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The Nullarbor??

jibijibi Posts: 857
edited March 2008 in Tour & expedition
In Oz, have you done it, researched it, thought about it?

what is the longest distance between water? ....food?

Are all the road house open all the time,, or even there?

any info most welcome

cheers
george
«13456

Posts

  • quokkaquokka Posts: 34
    George,
    have a look at "Bicycle Fish" on the net. Some good information there.

    http://users.cobweb.com.au/~gloria/index.html

    Despite my home state claiming 1/2 of the Nullabor i've never actually ridden it myself, although I have driven across and back a couple of times. You'll experience some magical sunrises & sunsets out there, and if you time it right, you'll be able to see the whales at the Head of the Bight. Everyone I know who has ridden across had a great experience. You might want to consider adding the SW of WA at one end, and the Eyre peninsula coastline at the other to round off your trip. Good Luck, Mike.
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    quokka

    That site was already in my bookmarks and I read it, and make notes, daily. But many thanks for it again though.

    And I do hope to see whales, are they there in October?

    The main point of my first post ,, I was hoping to ensure that all the roadhouses are open or,,,, could it be that I find one has closed?

    cheers
    george
  • quokkaquokka Posts: 34
    George, the whales are at the Head of the Bight from June to October. I guess there is probably some year to year variation, but October should be a goer. I've been trying to check up on the roadhouses - as far as I can see, none have shut down over the last few years. If I find out otherwise I'll let you know. Mike.
  • PirahnaPirahna Posts: 1,315
    The closest I've come to the Nullabor is riding a motorcycle across the Hay Plain a couple of times. I got chatting to a couple of cyclists one night who were on a Sydney to Perth trip but were going to pack up when they got to the next rail station, about 3 days ride away. They were having big problems with carrying enough water, it's about 100 miles between road houses, and were plagued wth flies.

    This was in the late 1980's and there is better equipement around today. If I were planning to cycle that sort of distance I'd have a good look at something like a Bob Yak just to cope with the amount of water needed for a hot day. Because of the distance involved you need to properly hydrated or you'll be knackered for the next days ride. Also, if something happens and you have to camp before you make the road house you'll be using water for cooking and drinking as well as needing some for the next day.

    One last thing. If you've never travelled in Australia before, it's a vast place with nothing in it. Don't under estimate the distance and don't expect any outside help if you run into trouble away from the towns and cities.

    Good luck and enjoy.
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    Pirahna wrote:
    snip....If I were planning to cycle that sort of distance I'd have a good look at something like a Bob Yak just to cope with the amount of water needed for a hot day...... snip

    One last thing. If you've never travelled in Australia before, it's a vast place with nothing in it. Don't under estimate the distance and don't expect any outside help if you run into trouble away from the towns and cities.

    .

    Thanks

    I use a BOB Ibex trailer. its got suspension on the wheel, a lot better than my old Yak.so I have plenty of space for water.

    I have not been to OZ but I have cycled in dry, empty places where it was sometimes 2 or 3 days to water, and assistance. Even from passing
    traffic!

    But one thing I tend to do is plan, and plan and plan again, kept me alive so far.

    The flies, and other wildlife, are one of my major concerns, you do have a lot of poisonous stuff there. :(

    cheers
    george
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    quokka wrote:
    George, the whales are at the Head of the Bight from June to October. I guess there is probably some year to year variation, but October should be a goer. I've been trying to check up on the roadhouses - as far as I can see, none have shut down over the last few years. If I find out otherwise I'll let you know. Mike.

    thanks for this too

    Nice to know they may be there in Oct.

    The whales and the roadhouses :D

    george
    (just noticed the post sorry)
  • ASC1951ASC1951 Posts: 992
    FWIW, it's NullaRbor, as in "no trees".

