Panini Tour next stage: Across Australia
From Mongolia both KTM 1190 Adventure Rs were flown to Perth on the west coast of Australia. From there we continued the Panini moto tour after a month’s break. The next leg of our trip around the world would lead us 11000km across Australia from Perth via Broome and Cairns to Sydney.
With already 28,000km on the odometer the bikes had a full service and we went from the wintry, rainy Perth along the west Australian coast to the north. With almost every kilometre it got warmer and drier. The first big stop was the ‘Pinnacles Desert’ a bizarre landscape from various high sandstone needles surrounded by white dunes.
We were fairly impressed by scenic flat roads and particularly the diverse and unique vegetation and wildlife of Australia, especially the close encounter with dolphins at Monkey Mia in Denham, the most westerly town in the country. We then enjoyed ourselves on Barramundis and freshly-caught seafood!
In search of curves and mountains we crossed the Karijini National Park, where the highest peaks and some of the deepest canyons in Western Australia are located. Here we could also hit the famous red powder roads; really dusty fun!
Broome has reportedly one of the most beautiful beaches and the most romantic sunsets of Western Aus. After we gobbled several endless asphalt straights we can confirm that ‘yes’ it is true!
We found the dirt again for our next destination; the Gibb River Road. According to the Route 66 for Harley riders the Gibb River Road is considered THE quintessential piste for off-roaders. So for three days we took our Adventures on gravel tracks through bush-land and an endless number of water crossings, all more or less quite deep and all inhabited by crocodiles. So the motto was always the same: pass through pretty quickly and don’t fall over!
As we crossed the Northern Territories we finally got to know the real Australian outback where it is possible to be alone for days and not see another soul. Lonely Road Houses offer rustic accommodation and help the gasoline supply. No culinary specials for us in the desert; there are only a few pubs where ‘road train’ drivers and Aborigines meet for beer & billiards.
Speaking of road trains…if a super long one come towards you on the tarmac or on the dusty roads than you’d better hold the handlebars tight! Unfortunately, there are many dead kangaroos along the road. We were always pleased to have a couple in front of us hopping along and not in front of the bike!
After 7000km, we reached the east coast of Queensland. Here everything is a very different picture. Instead of red, dry land we are now met with lush, subtropical rainforests and long sandy beaches. The Bloomfield Track, another very popular off-road route, led us to our most northern point; the historic Cooktown, founded in 1770 by ‘world traveling colleague’ James Cook.
Almost like in Austria, this zone appeared to be strewn with greenery and waterfalls. After such a long time in the outback we were looking forward to a bit of culture and nightlife in Cairns where we visited Wayne Leonard, the longest serving KTM dealer in Australia.
From the green east coast and Cairns we went south. A relaxing motorcycle-free day off was spent in a small plane – and then on an old fashioned sailing vessel with the exploration of the Whitsunday Islands, a fabulous setting in the Great Barrier Reef where we were impressed by snorkelling the colourful underwater world. Another highlight was a trip to Fraser Iceland, the largest sand island in the world that we have to confess is better explored with a rented 4×4!
After a city tour in Brisbane, the cosy capital of Queensland, and the curious collection of skyscrapers in Surfers Paradise, we crossed the last frontier on this tour to New South Wales. To be able to park our two KTM 1190s Adventures outside Sydney’s landmark Opera House without problems and accidents after 11,000km was one of the many great highlights of our Australian crossing.
The Panini moto tour continues of course and from mid-December we will be covering New Zealand. Hope you can check back in soon!