Uluru – Days 13 & 14 – The highlight of our trip so far

Where are we, where have we been and where are we going?

Day 12 – Coober Pedy to Erldunda – 495k (3,461k total)
The day fined up again but was a little cooler and windy with the maximim 19c. The 490km trip from Coober Pedy was fairly flat and uneventful with the flies making rest stops a bit uncomfortable. They were so bad even the road workers were wearing hat nets. Erldunda is claimed to be within 12 km of the official geographic centre of Australia so we are now well and truly in Central Australia. We left South Australia and entered the Northern Territory today and are heading for Uluru tomorrow.

Crossing the border

The sign speaks for itself :o)

Day 13 – Erldunda to Uluru – 299k (3,760k total)
We had a fine and sunny but cold 10c start to our 250km run into Uluru from the Sturt Highway although it warmed to 22c through the day. The trip was fairly straight and flat but some spectacular views of Mt Conner, Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) on the run in more than made up for the lack riding highlights.

Mount Connor NT often mistaken by foreign tourists for Ularu

Mount Conner NT often mistaken by foreign tourists for Uluru

A serious picture of Ularu. Love the way the clouds lead the eye to the Rock.

A serious picture of Uluru. Love the way the clouds lead the eye to the Rock.

Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas)

Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas)

We arrived at Yatala and went straight on to Uluru 20km away. Hopefully the photos will tell the story but surfice to say, even though the image is very familiar to us, Neither Ros or I had seen it “in the flesh” ,so to speak, and there is nothing like actually seeing it.  We checked into our resort (our big splurge for the whole trip) then headed off about 5.30pm to watch the sun set over Uluru and enjoy our “Sounds of Silence” dinner under the stars in view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. (Also part of our big splurge). Definitely a highlight of the trip.

Corny but cute! :o)

Corny but cute! :o)

Enjoying our "Sounds of Silence" dinner experience

Enjoying our “Sounds of Silence” dinner experience

 

Day 14 – Uluru – 149k (3,909k total)
We spent the day visiting the various attractions in and around Uluru and Kata Tjuta in beautiful sunny weather (24c) The flies were a but bothersome at times but otherwise a wonderful and unforgetable day.

The beautiful Sturts Desert Pea. Our first sighting in the wild ever!

The beautiful Sturts Desert Pea. Our first sighting in the wild ever!

Off to Alice Springs tomorrow

Cheers Ros and Dick

Into the Northern Territory

Where are we now?

Day 10 – Glendambo to Coober Pedy – 260km (2,956 km total)
We had a leisurely start from Glendambo this morning for the relatively short 260 Km run to the opal mining town of Cooper Pedy. The day was fine again although it is definitely warming up as we head toward the centre. The temperature was 27c by about 10am although it did not get any hotter during the day. There is absolutely nothing between Glendambo and Cooper Pedy with low scrubby country (no shade) for the whole trip. There was just two opportunities to stop (Rest areas) but the lack of shade and toilets together with the millions of flies discouraged us from stopping until we reached Coober Pedy at around 12.00pm. We were able to check into our underground Hotel

Our underground Motel room

Our underground Motel room

and enjoyed our previously purchased sandwiches sitting in the shade on their veranda. We booked up a couple of tours for tomorrow, purchased some supplies at the local IGA and spent a pleasant couple of hours on the hotel veranda enjoying a few drinks with a few other fellow travellers.

Some of the underground homes in Coober Pedy SA

Some of the underground homes in Coober Pedy SA

Day 11 – Coober Pedy
We spent the day taking in the sights of Coober Pedy and surrounds. We visited several underground mines, saw the opal fields and travelled out to the spectacular Breakaway Mountains. It drizzled rain for most of the day and was quite cool with a max of about 19c

Underground at Coober Pedy

Underground at Coober Pedy

Underground again (thought I might as well do a bit of work)

Part of the spectacular Breakaways mountains near Coober Pedy

Part of the spectacular Breakaways mountains near Coober Pedy

Part of the 5,600km dingo fence which runs across three states - Reputedly the longest fence in the world

Part of the 5,600km dingo fence which runs across three states – Reputedly the longest fence in the world

 

Day 12 – Coober Pedy to Erldunda – 495km (3,461 total)
The day fined up again but was a little cooler and windy with the maximim 19c. The 490km trip from Coober Pedy was fairly flat and uneventful with the flies making rest stops a bit uncomfortable. They were so bad even the road workers were wearing nets attached to their hats. Erldunda is claimed to be within 12 km of the official geographic centre of Australia so we are now well and truly in Central Australia. We left South Australia and entered the Northern Territory today and are heading for Ularu tomorrow.

