12/08/2017 Broadbeach to Brisbane (final leg)

3 nights in Broadbeach was very nice. 24-27 deg each day, clear blue skies and little wind. Stayed with Mum and Dad which was a good catch up. We explored the shopping mall Pacific Fair which is very impressive and modern. Lazy days relaxing, eating , drinking and walking. On the road this morning for Brisbane. We arrived here with ease and after off loading our bags, rode out to Morgan and Wacker, the Harley shop to drop the bikes off. We stowed our leathers and boots on the bikes and left them in the good hands of the guys there, ready to ship back to Auckland. We walked back to Fortitude Valley carrying our helmets. A nice final walk through Brisbane, then back to […]

09/08/2017 Byron Bay to Broadbeach

We had a lazy day in Byron Bay. Such a nice place, it’s got a vibe all of its own. Good weather and a nice hotel, it was a relaxing break. On our day off we walked up to the lighthouse. It was a harder walk than I remembered, or perhaps it’s just that I’m older! The lighthouse was built in 1901 and really is a fine example of great architecture. This is Australia’s eastern most point. We spent a while up on the hill just watching the whales frolicking. They are moving south with their babies but stay around the region to mate so they can give birth in the warm pacific waters the following year. The mother is constantly on the move either […]

07/08/2017 Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay

We had a lovely day off from riding in Coffs Harbour. The harbour is similar to Hervey Bay, Byron Bay, Port Macquarie-they all look alike with a similar layout. When we were at Coffs Harbour a few years ago the winds had whipped the sea up and a huge swell was rolling in. This time the place felt different-we had great weather-no wind and a calm sea. We walked along the sea front to the marina which joins up to Mutton Bird Island. We walked over the island and looked out to see. I was looking for whales and dolphins and within 5 minutes saw both. Buying a naughty french pastry at Dorrigo-great cafe!   Whale watching The weather is really great over here-24-26 deg […]

04/08/2017 Port Macquarie to Armidale

We rode out of Port Macquarie this morning after a super breakfast and coffee. We basically had a backtrack day today up to Armidale. It’s one of the best and most technical roads we’ve done on this whole trip-climbing up a winding hill, lots of 25Km corners, 1000 meters up on to the tablelands. At the bottom of the hill, on pretty much the first corner I lost sight of husband and didn’t see him until near the top where he had been waiting-quite a while. He rode up fast and efficiently, I rode up cautiously and fairly slowly-I should have had what he had for breakfast! Some days you can really get in the groove of the bikes, and some days not. Today I […]

3/8/2017 A day in Port Macquarie

We had a day off today. We went out for a lovely breakfast and had a few errands to run, then we went off for a walk. There is a lighthouse 9K’s away so we made that our goal. We walked along a lovely coastal track which occasionally goes down onto the beach, then back on the track which winds over the headlands, always running along the coast with great views of the big waves rolling in. We had lunch at the lighthouse. It was built in 1879 and still looks in very good condition.   The old ruins of the original cottage can be seen. It was accepted that some men that managed the lighthouses might have wives and so cottages were built for couples. […]

2/8/2017 Hunter Valley to Port Macquarie

The breakfast where we stayed last night was $32 each-very expensive so we decided to go to one of the nearby vineyards. The closest one had nothing open so we walked back to our room and got on the bikes and road to Pokolbin village where one café was open.   I ordered a simple breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon and it was the most dreadful breakfast I’ve ever had. If a chef can’t scramble eggs they should change to a different profession. We have found that when we are in small town Australia a lot of places are closed, or choices are few for food and accommodation. I guess you would encounter that a lot once you head off the east coast. Last evening […]

01/08/2017 Sydney to the Hunter Valley

We stayed in Sydney an extra day because we needed to get our 16,000km bike service. We were staying in North Sydney at Chatswood, and needed to take our bikes out to near the airport in South Sydney-I wasn’t looking forward to this day. We got up early so we could get ahead of the Monday morning rush hour. We were on the road by 7am. We got over to the Harley shop with ease, the rain hadn’t come, the navigation was good and the traffic still hadn’t built. The Harley shop said our bikes would be first up so that was all good. We caught a courtesy shuttle and then the train back to Chatwood-all pretty simple. The Harley shop said they would ring […]

