All about touring, whether you are a local or visiting from overseas.
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.
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 ;]
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.
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
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.
You could consider train from Mt Isa to Cairns, or Normanton to Croydon, or Mt Surprise to Cairns.
Worth a thought, because i doubt it would be much fun riding the highway from Darwin to Mt Isa.
"Technology gives us much more information but Education is never be able to give us the skill to evaluate it"
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
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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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.
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.
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.
Masi Speciale CX 2008 - Brooks B17 special saddle, Garmin Edge 810
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.
Mandatory helmet law?
"An unjustified and unethical imposition on a healthy activity."
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.
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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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.
Rainfall over the last week .. from the BOM
http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/awap/rain/ind ... k&area=nat
...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...
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.
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.
Mandatory helmet law?
"An unjustified and unethical imposition on a healthy activity."
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.
im a looking at riding darwin to cairns this june-july, have just under a month to do it. would love to know how you went oregon_biker?
and i have a few questions, maybe you or meditator can help? Would really appreciate any advice/assistance?
road side camping / bushing camping between roper bar and Borroloola and then borroloola and doomadgee - is this fine/allowed?
and similarly water - did you carry it all between roper bar and Borroloola and then borroloola and doomadgee? or can you use and filter river / creek water from the crossings?
(Still deciding if I should go via roper bar or daly waters / Cape Crawford).
I did Cairns-Darwin in July August 2006 as my 1st-ever tour. Learned a LOT about my abilities etc. I am in pm communication with the OP regarding specifics. I met several fellows who were doing that tour as a 1st tour with little equipment, but they managed - just like I did. Took me 6 weeks. The Roper River "road" is great because of the Lost Cities site which is less developed than the one just south of Borroloola. The helicopter tour to the other site out of the Cape Crawford Hotel is well worth the $100+ AUD fee.
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