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View Full Version : Australia - Perth to South Australian border via Wave rock and across Nullarbor plain



ExploringRTW
29-03-08, 03:21
16th - 22nd November

Perth to the South Australian border via Wave rock, Norseman, and across the Nullarbor plain

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One of a few signs we saw advising that the Flying Doctors may use the highway to land their aircraft in an emergency !!

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One of the very few signs advising that such a diverse range of animals can be found on the road.

We’d set off for Perth from Cervantes hoping to get the new tyre fitted before the tyre dealer closed. We managed to get their in time and, after a look at all the dealer had to offer I settled on a Bridgestone Battlewing(the tyre I thought I was getting in Darwin) as our Swiss friend Tom had spoke very highly of their life span. I got the new rear lovely-beautiful-unspoilt tyre fitted whilst we ate at McDonalds. When we returned to the shop I was asked if I wanted the front replaced too as the owner had noted how worn it was. I wavered for a while about fitting another tyre as I was trying to optimise our wear/costs ratio but finally consented as the Tourance had been on the bike for about 18,000km’s and I didn‘t want any more night-mare scenarios with the dealers in Australia being so far apart. Those fitted we set off to find our Big4 campsite. We arrived to find that we had the last camping spot. A German motorcycle/sidecar couple arrived 2 or 3 minutes after us and were told that there were no more camping spaces available, so after a brief chat, they took off to find somewhere else to stay for the night.

Our spot was great and soon we were set up, got a Chinese takeaway, some beer & wine from the local drive-through bottle-shop and a DVD and settled down for the night .

I’d planned a big Web-update day for today and whilst I enjoyed seeing Kai & Annette arrive (the German couple from last night) we ended up chatting with them until 14:00 which messed our plans up quite a bit. In the end we scuppered down to Woolworths(like an English Supermarket here) to get some food, dropped off yesterday evenings DVD, rushed back and gave the bike a reasonable wash, had dinner & retired with a DVD(I think.)

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Kai & Annette on their 'Duck' on the camp-site in Perth.

The following day I went to church in the morning. In the afternoon I wrote a frustrated and disappointed e-mail to Olympus about my non-waterproof waterproof camera as they had now finally refused to entertain any type of warranty repair without both the original warranty card and purchase receipt. Sylvia did some washing and in the afternoon we popped into Perth on the bike to see some of its sights. In the evening we met up with Kai & Annette again and had a nice chat over dinner.

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A view of Perth city.

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Our Queen Victoria...known for not being amused...she should have eaten more ice creams !!

For yet another morning we planned to get up early but heard the rain drumming on the tent & so stayed a little longer. Before leaving I tried to telephone the car driver who’d knocked the bike over in Darwin without success so I sent him a strong e-mail warning him of my next steps if he continued to ignore my correspondence. I then booked the car hire for our ten days in Tasmania - for solely business use(as opposed to pleasure !) whilst the bike was in transit between Australia & New Zealand. This all going on whilst Sylvia packed everything away on the bike.

We finally we got away at around 11:00 am and headed for Hyden, where the famed Wave rock is situated. Our plan was originally to try and cover 700km today but with the late start I was already busy revising our objective for the day. Whilst riding today we saw a number of very humorous a “dog and a Ute” advertisements(for an annual competition from what we could see) on the way through the wheat belt.

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Some of the 'Dog and a Ute' displays.

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In the evening we visited wave rock and the flies….which forced me to don my mosquito head net(much to the amusement of Sylvia !) Wave rock turned out to be a hmm……event as it’s not as dramatic as Postcards & tourist books would have you think. Fortunately it was on our chosen route, else-wise I would have been pretty fed-up. We had a vegetable buffet dinner in a local Hotel and started sorting out some photos for future web updates.

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Sylvia goes surfing on wave rock

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The flies bother me-Nah !!

We got up early again for hopefully 700km’s this morning but Sylvia accidentally left her Autocom lead in the café yesterday so we ended up taking a long breakfast at the local service station whilst waiting for the café/Tourist Information shop to open. I Still felt a bit rough from a cold that was hanging around me and so was actually grateful for a bit more time to wake up and rest…especially as it was so cold in the night and when we first woke up.(Around 10Deg C). We went back to the café, collected the lead and were on our way.

The first 300km were all on gravel and we’d been told that it would be easy for us to ride it…with very little sand. Hmmm, until someone has ridden a bike they really don’t understand what is possible or not. The first 30k’s were fairly hard and we hit more sandy patches rather that outright sand than I’d hoped and we had a few moments where we both wondered if we’d stay upright or not. After altering my technique a bit, to mainly standing up, wherever it got a bit too rough I just stood up which mainly gave me enough control to keep everything where it should be. Sylvia saw more of my Bum than she probably wished and felt a little uneasy when I disappeared (upwards)from time to time.

