Not our exact route of 5,336kms
This is probably of most interest to anyone who reads our blog and is inspired to do the same trip. A few things that we’ve learnt:
The practice rides were really important in getting to understand the bike’s and our capability. In particular the small modifications we made to the bike made the world of difference. The larger windshield, deflectors on the faring and handle grips seemed like small things at the time but made a big difference on the two cold wet days we had. Most important was the rebuild of the seat after our trip to Noosa. Had we not done that it would have been a very different trip and Della would have been very uncomfortable. With the rebuild long days on the bike were bum testing but quite achievable.
We (I) probably overthought the things we brought with us. We had, but didn’t use: spare petrol, spare oil, puncture repair kit, tyre inflator, tools and the satellite phone. Would I leave them behind next time – no! We passed 4 or 5 cars which had obviously broken down on the Nullarbor and been deserted and trashed. While there’s plenty of traffic so you could get a lift to the next Roadhouse it wasn’t obvious that any of them had and mechanical capability or indeed equipment to pick up a stranded car or bike. When you’re buzzing along at 105kms an hour it’s a lot of fun but ‘if’ you broke down or had a puncture it would become a big lonely, remote place pretty quickly.
Having the satellite phone was a comfort except the day before we started to cross the Nullarbor we tried to phone the NRMA as a test. Turned out to be difficult to get a connection to the satellites and for some reason it wouldn’t connect a 1300 number which is all the NRMA have. I’ll be talking to them about that!
Don’t get fooled by the weather forecast for 20 degrees. That means it’s cold in the morning, particularly at 100kph. We took merino thermals, winter jacket linings and wet weather gear. Most days we used the thermals, T-shirt, jackets with liners and the wet weather jackets for additional wind protection. As a result we didn’t really get cold at any time but had we not taken all the gear it would have been unpleasant. What we thought was a contingency became an essential.
The daily riding distances were just about spot on. 500kms +/- does make for a big day but quite achievable even allowing for comfort and interest stops along the way. Having the odd 300km day breaks it up a bit.
The Roadhouses look a bit rough and ready but the accommodation is pretty good all things considered. The rooms and sheets were clean, beds comfortable, showers hot and the food surprisingly good. We had the best Lamb Korma and Beef Rogan Josh at Eucla of all places.
The scale of the landscapes and the country is incredible! Australia is a very big, flat country and the roads very straight and long which you might think would be boring. While there are significant parts of the country that do look similar, particularly the grain producing regions, in total we were completely absorbed by it all. Three stand outs for us were the cotton fields in NSW, the view from Accommodation Ridge in SA, the start of the Nullarbor in SA, the Bight in SA and Salmon Gums in WA.
As to the bike. The Honda CB500X is an awesome machine. It’s not a big bike and we were running heavy but it performed without missing a beat.
Finally would we recommend the trip? Absolutely! We have seen an incredible part of Australia, met some lovely people and had so much fun planning and competing the trip. So much so we’re thinking about where to go next!