Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:37 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:Andrew

A few notes, what else would I be doing in Alice on a Tuesday night.

    . Times will allow plenty of poking about, pretty conservative.

    . Mambi Island best campsite on the Ord River, never saw an island, short grass trimmed by magpie geese, brolgas and, err, cattle.

    . 5 Rivers Lookout at Wyndham a must for sunset.

    . great rock art site about 20ks from Wyndham, on side road up to dam, less than a km.

    . Jacks Waterhole, all facilities washed away in 2008, or so, flood. Locked gate on GRR, No Camping signs. Err, I pushed the bike under the gate and enjoyed a campsite undisturbed by 4WDers. Best waterhole on GRR but wouldn't swim, good chance to encounter a hungry amphibian. Aboriginal owners unlikely to be concerned about you staying.

    . More water than what you have shown in 100m long pools, but none is flowing, potentially.

    . Galvan's Gorge worth a look, short walk to Rock art and can swim safely.

    . Nice campsite 2km east of Imitji, can't camp in town, I rode back to the waterhole where you cross the creek, can't miss it. The kids, friendly, swim there.

    . Have to stay at the not so quiet Silent Spring, generators, NP campsite at Bell Gorge. Has showers.

    . Lennard Gorge worth a look despite the 7km each way ride and walk to gorge.

    . Hardest place for water is stretch from Lennard River. Generally best part of the road.

    . Could go into Windjana Gorge but it is filled with 4WDers. There are other spots that are just as scenic but not as hyped. This fits into people's itinerary who don't want to do the full GRR but want to see freshies basking.


Gee, I'm tempted to do a return trip now I know what it's like. Wish I knew all this before I left.

Getting itchy to be out riding but was 40º today.


Thanks for the tips. I suspected the times would be conservative but it I thought if I did this and planned what I wanted to do within the time I have (long service leave) it may just make it that much more enjoyable if I find that I am cruising along with time up my sleeve, if that makes sense? I guess what I am trying to do is get away from my normal approach of having to be at X spot each day and thus be pushing it and instead chill out a bit more with time to stop and relax when it takes my fantasy. Would love to be able to do what you are doing but alas without a "divorce" plus Lotto that is not going to happen in the near future :)

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by BNA » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:37 pm

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:37 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:Just don't be complacent about crocs eh; they really are around.


Don't worry I will not be. I have been to Mary River I think it was and have no desire to be breakfast :)

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:58 pm

Mapping slowly getting there. Added the "transport" section, Derby to Broome. The plan here is to just belt it down the highway with a tailwind for two days :lol: .

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby J Quinton » Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:18 pm

What's Duncan Rd like? Would it be preferable to GRR?
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:05 pm

J Quinton wrote:What's Duncan Rd like?


Used to be the old round Australia Highway 1 back prior to 1986 when the road got rerouted to the west of Purnululu. It's very well made and while it isn't well maintained it doesn't have much traffic these days. So it's generally a good, if not great, unsealed highway in better condition than the GRR which gets hacked up by much more traffic.

J Quinton wrote:Would it be preferable to GRR?


There's a bit to see along the way: Marella Hole, Caroline Pool, Sawpit Gorge, Palm Springs, Old Halls Creek, The Great Wall of China.

Duncan Road goes from near Kununurra to Halls Creek, as opposed to the GRR from Kununurra to Derby. From Halls Creek you have 100s of k of riding Highway 1 accompanying those roadtrains and caravans.

It's a question a bit like asking whether its best to go Sydney/Melbourne or Sydney/Brisbane, kinda depends on where you want to go.

If you want to go to Alice via the Tanami it makes sense to use the Duncan, or Buntine/Duncan. If you want to go to Perth the GRR is a better choice.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby J Quinton » Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:54 pm

Thanks man, very helpful.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:36 pm

Next section, Broome to Port Hedland mapped out. Estimating seven days for this section with a possible extra day at Eight Mile Beach. Not much else to it it seems other than the Great Sandy Desert, Sandfire Roadhouse, Pardoo Roadhouse and De Grey River unless anyone has suggestions on how to spice it up?

