With all the international travel restrictions in place as a result of COVID-19, we decided to undertake a long-overdue long distance cycle tour closer to home.
This tour was undertaken between April and June 2021 and took in the route as presented in the map below. Leaving Adelaide, we cycled north mostly along the 900 km long Mawson Trail to Blinman. We used the trail as a guide rather than following it to the letter as it is not really suitable for self reliant/heavily loaded touring bikes. We then made our way towards the Oodnadatta Track, and on to the Stuart Highway to Alice Springs (NT). From Alice Springs we followed the Red Centre Way loop through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Kings Canyon, before arriving at Yulara and Uluru. The second half of the trip followed the Great Central Road to Laverton (WA) and Kalgoorlie/Coolgardie. We left the Great Eastern Highway at Southern Cross to do a section of The Wheatbelt Way. The final leg from Northam to our home in Perth was mostly along the Kep Track which we have cycled before in 2008.
Due to the length of the tour, the trip report has been split into a number of separate pages as follows:
Total kilometres cycled: 5,013 km, made up as follows:
Total kilometres cycled in South Australia: 1,746 km
Total kilometres cycled in Northern Territory: 1,305 km
Total kilometres cycled in Western Australia: 1,962 km
Number of Punctures: 3 - All Mike's rear wheel which we actually counted as being a good outcome based on the number of thorns seen!
The ease of finding great bush (wild) camp sites; the only problem is having to carry your own water
The night sky, sunrises and sunsets
Lake Eyre on the Oodnadatta Track
The West MacDonnell Ranges
Gosse Bluff (Tnorala), a comet impact crater which stands proud of the landscape
Desert Oak forests
The Rawlinson Ranges, between Kaltukatjara and Warakurna on the Great Central Road
Nightly visits by dingoes to our campsites and their associated howling, and viewing wild camels
Interactions with the local Aboriginal people, particularly on the Great Central Road
Towns on the Wheatbelt Way
The toll taken on our equipment by the harsh environment and roads
Water quality in some town sites
Exorbitant prices charged by some remote shops for basic supplies where the most needy are being exploited
Eridunda Desert Oaks Motel & Caravan Park (NT), where we were told by staff not to drink the tap water and the shop charged $6.95 for 1.5 litres
Curtin Springs Wayside Inn and Campground (NT), where numerous roadside signs promise the earth, but fail to deliver on all counts.
Tjukayirla Roadhouse (WA), where the new proprietor (that's you Serena) refused to serve us a hot meal because it was inconvenient despite their website advertising the famous Tjuka Works Burger. This forced us to purchase overpriced food in the shop, all of which had expired months before. Some, we tried to exchange after realising, and the atitude was that it was our problem.