Crossing the border

Crossing the border

Cheers Ros and Dick

 

 

Port Augusta, Woomera and Glendambo

Day 8 Broken Hill to Port Augusta (423kms)

Another fine day greeted us as we set off from Broken Hill with the Temperature 16c at 9am rising to 24c during the day.  We entered South Australia not long after leaving Broken Hill. The road was undulating and fairly straight except for where we went through the Flinders Ranges and Horrocks Pass just outside Port Augusta (See Youtube clip below) which is our next overnight stopover. The country is still generally healthy and downright green in some isolated patches (probably irrigated). We followed the Trans-Continental railway line for much of the day

Olary Station SA on the Transcontinental Railway

Olary Station SA on the Transcontinental Railway

stopping for lunch at Peterborough which was apparently a major rail hub during the steam era with the railway providing most of the towns employment during this period spanning about 100 years. During this time it is said over 10,000 workers were employed by the railroad. We also met up by chance with a couple who we know through our OZSTOC forum. They had spotted our bike in the street and had stopped to give us a card about the forum only to discover we were already members and, in fact, knew each other on the forum.

500 year old Red Gum just outside Orroroo SA

500 year old Red Gum just outside Orroroo SA

The road up through Horrocks Pass and the views of the Spencer Gulf as we came down the other side were fantastic.

Spencer Gulf in sight from the top of Horrocks Pass

Spencer Gulf in sight from the top of Horrocks Pass

Ros was a little off colour this morning so our early 3pm arrival at Port Augusta and a Nanna nap once we had checked into our digs was greatly appreciated.

If you feel like coming for a short, four and a half minute, ride with us up over Horrocks Pass in the Flinders Ranges SA without getting out of your chair click on this Youtube link >>> http://youtu.be/Mk24okRqa0g

Day 9  Port Augusta, Woomerah, Glendambo SA (304kms)

We fuelled up in Port Augusta after some initial trouble with the bike (would not idle) which made for some interesting riding around town. The bike speedo clicked over to exactly 70,000 Ks while we were at the servo so maybe it was just the old girl (the bike that is) letting us know we had reached a special milestone. The problem seemed to sort itself out once we got underway. Lets see what happens tomorrow morning. It became obvious we will need to secure a new battery sooner rather than later however. The weather was again clear and a mild 18c warming up to 27c during the day. The first leg of our day took us to the rocket test site town of Woomera 173 k away from Port Augusta. The first 100 k’s was dead straight with flat low scrubby country either side. On several occasions large inland lakes came into view (complete with water).

Lake Gairdner on the Stuart Highway north of Woomera

Lake Gairdner on the Stuart Highway north of Woomera

We spent a couple of hours at Woomera inspecting the various exhibits inside and outside their museum.

One of the Woomera relics

One of the Woomera relics

On going into their visitors centre for lunch we were surprised to see a full size bowling alley with about 6 lanes inside. Obviously a remnant of the American presence during the 60’s and 70’s. We set off from Woomera after lunch for a 130k leg to our overnight stop over at the Glendambo Road House where we secured an adequate motel room for $99.

Glendambo Roadhouse in the late afternoon

Glendambo Roadhouse in the late afternoon

Where are we now?

Total distance to date 2696 Kms

Bye for now ….. Ros and Dick

Days 6 and 7 Broken Hill

We left Cobar at our usual time of 9am for the long 264km haul to Wilcannia. The day was fine and started a little warmer at 15c rising to a warm 27c during the day. The run from Cobar was uneventful albeit devoid of any sign of civilisation for the entire trip. The country was bushy and low scrub and was fairly green showing evidence of rain over previous months. As we had been forewarned, we saw hundreds of feral goats along this stretch. The mind boggles at how many there are away from the roads. We also saw sheep from time to time, sometimes grazing in close proximity. One of our fellow travellers claimed the locals periodically rounded up the goats for some lucrative export market. We are not sure how you would round them up though!. We finally reached Wilcannia around midday to find the only servo in town had only standard unleaded (our bike much prefers premium) and had no Eftpos (lucky we had enough cash). The previous recommendation we had received to give Wilcannia a miss as an overnight stopover was well founded. We grabbed a bit of lunch before heading off on the next 200km stretch to Broken Hill.