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:10 pm

Next section of the Dreaming Tour mapped out: Port Hedland to Karratha (or Roebourne if I can resupply there). Last coastal town for awhile. Will head inland into the Pilbara after re-supplying in Karratha or Roebourne. Need to get to at least Roebourne to get a permit.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Meditator » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:20 pm

sorry i'm not up to reading the whole thread but if you are still worrying about the pentecost, i can help you. I did crossed it this year in about July. It was fine. The water was about knee deep. I did it with the whispered support of an employee at the Home VAlley station. They can't offically tell you its safe to cross in case something goes wrong but basically its fine. If you have a bob trailer, you might find the going a bit rougher than without. Its quite stoney. but i guess you will work that aspect out when you get there.

the most horrible part of the GRR is the stretch before the Pentecost in my opinion, though coming from the east, you will have to get up the hill after Home VAlley. Its lovely going down from the west side but going up will be a grind i'd say.

Litchfield is wonderful. You will miss it sorely after you've been there i'd say. So dont' skimp on time there if you can help it. But then it depends where and how you choose to camp. I camped in one of the day visit areas which is what i'd call a perfect campsite. No people. A few basic facilities and a little creek nearby for gathering water to wash myself in.

I'd recommend Edith falls but don't camp at hte nat park site. Camp instead at Edith Creek or is it river. There's a alovely spot off to the left of the road.

You've only got two months so you won't be able to dawdle as much as is ideal. In Kununnurra do visit the proper aboriginal art centre. Don't confuse it with the other commercial galleries in town though there is a good gallery called Rock ARt i think. I love the aboriginal art centres in this region. Its the aboriginal culture which is the real treasure in the top end. Gorges can get a bit repetitive. There is a major art centre also near Derby.

I didn't do this stretch but consider riding from Wyndham to HOme Valley instead of via the road past El salvador/el greco whatever that station is called. You do'nt need to go there. But home valley is good. And if you get to home valley for a last bit of comfort and luxury, try the chocolate mousse. Its not cheap but its very delicious.

If you plan to camp in a camp ground in Katherine, I've heard that the one just outside town is very very nice. Can't think what's its called. There's a little one in town that is mainly a backpackers hostel but Coco likes ot support and encourage cyclists so its not so terrible to stay there. He gives a discount to cyclists. He has chooks around and you can fetch adn eat the eggs.

Camping grounds in darwin are expensive. You might be better off at Frog Hollow backpackers in the centre of town. Stay in a dorm. Its a better deal than the camping ground and breakfast is included. Its very central and makes seeing darwin very easy. Unless you hate backpackers joints.

If you need any further info or advice just ask.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:48 pm

Meditator wrote:sorry i'm not up to reading the whole thread but if you are still worrying about the pentecost, i can help you. I did crossed it this year in about July. It was fine. The water was about knee deep. I did it with the whispered support of an employee at the Home VAlley station. They can't offically tell you its safe to cross in case something goes wrong but basically its fine. If you have a bob trailer, you might find the going a bit rougher than without. Its quite stoney. but i guess you will work that aspect out when you get there.


Thanks for the information on the Pentecost River. Nice to know.

Litchfield is wonderful. You will miss it sorely after you've been there i'd say. So dont' skimp on time there if you can help it. But then it depends where and how you choose to camp. I camped in one of the day visit areas which is what i'd call a perfect campsite. No people. A few basic facilities and a little creek nearby for gathering water to wash myself in.

I'd recommend Edith falls but don't camp at hte nat park site. Camp instead at Edith Creek or is it river. There's a alovely spot off to the left of the road.


Thanks for the suggestions on Lichfield. I have been there before but only for day visits.

I didn't do this stretch but consider riding from Wyndham to HOme Valley instead of via the road past El salvador/el greco whatever that station is called.


I do plan to come via Wyndham now.

If you plan to camp in a camp ground in Katherine, I've heard that the one just outside town is very very nice. Can't think what's its called. There's a little one in town that is mainly a backpackers hostel but Coco likes ot support and encourage cyclists so its not so terrible to stay there. He gives a discount to cyclists. He has chooks around and you can fetch adn eat the eggs.


Thanks for this. Good to know.

Camping grounds in darwin are expensive. You might be better off at Frog Hollow backpackers in the centre of town. Stay in a dorm. Its a better deal than the camping ground and breakfast is included. Its very central and makes seeing darwin very easy. Unless you hate backpackers joints.


I am good for Darwin ... family :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. BTW where you did you ride?

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby WestcoastPete » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:44 pm

Aushiker wrote:
Meditator wrote:sorry i'm not up to reading the whole thread but if you are still worrying about the pentecost, i can help you. I did crossed it this year in about July. It was fine. The water was about knee deep. I did it with the whispered support of an employee at the Home VAlley station. They can't offically tell you its safe to cross in case something goes wrong but basically its fine. If you have a bob trailer, you might find the going a bit rougher than without. Its quite stoney. but i guess you will work that aspect out when you get there.


