15 days, 7,200km, 22 riders, and too many smiles to count.
Recently, we took an awesome and adventurous group of experienced riders from Sydney to Uluru and back, stopping in some remarkable locations along the way. Coober Pedy, Uluru, The Olgas, Kings Canyon, Alice Springs and Broken Hill to name but a few.
This group were up for a truly epic Aussie adventure, and boy did they get it…
Day 1. Meeting in Sydney bright and early, after a coffee fuelled briefing, we set out for a huge day ahead. The days ride from Sydney to Narrandera saw us getting 530km under our belt on the first day. Complete with not just sunshine, but a little wind and rain as well, just to ‘initiate’ the group. This made the bright green rolling hills in the country side all the more beautiful though, the rain seemingly replenishing the land and freshening up that glorious fresh country air.
A delicious pub lunch in Boorowa, followed by another 250km or so into Narrandera rounded out the day nicely. Many well-earned beverages were shared amongst newly found friends that first night.
Day 2 took us 570km to Mildura. Only a day in, but we were well and truly out of the city now. It’s big sky country out here, with the horizon visible in pretty much every direction, a sight for sore early morning eyes indeed.
The Murray River at Swan Hill was our major pit stop for the day, a beautiful township, with many of our riders stretching their legs by taking advantage of the manicured walks along the beautiful house boat lined river.
Day 3 we set off for Port Augusta bright and early. The sun shone bright for us too, making for a picturesque ferry ride across the Murray river before crossing the border into South Australia. Here the hills got even greener and the roads got better the farther we rode. A fantastic day of riding was had by all.
Stopping in Burra for lunch, the pizza at La Pecora Nera did not disappoint! Just the personal fuel we all needed to enjoy even more amazing roads all the way to Port Augusta, where we parked up for the night. Another 533km behind us now.
Day 4. Coober Pedy bound. 550km today, with a full day to rest up and recharge tomorrow. Cruising along the Stuart Highway further and further away from the coast, we found ourselves getting into proper outback territory now. The road trains out here are truly epic. They make even the biggest of Mack trucks look more like matchbox cars!
Rolling in to Coober Pedy, we checked into our motel, which was carved into the hillside as it has been re-appropriated from a disused mine. An awesome and unique experience staying here, and pretty cosy too.
Day 5. A day off and a slow start for many fellow riders, after maybe one too many the night before knowing that today was all about rest and relaxation. Coober Pedy is a quaint working mining town, with a few from our group taking advantage of the well priced Opals out at one of the working Opal fields. The scenery out here is epic, and well worth taking the day to check it out. Half day rides out to film set locations and a bus tour out to the ’badlands’ is a must.
Day 6. Uluru bound, with a mere 760km of riding ahead to get there. A monumental day of riding that is not for the faint hearted. The group were all up for it though, having planned it with us well in advance of the tour. We left early, while it was still dark out in fact. As we rode north, dawn hit us revealing a ground littered with wild flowers of just about every colour, making for an unbelievably beautiful morning ride.
As we rode on, I couldn’t help but appreciate just how small we really are. The land goes on seemingly forever out here. Crossing the border into the Northern Territory, we were making real progress now, helped by the higher speed limits. It wasn’t long before the big red rock that is Uluru entered our vision. After lapping it on the 11km road twice and taking in its sheer magnitude, we stopped at a great vantage point for a spectacular sunset. What a great day. We all slept well that night!
Day 7 saw us on a short 120km trip to The Olgas. Starting early again, this time not to cover the distance, but rather to watch the sun rise over Uluru and The Olgas (Kata Tjuta). A real bonus for those who went out there in the dark was the full moon going down directly in front of us while the dawn rose in our rear vision mirrors. This is a site not to be missed as you marvel in the brilliance of watching the desert come to life for another day, as it has for the last 40,000 years of aboriginal habitation, before this very day.
