Melbourne to DarwinThe best of Victoria and one of the finest biking roads on the planet, combined with a trip through the very heart of Australia. Ride through the outback and visit the iconic spectacles of Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Kings Canyon and much more. Experience life in the central deserts, linger in lush desert oases, marvel at the incredible desert landscapes and end in the tropical paradise of Darwin. An amazing adventure through the 'red centre' of Australia!
Melbourne to Darwin Self Guided Motorcycle Tour
An amazing adventure! You'll cross the continent through the very heart of the outback, resplendent with stunning scenery and a huge range of iconic Australian landscapes. Ride the invigorating Great Ocean Road, explore the otherworldly Flinders Ranges, marvel at the rich heritage of Coober Pedy's opal mines, visit the unmistakable Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta and King's Canyon.
Wonder at the spectacle of the Devil's Marbles, call in at the famous Daly Waters Outback pub for break, experience the amazing world heritage listed Kakadu National park and much, much more besides.
An incredible adventure through the 'red centre' and the motorcycle tour of a lifetime!
A bustling, cosmopolitan city with loads to see and do. The 'Cultural Capital of Australia' will do its very best to make you feel welcome. Plenty of superb restaurants offering great meals, shopping, parks and an easy to use tram system make touring the city a breeze. A brilliant place to set out on this trans-continental motorcycle tour!
The Great Ocean Road
Famous as one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, words can't describe the wonderful scenery and amazing riding on this 280km stretch of road on the fringes of Melbourne, but we'll try anyway.
As soon as your wheels hit asphalt, you'll realise just how special the Great Ocean Road really is. The route twists and turns, hugging the picturesque cliffs as it winds a sinuous path along the coast. Curve after sweeping curve are seamlessly stitched together, almost purposely designed to give maximum enjoyment to any motorcycle riders that are lucky enough to be there.
There are plenty of small coastal towns to stop for a break and a coffee, serving up fantastic ocean lookouts along with the great refreshments. The lovely Otway Ranges provide a lush backdrop to the quaint towns when the road darts inland away from the coast. It takes longer than you might expect to ride along this gem of a road, there's simply so much to see.
Take a walk in the temperate rainforest at Maits Rest, try and spot that iconic Aussie creature the Koala in the trees above, visit the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, the Grotto, London Bridge, The Arch the list goes on and on! Don't forget to watch the road as well as the spectacular views though!
Every motorcyclist should ride this road at least once in their life!
The Grampians National Park
The ancient hills of the Grampians National Park make for an awesome spectacle as you ride toward them. This area of granite highlands is jam packed with wildlife, superb lookouts and beautiful waterfalls. The visitor centre at Halls Gap can provide all the information you'll need for getting the best out of your time there and will give you a great overview of the area, ensuring you get to see everything you want during your visit.
By the time you've ridden the roads in the park, taken a short walk to the two main lookouts and perhaps trekked to the base of one of the thundering waterfalls, you'll need at least a half day to absorb what's on offer, but will probably long to spend more time lost in the atmosphere of the national park.
Perched on the Fleurieu Peninsula, capital of Southern Australia, 'City of Churches' and the perfect blend of urban cool and natural splendour. Adelaide has one of the most impressive botanical gardens in the world, loads of relaxed open spaces and a vibrant atmosphere that makes it a pleasure to wander the streets.
A small town feel with lovely colonial architecture and all the conveniences of a modern city. It'll be the biggest settlement that you'll encounter from here until you reach Perth in Western Australia, so it's the perfect spot to sample that most iconic of Aussie meals, the meat pie floater! That's a meat pie floating in pea soup for those that haven't had the pleasure as yet.
The Clare Valley is one of Australia's premier grape growing regions and the wine making tradition runs deep in the area. The carefully tended gardens, regimented columns of vines, pristine conservation parks and plethora of open cellar doors makes this area an absolute delight to ride through. Try one of the famous Clare Valley Rieslings with a meal prepared at one of the many local restaurants or wineries.
This is the start of what many would consider to be the 'real outback' and is the place you'll really begin to get a feel for the otherworldly landscapes Australia has tucked away. Cavernous red gorges and magnificent mountains seemingly aglow in the sunset, contrast with the starkly beautiful white gum trees standing proud in the thin desert soil. Huge wedge tailed eagles soar in the blue skies above and the peace and solitude make you feel as if you’re on a different planet.
