This is 'it'. This is the ride you'll be telling people about for years to come and inundating friends and strangers alike with stories about for the rest of your life.
An epic mixed-surface adventure from Cairns in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia through some incredibly remote and picturesque areas, via some of the most iconic Outback scenery you could ever hope to encounter.
This is undoubtedly Australia's premier long distance mixed surfaced adventure tour, along the northern edge of the continent and via the haunting red Outback landscapes in the centre.
Stretching from the Coral Sea to the Indian Ocean this 26 day and 27 night guided motorcycle tour encompasses both fantastic road and some moderate dirt riding. You'll venture through a staggering four world heritage areas, run the gamut of scenery from spectacular beaches right through to isolated desert communities in the heart of Australia and even get a chance to ride the isolated Tanami Track in far north Western Australia.
All with the added security of knowing you have friends close at hand and all the backup you could ever want!
The whole tour is backed up by the highly experienced BikeRoundOz team with support vehicle, innumerable spare parts, extra equipment and good humour thrown in for good measure.
This is a mixed surface tour so you can expect some gravel, dirt and a bit of sand thrown in as well but don't worry, you don't need to be an off-road riding prodigy or anything like that! The BikeRoundOz team will help you get to grips with the conditions and ensure you have a fantastic time, no matter your level of ability.
Great quality accommodation is combined with some quirky Outback camping spots on a few days as you'll be venturing deep into Outback Australia, where to concept of wi-fi and continental breakfasts hasn't quite penetrated as yet. Definitely part of the charm we think!
If you don't think you'll be able to manage the full 26 day tour then you can also opt to either ride the first section from Cairns to Alice Springs over 11 days in the form of the Reef to Rock tour, or the Alice Springs to Broome section over 14 days in the aptly titled North-West Passage ride.
Continue reading below for a more in-depth look at what this incredible tour entails.
// Week One:
Starting in the tropical city of Cairns nestled close by to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef and after a first night welcome dinner, we venture out into a spectacular landscape dominated by pristine rainforests, then continue on over the contrasting tablelands to visit the largest lava tube system in the world at Undara, then push ever onwards to the impossibly ancient sandstone spectacle of Cobbold Gorge. We spend two nights in the vicinity of Cobbold Gorge which gives us ample opportunity for an incredible cruise through the stunning gorge and a bit of relaxation in this amazing location.
Further on we venture into the 186,000 square kilometre expanse of the Gulf Savannah, Queensland's Outback by the sea, home to Australia’s prawn capital of Karumba and some stunning coastal settlements located on the shores of the sparkling turquoise waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Nothing quite matches up to watching the epic Outback sunset from the pub adjoining the hotel - a better end to a fantastic day of riding would be hard to imagine!
Pushing on from Karumba we venture deeper into the more remote regions of far north-western Queensland and encounter a bit of dirt riding en-route to Gregory River and our first bush camp of the tour. For anyone interested in a bit of early Australian explorer history we also stop by 'Camp 119' and the famous 'Dig Tree', a reminder of the ill-fated explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills (just Burke & Wills to their friends) and their early attempts to cross from Melbourne in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north.
The first week draws to a close as we approach the administrative capital and also somewhat unusually, the 'Rodeo Capital' of the region: Mount Isa. Best described as the quintessential Outback mining town, what Mount Isa lacks in refinement it makes up for in character and we'll have the chance to get an insight into the forces that shaped the town into what it is today by visiting the famous 'Hard Times Mine'. You know you're in for something special when you have to sign a waiver before joining a tour!
// Week Two:
We initially continue our ride south and venture through what is locally known as 'Channel Country', you'll see why once you're there of course but it's a remote, tough and sparsely populated region of Queensland criss-crossed with intertwined rivulets and channels which together, cover almost 150,000km2. The region is rich with history and has been home to over 25 aboriginal tribal groups throughout the last 200,000 years, although today you're more likely to encounter cattle than indigenous locals.
One encounter you might be lucky enough to have whilst riding through the area is that of the supernatural or extraterrestrial variety. The region around the town of Boulia where we'll stop for a night is famed for the 'Min Min Lights' which is either aliens, ghosts, a simple mirage, something entirely natural in origin or too much beer - it all depends who you talk to!
From Boulia the ride turns west and we travel along the 'Donahue Highway', a bit of a misnomer as it's essentially a dirt and gravel track which will lead us along for 240km through some vast desert landscapes and onto the almost 6000km2 of Tobermorey Station. Capable of supporting almost 15,000 head of cattle Tobermorey Station will also play host to us for what will be a great night of camping in the Outback.