30/07/2017 Sydney

We had a good ride into Sydney. The weather was good and apart from one glitch with the Garman navigation was good. The traffic was heavy and it moves very fast so lane changing has to be done very carefully. Stuart used to live in Chatswood and so knows this area quite well. Once we were in the vicinity he knew where to go. I’m so lucky to be able to follow someone that is so good with navigation. Coming into a big city on my own would be very daunting and having no sense of direction at all, I would be sure to get lost which would be a major drama on the bike. The apartment we are staying in is very well located […]

28/07/2017 Newcastle to Sydney

We had lots of cafes to choose from this morning in Newcastle. We went to a café called Monkey’s and I had the most fabulous breakfast of our whole trip. Once I was able to move, we returned to our hotel to pack for our ride to Sydney. I enjoyed Newcastle. It looks a bit like the UK in places, terraced housing and old architecture, but mostly it looks like Australia. For a heavy industry city, like Gladstone, it’s very well presented. I guess I compare these places to similar cities in the UK, but here you have good weather, palm trees and a beautiful coast. Husband did very well to navigate us out of Newcastle and soon we were on our way. We rode […]

27/07/2017 Port Macquarie to Newcastle

I’ve got three movies up on Youtube of rides we’ve done-we don’t always have the wifi capacity for uploading such big file https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4thhKzcLBxlb2hmJde_ILg We had a nice relaxing day wandering around Port Macquarie. There’s some lovely buildings there but lots of high rises which I don’t really like to see. The area was setup early on as a penal colony and the prisoners were harshly treated. The convicts were not just from the UK, but from Aust too, and all the disabled convicts were sent to Port Macquarie. They had special jobs for men with one leg, one arm etc and the blind were put to work at night time. There’s a very nice church that was built by the convicts. It’s interesting that when […]

25/07/2017 Armidale to Port Macquarie

We woke to a very cold morning in Armidale. It was forecasted to be -3 overnight but was -6 with a visible white frost over everything. We had put covers over our bikes. We walked into town for breakfast on icy paths but the skies were blue and before long the sun had warmed the day up. We lingered for as long as we could but by 9:30 we were on the road feeling confident that the ice would have melted. We rode out to Walcha and had a cup of tea to warm up, it was cold riding, but today we were better prepared for it with our woolly layers on. Long straight roads to start with which was good. After an hour or […]

24/07/2017 Coffs Harbour to Armidale

We had to have breakfast at the resort in Coff’s Harbour as we were quite a way from anywhere else.  The room rate at this place was pretty low for the nice room we had, but our burger and chip dinner last night and our breakfast this morning is where these resorts make their money-or take our’s as the case may be.  Still we knew this would happen before we stayed there.  Still we enjoyed listening to the pounding surf all night-it’s the closest we have stayed to the ocean and the view was great too. We woke to a beautiful blue sky again and no cold wind blowing.  We set out on a ride called the waterfall way.  Soon we were climbing up high […]

23/07/2017 Lismore to Coffs Harbour

It wasn’t easy to find a place for breakfast in Lismore this morning (Sunday). We found one place but they could only make toast, no eggs. The other place was very busy, so it was obviously the place to be. We had great coffee and food. I was surprised at how friendly the people were. Two separate groups of people came over to tell us how they love the bikes and wanted to know where we had been and where we were heading. Such nice people here. The road out of Lismore to Grafton was very dull with lots of roadworks. It turned out this was not the road we had programmed into the Garmin, but it decided to take us that way anyway. Very […]

22/07/2017 Coolangatta to Lismore

We got out our winter jackets in Coolangatta last night for dinner and again this morning for breakfast. A very cold wind blowing. At the beginning and end of the day it is the same temperature as Auckland, but during the day it gets upto 21 deg with blue skies. We got on the road and headed north, then west to do a nice back road south to Lismore. The Hinterland out the back of the gold coast is full of locals selling organic veggies, massages, natural therapies, hand made soap etc-quite a wide spread ‘alternative’ area. The Hinterland is pretty with the Tweed River running through it, lots of green pasture with cattle and sheep grazing. All along the journey today I was aware […]