    Lots of non-cycling info on www.nullarbornet.com.au too
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    I will be down that way in October/ November, riding anticlockwise out from Perth. I have seen whales off the Margaret River area in September before.
    I am thinking of doing a shortish loop out to Esperance, but with an option to come back visa the goldfields of Kalgoorlie, so crossing the last bits/ edge of the Nullarbor.
    Any local lnowledge on the route up from Esperance?
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    It's gonna be crowded out there - TT, Jibi and me!! But it's a BIG place!
    The Munda Biddi trail might be a good option if you've got big tyres Tony, apparently the roads are pretty busy and narrow, at least at the Perth end. I am told that the MB bush is worth the extra pedalling effort http://www.mundabiddi.org.au/news/main.html

    Seems to me that although the weather websites say that SA / Nullabor has a prevailing westerly it often seems from what I've read of cycling blogs the wind is in the face when heading east!!

    I don't think the Nullabor roadhouses ever close as there is a steady (but small) stream of traffic to keep them going.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    There are some decent books written by touring cyclists with good info about SWA / Nullabor / all around Oz trips:

    BIKE AUSTALIA: Cycling Australia from Perth to Sydney - Paul Salter. He cycles W to E via Kalgoorlie and gives good info, including a photo taken every 100km, which is very interesting.

    ANTS, DUST AND FLIES IN MY COFFEE - "a laid-down 19,000 km recumbent trip around Australia" - Andrew and Joanne Hooker. this Perth WA couple are currently cycling around Canada and details of all their travels can be found on:
    http://www.where2pedalto.com/ . The book is on Andrew's admission no literary masterpiece but contains lots of essential and detailed info about what to see, best campsites, where to go etc. I shall be hauling my copy all around Oz with me.

    La piece de resistance in my opinion is CYCLING OUTBACK AUSTRALIA - Ecotouring Travel Guide Cairns - Darwin - Perth by Craig Bagnall and Nikki Brown. It's a superbly presented and designed loose-leaf book with very detailed info about every km of this 'stretch' of Oz. Available from Nikki at (e-mail) [email protected] . This too will be with me for the 'homeward' stretch, an invaluable resource. I don't want to miss a thing and this book will be very useful. It's especially good for off-metalled-road sections (possibly if I feel up to it) presenting a good challenge for my beefy Thorn Raven.

    Another excellent source is Grace Newhaven of Adelaide, a Warm Showers member, as reffered to above at http://users.cobweb.com.au/~gloria/#sa - lots of info about many rides across and around Oz.

    A more humerous and readable tale is that of Quentin van Marle in Boomerang Road - "A pedalling Pom's Australian Odyssey" - his trip from Cooktown to Sydney is worth a read for his excellent insights into Aussie culture, and into what weird and wonderful things to see travelling the east coast.

    Not least is Lonely Planet's "Outback Australia" ("Kakadu, Uluru and Kangaroos"). VERY detailed info about the wild Oz places. There's also LP's "Cycling Australia", although there is a lot of stuff straight from the usual LP Oz book there are many, mostly more localised, rides detailed.

    Lastly but not least, In case it's escaped any wannabee Oz tourer's attention, the Thorn Tree (Lonely Planet) forum is a good source of info and advice - http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/categories.cfm?catid=10&STARTPAGE=1 There are bicycle tour sections as well as Oz / NZ and many other sections.

    I also plan to keep plenty of notes while cycling around and hope to write it all up as I go along on my website. http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/. Please watch this space, and please make a donation to WaterAid if you can. I am not sponsored or subsidised in any way and intend to give presentations about the charity and my trip whenever I can as I ride around the country.

