Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

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Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby EddyD » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:40 pm

Hi,

My name is Eddy, Belgian and i'm travelling Darwin to Cairns in 1 week.

I'd like to buy a (good) bike, and all the stuffs i need to enjoy the trip, but a lot of questions.

2500 kms in 3 weeks, ok? too hard?
What kind of bike? => i have to be fast, a lil bit of comfort and ive got maybe 20-25 kgs in my Bags.
Wheels, ...

Are the Roads good to ride.. maybe a lot of dirty, sandy roads.
What do U think about this?
Darwin-Adelaide River- Mataranka - Daly waters - Bullwady camp - CAP crawford - Booroloola - The quarry - Settelment creek - King fisher - Burketown -
Leichardt falls - Normanton - Croydon - Georgetown - Mt surprise - Mt Garnet - Atherton - Cairns

Somebody have done this before?

All suggest or advice or opinion welcome ;]
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by BNA » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:39 am

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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby Warin » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:39 am

Sealed roads from Darwin to Daly Waters and on to Borroloola.

Then dirt to Burketown. Good dirt. Corrugations and creek crossings. There is not much in the way of supplies here .. think it is Hells Gate where you might pick up something.. then Doomagee. Wollogorang was closed to tourist last time I looked. King Fisher camp is a little out of the way and has deep sand on the way in/out, so I'd give it a miss, good people though. Aprox 500 km .. so at 100 km/day 5 days .. you'd want say 4 days of food on board .. and say 3 days of water. How much experience do you have?

From Burketown on you can have sealed roads ... don't miss Innot Hot springs out that way.

3 weeks? I'd take longer.. I trust you have seen Kakadu and Litchfield before you leave the Darwin area.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby EddyD » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:00 am

G'day warin, thanks for your ad.
I don't have a lot of mountain bike experience but i 've good legs and I'm a sport teacher, usually I run but this time I'd like to try This.

Its 3 weeks the challenge, because I'll ride for an association against cancer. But I've 3 days more if I need it.

Its a long way on dirty roads, I hope I'll be strong enough and if I want I may sleep whenever I need if the spot is too far (king fisher)

And yes I'll see the national parks before to leave , I can't miss this :)
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby EddyD » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:37 am

Maybe safer to reach three ways and go till camooweal or cloncurry to join after burketown/ normanton?

300kms more but need a lil bit less water and sealed roads
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby elantra » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:55 am

EddyD wrote:Maybe safer to reach three ways and go till camooweal or cloncurry to join after burketown/ normanton?

300kms more but need a lil bit less water and sealed roads

Not sure, its a LONG way to go in little more than 3 weeks, on long lonely boring roads with big trucks at high speeds.

Perhaps consider taking a "short cut" by taking a ride on the train.
http://www.railaustralia.com.au/pdf/traveltrain_aus_map.pdf
You could consider train from Mt Isa to Cairns, or Normanton to Croydon, or Mt Surprise to Cairns.
http://www.savannahlander.com.au/general-information/route-map/
Worth a thought, because i doubt it would be much fun riding the highway from Darwin to Mt Isa.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby EddyD » Mon Apr 07, 2014 11:04 am

Yeah I'll consider the train if I'm late, thank you for the in formations :)
I think I could see more on the first way I said yeah, just need to search where I can find water or food on the road now :).

You're right, riding only the highway could be boring ;)
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby oxonabike » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:25 pm

Eddy, if you need the train from Mt Surprise to Cairns, try and get a PM to me and I'll look after you. Only Saturday departure, but saves around 300 km. You could also get off at Almaden for a 194 km run to Cairns on the Bourke Development road.

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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby EddyD » Mon Apr 07, 2014 8:54 pm

Thanks a lot ! I'll let you know if I finally need to take the train, I hope not, I'll see :)
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby Warin » Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:32 am

If your going to King Fisher .. then I'd continue on to 'Lawn Hill' (very nice scenically) and stay at umm arr Adels Grove .. as they has some 'camping supplies' that may help you out. Burketown is not much .. other than a pub and small supermarket.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby barefoot » Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:31 am

EddyD wrote:G'day warin, thanks for your ad.
I don't have a lot of mountain bike experience but i 've good legs and I'm a sport teacher, usually I run but this time I'd like to try This.

Its 3 weeks the challenge, because I'll ride for an association against cancer. But I've 3 days more if I need it.

Its a long way on dirty roads, I hope I'll be strong enough and if I want I may sleep whenever I need if the spot is too far (king fisher)

And yes I'll see the national parks before to leave , I can't miss this :)


The Australian outback may not be the best place for a first try at long distance bike touring.

Sure, it's possible to ride through those places. And no doubt you have the general fitness - although running fitness and cycling fitness are not directly interchangeable.

But if you're not well experienced at bike touring (particularly on dirt), and if you don't have experience of living rough in the gulf and cape country... combining the two is a very big deal.

And if I understand correctly, you're thinking of doing this solo and unsupported?