Having plenty of time up our sleeve today, the group embarked on the 11km walk around Uluru, before lapping it once more on our bikes. It’s a wonderful walk and something well worth doing if you do ever find yourself out there. Pro tip, bring plenty of water; it gets hot out there!
Dinner was truly something special this night. A Sounds of Silence outdoor dining experience with sunset views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. This time with champagne in hand and a wonderful meal in front of you. Simply put, marvellous. It doesn’t get better than this.
Day 8. We set off for Kings Canyon 322km away. A little morning rain today but who was I to complain after the amazing weather we had for several days prior. It cleared up after only a few hours anyway, before arriving at our accommodation at Kings Canyon Station for a tasty Camel burger lunch! Yep! Some sight seeing at Kings Canyon that afternoon, a fascinating place where the amazing red landscape has been carved out by the elements over millions of years. The walks out here around the rim of the canyon are spectacular, each stop offering a view even better than the last.
Many stories were had that night during a BBQ dinner around an outdoor fire pit. And with no internet or phone reception out here, we couldn’t help but to feel very relaxed.
Day 9. Alice Springs awaits. Cruising 470km along the open road, we rolled into town nice and early, giving everyone plenty of time to explore this quaint and beautiful place. An early night for most, with a big day tomorrow and our first day riding back in the direction of Sydney.
Day 10 took us back to Coober Pedy along the Stuart Highway. A familiar road to everyone now and mostly long straight stretches, so a good opportunity to get your cruise control on, zone out and enjoy the scenery along the way. It never gets old out here.
Dinner at the Outback Bar and Grill where the food is good, the portions are large and the beers are cold. Just the ticket after a long 690km day of riding.
Day 11. Woomera awaits just 380km down the road. Arriving just after lunch, everybody checked in to their military barracks style rooms and had a good look around this old military town. Famous for its 120,000 square kilometre military testing range, where the Australian military and its allies still test their weapons to this day, there’s plenty of history here. The group spent the evening diffusing this reality with a few drinks and a few frames at the local bowling alley.
Day 12. Broken Hill tonight and as we get closer, the landscape starts to change again, with green pastures in our sites once more and beautiful twisting roads through the hillsides.
Orroroo was the place to be for lunch, the Commercial Hotel offering an amazing Kangaroo grill. Quite delicious indeed. Onwards we rode, across the border back into NSW at Cockburn. Dinner at the local club in Broken Hill that night was enjoyed by all. All up another 600km today.
Day 13. We rested up in Broken Hill. Only local riding today, there’s too much history to see in this old mining town to sit still. Some took a short 60km trip up the road to Silverton where the Mad Max movies were filmed. Looking at the surrounding landscape there, you can really see why they chose it as a location.
Day 14. We’re two days from the end of what has been an incredible journey. On the road 620km to Nyngan, aside from the wildflowers being out in full force, the animals were too. Emus, Kangaroos, Goats, Eagles and all sorts of birds flying overhead helped keep things interesting. The sides of the road looked like a manicured golf course. Rolling into Nyngan that night, we were blessed to find out that for two days before, they'd had torrential rain which we somehow managed to stay ahead of. One too many beers on the balcony of our accommodation that night were drunk as everyone was busy reminiscing about the amazing two weeks just gone. Only one day left now and 555km to get home.
Day 15 took us back to Sydney. Leaving Nyngan and the bush behind, we found ourselves in farmland once more. With rolling hills, fields of wheat and canola plantations, this beautiful landscape seemingly went on forever.
It was a big last day passing through some great towns like Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst, before hitting the famous Bells Line of Road. An epic last day of riding to mark the end of an epic tour!
A special thanks to the group who made this such a remarkable and memorable couple of weeks. While this article may focus primarily on the riding, the people we ride with is what makes every trip truly special. It’s such a privilege to meet so many amazing, fun and like minded people and to show them what wonders Australia has to offer. We look forward to sharing a beer with you legends down the road…
Fred Madderom - Steel Horse Moto