Whether you prefer weaving through urban streets or exploring the expanse of lonely country highways, Australia provides memorable landscapes for bikers of all stripes. Yet it’s easy to underestimate just how vast Australia is as you start dreaming of a motorcycle tour across this massive country. The fastest route around the mainland would take about a month, riding nearly 500 km per day. As you start planning your tour, it’s better to narrow down the sights or areas of the country which are most important to you, in order to break up the journey into more manageable pieces.
Create a Loose Itinerary
Unless you have several months at your disposal, it will be difficult to see everything in Australia. It’s better to work out an itinerary based on what you’re most interested in seeing. There are numerous motorways in Australia, with different attractions and levels of difficulty for bikers. Popular routes include the scenic Great Ocean Road down the coast, or the epic cliffs and tight turns of the Great Alpine Road in Victoria’s High Country. The Red Centre through Australia’s Outback is also a classic adventure.
Choose a Motorcycle that Will Handle the Habitat
The right vehicle for your journey will depend on the type of itinerary you’ve chosen, your budget, and your experience as a rider. If you’re sticking to short trips through the Hunter or Yarra Valleys on well-paved roads, a light machine like a Kawasaki Ninja may fit the bill. On the other hand, if you’re journeying through the Simpson Desert you’ll want a solid, hefty vehicle to handle the sand dunes, like a classic Harley-Davidson. You can take a look at your options on an Australian bike listings site like bikesales.com.au, to get a feel for what will best fit your needs. It’s always an option to purchase a used bike and then sell it at the end of your journey, particularly if you’re taking a long tour around the country.
Bring Back-Up Maps with your Essentials
With your itinerary and vehicle sorted out, you can then move onto the packing. You’ll probably choose a bike equipped with a Sat-Nav system or bring your smartphone with GPS, but you can’t rely on these when you’re out in the wild. Bring paper maps and you won’t regret it. Bungee cords can be used to secure your belongings, and other essentials could include bug spray, extra batteries, and a first aid kit. If you’re travelling to the desert, don’t forget extra food and plenty of water.
Australian weather can be quite changeable, with sudden rainstorms or drops in temperature in the evening. It’s best to plan for all conditions, especially if you’ll be passing through several different climate zones along your journey. It’s possible that you’ll be travelling from a tropical rainforest climate to an arid desert. Bring layers, and make sure you have something waterproof to cover up with.
Watch out for Wildlife
Australia’s diverse wildlife is one of its star attractions, and you’re bound to spot kangaroos and wallabies bounding along on the road beside you at some point during your journey. Try to avoid driving in the evenings, however, as this is when wildlife can be particularly active and hard to spot.
A drive across Australia by motorcycle can be an epic adventure, allowing you to feel the wind in your hair while spotting some of the country’s most iconic sights. With a bit of planning, you can make the most of your journey and stay safe along the way.
“Rachel MacDonald is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer who has worked as a copywriter for businesses from Lima to San Francisco. She specializes in travel, design, and the arts”