    Oh and for the uninitiated don't forget http://www.couchsurfing.com and http://www.warmshowers.org/ for interesting people to stay with on the way...
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    Clare and Vern have lent me their copy of the guide to riding round Oz, but it doesn't cover the inside away from the coast.
    I think I'll just get out to Esperance and head up through Norseman with as much water as I can carry.....
    I'll try and dig out the book and post a link.
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    Tony
    from looking at maps of the area there seems to be a couple of places between Esperance and Norseman if you follow the road
    Salmon Gumms,Grass Patch etc
    the worst bit is only 55 miles from Salmon Gumms to Norseman IMHO
    I will be heading down to Margaret river,Albany and Esperance so I hope my info on the route is OK

    The area just north of Esperance looks well cultivated , which means farms and houses, so I hope there should be no problem finding water and a place to camp

    I can't believe how many people are heading out there.

    george :D
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    There was (in 2002!) a tavern, general store and motel at Gibson's Soak. Roadhouse at Scadden was closed, there's occasional shade in this first stretch. My (2002) book says there's a free campsite next to the hall at Grasspatch (77km)(showers were A$2.50) Road surface was good here but a bit narrow, a few road trains so adjust your mirror. Roadhouse at Salmon Gums. It says there are then lots of bush camping spots including near Bromus Dam (campsite / picnic area with 3-walled dunny (you can enjoy the view whilst.......) and little else!). Next stop Norseman (small town with all mod cons).
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • Tourist TonyTourist Tony Posts: 8,628
    George, it looks goos. I've got plenty of camping info, and will avoid Pemberton and its logging traffic by using the old Vassa Highway to the South.. David, I will be on the usual Galaxy so I will be rather tied to roads. The Bibbulman and Mund Biddi trails are a bit sandy.
    George, make time to go out to Sugarloaf at the North end of Caves Road. Whales, dolphins, red-tailed tropic birds.....
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    How's the planning going guys?

    I have just about done everything now, got the boxes from the LBS and starting to pack the bike and trailer. Changed the Rolhof oil and the chain, new batteries in everything.

    Visa, money, and plane ticket.

    Now just to sit back and PANIC.

    I always hate the last few days, I just want to be on the plane now, or I will be tweaking this and that, going through all the lists 100 times etc etc.

    See you out there.

    george
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    All going well here George - I sent a 15kg box ahead to Perth last Tuesday, and it arrived Thursday much to my surprise. It'll be waiting at Poste Restante on Hay St all being well.

    Gonna carry a pannier as hand luggage (5-6kg) then about 24kg in cardboard bike box. Not looking forward to hauling down to Heathrow but hey-hum - I'm travelling (1st class lol - treated myself but was an online bargain anyhow) GNER Inverness to Kings Cross, then 1 tube journey to Heathrow. I phoned the Undergrund to check on acceptability of large box on tube - apparently there's no luggage van - but the guy thought I'd 'probably' be OK if I went to the quiet end of the platform and just stuck it in the carriage.

    Usual last-minute traumas - tested mobile as modem to PDA again and it didn't work grrrr. Finally found correct settings and did a heard reset of the phone and OK now. having a farewell lunch from work next Fri then fly Tues 2nd!! Yesssss!!! It's nice to be 'tapering off' at work and handing over to my stand-in for the year.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • sloesloe Posts: 17
    Last week I met an old boy who had cycled some of the Nullarbor. He got driven off the road by a road train, got hurt, and that ended the trip. Said there were road trains every twenty minutes, the drivers only half awake.

    Hope you've all got mirrors.
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    Believe me Sloe, I've got amirror! I shall be getting off to the left to allow road trains to pass, especially when something else is coming the other way. The risk is not as bad as you suggest from your isolated example I hope - most drivers will give a bike a wide berth if there's nothing coming towards him.

    The secret is to be seen, especially by being 'different' and 'extra visible' as I understand it. I shall have a 10" x 8" flag (either Scottish (commonly) or British (less commonly)) stuck out flapping around from the rear rack a foot to the right, and also wearing bright colours e.g. my bright orange gilet. Cyclists have to be VERY aware and visible any way they can, otherwise we're asking for trouble.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • sloesloe Posts: 17
    Fair doos, it's just what the lad was saying, and now I come to think of it he did mention the two road-trains passing.

    You going to post on Crazyguyonabike?

