THE ROUTE

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THE EAST COAST
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Travelling south from Brisbane, we cross the state line into New South Wales and head towards our first 'extremity' Cape Byron - Byron Bay (2837′S 15338′E), Australia's easternmost point. From Byron, we follow the eastern coast down to Australia's largest city and host of the 2000 Olympic Games, Sydney. The eastern coast is the most densely populated area of Australia, and one which we've seen much of before, so the goal is to head South as quickly as possible to maximise the time we have in the less travelled areas of this huge country.

Continuing our journey South past the nations capital Canberra, we head to The Australian Alps National Parks (made up of 11 separate National parks) also known as the Snowy Mountains, Australia's winter playground, and home to our ski fields. The region also is the home of Australia's highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko (3627′S, 14816′E) at 2228 metres (7310 feet). Whether we can make it through the region is uncertain at this point as the climate in the region around this time can vary greatly from bone dry, to covered in thick snow, so if the weather is not with us, an alternate route will need to be found as we cross the border into Victoria and head to Melbourne.

Melbourne is a beautiful, multicultural city with many influences from Europe, and for a city with typically European weather (read rain) strangely has the nations highest proportion of two wheeled enthusiasts! While here in the deep south, we get to another extremity, the southern most point of the Australian mainland, South Point - Wilson's Promontory (3908′20″S, 14622′26″E). After some rest the route takes us by ferry to the Apple Isle, and Australia's Island state, Tasmania.

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TASMANIA
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The ferry will drop us off in Davenport, and going against our 'Always Turning Right' system, will travel anti-clockwise around Tasmania. Tasmania definitely would need more than a week to explore fully, but time is against us as we need to get through the North before it warms up and the rains come. Whether we can make it to the southernmost point of Tasmania is uncertain yet.

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THE MIDDLE
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Once back on the mainland we leave Melbourne once again and head to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. From Adelaide, our trip breaks from our clockwise route, and heads north to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. Alice Springs is smack bang in the middle of Australia, and to get to it, you have to head in from somewhere. The roads to it come from the north, south, east and west. We've decided to tackle the Alice from the south to minimise backtracking, whilst the weather is cooler, and with the hope that we may be able to make a diversion to Lake Eyre (2822′S 13722′E) on the way, Australia's lowest point and largest salt lake..

To give viewers unfamiliar with the scale of Australia, our trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs via Yulara & Kings Canyon will take 6 days travelling each way. Almost a two week round trip to get back to where we were! Many believe that Uluru (Ayres Rock) is in Alice Springs, but it is in fact 445 kilometres (276 Miles) away, further than the distance from London to Paris. There's much more to see in the area than Uluru though. Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) and Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon) are some of the features we are most keen to see out here.

We will return to the Northern Territory later on the journey as we cross the North of Australia, but for now we will be heading back the way we came.

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THE SOUTH
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Once we've returned to Port Augusta, we continue the route along the bottom of Australia onto the Eyre Highway through the region commonly known as The Nullabor. While once known as the epitome of desolation, the region is quite well travelled and fuel easily accessible. It does however claim the title of Australia's, and one of the worlds longest stretch of dead straight road at 145kms (90 miles). The trip through the Eyre region from Ceduna to Norseman is approx 1200 kilometres (746 miles). Whilst the road is now fully sealed, and fuel now readily available, one of the problems those travelling on two face (other than water) is the middle of the tyre wearing out leaving tread on the sides.

From Esperance, we'll follow the coastline around and north to Perth, the Western Australian capital.

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THE WEST
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From Perth the route takes us to the Westernmost Point of Australia, Steep Point (2609′05″S, 11309′18″E) and onto Broome.

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THE NORTH
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From Broome we enter the Savannah Way. The Savannah way refers to the route from Broome in Western Australia, Through the top of the Northern Territory passing the Gulf of Carpentaria and across to Cairns in Northern Queensland covering a distance of 3500 kilometres (2175 miles). For now though, the route will take us up to Katherine, home to Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge) where we will leave the way and head Northwest to Darwin, the Northern Territory Capital. Darwin will allow us to rest a little and prepare for trek across the remainder of the Savannah Way, approx. 2500 kilometres (1553 miles), half of which is unsealed road or track and will to push the hardy little PX200's to their limits.