All this can be reached within a relatively short distance of the Wilpena Pound Resort. An oasis in the outback, fully kitted out with all the modern facilities. There are a huge amount of gravel tracks to explore, but if you don't want to take your bike on the gravel then the 4WD tours are superb and really help to bring the place alive. You'll have day here to explore and immerse yourself at your leisure.Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is the quintessential frontier Outback settlement. An incredibly interesting place but perhaps not the most attractive to look at, positioned slap bang in the middle of middle of the scorching desert. The temperatures can be extremely high here and close to 50 degrees centigrade is not uncommon in the summer. This is the self proclaimed 'Opal Capital of the World' owing in no small measure, to the huge quantity of precious gems that are mined in the surrounding area.
Because of the harsh desert conditions and soaring midday temperatures, most of the town is underground and many interesting places can only be seen via a guided tour. This quirky adaptation to the environment is one of the main reason to tour around the town. Houses, churches, shops even hospitals, they're all in crudely hewn 'dugouts' in the desert.
Best advice is to try and give yourself half a day in Coober Pedy and book a guided tour, it's definitely the best way to get the most out of the town. If you're feeling lucky, you can head out of town and try to make your fortune 'fossicking' for opals in the mine tailings, only make sure to keep one eye out for the myriad of holes that litter the desert!
Uluru [Ayers Rock]
One of the most recognisable landmarks on the planet and one of the largest sandstone monoliths in the world, Uluru certainly doesn't disappoint in the scale department. A sacred site for the local Anangu people, the traditional 'owners' of the rock, Uluru is a World Heritage listed site for obvious reasons. The sight of the scarlet monolith looming up from the otherwise featureless desert floor as you ride towards it, is a sight truly to behold and an Australian 'must see'. Best times to view the 'rock' are normally at sunrise and sunset, with the sunset viewing being most popular as this is when Uluru appears to glow red in the failing desert illumination.
Of course, viewing at any time is still a fantastic experience and the area around the base provides plenty of springs, waterholes, rock caves, aboriginal paintings and cool shady areas to explore.
The route north towards Darwin takes you temptingly close to the monolith and a day spent exploring its many hidden delights is well worth the detour off the highway.
Kata Tjuta [The Olgas]
Only thirty kilometres away from the more obvious attraction of Uluru, Kata Tjuta [pronounced Kata Joota] are possibly even more impressive, but for different reasons. There are thirty six 'domes' of rock that make up Kata Tjuta covering about 21 square kilometres of desert, meaning there is plenty to explore! Another sacred site for the local Aboriginal peoples, many ceremonies are still performed in the area and the rocks hold special significance.
It's a brilliant spot to explore and stretch your legs off the bike, so we'd recommend taking every opportunity to roam far and wide whilst you're here!
Part of the Watarrka National Park, Kings Canyon is a truly spectacular gorge cut out of the desert and a definite ‘must see’ for the tour. It's pretty close, by Australian standards at least, to Uluru and Kata Tjuta.
There is a nearby resort which has a nice campsite, shop, café and other attractions such as helicopter rides over the canyon itself, so is a great place to base yourself whilst exploring the surrounding area.
It’s well set up resort considering how far away from the nearest town it is. The canyon itself is an awe inspiring place, best explored by undertaking one of the numerous walking tracks. There's the King's Creek Walk which traces the bottom of the canyon and the Rim Walk, which skirts along the top of the canyon walls. There's a very steep incline at the beginning of the walk which settles down after a little while, but it's well worth the exertion needed as when you reach the top you're afforded views you can't even begin to imagine. It's best to try and avoid the rim walk during midday, as the temperatures can be pretty unbearable though.
Hard to imagine that Alice Springs is the third largest town in the Northern Territory when you arrive, but 'the Alice' is a modern and welcoming oasis in an otherwise inhospitable desert. The town is ideally situated close to some of Australia's great wonders, making it an ideal base from where you can explore the surrounds at your leisure. It's got everything you could need to re-stock before continuing north along the highway.
The Devil's Marbles [Karlu Karlu]
Does the devil play marbles? Perhaps, perhaps not. But if he does, these would certainly be a worthy set! A relatively small but spectacular national park situated just north of Alice Springs, the immense granite boulders, balancing stones and scattered spheres of rock are an unusual spectacle in the otherwise relatively featureless desert. The length of time it must have taken for the wind, rain and sand storms to craft the rocks into these amazing shapes just boggles the mind. Either that of course, or the devil got distracted mid game of marbles...
