The Idea

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, March 30, 2007

The Idea:-

'Hi guys,

I wanted to put a few feelers out to see if I could generate a bit of info and thoughts. I'm currently in Melbourne and considering taking a motorbike across the Nullarbor Plains over to Perth, either from Melbourne or Sydney.

Has anyone ever done this? How was it? Any don't do's, must do's or other general advice would be most welcome. Depending on the practicality and what comes of the plans I'd be keen to head out in the next few weeks. If so, anyone interested in coming along?' 
- scottwoz

The Response:-

'-Sounds like quite the adventure Scott. You should get one of those sideseat thingys. How fun would it be to ride around in that!  In any case, the sunsets are going to be spectacular...'
- whereshegoes (

- 'Do it. I met a few people who cycled it so I'm sure you can motorcycle it. Just bring plenty of water and sunscreen.  Also, once you cross the Nullabor go in to the tourist office...they print you out a free certificate with your name on saying that you made it. Awesome.' 
- siscri (

- 'Oh! I've always wanted to ride overland in one of those!!  Sounds like a fun trip.' 
- wakingdream (

- 'Never knew about the certificate thingy, that's excellent. Funny how you Canucks get drawn in to the sidecar aspect. The sight of someone sitting in a sidecar at speed is one that always amuses me. Thank you both for the mental picture.  The more I think about this the more I'm tempted to start in Sydney and take the whole coastal route through Melbourne and Adelaide and straight across the Nullarbor. In fact, beyond Perth, why not keep chugging?'
- scottwoz (

- 'A great road trip, scott, especially on a bike.  Nullabor: Get yourself a swag (unless you're happy to pay for a motel room), don't even consider driving at dawn, dusk or at night (wildlife & roadtrains are a huge risk) & forget the railway access road (its only accessible between Rawlinna & Kalgoorlie & there's no fuel & little water available).

Overnighting at remote roadhouses (most have alcohol available) you'll likely meet some interesting characters. A few coldies, then roll out the swag & gaze up at the outrageously brilliant night sky.

Don't expect anything spectacular apart from the view from the cliffs on the Bight... this is a highway built for practical rather than aesthetic reasons.  Don't enter WA with any fresh fruit & veg (or other herbage). You WILL be required to stop for a quarantine check east of Eucla.  The Nullabor is a great experience of Australia's GFA (Great Fuck-All)!'
- phoggie (Lonely Planet)

- 'I have driven across the Nullabor, but not considered doing it by bike.  It is a long way. Sure people will say it, but it really is true. Quite often you will be miles from anyone with no help for hours.

Be careful if you are considering driving near dusk or dawn. Thats when the kangaroos come out and they can ruin a car, let alone a motorcycle.  You won't have to worry too much about fuel for the bike. Every 200kms or so there will be a roadhouse where you can top up, buy food and drink. And if you are desperate, sleep the night.  Oh and watch out for the road trains. The wind from them can make cars swerve, so what they will do to a motorcycle....

But have fun, it is definitely going to be a blast.  Ciao'
- Daniel (

- 'Hi Scott, that is a great ride you are going to do. From Adelaide on to Esperance it is the great nothing, only settlements rather than towns, and they are few and far apart. Shame you are going so soon, I don't think there will be many whales around.

From taking that route the other way, in just three days (cause I had to get to Melb and I couldn't get rid of my car in Perth), here are my thoughts:
- don't ever do it in three days
- the road is inland but follows the southern ocean, with frequent turnoffs... and everytime you want to turn and go have a look!
- there are cliffs and sand dunes and you are alone there and it is great
- there are also loads of retired aussies going around Oz in a campervan.. and they are cool too
- you can camp in the dunes, alone and remote, by the ocean and under the stars...
- there are a lot of dead rabbits in the Nullarbor. For the next 1000 km or so towards the west, there are a lot of dead kangaroos, I felt very sick cause there is plenty of flesh and blood every 3 minute... sorry, but I think it's better to warn
- bloody kangaroos CAN be jumping on the road during the day, and they are of the BIG kind. I have been told that there exists some kind of metal tubes, that you put on your vehicle, and that generate a sound that kangaroos can hear from miles, so they can run away across the road before you are there
- If you go camping off the road, it is really, really remote. 5 liters is not "A lot of water", but you know that already. If you want to be on the safe side, I guess you can rent a sat phone, it is supposed to be cheap as long as you don't use it. Seriously, be cautious, as away from the road, there is absolutely nothing, and noody comes by
- The quarantine check between WA and SA is not at the border, but very far away from it... check it before forcing yourself to eat all your fresh food the night before the border
- Other than that... it is not scary, it is not exceptional... it is just empty and monotonous for thousands of miles... I loved it!  Have you thought about doing it on camelback?'
- peacefrog (

