not recommend it enough, on the right side you ride, on the left side you sleep.
I felt like i haven't had a real adventure for a while, so i turned into a forest road that had a sign "4WD Only".
It was pretty awesome till...
it became rather muddy and...
The worst spot possible, in the middle of the track, going forward was the same distance as going back, i knew that i didn't like to go back but i also didn't know how bad the road is gonna get if i continue. Nobody is taking this road, at least i haven't seen anyone since i turned into here. There were about 1 1/2 hours of daylight left.
It took a while, but I was able to pick the bike up, strap the ripped off pannier back on it temporarily and continue further.
I was taking it very easy then, hoping to still make it out of the forest with some sunlight left
It was too nice to not stop and make a few pictures though
the other end of the track
...i made it, what a relief :)
Just had to find a place to put up my tent, the beach was too sandy, but found something very close...
Some more beautiful riding the next morning
I was always looking for Penguins, never saw any in Australia, but who belong these footsteps to?
A nice free campsite along the Bay of Fires
I like waking up early (and going to bed again after :P)
The ride on the Spirit of Tasmania was a bit more bumpy than last time when i arrived here,
waves reached 3 to 4 meters. The bass strait is notorious for being one of the roughest seas in the world.
I did indeed feel seasick a bit, but i'm not sure if that came from the beers that i had at the bar.
Last ride around town before boarding the ship.
Back on the mainland i continue east.
Curious tent neighbors
I decided to give night/star pictures another chance with my cam/lens, but i could not get much out of it.
The great pacific road just a bit south of Sydney, even in the rain i enjoyed that one more than the great ocean road. It really goes along the sea, some fantastic views, but unfortunately no stopping for pictures.
Sydney, i like big cities, and that one really made some impressions.
I stayed longer than usual too, when i was riding into the city my clutch cable snapped. The locals weren't really helpful, i had to fix that on spot by myself. After two hours the owner of the
Lebanese restaurant i broke down in font of arrived. First thing he said, "do you need some help", i explained him what the problem is, he could not help me with it, but brought me a delicious kebab and a coke and also offered me to sleep in his restaurant if i can't fix it today (it was already dark).
That changed my mood and made the fixing much more relaxed. Luckily the only "spare" that i carried at that time was a russian clutch cable. It would not last for long, but it got me back on the road.
Thanks for the support Antoine
A shipwreck near Sydney, it was supposed to be a temporary location of the wrack, but then plants started growing on it and they decided to leave it there.
It's a place i had found on some "Abandoned Places" website. There is a big community of people who look for abandoned things, Airplanes, Ships, Trains, Buildings, Towns...
The Harbour Bridge in Sydney
Sydney by night
The opera house, wow.
It got similar features as the Allianz arena in Munich, just a bit more sophisticated.
The blue mountains
Fancy a hike?
I was riding a small track along the coast, suddenly there were huge sanddunes next to the road.
I'm a star, get me out of here!!Most of you might know this TV show ("Junglecamp" in Germany), I went to their "secret" filming location "in the jungle", it's a very nice area, but not really "deep in the jungle", got as close as 850m to the camp on more or less public roads.
Nobody was in there but it was already a private road, i might have gotten into some trouble going further. Cameras everywhere.
I tried to go closer to the camp by using some dirt-track, but 850m was as close as i could get.
That's a Big bike!
I'm not sure if this was Brisbane or the sunshine coast, but somewhere along the way.
Brisbane was the last stop for me, the 3 month visa was running out and i decided to finish my Australia trip here. Originally I planned to go to New Zealand with the bike, but it was winter there and i would have had to clean it 100% once again, not to mention the costs to get it there...
With lots of help from another awesome biker, Stef, I manged to get the bike ready for its transport to another continent.
For the first time i had to crate the bike. Wasn't as easy and quick as I had thought.
But we did it, including loading this crate on a small road assistance truck without forklift!
There are so many more stories and pictures about Australia, so many more great people that hosted me,
but i just don't find the time to write this blog post in the length it would deserve.
It's already more than half a year ago when i started riding there, so this is it, i hope you still enjoyed it.