The dirt and gravel experience continues as we ride on through grass covered plains which seem to stretch on forever, with views only occasionally interrupted by the sight of immense termite mounds standing proud from the surrounding landscape. We cross the state border and enter the Northern Territory not too long after leaving Tobermorey Station. This whole region is a real slice of 'Australiana' and our overnight stop will be another fantastic Outback camp spot at another working cattle station - Jervois Homestead.
The 'Harts Range' series of mountains provide quite a change in scenery after such a stretch of riding through the Outback with endless, uninterrupted skies and horizons but it's a welcome change to be sure as it also heralds our arrival in the red 'heart' of Australia. We finally rejoin the asphalt and actual surfaced roads to ride into the jewel of the Outback: Alice Springs. 'The Alice' or simply 'Alice' to those that know the town well, we spend two nights enjoying her hospitality which gives us ample time to explore the town, visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn a little about their invaluable work in remote Australia, check out the Road Transport Hall of Fame if you're so inclined, or simply enjoy a little bit of relaxation and culture.
The last couple of days bring the second week to a somewhat spectacular close by visiting some of the very best and most iconic of what the centre of Australia has to offer.
We'll leave Alice Springs around mid-morning and head west from the town aiming to arrive at the amazing Standley Chasm in the late morning so as to catch the most spectacular time of day, when the sun is at its highest and briefly fills the chasm with bright light turning the towering canyon walls a vibrant red colour.
We continue onwards along the smooth asphalt of the Red Centre Way through the scenic West Macdonnell Ranges National Park, to arrive at our overnight stop of the Glen Helen Homestead Lodge some time around the mid afternoon. This gives us plenty of time to visit the stunning Glen Helen Gorge on the banks of the Finke River and perhaps even indulge in a cooling swim.
The going gets a little rougher the next day as we leave the asphalt behind and hit the dirt of the absolutely fantastic Mereenie Loop Road. We'll traverse an impossibly ancient landscape comprised of intricate walled canyons, expansive valleys, isolated deserts made up of the iconic red Outback sands and plenty of spinifex plains before arriving at the spectacular Kings Canyon in Watarrka National Park.
It might be a bit of a 'bouncy' day in the saddle but the experience of riding through the hauntingly remote Outback with the amazing Kings Canyon as a reward at the end of the day, makes the day one that you'll remember for a long time to come!
// Week Three:
The morning of the first day in week three is spent enjoying the 'Rim walk' around the perimeter of Kings Canyon, it's about 6km and involves quite a steep ascent at the start but it's definitely worth the effort to get the best views of the canyon. It's an amazing gorge surrounded by sandstone escarpments over 100 metres high, dotted with palms and other vegetation clinging on valiantly in the multitude of crevices.
It's a sacred area for the local aboriginal people and once you gaze upon the deep canyon from the top of the surrounding walls you'll likely see why!
Back down at ground level we join the smooth asphalt for an easy afternoons riding through the shimmering desert landscape, before finally arriving at one of the greatest natural geological spectacles on earth rising up from the surrounding desert into the huge blue skies above: Uluru, spiritual heart of Australia. We promised iconic and Uluru definitely fits that description!
One of the most recognisable landmarks on the planet, Uluru certainly doesn't disappoint. We'll ride out to the special sunset viewing point for what will be one of the highlights of the tour, watching in awe as the monolith changes hue from light brown to deep crimson as the sun retreats towards the horizon. A once in a lifetime visual spectacle and if you haven't already got a 'bucket list', an experience worth starting one for just so you can cross it off.
The following day is designated as a 'rest day' so there's plenty of scope for visiting Uluru again to get up close and personal on one of the many looping walking tracks around the base, or if you're feeling more adventurous there are options for helicopter flights, camel treks and plenty more besides. Of course if you'd rather use the rest day for the purpose it was originally intended then you can simply kick off your boots and relax at the nearby Yulara Resort.
Another 'must see' to explore during your time in the area are the amazing rock formations of Kata Tjuta also known as 'The Olgas', named for the tallest peak in the group. They're around 30km west of Uluru and an easy ride along the asphalt. A very sacred area for the local Pitjantjatjara people the region has spawned many legends and some interesting stories are associated with the unusual natural sculptures. Certainly worth lingering in the shaded canyons along the 'Valley of the Winds' walk (7km) and pausing a while to soak up the atmosphere. There are a couple of other walks around the rocks as well if you'd rather opt for a shorter stroll into history.