Instead of backtracking to Katherine to get back onto the 'Way', the route loops through to Jabiru in Kakadu National Park, 2720 Square Kilometres (8000 Square Miles or about the size of Wales) of wetlands, gorges, and Aboriginal sites. Definitely a highlight to look forward to.

Back on the 'Way' we leave Katherine and head to a town called Roper Bar where we switch to off-road tyres for the next 1700 Kilometres (1056 miles) crossing into Queensland until we reach Normanton. Back on tarmac we head east to Cairns, the tropical Mecca for European backpackers, before tackling 'The Cape'.

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THE CAPE
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'The Cape' or the trip North of Cairns to Cape York (1041' S) is considered one of the more demanding ventures one can undertake by 4WD or trail bike. We are currently investigating possible ways to make it to the Cape on our trusty steeds. While we won't be doing it in record time, if the weather is good, and the creeks are low with a few tricks up our sleeve we may just make it.

The North has two seasons. The 'Wet' and the 'Dry'. The Wet corresponds with the Australian summer from December to March. The Dry falls in our winter between May and October. The North in Summer poses far to great a risk for us, and in fact the whole journey has been geared around the seasons in the North. Summer not only brings unbearable and dangerously high temperatures, but also gets its name 'The Wet' due to the numerous tropical cyclones that bring monsoon conditions isolating many communities for weeks on end.

There's not a lot to see in Cape York itself. It's a journey of accomplishment rather than a destination to be seen.

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THE EAST AGAIN
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Whether we make The Cape or not, the route takes us back down the Eastern coast of Australia in to increasingly larger and more populated towns such as Townsville, Yepoon, through Rainbow Beach and finally returning to where it all began... Brisbane.

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PLANNED ITINERARY
Date Day From To KM Total KM
           