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Some of the many rock formations we saw en-route.

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The 300km gravel road to Norseman.

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Sylvia manages a smile despite spending so many hours and days on the back of the bike in the heat, dust & flies.

We slowly crossed this track. It runs from Hyden to Norsemen. And we managed it with an average of about 50km/hr including one decent break and a few stops for photos and sights along the way.

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As we approached Norseman we could see a small dried salt lake which can be seen behind the bike.

I was pleased to see the end of it, especially as I was feeling the normal aches associated with a cold. With the low average went our hopes of a 700km day. By the time we got to Norseman and had some lunch it was around 17:00 and I was wondering how to sort out my Insurance claim and wether the driver had called me or not. In the end I discovered that our mobile phone had coverage in Norseman and so we decided to stay so I could ring the Police and insurers the following morning being fully convinced that this man had no intention of paying or doing anything. We quickly found a nice camp site at a good price, took some nice long and hot showers followed by a beer & a Bundy(Bundies are named after a Rum Brewery in a Queensland town, Bundaberg-they make a Bundaberg & coke combination in a can, just like a beer.)

Norseman was so named as a horse-rider some years previous had been riding in the then barren region when his horse kicked up a huge nugget of Gold…the Horses name : Norseman !! :aidan

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Norseman.

After another cold night we were up early again knowing that I had to put 2 claims into the insurance company, one for the Darwin incident where the car driver knocked the bike off its side stand, and one for the storm where the ground gave way under the side stand in the rain, and because we were getting desperate to get a 700km day under the belt as the days to shipping the bike out of Melbourne to New Zealand were starting to decrease at an alarming rate.

Sylvia offered to pack up camp whilst I got on with the phone calls. I spent an hour lodging the claims and finally reporting the Darwin incident to the Police. As a result of the insurance call I needed to send photos of the damaged parts off to the company via e-mail so we had to find Internet access somewhere in town. There were 2 ‘outlets’, a petrol garage(no USB for the photos) and a comm.‘s company that wasn’t open until 11. As it had now got to 10:30 we decided to get a coffee and toasted sandwich to kill the half hour. We returned to the comm.‘s company at 11 but were informed that they were having a meeting and as a result we wouldn’t be able to use the Internet until 13:00. Remember what I was saying about being desperate to get some Km’s behind us !!!! Arrgghh.

Sylvia had the idea to return to our campsite and see if we could use their Internet. To our amazement and pleasant surprise they let us. !!! 40 mins later everything was sent off and we were on the road….It was now 12:05. (The owners wouldn’t accept any money for the Internet use but we left a donation for the Flying Doctors which seemed to please them.)

We did 2 fast stints and managed to cover 465km’s before we called it a day. We’d taken in the infamous Nullarbor straight which is Australia’s, (if not the World‘s) longest dead-straight road at 90 miles (146 km) and despite it being the longest straight road in Australia, it wasn't any more boring than many of the other long straight roads we'd driven on either. We'd hoped to cover a few more Km's today but we were further stumped in the end by the clocks going forward 45 mins and knowing that the dangerous hour, where the Kangaroos are prone to run out into the road was impending, and that really is too risky. We stayed on a campsite at a road house somewhere near Eucla and resigned ourselves to a 1000km day tomorrow.

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Is exactly what it says on the sign !

Trying to juggle getting the repairs done with some more new tyres for New Zealand and following up the insurance issues and still trying to enjoy Australia is hard going. I guess the hardest thing is the intermittent access to the Internet and mobile phone reception combined with just being too tired sometimes to want to follow these things up. We have a roast vegetable dinner and a few drinks to end the day and plan getting up for 05:30am to try and have a big day….hmmm, we’ll see. Incidentally, the bike is going great and the new tyres are really confidence inspiring on the road.

Mike

Tiger2
29-03-08, 09:24
Great pics...great place.
You lot have a great back yard to go riding in.
Your have to do the Northern Highway.Use to live in WA meself (Newman). Also in Perth for a while (Safety Bay).Remember the 90mile straight..i recall it suddenly turns at the end..but not sure. Only a nipper mind but the olds got me a monkey bike to keep me and mates happy....been hooked since.
Lucky gits:thumb

davegs
29-03-08, 11:06
Great reading your account, done eastern Aus. done Queensland down to Alice (not on a bike unfortunatly, hire car from Brisbane) in 1981. No sealed highway from Alice to Adilade and no railway!, reckon Alice was the nicest town I'd ever been in. Walked into a camping shop at 2pm to buy a tent , came out at 6pm full of free coffee and discounted tent!. The Nullabor has been an Ambition of mine for a long time and have got to do it. Nearly went last year but got talked into Alsaka to Ushia (Argentina) instead!. Good luck
with the rest of your trip and don't hurt any poor little(!) roo's!.
dave ( very enviouous) gs.