Thanks for the information on the Pentecost River. Nice to know.


A few years ago I was driving an inappropriate vehicle up the Kurunji track to the Pentecost crossing and got bogged. While we were digging the vehicle out, this is what was hanging around on the bank on the other side of the river:

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The picture doesn't really do it justice, but it would've been pushing 5m+.

Now, the crossing is probably 4-5km away from where I took this and the crossing is at the high tide point as most of these kinds of crossings are. But I reckon that if I was stumbling over the rocks in knee high water with a bike and a trailer knowing that fellas like this lived in the same water, I'd poop in my pants.

Sure, the risk is small(ish). You'll probably be fine, just like all of the other people who've crossed it. I wouldn't do it though...
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Baalzamon » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:05 pm

If I was crossing a river up north, I'd be taking my time and watching the river from a distance to observe if any crocs. I'd be happy sitting there 1hr watching at least.
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Crocs at Pentecost River

Postby GJ_Coop » Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:55 pm

I might have seen that same croc a few years later, after it had grown some more, just from the river bank where I was camping. It was floating down the middle of the river looking for breakfast.

The crossing is a few hundred metres above the high tide point where the water is really deep. The river is shallow on both sides of the road through, yud spot a croc no sweat if it was lurking around. In any case I believe they like some deep water around to drag any cyclists they snatch so they can drown them.

Despite seeing that huge log in the muddy water I had no problem crossing the less than knee deep river. Crocs there just didn't seem likely, if anything the river is a bit deeper where the road goes through.

If the tide was in and it was early in the season, ie, lots of water, it can be a metre deep if you hit a spring tide, you might have to wait for the river to go down. Then again there are plenty of 4WDers cruising through who would probably be happy saving a poor cyclist from the crocs. I was there about an hour and about 10 4WDs shot through.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:09 pm

Hi

One for GJ and anyone else with thoughts. I plan to visit Karijini but need to make a decision about whether going via Karratha and hence Millstream-Chichester National Park or coming into Karajini via Auski Tourist Village. I have ideas of heading south to Mt Augustus after Tom Price so going through Auski Tourist Village would save me some time and also save me from Karratha. Thoughts?

Oh any information around on water availability if I head south from Tom Price to Mt Augustus rather than out to the highway and back in via GJ's route here.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Meditator » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:06 pm

I do plan to come via Wyndham now.


Ok but the road from wyndham to pentecost river crossing will be hard but i believe the scenery is very good. I'd say it would be worthwhile and would like ot have done it. I was too tired by the time i got there. It will be a tough stretch but not dusty or annoying.

by the way where did you ride?


I rode darwin to Katherine to kunnunurra, then i took the highway and stopped off at the Bungle Bungles which is not to be missed under any circumstances ( road is rough and demanding but ask a driver to carry your bags in so that you can really enjoy the ride in. Alternatively, Its also permissable for a cyclist to stop overnight along the road and no one will bother you. Just try to avoid lighting a fire.) It took me about 12 hours to go 63km.] do overnight hike up gorge. lady at office has good instruction for you about water and such. I missed her advice but i did ok anyway. still would have been handier and depending on when you arrive, it might be more essential. ...on to halls creek, fitzroy crossing. Turned off towards tunnelcreek after FC and turned back onto Gibb River Road at Lenards River. Continued on to HOme VAlley. I was too exhuausted to attempt the road to wyndham but i think it would have been good cause the other road was also pretty rough adn unpleasant due to so much traffic. One gets very very tired of the dust. Then i went up to Wyndham and then took a backroad over to Kunnunurra which was nice and recommended. Good camp ground near the wyndham end if you want to avoid the one in wyndham itself. avoid the pub in wyndham or be on the alert as the hotelier lady is a conartist - everyone agrees. Do the ride up the mountain at wyndham fantastic views and actualy doable without your gear on the back. I had a lift from kunnunurra back to litchfield park. then i took the back road back to darwin. About 3000km overall. a tad more. It took me 2 months i think. the katherine kunnunurra stretch is the least interesting part and also so is the darwin to katherine part however there are quite good places to stop and if you visit hte nat parks it might not matter so mcuh but the wind is against you going south. to make kunnunurra road more interesting do as many of hte little asides in nat parks as you can. It will help.

sometimes the rain can prevent you doing things. with creeks up. But often a road closure for a vehicle is still open for a bike.