Knowing which sort of bike to get will be the least of your troubles. Don't underestimate the size of the task you're planning.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby Baalzamon » Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:53 pm

I just checked and Darwin has had a strong wet season and is still getting afternoon storms. I would suspect that dirt roads will be mud. I suggest you put up a post in the Northern Territory sub forum and see if you can get any responses on what conditions are actually like.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby il padrone » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:10 pm

EddyD wrote:2500 kms in 3 weeks, ok? too hard?

Whoah!!!

That makes for an average daily distance of 120kms. If you ride every day. Take say, three days for rest, some sightseeing, and mechanicals and the average daily jumps out to 140kms. On mostly corrugated dirt and bull-dust roads. In the remote Gulf Country. You must be a superman.

It must be a bit of a European thing - underestimating the size/distances in Australia, and the enormity of travelling this land. This guy set out to do a record-busting ride around Australia (and he wasn't even going on dirt roads), but after getting about halfway he had a bit of a breakdown (day 30). I think on his third attempt he succeeded.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby rama » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:35 pm

Never underestimate a cyclist called Eddy from Belgium! The world's greatest roadie champion fit that description!
The real question is whether Eddy plans a tour of the Top End or a race against the clock.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby il padrone » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:48 pm

You've got to be realstic about the sort of roads you'll be experiencing.

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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby GH » Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:06 pm

I wasn't going to say anything in this thread because I have no/zero/none experience in riding long distance. However, a friend of a friend from Germany was planning a similar trip for this coming Northern Winter and we have managed to talk her out of Darwin to Cairns and instead she is doing Cairns to Brisbane.

The Australian outback is harsh beyond the imagination of many Europeans, and for a first tour/holiday I really believe a ride down a populated and quite scenic coast is much more appropriate than a slog across that road and area I have driven many times. Its hard/boring/hazardous in a car, let alone first time on a bicycle.

Please reconsider your route and enjoy a visit to our great country, not risk life an limb in a very hostile environment. There is so much beauty to be seen in Australia, but that part of it is not where its at.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby joshin » Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:22 pm

I also think they are used to trucks being 18 wheelers max, not the road trains that use our outback roads, off the top of my head 34 odd wheels or something. Re think your route.


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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby Warin » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:47 am

joshin wrote:I also think they are used to trucks being 18 wheelers max, not the road trains that use our outback roads, off the top of my head 34 odd wheels or something. Re think your route.


Road train =

1 'Tractor' 'Prime mover; 10 wheels

3 'Trailers'; 8 wheels each

2 connectors - don't know what these are called .. but they go at the front of the trailers; 8 wheels each

total; 10+ 3*8 + 2 *8 = 50 wheels

--------------------------------
Unfortunately there is a mine out Lawn Hill way .. because of the weight of the ore they reduce the length of the trailer while still using the same number of wheels .. to make up for the reduced length they use 5 trailers.. so

total = 10 + 5*8 + 4 *8 = 82 wheels IIRC.

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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby il padrone » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:49 am

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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby barefoot » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:17 pm

...and you don't want to be anywhere near where that rear trailer thinks it's trying to be, when the train is punting along at 100km/h on corrugated dirt. Doesn't take much of a deflection to get some nasty trailer swing going...
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby PapaJohn » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:18 pm

Agree with the sentiments of Il Padrone and GH.

Naivety is a wondrous thing. It's a wonder more don't perish on account of it.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby Warin » Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:54 am

PapaJohn wrote:Naivety is a wondrous thing. It's a wonder more don't perish on account of it.


The world would never have been explored without some of it. Any explorer has some of it, otherwise it would not be exploring :) . If someone wants to do something .. and has considered it, and sought info .. then I think it is really up to them to make the decision/s.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby il padrone » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:43 am

Yes, the whole point is about travelling with good information, Warin. The OP appears to be planning a remote outback tour using the standards and expectations of European credit-card touring. This would be seriously misguided in the Gulf, result in a very much less-than satisfactory tour, and possibly risk life and limb for him. It's not about world exploration in search of treasure or fame, but just sensible travel precautions.

All up to him whether he takes note of any advice, of course.
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Re: Darwin-Cairns (Savanah Way)

Postby PapaJohn » Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:07 pm

There are so many ways to look at his thing. I wasn't thinking about the early explorers at all, and still don't when I travel, apart from the occasional hackneyed consideration of who else has ever been in this exact spot at times.

A tour as a physical test - Yeah I've done it that way for that reason, prior to undertaking a bigger trip. Test the equipment, test the body, for 8 days, a "shakedown" so to speak,with the expectation that some adjustment to the bike, the kit, or the attitude may be necessary prior to embarking on the much longer trip of a month or so. It was a test only. A consideration of the viability of the plan. To do otherwise, particularly in the completely unfamiliar, borders on foolhardy. This is an exploration.

So is the unfolding of each day, on the "real" trip - the up close and personal relationship with the surrounds, the opportunity to experience some things that you couldn't any other way. Circumstance and conditions will always explore the capabilities, particularly where one is going to be exposed to the requirements of the terrain, the heat/cold, lack of water, wildlife, equipment failures, one's own lack of skills/ingenuity or unrealistic expectations. Isn't that enough?

Don't add complete unfamiliarity with the environment.

Suck it and see. Don't eat the whole box straight up lest it not agree with one.
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