    More power to you.
  • I've got the two books (Cycling Australia and Outback) David suggested, got the bike bag ready and have booked an all-over pro service at the LBS. New tyres, mirror ready to fit, visa/ETA and tickets. In the air at about 1400 on October 17th.
    Will travel with padded bike bag, panniers wedged inside with everything else, and use a small rucksack for hand luggage.
    Route is now well-sorted, and all bale-out options ready to go. As long as I get round to Kalgoorlie in my limited time, I can ride the posh train back to Perth.....

    I am so looking forward to this!
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    Can't wait to get some decent weather - rain, rain, rain here!!
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    On the long straight, 96 mile stretch, I have considered riding on the run off on the wrong side of the road, into the traffic.
    This seems to be the bit where people lose concetration

    I will also have flags off the BOB trailer flagpole, bright yellow clothes etc etc.

    But to look at the dangers:-

    I crashed here two weeks ago, on a patch a diesel.
    and how many cyclists have been hit by traffic here in the UK in the last couple of days, never mind weeks.

    It can, and does happen anywhere, my friend Flic was hit in Burundi while cycling alone through Africa, and a german long distance cyclist was killed by a road train north of Melbourne a couple of weeks ago.

    If you think of all the dangers you would never go out on a bike, but you have to realise its up to you to stay alive.

    And as I am 58 and have been cycling for over 40 years I seem to have done OK so far.

    But I have written my will and left it here, just in case, helps to be a realist.

    Davidd

    Its raining in Perth at the moment and more forecast for this week my CS host tells me. :(
  • sloe wrote:
    Hope you've all got mirrors.

    You won't need a mirror. In the quiet of the nullabor you'll hear the road trains coming.

    And when they pass you, boy you'll feel it too...the old blow-suck...first the air blows you off the road, then the trailing low pressure sucks you along (if you're still upright).

    And yes - many drivers are half awake and running on caffeine pills. Best to just get off the road whilst they pass.

    These drivers don't get paid well. The faster they go, the quicker they get there, the quicker they earn their money.

    Give 'em plenty of room...

    good luck
    BTP,

    Perth, WA
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    http://www.bicyclewa.com.au/node/5
    here's a link to cycle routes and info in WA, if you haven't already seen it guys.
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    27 deg C and sunny on Sat in Perth!!
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • I'll look out for your tyre marks, Dave!
    If I had a stalker, I would hug it and kiss it and call it George...or censored
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=3 ... =3244&v=5K
  • jibijibi Posts: 857
    Very warm, and george is sat in Perth.

    Pity my bike and stuff is sat in singapore :(:(

    still ,,,it should be delivered today.

    Then I will be making tracks.

    george
  • daviddddaviddd Posts: 637
    what a bummer - hard luck George. You'd think after 80 years of flying millions of people around the world we'd have worked out how to move bags around with their owners. It's diabolical.
    I'm just doing the final packing prior to getting out of my rented house today - trying to force the bike box shut lol. About 25kg in it - 5kg over so fingers crossed I don't get slammed for excess baggage. Most strssful bit will be getting the box (and hand luggage) onto the tube at Kings Cross rush hour on Tuesday, after that should be OK (s'long as Cathay don't lose the box!)
    Oct 2007 to Sep 2008 - anticlockwise lap of Australia... http://www.davidddinoz.blogspot.com/
    French Alps Tour 2006: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=r ... =1914&v=5R
    3 month tour of NZ 2015... http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nz2014
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    Is there something you can spray on to keep the flies away? I want to do Oz one day and the flies there drive me nuts. I suppose I would wear a head net - if I could breathe in it. (I also have Rohan arm and leg nets!)

    Looking forward to reading your account, George.
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • magfosmagfos Posts: 129
    Riding with a head net works. Just remember to lift it up when you eat!

    It also gives an unusual whistling sound from the wind when you get above about 15kph.
    check out our website at www.magfos.com for stories and photos of our trips.
    Ride to Live; Live to Ride
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