Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:44 am

[quote="Wingnut"How do you find the Bob Ibex after having it for a while now? [/quote]

I am happy with it and still using it so I guess that says something :)

A few thoughts:

(1) Carry spare clips for securing the trailer to the bike. Buses eat them :)
(2) The bungee cord thing they provide is too small to be of much use;
(3) Bag is 90 litres but I don't find it as easy to pack as my old 90 litre backpack
(4) Tows well. I have no issues pulling it behind the mountain bike for example on single track ... actually adds to the fun :)
(5) Yet to come up with a good stand combo but to it get it to work well with the mountain bike. One of the reasons why I am adding a front rack to the bike to get a better weight distribution.
(6) Pulls sweet behind the Surly LHT. Really don't notice it is there.

All up happy with whit so will be taking it on my Dreaming Tour. GJ Coop is using one as well on his rides. See here and here. He has had to reapir his, but maybe that is not surprising given his tours.

Andrew
Last edited by Aushiker on Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Wingnut » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:00 pm

Thanks for the tips Aushiker,

Pick it up tmrw so might get a couple of extra clips.

I'm going to change the mud guard asap to something more traditional & lower, it sits a bit high atm and will get in the way of my surfboard.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby trimike » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:27 pm

Hi Andrew, when are you starting your dreaming tour? and roughly how long do you think it will take to complete?.Looks an interesting ride. Wouldn't mind tagging along if i can get a leave pass from her indoors.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:05 pm

trimike wrote:Hi Andrew, when are you starting your dreaming tour? and roughly how long do you think it will take to complete?.Looks an interesting ride. Wouldn't mind tagging along if i can get a leave pass from her indoors.

Mike


Hi Mike

July 2012 is the start month and really depending on what I decide to do in terms of a route/conditions/how I am travelling around two months I guess.

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby merkay » Thu Dec 01, 2011 1:54 pm

ride to wyndham from kununurra then along the old king river road.
gets a bit sandy, so just ride in the bush next to the track. when i went through during peak tourist season there were only a few vehicles to stir up the dust.
came out at the pentecost river where it meets the gibb river road. about 200m of sand you have to push the bike and trailer through. camped there the night as it was
just a great place with fresh water from the river.
the river was only knee high. but because of the rocks i walked my panniers across slung over the walking stick i carry and use as a bike stand. then came back and pushed the bike and extra wheel across.
at the beginning you pass the old boab tree used as a prison.
you can do it in a day easy. just a great ride with fantastic scenery.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Thu Dec 01, 2011 2:03 pm

merkay wrote:ride to wyndham from kununurra then along the old king river road.
gets a bit sandy, so just ride in the bush next to the track. when i went through during peak tourist season there were only a few vehicles to stir up the dust.
came out at the pentecost river where it meets the gibb river road. about 200m of sand you have to push the bike and trailer through. camped there the night as it was
just a great place with fresh water from the river.
the river was only knee high. but because of the rocks i walked my panniers across slung over the walking stick i carry and use as a bike stand. then came back and pushed the bike and extra wheel across.
at the beginning you pass the old boab tree used as a prison.
you can do it in a day easy. just a great ride with fantastic scenery.


Thanks for the suggestion. So Wyndham to Pentecost River in a day, is that what you did? What time of the year did you cross the river? This is probably the only "worry" I have about the ride; well that an the odd friendly saltie in Lichfield National Park :)

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby J Quinton » Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:04 pm

Hello,

I too am planning on riding from Darwin to Perth at about the same time as your good self.

Have a few questions/comments.

Have you considered a hammock instead of a tent? Does anyone know where there will be a section where there will be NO trees whatsoever to hook up a hammock?
If it is not raining I don't think sleeping on the ground will be a problem anyway. I do have a ultralight vaude tent, but it is not stand alone. Imagine there will be a lot of hard ground. Also a hammock will keep you away from salties.

A friend of mine works up north doing soil samples for the roads. He has spoken to the guy who does the grading of the gibb river road. The latter says that he attempts to have the entire road graded by the end of june. So I guess leaving Darwin towards the end of june is the go, allowing for delays.

What is the longest stretch you imagine riding without a reliable source of water? Usually the grey nomads fill in these gaps, but it is good to ask.

How are you getting to darwin? I thought of getting the train to adelaide and then up.

Will have a few more questions over the next months but thought best to get these out as starters.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:09 pm

J Quinton wrote:Have you considered a hammock instead of a tent? Does anyone know where there will be a section where there will be NO trees whatsoever to hook up a hammock?


Plenty of termite territory to traverse. You may be searching long and hard for your tree. A lot of 8 foot high shrubs.