Very good but very busy camping ground in Kunnunurra is the hidden valley one where all the backpackers who work in the farms stay. They were very friendly. There's a lot of van parks in kunnunurra.

I've got pictures of about half my journey up here...
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I lost the pics from my first 10 days. My blog is a bit dull so you can be forgiven for not reading it. Its basically my diary straight from the day and i am always too tired and insufficiently enthusiastic to write it beautifully. I just like to get the info down.

I got some good food tips though.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:12 pm

Meditator wrote:Ok but the road from wyndham to pentecost river crossing will be hard but i believe the scenery is very good. I'd say it would be worthwhile and would like ot have done it. I was too tired by the time i got there. It will be a tough stretch but not dusty or annoying.


From others reports it is not a bad two days ride and could be done in one day so with the exception of the last bit into the Gibb River Road which is sandy it does not sound too bad at all.

I rode darwin to Katherine to kunnunurra, then i took the highway and stopped off at the Bungle Bungles which is not to be missed under any circumstances ( road is rough and demanding but ask a driver to carry your bags in so that you can really enjoy the ride in
.

Are well, no Bungle Bungles for me this ride. Can only do so much.

Then i went up to Wyndham and then took a backroad over to Kunnunurra which was nice and recommended.


Will be doing that but in the other direction.

darwin to katherine part however there are quite good places to stop and if you visit hte nat parks it might not matter so mcuh but the wind is against you going south. to make kunnunurra road more interesting do as many of hte little asides in nat parks as you can. It will help.


I am going through Lichfield National Park and then off to Grove Hill before heading on to Katherine.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Meditator » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:39 am

I don't know Grove hill. What's there and where is it? I recommend Edith Falls. You can camp by the Edith River (some 9km before the falls) where you can have a free hot shower though.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:33 pm

Meditator wrote:I don't know Grove hill. What's there and where is it? I recommend Edith Falls. You can camp by the Edith River (some 9km before the falls) where you can have a free hot shower though.


Grove Hill Hotel is on theGoldfields Road between Hayes Creek and Pine Creek on the way to Katherine from Darwin.



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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:07 pm

Aushiker wrote:I plan to visit Karijini but need to make a decision about whether going via Karratha and hence Millstream-Chichester National Park or coming into Karajini via Auski Tourist Village.


I didn't think of the Northern Highway route through Auski for some reason probably thought it worth visiting MS-C NP. Karratha is a great place to stock up on food, etc, but I stayed at Roebourne and then went through and stopped behind the Karratha Roadhouse, bit grotty but free, to save carrying an extra nights water supply. The road from just near the roadhouse up to Karijini was one of the best condition of the whole trip, I really enjoyed the ride, err, the first 90km was even recently sealed. There's not many trucks, there's a separate mining road, and you go near the railway which has 250 carriage ore trains going day and night. This way you get directly to Hamersley Gorge which is really worth a visit, one of the most awe inspiring places in my travels, the rock is tied in knots, can swim, some have even camped in the carpark. Even the climb up Rio Tinto Gorge is interesting.

There is not much traffic on these roads but with the Hamersley Range as a backdrop it gives a terrific cycling environment.

Major problem is that there are no shops at all until you get to Tom Price, I headed to Newman and carried 11 days food aboard, yud need 10 days Karratha to Tom Price probably to get to see the absolutely stunning Handcock Gorge and the rest.

The Northern Highway has plenty of mining traffic heading to Port Hedland or Karratha, main road, well, you know my attitude about highway riding.

Aushiker wrote:Oh any information around on water availability if I head south from Tom Price to Mt Augustus.


I'd head direct to Mt Augustus.

That is a bit of a joke, I guess you would go Paraburdoo, Ashburton Downs, Pingandy which ain't exactly a straight line. These are cattle stations so there will be bores along the road, but the stations are very friendly, a little surprised to find a cyclist in their neck of the woods. I was offered a job at the stations I stopped at. The person to get in contact with who I think rode this is Mirjam, ie, cycling Dutch girl.

I'd guess that the Ashburton "River" would be salty.

I've generally really enjoyed these cross country trips where everything is more unknown more than GRR etc. There will be some traffic on those roads, those Dutchys/Germans seem to want to take their 4WDs over the most obscure roads. In general because they have so little heavy traffic the road condition can be terrific, well, for a dirt road.