ExploringRTW
11-04-08, 01:22
Great pics...great place.
You lot have a great back yard to go riding in.
Your have to do the Northern Highway.Use to live in WA meself (Newman). Also in Perth for a while (Safety Bay).Remember the 90mile straight..i recall it suddenly turns at the end..but not sure. Only a nipper mind but the olds got me a monkey bike to keep me and mates happy....been hooked since.
Lucky gits:thumb

Hi Nandh,

I normally live in England...just for the record. :D

Regards,

Mike

ExploringRTW
11-04-08, 01:26
Great reading your account, done eastern Aus. done Queensland down to Alice (not on a bike unfortunatly, hire car from Brisbane) in 1981. No sealed highway from Alice to Adilade and no railway!, reckon Alice was the nicest town I'd ever been in. Walked into a camping shop at 2pm to buy a tent , came out at 6pm full of free coffee and discounted tent!. The Nullabor has been an Ambition of mine for a long time and have got to do it. Nearly went last year but got talked into Alsaka to Ushia (Argentina) instead!. Good luck
with the rest of your trip and don't hurt any poor little(!) roo's!.
dave ( very enviouous) gs.

Hi Dave,

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Whilst I enjoyed Australia the riding you will have had between Alaska & Argentina would have been far more interesting I'm sure. If you're down this way again and you haven't seen New Zealand, I'd encourage you to go there. The riding is the best I've had in any 1st World Country and maybe of even all the places I've seen in the world, perhaps being on a par with Bolivia(for the ride from Uyuni to Chile).

Regards,

Mike

Pukmeister
13-04-08, 14:03
Riding in Western Australia is pretty boring compared to many other places due to the endless straight roads and low speed limits. Glad you got to see wave rock, Hyden isn't exactly a happening place is it? Did you go to Mulka's cave and the Hippo's Yawn? If not you didn't miss much.

If anyone riding the area gets really hot whilst travelling through the wheatbelt, head for a town called 'Kulin' as there is a good outdoor municipal swimming pool there (with a water slide) that provides a refreshing break from the heat and dust. Its a one-horse town but the pool makes it worth a stop.

The "Dog in a Ute" is just the local farmers way of having a laugh with some modern artwork, there are plenty of them in the wheatbelt area.

I hope the insurance claims get sorted though sadly a lot of folks here couldn't give a monkeys about owning up to an accident, it's just part of life here. Some folks claim to have been threatened with physical violence by drivers if they try to claim. As for making progress and sticking to a riding schedule, welcome to WA mate (AKA wait awhile). It can be really frustrating but you just have to go with the flow and be patient with it, it's just the way things happen over here.

Keep the ride reports coming, great pics.:thumb2

ExploringRTW
16-04-08, 07:32
Riding in Western Australia is pretty boring compared to many other places due to the endless straight roads and low speed limits.

The boys in Blue gave me a souvenir, nice I thought to start with, ahh, but it turned out to be a flipping expensive piece of paper, $AU150 to be precise !!

Glad you got to see wave rock, Hyden isn't exactly a happening place is it? Did you go to Mulka's cave and the Hippo's Yawn? If not you didn't miss much.

We saw the Hippo's yawn & Mulka's cave if I remember rightly.

I hope the insurance claims get sorted though sadly a lot of folks here couldn't give a monkeys about owning up to an accident, it's just part of life here. Some folks claim to have been threatened with physical violence by drivers if they try to claim.

In the end I had to claim on my own insurance, however the insurance company are going to pursue it and didn't charg eme my excess for the repairs as they were convinced I was genuine.I was really hacked off with the car driver as he was so arrogant in assuring me that he'd pay for the damage and them just hid....COWARD !!!!

As for making progress and sticking to a riding schedule, welcome to WA mate (AKA wait awhile). It can be really frustrating but you just have to go with the flow and be patient with it, it's just the way things happen over here. Cheers. We had to as I would have crashed the bike

Keep the ride reports coming, great pics.:thumb2

Some more will be published in next few weeks. Tasmania first and then 4 months of New Zealand..

Regards,

Mike