J Quinton wrote:What is the longest stretch you imagine riding without a reliable source of water?


Roebuck Plains Roadhouse to Sandfire is 286km without any intervening services of any kind: no water at all.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Sun Jan 08, 2012 9:34 pm

Aushiker wrote: So Wyndham to Pentecost River in a day, is that what you did?


I think this is called the Kurunji Track. The King River Road peals off on another tangent. Much of the road/track is great riding, actually one part across the floodplain was about my favourite ride ever, but there are some stretches of bulldust as it goes on and the last bit of sand is a laugh, you can see the road in the distance and you are pushing/carrying your load through the 4WD churned up, bottomless, sand.

Easy enough to do in a day but there is a good aboriginal art area and the Prison Boab to slow you down.

Information on which particular track to take is actually hard to find, no one seemed to know in town, but just when you think you are lost there's a sign at a gate. There's plenty of other signs stating you will be shot if you venture off the track to any degree, or words to that effect.

I wrote a bit about this particular issue here.

If you like to avoid the highway you can bike down the Ord River valley on Perry Creek Road to Wyndham, where you can finish your day with a baggage-less ride, 300m, up the fantastic Five Rivers Lookout for sunset. Good camping spots along the way. Can't get a bike through Ivanhoe Crossing though.

The Pentecost River crossing is just above the tidal zone in the estuary. It was ankle deep in September but there is a fair flow of 4WDs during the day who you could hitch a ride with if it is deeper earlier in the season. I crossed is after watching 5m croc float down the river while I was munching my breakfast. To date no cyclists have been eaten to my knowledge but there is always a first time.

Going this way you do get to miss El Questro but, maybe people have been there, but they charge you $17 or something to look at their tiny, damp, gorges, most people said I hadn't missed anything and the Kurunjie is certainly worth traversing.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby WestcoastPete » Mon Jan 09, 2012 11:35 am

Gudday Aushiker

I used to live in Wyndham and am familiar with the tracks around there. There is NO WAY you would catch me wading across the Pentacost river. Sure, you're pretty likely to be fine, but I've seen plenty of big crocs while I've fished from the bank in the tidal zone not far down from the crossing. I'd spend time trying to get a lift across.

We used to drive down the Kurunji Track to fish from the bank and camp. I rolled my swag on my roof rack after hearing about this couple from Kununurra waking up with a croc ripping into their doona while they were lying in the bed - they jumped into the car but it had a flat battery and the croc just hung around so they were stuck there for a couple of days. The Kurunji is a good fun but can be hard work, plus there's the King River to cross near the Prison Boab, but it'll probably be a dry crossing by the time you get there. It does bypass El Questro, but I reckon Emma Gorge in El Questro is one of the most picture-postcard gorges in the Kimberley, but there are plenty of others.

GJ's suggestion of taking the back road through to Wyndham from Kununurra is a good one too, and I wouldn't bother trying to get a lift across the Ivanhoe Crossing. If you ride around on the highway towards Wyndham, just turn right down to Valentine Springs, Middle Springs and Black Rock Pool. They're both great places for a swim - I've even camped at Middle Springs but I don't think you're meant to. Valentine Springs has croc potential and you'll need to cross it, but it's a small crossing with good visibility. Taking this track instead of the highway means you'll miss some speccy mountains and the famous Grotto though, but Middle Springs makes up for that.

You could also consider the Buntine and Duncan roads to get you to Kununurra. They're long and dry, but reasonably flat (in the car). And Marella Gorge is a great place to stop for a day or two. You'd miss the speccy bit of highway through Victoria River, but they're dirt roads so have less of that truck/caravan traffic...
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:05 pm

J Quinton wrote:I too am planning on riding from Darwin to Perth at about the same time as your good self.


All the best with the ride. Might see you out there :)

Have you considered a hammock instead of a tent?


No but for the simple reason I have no desire to use a hammock.

What is the longest stretch you imagine riding without a reliable source of water?


Will depend I suspect on if I end up going into Mt Augustus or not but at this stage I believe that between Jack's Waterhole and Bell Creek/Gorge on the Gibb River Road it may be necessary to carry at least four days (well I am assuming 50 km days here but will have a better idea of what my daily kilometres I am doing by the time I get to Jack's) and as GJ has mentioned similar amounts between Port Hedland and Broome. I will carry the minimum estimated plus at least a day's extra, so probably five days at most at this stage of my planning.

How are you getting to darwin?


Flying with Qantas. Virgin wanted over $300 to take the bike. :roll:

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:08 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:I wrote a bit about this particular issue here.