21/07/2017 Brisbane to Coolangatta

We enjoyed our day off from riding in Brisbane. We enjoyed a bit of a sleep in and a lazy morning making our own breakfast and getting a coffee from Mrs Tuppy’s store downstairs just across from the apartment block. She’s an old Chinese lady and makes a fine coffee. I asked for two big coffee’s, each with an extra shot. This seemed to offend her-you sure you wan an ex sha? I make werry go coffee, no ex sha needed. She was right. This morning I ordered another two and told her the coffee’s were very good yesterday she said, they be jus same today-as if I was stupid! It was a great apartment and good value for money. We got all our laundry […]

19/07/2017 Noosa to Brisbane

Got the Gladstone to Yeppoon video uploaded if you want to see it…: https://youtu.be/kfJJiAr2ypY We had an early start from Noosa. Had a fabulous breakfast at a French bakery that made the best coffee! Then on the road to Brisbane. Stuart had spent time mapping out a convoluted journey on backroads so we could have a fun ride, but the Garmin let him down early on and in the end we just got on the M3 and rode directly here. There’s a lot of motorway to ride coming into Brisbane from the North. The traffic is much like NZ-slow buggers in the fast lane holding everyone up and big trucks to contend with. The ride was a hard one as there was a very strong, […]

18/07/2017 Hervey Bay to Noosa

A nice breakfast in Hervey Bay. We are now in sub tropical weather and no longer parallel to the reef-we are now on the Fraser Coast. Hervey Bay is a place where the humpback whales stop to frolic on their way from the Pacific to Antarctica and lots of the tourism is based on whale watching. Hervey Bay is otherwise a quiet town with an average age of 42, 10 years older than any other town, in other words, quite a few oldies here. We had few hours of riding and on the 2nd half of the ride Stuart had us riding on windy country roads that he had found and mapped out. From this point heading south we are hoping the riding will improve-we […]

17/07/2017 Agnes Water to Hervey Bay

We rode out to 1770 for breakfast which was acceptable…At 10ish we got on the road for Hervey Bay. We were on woodland roads today which is a welcome change from the A1 which I think we are both all done with for now. Having heard there are hundreds of kangeroos on the 60k’s out from 1770/Agnes water we took it easy. I’m not sure how well we would fare with a big red leaping out of the wood into our path but you cant ride for that risk, you just have to look logically at the reported cases of motorcyclists killed by leaping kangeroos-there are none. We did see them resting/sleeping in the fields though-they are there, but they are nocturnal, luckily. We were […]

16/07/2017 Rockhampton to Agnes Water

I managed to get the first video of our ride up on youtube at this link if you want to have a look: There was a Coffee Club under the hotel we stayed in at Rockhampton so we went there for a dependable breakfast-we always share one as the meals are so big.   After that it was on the road to Gladstone, just over an hour away for a break-we were also picking up some luggage straps there from the Harley Dealer. We had beautiful riding weather today. We enjoyed a banana milkshake at Gladstone and then onto Agnes Water about 130k’s down the road. We haven’t been to Agnes Water before so the roads were all new to us. Agnes Water is quite remote, […]

15/07/2017 Mackay to Rockhampton

We enjoyed a complementary breakfast at the motel in Mackay, then on the road down the A1 to Rockhampton.  This is one of the more boring rides-the scenery changes from sugar cane to cattle farming.  The animal used for beef here in Queensland is mostly the Brahman-originally from India the cattle are resistant to drought and ticks. The ride was about 320k’s and took us about 4 hours-we pulled over at one point to let heavy rain go through. South of Mackay the temperature changes from Tropical to sub Tropical, and the temperature change here in Rockhampton is noticeable. Lunch in a travellers lay-by. However it’s a nice temperature with less humidity.  Its sunny for 300 days a year at this latitude. The city is […]