Following our up-close and personal encounter with the heart of Australia we return via the asphalt back to Alice Springs stopping en-route at the remote Curtin Springs and Erldunda Roadhouses, which offer up some great views of the nearby Mount Conner. Part of the same geological system which forms Uluru, Mount Conner is often mistaken for its more famous neighbour. It's a spectacular example of the variations in geology that abound in what would otherwise be a fairly featureless area of desert and with a better P.R team who knows, perhaps Mount Conner will one-day be as well known as Uluru.
From Alice Springs we then venture into the dusty red Outback once more via the famed 'Tanami Track', also known somewhat inappropriately as the 'longest shortcut in Australia'. It's a fantastic ride of almost 1,050km through some incredibly remote sections of the country, but offers some amazing opportunities for two nights of camping under the Outback stars. We cross into Australia’s biggest state - Western Australia about mid-way along the Tanami Track, venturing forth to ride a vast and empty, yet incredibly beautiful landscape of ancient red sandstone, turquoise waters and epic cattle stations the size of some European countries.
We reach the mighty Kimberly region and hit what is fast becoming another 'iconic' ride in Australia, the Gibb River Road. We stay two nights at the stunning Home Valley Station where we can explore the surroundings in more detail, resplendent with permanent waterfalls and rocky escarpments. Continuing along the Gibb River Road we visit the innumerable picturesque gorges and refreshing waterholes along the way, before we eventually reach Derby at the western end of the road on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
The Gibb River Road is a fantastic ride in its own right, with some epic scenery and fantastic riding including a number of water crossings - perfect for cooling down a bit after a hot day in the saddle. A real joy to experience!
The final day on the tour will see us ride triumphantly into Broome and slip effortlessly into 'Broome time'. It's the perfect place and pace to relax at after this life-changing experience through the most iconic sights, landscapes, cultures and history on offer in Australia. Kick back, indulge and enjoy retelling the tales of adventure with your new friends.A note regarding the riding conditions:
Road surfaces vary from two lane tracks to smooth, wide highways. Riding will be mostly on surfaced routes but when dirt tracks are encountered they can vary from good well-maintained gravel, through to some corrugated areas and the possibility of shallow creek crossings in areas along the Gibb River Road. 'Bull dust' can be an occasional occurrence on this tour.
An open-minded approach will be a must on the ride as conditions in the Outback can change on a daily basis - that's all part of the fun of course!
A note regarding the accommodation:
We're aware that not everyone likes the thought of spectacular camping under the Outback stars (although in some areas there simply aren't any other options) so we've arranged for alternatives where possible. This has resulted in the provision of the 'camping option' and the 'hotel option' to ensure everyone enjoys the ride in the appropriate level of comfort!
• 9 nights spent in hotels, resorts or motels
• 17 nights spent camping
We endeavour to make sure your experience camping in the Outback is as comfortable and as pleasurable as possible, but obviously a flexible attitude will be beneficial due to the unpredictable nature of the Outback environment. When not camping you'll be enjoying the same quality accommodation as all the other riders on tour.
• 21 nights spent in hotels, resorts or motels
• 5 nights spent camping
The majority of the accommodation will be in 3-4 star resorts, motels and hotels. In the more remote areas that the tour passes through camping is a necessity (see left), which is all part of the fantastic experience that is motorcycling in Outback Australia.
Breakfast is included in the tour price every day. On all ride days (23) a 'picnic' style lunch prepared from the mobile kitchen by the designated chef is included. We also include 13 dinners / evening meals in nice quality restaurants we have used many times before, or when in more remote areas the evening meals will be prepared at the camp by the staff so you're assured of never going hungry!
Any questions we'll be happy to answer, just get in touch!
Note: You'll need to be in Cairns, Queensland one day before the start of the ride.
B.Y.O.B - Bring your own bike
Co-rider / passenger - Hotel option: add + AU$ 7,790
If you choose to 'bring your own bike' it will need to be approved by us in advance. No scooters on tour please! Fuel is not included in the tour price if you bring your own motorcycle.
Single occupancy - Hotel option: add + AU$ 2000
You can mouse-over the bike you are interested in to see an image of that type of bike. Images are for illustration only though and may not represent the exact bike available.