The Darling River Wilcannia NSW

The Darling River Wilcannia NSW

Not so many goats on this stretch but the pillion spotted quite a few emus off to the side of the road. We reached Broken Hill about 3.30pm finding our digs for the next 2 nights easily after refering to Mr Google Maps. Ros had found us a self contained townhouse at a reasonable cost so we bought supplies to cook for ourselves for the next 2 nights and plan to make use of their laundry. Another great days riding.

Today we took a tourist day in Broken Hill visiting the old mining town of Silverton, the Pro Hart Gallery and the Living Desert sculptures. The weather was sunny and warm giving us a very nice day except for the flies which were in plague proportions at Silverton and the Living Desert Sculptures.

Near Broken Hill

Near Broken Hill

One of the rock sculptures at the Broken Hill Living Desert Park

One of the rock sculptures at the Broken Hill Living Desert Park

Here is a short Helmet Cam Youtube video we shot on Day 4 climbing up Waterfall Way from Bellingen to Dorrigo http://youtu.be/-lpv9dEVrNE

Off to Port Augusta tomorrow.

Cheers for now Ros and Dick

Day 5 Coonabarabran to Cobar

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zbwgo9AFRVFw.kBmq8jVN2A4I

We checked out of our Coonabarabran motel at 9.00am heading off down the Newell/Oxley (the highway bears both names for the 95km  section through to Gilgandra). The day was overcast but fine starting at a brisk 11c climbing up to 22c in the afternoon. The country seems to be in good shape with wheat and cotton crops in varous stages of harvesting. The road is, predictably, fairly straight. We headed out of Gilgandra back on the Oxley passing through Warren and hitting the Mitchell Highway at the cotton growing centre of Nevertire. We saw harvesting in progress and saw hundreds of huge circular bales of cotton lined awaiting rail shipment, probably for export. After turning onto the Mitchell Highway we took the 60km run into Nyngan without a single bend. After lunching at Nyngan we headed out along the Barrier Highway to our next overnight stop 130km away at the mining town of Cobar. We saw lots of feral goats along the side of the road on the run in to Cobar and we were told there is heaps more along the road to Wilcannia tomorrow. We covered 401kms  for the day with 1,300 now accumulated since we left home. There is not much between Cobar and Wilcannia

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Cobar
Cobar
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Not much after you leave Cobar!
Off to Wilcannia and Broken Hill tomorrow.
Cheers Ros and Dick

 

 

Day 4 – Coffs to Coonabarabran

After spending time with our family in Coffs HarbourBudding pillions at Coffs

including a visit to the Coffs Harbour Show we headed out this morning for the run up Waterfall Way through Bellingen, Dorigo, Ebor and in to Armidale. The weather was a coolish 13c but was otherwise fine lending itself to a wonderful ride through green an picturesque country along fantastic undulating and winding roads

Comfort break at Ebor Falls

Comfort break at Ebor Falls

We then took a short blast down the New England Highway to Tamworth lunching at Maccas before joining the Oxley Highway for a great 180km run through Gunedah arriving at our overnight stop at Coonabarabran around 4.20pm. The last 50k or so were a little worrying as we were getting in to the dusk period that our Skippy mates love so much. As luck would have it, we saw none. We   covered 480Km for the day. We have decided to take an easy day tomorrow and head for Cobar (circa 360km) as Willcania was another 200km further on. We had also been given some not very flattering reports of the available accommodation.

Cheers Ros and Dick

We are on our way – Day 1

Well we finally got away this morning for a short 250km run up the M1 to our place at Wootton. Fine weather and a perfect riding day. Pity we had to waste it just cruising up the M1 but a nice start to the trip just the same. Of course, you wouldn’t read about it but I left the ignition on after checking the Ks after arriving flattening the battery.

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Our fantastic little Micro-start emergency battery saved the day however getting us going again in no time.

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Off to Coffs tomorrow.

Ros and Dick

 

 

One week to go then off to the Red Centre

We are now on the countdown and starting to seriously get our gear together for the trip. Fitted new tyres to the bike today (switched from Michelin RP3’s to Pirelli Angel GT’s in case any of our biker friends are interested). These should get us through the whole trip and plenty more after. The bike is now all ready to go. We have booked in for a mid-trip service in Alice Springs and Ros has been on the Internet and booked us in to a few of the high intensity tourist stops like Ularu and Alice Springs. We can’t wait to get on the road.