14/07/2017 Airlie Beach to Mackay

Despite this being a pricey night for us, we both had a pretty poor sleep. We had breakfast at the B and B and then into town for coffee. Our B and B above and the view from our room. Having a refreshing beer yesterday! Back on the road to Mackay 2 hours away. The cyclone damage was evident for most of the ride to Mackay. During Cyclone Debbie, Mackay, Propserine and Airlie Beach were all evacuated as a 2 meter tidal surge was expected. This is the same weather system that hit NZ and dropped so much rain that the Edgecumbe river burst its banks. A pretty easy ride to Mackay. We stopped at a rest area for a break and I spotted a […]

13/07/2017 Townsville to Airlie Beach

We woke to a beautiful day in Townsville. We walked down to the beach for coffee and breakfast. Stuart gave the bikes a clean as they had got filthy in the rain yesterday. We went for a little ride around Townsville before leaving-its’ a very nice place with some old historic buildings. On the road we headed south on the A1. This time we were riding to Airlie Beach. We had an uneventful ride most of the way. We rode into Bowen for a Subway lunch by the sea. Once we made the turn off to Airlie beach it became evident of lots of recent damage. The trees in the hills were all stripped of their leaves and many palms had no tops to them. […]

12/07/2017 Port Douglas to Townsville

We left early this morning after making our breakfast. We headed to the beach area for a coffee then on the road by about 8:30. We knew today was going to be a hard ride. It’s a beautiful road between Port Douglas and Cairns but even though its’ an open road, people drive it very slowly. It’s a bit windy and hard to pass people. Then it’s a big bypass around Cairns before getting on the A1. Lots of road works, a bit of rain and heavy traffic including big trucks to contend with too! An area we rode through is called the Murray Flats.  It runs parallel on the western side of Innisfail-the wettest city in Australia.  The road is a notorious stretch of […]

11/07/2017 A day in Port Douglas

We found an apartment that was quiet in Port Douglas this time. We are spending two more nights here because it’s supposed to be wet, but it is in fact dry and sunny. The apartment we are renting has a full kitchen so we bought food to make our own breakfast again. I made an appointment to get my hair cut. The hairdresser has been living in Port Douglas for 18 months but she doesn’t seem very happy. She said that rent, rates and the cost of living is very expensive there. She said she works very hard but can’t get ahead. It’s a very seasonal place too which must make it hard. Apparently there’s really no tourists here between Xmas and Easter because it’s […]

10/07/2017 Mossman to Port Douglas

The journey from Mossman to Port Douglas is only about 20 minutes.  Our logic for staying in Port Douglas again is that it’s supposed to be raining and we were going to sit out two wet days here-it is however about 27 deg with clear blue skies.  Now that the majority of kids have gone back to school we will try to not book so far out.  Still, we are not complaining of spending more time here-it’s really lovely. On our ride over from Mossman this morning we saw a snake on the side of the road with a couple of people looking at it.  It was pretty big. When we arrived here at our motel I told the proprietor we had just seen one. […]

09/07/2017 Cooktown to Mossman

We got up early and had a great breakfast at the hotel. We were on the road by 8. I kept my eye’s peeled on the ride for wildlife. Luckily I saw a kangaroo. It was only a small brown/grey one but nice to see. Also as we went past a lily pond I saw a brolga (a huge crane) which was wonderful.  We did a short detour to look at a pub we had been told about-there was a camel there! About 30k’s south of Cooktown the road takes you through an area called the Black Mountain National Park.  We had a quick stop there.  We had been riding through savannah-green trees and bush, all pretty flat, then you come across these two massive […]

08/07/2017 Port Douglas to Cooktown

We made our own breakfast again which is a great money saver.  We left Port Douglas but very pleased to know we will be returning there in a few days time.  Rob the Hotel owner was a very nice chap and rides a motorbike.  He seemed to be very envious of us riding out of town.    As we rode out we climbed a windy hill which was great.  Then we were on the flat pretty much all the way-about 250k’s.  Many signs along the way warned us there were no fences and that cattle roamed freely.  We saw some crossing the road.  Many signs warn of Kangeroos.  I looked for some, I thought if we were to see some at all on our trip […]