- 'Might do it on the way back.. yes.gif  Peace, that's great info mate, nice one. Luckily I've got time on my hands so a three day race isn't necessary. I'm happy to take ten days or two weeks, taking in as much as I can and making the most of the remoteness. It's coming together nicely and already it's looking like I may extend the trip and do a lot more than I first thought.  I've been sniffing out info from a few sources and just this morning I received a post which included this sentence:   "Overnighting at remote roadhouses (most have alcohol available) you'll likely meet some interesting characters. A few coldies, then roll out the swag & gaze up at the outrageously brilliant night sky."  Now how can anyone not want to throw a few clothes into a bag and fire up the bike?' 
- scottwoz (

- 'Yep, roadhouses are great, and they usually have a motel + camping, there are some real "characters" to be met.  On the south coast though, there aren't that many roadhouses!  And yeah, I forgot, if you have a vehicle to carry it, a swag is the way to go!'
- peacefrog (

-'Sounds fun biggrin.gif When you get to Perth go the whole hog and head around the coast to Broome and then on to Darwin! Thought I'd warn you that it is bloody freezing in the outback on a clear night!!' 
- rbissett (

- 'The highway would be very straightforward. I think the longest between roadhouses is 120 kms so range no problem. You might want to check this though.... and the Nullabor doesn't really take very long this way. But there is an interesting looking dirt service road that goes alongside the railway. Apparently this is very popular with Japanese bikers.'
- dylar (Lonely Planet)

- 'It's always so neat to me how a place can be so hot sometimes, and then get so cold. Peru was like that in alot of places. Scott, hope you have some warm clothes!'
- wakingdream (

- 'Though he didn't go to Perth, my brother recently rode his motorbike from Brisbane to Adelaide and then from Adelaide to Darwin. He then put the bike and himself on a plane to Kuala Lumpur and rode around South East Asia and yesterday flew the bike and himself to Kathmandu. He has a website about his trip and in the Australian section he's written about riding through the outback and the road conditions as well as a list of the gear he took and some of the stuff he had to consider maintenance-wise with the bike. While most of it is probably irrelevent, some of it might be of help to you.'
- BecInBris (Lonely Planet)

- 'I did just that the other way round, way too fast, but it was still great, I definitely recommend it!  Way too fast cause I had planned to visit Perth and suroundings, but instead took a ticket to Darwin caus it wasn't so far... error!
Then I realized the tours to the NP were 4 times too expensive, so I bought a car, and then... I ended up driving it 10.000 km.  Would definitely do it again in 4 months instead of 4 weeks.  Enjoy, Scott!'
- peacefrog (

- 'lol I spent 6 weeks in Darwin!! During that time I saw hordes of tourists coming-and-going daily for the stupidly expensive tours to Kakadu and Litchfield. I stayed in town sipping a beer around the pool!!  I never even bothered to go on the tours'
- rbissett (

- 'I agree, the swag's definitely the way to go, I'll just strap it to the bike. I think I'll end up mixing it up, depending on what 'characters' I come across. And roos.. yes.gif '
- scottwoz (

- 'Do it, just like Motorcycles Diaries, from the Che Guevara!!!  Caro!'
- Caro! (

- 'Totally. A great story it was too. Just gotta get my hands on a bike now.. '
- scottwoz (

- 'That does sound good. I am jealous.  There is a good book called "Country: a continent, a scientist & a kangaroo" by Tim Flannery which I reckon is good and may be a good companion on your trip.'
- Paul (
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