I had read about the patorlist elsewhere. Good to see he has calmed down :) I will take another look at going this way now.

The Pentecost River crossing is just above the tidal zone in the estuary. It was ankle deep in September but there is a fair flow of 4WDs during the day who you could hitch a ride with if it is deeper earlier in the season. I crossed is after watching 5m croc float down the river while I was munching my breakfast. To date no cyclists have been eaten to my knowledge but there is always a first time.


Thanks for the reassurance :) I will take it as it comes when I get there.

Going this way you do get to miss El Questro but, maybe people have been there, but they charge you $17 or something to look at their tiny, damp, gorges, most people said I hadn't missed anything and the Kurunjie is certainly worth traversing.
[/quote]
Had no intention of going into El Questro. Plenty to see elsewhere I suspect.

Andrew
Last edited by Aushiker on Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:14 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:If you like to avoid the highway you can bike down the Ord River valley on Perry Creek Road to Wyndham, where you can finish your day with a baggage-less ride, 300m, up the fantastic Five Rivers Lookout for sunset. Good camping spots along the way. Can't get a bike through Ivanhoe Crossing though.


I assume you are referring to where Parry Creek Road (Ivanhoe Road) crosses the Ord River? Any options? 4WD drivers? Other route to the northern side of the river?

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:32 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:GJ's suggestion of taking the back road through to Wyndham from Kununurra is a good one too, and I wouldn't bother trying to get a lift across the Ivanhoe Crossing. If you ride around on the highway towards Wyndham, just turn right down to Valentine Springs, Middle Springs and Black Rock Pool. They're both great places for a swim - I've even camped at Middle Springs but I don't think you're meant to. Valentine Springs has croc potential and you'll need to cross it, but it's a small crossing with good visibility. Taking this track instead of the highway means you'll miss some speccy mountains and the famous Grotto though, but Middle Springs makes up for that.


Thanks for the suggestion. Answers my question :) I gather this track/road off the highway picks up Parry Creek Road on the northern side of the Ord River. Sound right?

You could also consider the Buntine and Duncan roads to get you to Kununurra. They're long and dry, but reasonably flat (in the car). And Marella Gorge is a great place to stop for a day or two. You'd miss the speccy bit of highway through Victoria River, but they're dirt roads so have less of that truck/caravan traffic...


I did consider that option and even going off the highway earlier but it would probably start to push my available time. Have to make some compromises I am afraid. That said by the time I get to the Buntine Highway I will have an idea of how I am travelling to so will keep it as an option. What is water availability like this way?

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:15 pm

Aushiker wrote:
WestcoastPete wrote:If you ride around on the highway towards Wyndham, just turn right down to Valentine Springs, Middle Springs and Black Rock Pool.


I gather this track/road off the highway picks up Parry Creek Road on the northern side of the Ord River. Sound right?


The Parry Creek Road is petty reasonable hard gravel road with a few gates to open and close. The turnoff is well marked heading south on the highway towards Wyndham/Broome about 6 or 8 km out of town. So you are travelling south of the Ord, after you cross the Dam. By the way there is a good swimming spot above the dam. Only freshies up there, guaranteed.

Aushiker wrote:What is water availability like this way?


Finding water in the Kimberley is much better than further south in general. The Wet Season flushes all the creeks and water is retained where the river has been gauged out by the floods. (Further south the creeks and water tends to be all salty.) There are many small waterholes along the GRR where water hasn't flowed for months but there are still frogs jumping and fish swimming around. The bigger waterholes, Jack's, Durack River crossing, etc, have freshwater crocs so must be permanent water. I spotted about 6 in Bindoola Creek. So you won't need to carry more than a couple of days supplies of water on the GRR. The hardest stretch is the last day from Lennard River crossing, it's a bridge, to Derby. There are a few windmills but in one of them the water was rusty and I almost poisoned myself. I did the GRR in mid to late September and there was still water around but the temps were generally 38º or so by then.

Not sure how you can do both the Buntine and GRR as they travel parallel and there would be a lot of backtracking. But in any case you are travelling through cattle county and cattle need bores so there is water.

Yes it's more the area from Broome to Carnarvon where you need to think carefully about the water.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:25 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:The Parry Creek Road is petty reasonable hard gravel road with a few gates to open and close. The turnoff is well marked heading south on the highway towards Wyndham/Broome about 6 or 8 km out of town. So you are travelling south of the Ord, after you cross the Dam. By the way there is a good swimming spot above the dam. Only freshies up there, guaranteed.


Thanks for this information.