07/07/2017 A day in Port Douglas

A lazy day for us today.  We made our own breakfast and went out looking for accommodation that we can stay at on our way back down from Cooktown and Mossman.  Our apartment here is nice but on a busy street.  We want to stay somewhere quieter when we come back.  We walked around and found and more suitable and cheaper place so that was good. Explored around the town later to get some exercise.  The marina area is very nice: Then a walk around the town:   The Harbour is very nice: An then a walk up the hill to a lookout.  It looks back out towards Cairns and the coast road we rode up on. The bird life and plants on the edge […]

06/07/2017 Atherton to Port Douglas

We were happy to leave the Atherton Motel-it was 3 star all the way, not really our scene!  The walls were paper thin and we had neighbours on one side-a couple.  In the evening we could hear every word spoken, it was like sharing a room with strangers-luckily they were well behaved!! We rode into town for a coffee club breakfast.  The coffee was very good. We rode out of the Tablelands the same way we arrived which was the windy hill.  A great ride down.  It seemed the temperate went up a degree with every corner.  Back in Cairns it was hot and humid-about 28deg. We called into the Harley shop as I needed some gloves that could let the air through-I’ve been riding […]

05/07/2017 Cairns to Atherton

We made our own breakfast and headed out on the bikes for coffee.  We are enjoying coffee from the Coffee Club as it’s always consistent.  After coffee we headed out to have a look at Yorkey’s Knob-we’ve had a few jokes about that!  We thought it might be an alternative place to stay to Cairns when we head south as it’s only 20 mins away.  Also we needed to run our tyres in before heading out into the Tablelands. Yorkey’s Knob is on the coast but you can’t access the beach easily.  However I’m so pleased we rode out there because I saw a pair of Sarus Cranes.  What magnificent birds they are.  They can be 1.8 meters tall with a wingspan of 2.5 meters. […]

04/07/2017 A day in Cairns

A lazy day.  We had to take the bikes into a tyre shop as we both needed new front tyres.  They replaced them while we waited which was good.  Then we went for a walk.  We probably walked about 10km.  Its a hot and humid day here today, no rain.  Like Townsville there is an esplanade all along the coast. The coast here is more of a muddy tidal flat-not very pretty, but even if the beach was lovely, there’s no swimming in the sea up here.  This is stinger and croc country so unless you are within a netted area and wearing a stinger suit you would be crazy to swim in the sea.  We have been adjacent to the Gt Barrier reef for […]

03/07/2017 Townsville to Cairns

We are waking really early here as its light at 6:20-dark this far north in the evening at about 6ish. We had breakfast in town this morning and a lovely walk along the esplanade that runs along the beach and marina area.  Such a pretty town with the most exotic park on the other side of the esplanade.  You know you’re in the tropics when the trees in the park are towering mango trees and massive Banyan trees.  They have a beautiful tree here that is the same as our Pohutukawa tree but has yellow flowers, and the bloom is bigger which is amazingly beautiful.  Added to that, it’s full of rainbow lorikeets hungry for the pollen.  We are not travelling with our good SLR […]

02/07/2017 Mackay to Townsville

We walked into town for breakfast which took a while-town was a 20 min walk away.  The sky was grey and threatened rain, but was warm. We got on the road at 10 ish.  Leaving Mackay we saw three large sugar refineries.  I guess that’s where most people in the town work.  We had 450km to ride mostly on the A1 and we knew the scenery was going to be boring so it was a matter of just getting comfortable and getting the k’s behind us.  We stopped in Bowen for lunch.  It’s on the coast but there was a strong onshore wind blowing and we both got a bit cold.  The sky was getting blacker. In the next leg of the ride the rain […]