Reckon you would probably rate this route very highly, nothing like a little adventure.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:03 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:I didn't think of the Northern Highway route through Auski for some reason probably thought it worth visiting MS-C NP. Karratha is a great place to stock up on food, etc, but I stayed at Roebourne and then went through and stopped behind the Karratha Roadhouse, bit grotty but free, to save carrying an extra nights water supply. The road from just near the roadhouse up to Karijini was one of the best condition of the whole trip, I really enjoyed the ride, err, the first 90km was even recently sealed. There's not many trucks, there's a separate mining road, and you go near the railway which has 250 carriage ore trains going day and night. This way you get directly to Hamersley Gorge which is really worth a visit, one of the most awe inspiring places in my travels, the rock is tied in knots, can swim, some have even camped in the carpark. Even the climb up Rio Tinto Gorge is interesting.


Thanks. Will give it some more thought. Where you are able to stock up in Roebourne or does one have to go to Karratha?

The Northern Highway has plenty of mining traffic heading to Port Hedland or Karratha, main road, well, you know my attitude about highway riding.


Highway to Karratha or highway to Auski ... loose loose it seems :)

That is a bit of a joke, I guess you would go Paraburdoo, Ashburton Downs, Pingandy which ain't exactly a straight line. These are cattle stations so there will be bores along the road, but the stations are very friendly, a little surprised to find a cyclist in their neck of the woods. I was offered a job at the stations I stopped at. The person to get in contact with who I think rode this is Mirjam, ie, cycling Dutch girl.


Cool I hadn't thought of Mirjam's website. I will revisit it. BTW did you get to Mullewa? Just wondering about food resupply there.

Thanks for your advice; good as always.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:49 pm

Aushiker wrote:
Where you are able to stock up in Roebourne or does one have to go to Karratha?


Roebourne has an IGA of a reasonable size but the town is dominated by Karratha not so far away. There's a big Woolies and I think a Coles, in a big shopping centre, as well as a Maccas, KFC, camping supply shop etc.

If you do go via Auski, Port Hedland has a big Woolies, (I camped across the road under a big tree near the watertanks) and the Maccas down at South Hedland, internet access only, of course.

Aushiker wrote:Mullewa? Just wondering about food resupply there.


Mullewa is about 100km from Geraldton so most people must do the big stockup there. The small IGA in Mullewa is a bit pathetic, mostly spongy white bread, soft drinks and chippies. The Ampol service station has a few other groceries as well as greasy takeaways. Better stock down at Morawa where there are two reasonable IGAs.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:53 am

GJ_Coop wrote:Roebourne has an IGA of a reasonable size but the town is dominated by Karratha not so far away. There's a big Woolies and I think a Coles, in a big shopping centre, as well as a Maccas, KFC, camping supply shop etc.

If you do go via Auski, Port Hedland has a big Woolies, (I camped across the road under a big tree near the watertanks) and the Maccas down at South Hedland, internet access only, of course.


Thanks. I think I will go via Karratha and therefore get to the Hamersley Gorges. Thanks for the suggestion.

Mullewa is about 100km from Geraldton so most people must do the big stockup there. The small IGA in Mullewa is a bit pathetic, mostly spongy white bread, soft drinks and chippies. The Ampol service station has a few other groceries as well as greasy takeaways. Better stock down at Morawa where there are two reasonable IGAs.


Thanks. I did wonder about the impact of Geraldton on Mullewa. I was thinking of heading south to Mingenew but could go via Morawa if necessary.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:25 am

Plotted out the next leg, having decided to stick the plan to go to Karratha and then on to Karajini and back out to Tom Price given GJ's advice. So the next stage will be seven to 10 days depending on if I climb Mt Bruce and stay at an extra night in the National Park. Details here.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:15 pm

Worked out the next leg from Tom Price through to Augusta ... this will be one of the more adventurous legs with water available at Asburton Downs homestead and if I am lucky Pingandy Creek and/or Dooley Downs other wise it is a big load of water.

Yet to decide where to next: South to Morawa via Murchison or out to the coast at Carnarvon for a little bit before heading back inland or maybe south-east towards Cue and south via an inland route. Suggestions?

Andrew
"Pedal-pounding pounce" - D. Fluellen - West Australian 13/1/14
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Meditator » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:16 am

How many kms and days between these water stops? How much water will you carry? And what time of year are you going to be here?
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