Finding water in the Kimberley is much better than further south in general. The Wet Season flushes all the creeks and water is retained where the river has been gauged out by the floods. (Further south the creeks and water tends to be all salty.) There are many small waterholes along the GRR where water hasn't flowed for months but there are still frogs jumping and fish swimming around. The bigger waterholes, Jack's, Durack River crossing, etc, have freshwater crocs so must be permanent water. I spotted about 6 in Bindoola Creek. So you won't need to carry more than a couple of days supplies of water on the GRR. The hardest stretch is the last day from Lennard River crossing, it's a bridge, to Derby. There are a few windmills but in one of them the water was rusty and I almost poisoned myself. I did the GRR in mid to late September and there was still water around but the temps were generally 38º or so by then.


Thanks for the information.

Not sure how you can do both the Buntine and GRR as they travel parallel and there would be a lot of backtracking. But in any case you are travelling through cattle county and cattle need bores so there is water.


The comments where about picking up the Buntine Highway coming from Katherine and then turning north on Duncan Road back out to the Victorian Highway and then on to Kununurra rather than heading further west and hence parallel to the Gibb River Road. Didn't you do a bit of this area east of Kununurra?

Andrew



Yes it's more the area from Broome to Carnarvon where you need to think carefully about the water.[/quote]
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:39 pm

Hi

I have pretty much finalised the my route for the first leg from Darwin to Katherine. Now when I say finalised this means my Perth plans; what transpires transpires on the road. No route is locked in stone. Just done this to give myself some idea of timing etc.

Darwin to Adelaide River via Litchfield National Park

Adelaide River to Katherine via the Grove Hotel :)

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:06 pm

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby WestcoastPete » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:53 pm

Jealous.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:40 pm

WestcoastPete wrote:GJ's suggestion of taking the back road through to Wyndham from Kununurra is a good one too, and I wouldn't bother trying to get a lift across the Ivanhoe Crossing. If you ride around on the highway towards Wyndham, just turn right down to Valentine Springs, Middle Springs and Black Rock Pool. They're both great places for a swim - I've even camped at Middle Springs but I don't think you're meant to. Valentine Springs has croc potential and you'll need to cross it, but it's a small crossing with good visibility. Taking this track instead of the highway means you'll miss some speccy mountains and the famous Grotto though, but Middle Springs makes up for that.


Locking in this option. Thanks for the advice. I am guessing two to three days and water is all good?

You could also consider the Buntine and Duncan roads to get you to Kununurra. They're long and dry, but reasonably flat (in the car). And Marella Gorge is a great place to stop for a day or two. You'd miss the speccy bit of highway through Victoria River, but they're dirt roads so have less of that truck/caravan traffic...


Investigated this further using GJ notes on part of the route but it is going to add to many days to the ride I am afraid. I really want to vist Mt Augustus if I can, so need to watch the days earlier on to try and allow for this.

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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:03 pm

Is the Wyndham Supermarket good for restocking to get through to Derby is it best done in Kununurra?

Thanks
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:20 pm

Aushiker wrote: Wyndham Supermarket?


Wyndham has a medium sized IGA that is mostly stocked with essentials, ie, bottles of coke, chips, sweet biscuits, but also has most other groceries for the 800 people who live there. Not much else in shops except for the servo.

Kununurra has Australia's probably most expensive Coles supermarket. There's everything you would want, as long as you have austere tastes. There's a medium sized IGA as well.

I'd be stocking up in Kununurra, there's about 10,000 population.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby Aushiker » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:28 pm

GJ_Coop wrote:
Aushiker wrote: Wyndham Supermarket?


Wyndham has a medium sized IGA that is mostly stocked with essentials, ie, bottles of coke, chips, sweet biscuits, but also has most other groceries for the 800 people who live there. Not much else in shops except for the servo.

Kununurra has Australia's probably most expensive Coles supermarket. There's everything you would want, as long as you have austere tastes. There's a medium sized IGA as well.

I'd be stocking up in Kununurra, there's about 10,000 population.


Thanks for the information. I guess nation wide pricing is no more :(

BTW

Next section to Derby mapped out ... any comments most welcome.

Kununurra to Wyndham - 108 km - Two days

Wyndham to Jacks Waterhole - 146 km - Three days

Jacks Waterhole to Bell Creek Gorge - 342 km - Seven days

Bell Creek Gorge to Derby - 249 km - Four days

Times are just riding time. No waterhole time factored.

Andrew
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby GJ_Coop » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:30 pm

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.
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Re: Long Term Dreaming: Darwin to Perth

Postby WestcoastPete » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:45 pm

Look like a well planned trip Andrew.

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

It's a shame I won't be around in Darwin when you swing through. It would have been nice to say G'day...
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