01/07/2017 Yeppoon to Mackay

This was not our best day of riding!  We had found an alternative route to the A1 but upon close inspection on Google Earth, husband realised that the northern end of the road was closed due to roadworks.  This was well spotted because at the turn around point we would have been too low on gas to double back.  So, on this day we had to ride the whole 450kms on the A1.  It’s Saturday which meant not too much traffic, especially trucks.  The trucks here are very long and take a bit of skill and observation to pass. I didn’t mind the ride today.  It was a bit boring-we are in the land of sugar cane and gum trees now, so the landscape doesn’t […]

29/07/2017 Gladstone to Yeppoon

We enjoyed our stay in Gladstone and managed to get some good walking in, all around the waterfront and through the parks.  Unlike any other town we’ve stayed in so far, it was hilly too so that was a good workout.  We are trying hard to walk before we ride, or after, or both as sitting on a Harley all day requires no pedal power.  Ever wondered why so many bikers are fat buggers! Anyway, on our ride to Yeppoon we rode through Rockhampton.  I had stayed there before 25 years ago as it’s the port for getting out to Great Keppel Island where I stayed for a while.  I didn’t recognise any of it this time as we rode through.  It’s a historic town […]

28/06/2017 Hervey Bay to Gladstone

The ride out of Hervey Bay was good but for a while we were under some pretty big black thunderous clouds.  Luckily we didn’t get rained on.  Everywhere we ride there are signs advising of the floodways.  In all the gully’s there’s a measuring stick 1-2 meters high so you can see the depth of water in the rainy season.  We are riding in the two months of winter which is settled and, coming from NZ seems warm-it’s been about 25 deg each day.  It can easily be 45 deg up here in the summer, and the rain in the rainy season is just something I can’t imagine.  All the houses are built on stilts. We had to do a bit of riding on the […]

27/6 /2017 Dalby to Hervey Bay

All those long straight roads into Dalby had to be back tracked for quite a way-a great experience to go out into the vastness of the West.  Enjoyable riding back over the Main Divide, and altogether an uneventful ride to the coast.  We’ve both been to Hervey Bay so we knew what to expect. We lunched under a tree. It is becoming warmer as we head north and the plants and trees are starting to become more tropical, although this latitude is still sub tropical.  Bourgainvillea’s grow like weeds here.

26/6/2017 Caloundra to Dalby

The ride out of Caloundra was great-hilly and windy.  We rode Northwest towards the Main Divide and enjoyed the ride over the hills.  On one of the windy areas there was a roadworks sign with an 80km sign.  We started slowing down from about 110, went around a corner and there’s a man holding a stop sign-we both had to pull the bikes up really hard which is not easy when they weigh 450KG plus all our luggage.  This guy stood his ground as we both came to stop pretty much at his feet-he said drily, ‘that was impressive’ meaning our stop.  We got stuck into him about needing a bit more notice but he tuned out pretty quickly. The Main Divide is the place […]

25/6/2017 Brisbane to Caloundra

The ride to Caloundra was great.  It was our intention to stay off the main highways and to ride only on the smaller back roads.  The one we planned to Caloundra took in the hinterland out the back of Brisbane around lake Wivenhoe. This lake is formed by a dam that was installed after 3 floods in 100 years, the most recent in 1974 wiped out downtown Brisbane.  The City of Brisbane sites on a tidal river, and with heavy rain there was no way of controlling the river rising.  When we walked around the park in Brisbane there was a monument to the floods-in 1974 there was 64 cm of rain in 36 hours and the flood waters peaked at 6.6 meters on the […]

24/6/2017 Arriving in Australia on the Harleys

The bikes were shipped to Brisbane.  Once they had landed and were available to us at Morgan and Wacker’s Harley shop we flew over to pick them up.  Arriving in Brisbane is always a joy-a lovely city.  We decided to have 2 nights there so we were under no pressure to arrive and start our trip too soon.  After leaving the airport we took a taxi straight to the Land Transport Authority where we thought we were to collect our Queensland plates, but all we needed was a permit to ride here.  Sounds simple but the process took over an hour per bike.  Luckily Stuart had done his research and had all the documentation required. We got to our hotel in Fortitude Valley and got […]

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