About five hundred kilometres north of Alice Springs lies Tennant Creek, almost exactly in the middle of the Northern Territory. It's a hot, dusty town basically in the middle of nowhere, but it's the ideal spot to take a break. Shops, cafes and restaurants provide for all your wants and needs, with a few parks providing a change to work out the kinks as you take a breather from the saddle of your bike.
Likes to think of itself as a small town, but to be honest it's less a town and more a pub with a few permanent residents. It's certainly one thing though and that's an outback classic! The Daly Waters Hotel is widely regarded as one of the oldest buildings in the Northern Territory and has been in existence from at least 1893. It's drawn visitors from every corner of the globe, now being famous as it's decorated with banknotes and other memorabilia left there by the multitude of visitors from various nationalities. It's a quirky Outback character in it's own right and definitely worth a visit as you ride north!
Mataranka Hot Springs
Just what the saddle sore motorcycle rider ordered, an amazing oasis in the middle of the desert. Fantastically clear water flowing at a pretty consistent 32 degrees centigrade, is the ideal remedy for any aches and pains you might have and is an incredible way to relax a while off the bike. A boardwalk takes you down to the pools of warm water where you can ease yourself in and indulge. If you've got a mask and snorkel to hand, an unusual thing to take into the desert, but still, you can observe the fish and even turtles in the incredibly clear waters.
The surrounding palms tend to be home to flying fox bats, so be prepared for the smell though! There's a handy bar at the nearby station, which means there's everything you could want close by. Who would have though such a place would exist in the middle of the desert? Not us that's for sure, but we're certainly glad it does!
The third largest town in the Northern Territory, Katherine is most famous for Katherine Gorge one of the most spectacular of local attractions. Located in the Nitmiluk National Park just north east of the town, Katherine Gorge is just one, although arguably the most impressive, of a series of 13 sandstone gorges hewn from the land over billions of years by the Katherine River.
There's a strong Aboriginal link to the area, with many rock art sites dotted about the park. It's the ideal area to take a break from riding the bike and explore in greater depth. There are plenty of options available for the inquisitive rider, but the gorges themselves are best investigated by canoe or a flat bottomed boat. It's a great opportunity to try and spot some of the indigenous freshwater crocodiles that call the park home, as they like to nest along the banks of the gorges. Don't worry though, they're pretty harmless!
Litchfield National Park
Petite twin sister to the nearby Kakadu National Park, Litchfield certainly doesn't disappoint! There are some fantastic waterfalls, plunge pools and swimming holes to cool off in, plus a wonderfully secluded atmosphere about the place. Buley Rock hole, Wangi Falls, Surprise Creek and the secluded Tjaynera Falls are just a few of the places you might find yourself lingering too long.
If you've got the right bike and a little experience off-road, then the short track leading out to the 'Lost City' is well worth the ride. It's not actually a city mind you, more some freestanding sandstone pillars and blocks that merely lead the imagination on, conjuring up images of a settlement long abandoned by some ancient civilisation. The track in can sometimes be closed from November to April, so it's worth bearing that in mind. There are plenty of alternatives to keep you interested around Litchfield though!
The park is a short ride from Darwin, so you can easily return if you want to spend more time exploring what's on offer.
Kakadu National Park
Incredible wildlife with big saltwater crocodiles, stunning bird life, water buffalo, an amazing variety of plants and trees, vibrant Aboriginal culture, history and natural heritage can all be found in this UNESCO World Heritage listed, wetland paradise. Watching the sunset over the wetlands at Ubirr is a magical experience and exploring the caves and Aboriginal artwork at Nourlangie, some of which dates from 60,000 years ago, provides an amazing insight into the early history of the country.
Covering nearly 20,000 square kilometres, every centimetre of Kakadu is absolutely jam-packed with life at every time of year. It's undeniably the major natural attraction in the 'top end' and since you've ridden all the way here, it's worth spending a little to explore the park properly.
Capital city of the Northern Territory and tropical paradise on the shores of the Timor Sea. A population of about 130,000 makes it easily the most populated city in the Northern Territory, but the least populated of all Australia's capital cities. This, combined with the delightful tropical climate has led to the creation of a distinctly laid back, multicultural and very mellow sort of place. Plenty of markets, festivals, restaurants, pubs and an abundance of incredibly welcoming locals makes this the ideal spot to relax after this incredible motorcycle tour.
If you'd like to spend a little longer relaxing in the tropical embrace of Darwin, then we can arrange accommodation for you after you finish your motorcycle tour. Just ask!
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