Monday, 12 June 2006 1 Brisbane Byron Bay 200 200
13-June-2006 2 Byron Bay Coffs Harbour 250 450
14-June-2006 3 Coffs Harbour Hawks Nest 335 785
15-June-2006 4 Hawks Nest Sydney 316 1,101
16-June-2006 5 Sydney Canberra 283 1,384
17-June-2006 6 Canberra Dead Horse Gap 216 1,600
18-June-2006 7 Dead Horse Gap Buchan 240 1,840
Monday, 19 June 2006 8 Buchan Tidal River 319 2,159
20-June-2006 9 Tidal River Melbourne 223 2,382
21-June-2006 10 Melbourne Devonport 445 2,827
22-June-2006 11 Devonport Corinna 256 3,083
23-June-2006 12 Corinna Derwent Bridge 224 3,307
24-June-2006 13 Derwent Bridge Hobart 178 3,485
25-June-2006 14 Hobart St Helens 255 3,740
Monday, 26 June 2006 15 St Helens Great Lakes 260 4,000
27-June-2006 16 Great Lakes Devonport 339 4,339
28-June-2006 17 Devonport Melbourne 445 4,784
29-June-2006 18 Melbourne Melbourne 0 4,784
30-June-2006 19 Melbourne Melbourne 0 4,784
01-July-2006 20 Melbourne Port Cambell 283 5,067
02-July-2006 21 Port Cambell Mt Gambier 274 5,341
Monday, 3 July 2006 22 Mt Gambier Meningie 327 5,668
04-July-2006 23 Meningie Cape Borda 396 6,064
05-July-2006 24 Cape Borda Adelaide 280 6,344
06-July-2006 25 Adelaide Port Augusta 320 6,664
07-July-2006 26 Port Augusta Glendambo 285 6,949
08-July-2006 27 Glendambo Coober Pedy 252 7,201
09-July-2006 28 Coober Pedy Kulgera 421 7,622
Monday, 10 July 2006 29 Kulgera Yulara 318 7,940
11-July-2006 30 Yulara Yulara 0 7,940
12-July-2006 31 Yulara Kings Canyon 303 8,243
13-July-2006 32 Kings Canyon Alice Springs 323 8,566
14-July-2006 33 Alice Springs Kulgera 273 8,839
15-July-2006 34 Kulgera Coober Pedy 421 9,260
16-July-2006 35 Coober Pedy Glendambo 252 9,512
Monday, 17 July 2006 36 Glendambo Port Augusta 285 9,797
18-July-2006 37 Port Augusta Port Lincoln 340 10,137
19-July-2006 38 Port Lincoln Streaky Bay 226 10,363
20-July-2006 39 Streaky Bay Nullarbor 414 10,777
21-July-2006 40 Nullarbor Madura 310 11,087
22-July-2006 41 Madura Balladonia 334 11,421
23-July-2006 42 Balladonia Esperance 391 11,812
Monday, 24 July 2006 43 Esperance Hopetoun 238 12,050
25-July-2006 44 Hopetoun Albany 345 12,395
26-July-2006 45 Albany Augusta 369 12,764
27-July-2006 46 Augusta Perth 343 13,107
28-July-2006 47 Perth Perth 0 13,107
29-July-2006 48 Perth Jurien Bay 222 13,329
30-July-2006 49 Jurien Bay Kalbari 350 13,679
Monday, 31 July 2006 50 Kalbari Monkey Mia 386 14,065
01-August-2006 51 Monkey Mia Pt Quobba 415 14,480
02-August-2006 52 Pt Quobba Coral Bay 301 14,781
03-August-2006 53 Coral Bay Nanutarra RH 282 15,063
04-August-2006 54 Nanutarra RH Tom Price 339 15,402
05-August-2006 55 Tom Price Port Hedland 439 15,841
06-August-2006 56 Port Hedland Eighty Mile Beach 246 16,087
Monday, 7 August 2006 57 Eighty Mile Beach Broome 377 16,464
08-August-2006 58 Broome Broome 0 16,464
09-August-2006 59 Broome Fitzroy Crossing 396 16,860
10-August-2006 60 Fitzroy Crossing Halls Creek 290 17,150
11-August-2006 61 Halls Creek Bungle Bungles 160 17,310
12-August-2006 62 Bungle Bungles Kununurra 321 17,631
13-August-2006 63 Kununurra Kununurra 0 17,631
Monday, 14 August 2006 64 Kununurra Timber Creek 330 17,961
15-August-2006 65 Timber Creek Katherine 287 18,248
16-August-2006 66 Katherine Darwin 324 18,572
17-August-2006 67 Darwin Darwin 0 18,572
18-August-2006 68 Darwin Jabiru 254 18,826
19-August-2006 69 Jabiru Katherine 300 19,126
20-August-2006 70 Katherine Roper Bar 281 19,407
Monday, 21 August 2006 71 Roper Bar Cox River Crossing 154 19,561
22-August-2006 72 Cox River Crossing Borroloola 218 19,779
23-August-2006 73 Borroloola Wollogorang 254 20,033
24-August-2006 74 Wollogorang Burketown 225 20,258
25-August-2006 75 Burketown Lawn Hill 194 20,452
26-August-2006 76 Lawn Hill Normanton 363 20,815
27-August-2006 77 Normanton Undara 429 21,244
Monday, 28 August 2006 78 Undara Cairns 266 21,510
29-August-2006 79 Cairns Laura 314 21,824
30-August-2006 80 Laura Coen 241 22,065
31-August-2006 81 Coen Bramwell 211 22,276
01-September-2006 82 Bramwell Cape York 235 22,511
02-September-2006 83 Cape York Bramwell 235 22,746
03-September-2006 84 Bramwell Coen 211 22,957
Monday, 4 September 2006 85 Coen Laura 241 23,198
05-September-2006 86 Laura Cairns 314 23,512
06-September-2006 87 Cairns Townsville 324 23,836
07-September-2006 88 Townsville Airlie Beach 216 24,052
08-September-2006 89 Airlie Beach Yepoon 532 24,584
09-September-2006 90 Yepoon Seventeen Seventy 292 24,876
10-September-2006 91 Seventeen Seventy Rainbow Beach 406 25,168
Monday, 11 September 2006 92 Rainbow Beach Montville 160 25,574
12-September-2006 93 Montville Brisbane 100 25,734
 

 
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