The first 11 days from the epic 'Iconic Australia' guided motorcycle tour, the ideal ride for those with Adventure in mind but under 2 weeks to ride!
An intriguing mixed-surface route from Cairns in Queensland to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory through some incredibly remote and picturesque areas, via some of the most iconic Outback scenery you could ever hope to encounter.
Reef to Rock
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 dusty red heart of Australia this 11 day and 11 night guided motorcycle tour encompasses both fantastic road and some moderate dirt riding. You'll venture through the gamut of scenery from spectacular beaches right through to isolated desert communities in the heart of Australia. The first 11 days of the Iconic Australia tour which is the perfect ride for those with adventure in mind and only a shorter timescale to hand.
This is 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!
This is the first 11 days taken from the longer 26 day Iconic Australia tour. You can read all about the full tour here, or you can also choose to ride 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.
Our arrival in Alice Springs marks the end of the 'Reef to Rock' ride so is where we will regretfully part company. The full 'Iconic Australia' continues on from Alice Springs via Uluru, the Olgas and the remote Tanami Track en-route to Broome in the far-north west. There's the option to participate in the second half of the full tour via the 'North-West Passage' ride or of course you can always join us for the complete Iconic Australia experience!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!
• 4 nights spent in hotels, resorts or motels
• 7 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.
• 8 nights spent in hotels, resorts or motels
• 3 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 (10) a 'picnic' style lunch prepared from the mobile kitchen by the designated chef is included. We also include 7 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
Single occupancy - Hotel option: add + AU$ 800
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.
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.