22 May Great Dividing Range Australia Top to Bottom | Part 1
Just over 8 years ago in 2010 my best mate Mark and I did a Gold Coast to Cape York trip on 650’s, following the Great Dividing Range and trying to do as much dirt as we could. Well, next year in Feb 2019 we are planning to do a similar trip but this time down to Tassie and back with a couple of mates joining us.
Planning the new trip got me back onto the Adventure Rider forums to see what others had done down south. It made me realise that the time riders take to post their epic rides not only provides a great story but also provides heaps of useful information to help plan your own trip. A big shout out to @bull600 for his entertaining and helpful trip posts of Tasmania and the Alps which have been invaluable references for our next trip.
It also got me thinking I should post our original Cape York trip photos and tracks up, which may be of use to others. I was able to find the photos and tracks and also the four email updates we sent the families. For simplicity I have posted the email updates and just inserted the photos, so it is all there.
The Gold Coast to Cape York was our Part 1 of the Great Dividing Range Top to Bottom, and Tassie will be Part 2 to be posted sometime in March 19. So here we go!
The idea for the trip came from Mark after his missus bought him the Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor Long Way Round DVD set for Christmas 2008. After Mark watched the series non stop, it became apparent that she should have gone for undies and socks, as he was obsessed. After a few weeks of receiving calls about bikes, destinations “Charlie this”, “Ewan that” I thought I better watch these DVD’s as well, and I was equally as hooked! I had done small scale trail bike riding as a kid and the DVD’s sparked my fond memories of the adventures.
The trip took a year and a half to prepare for, we didn’t have bikes, hadn’t ridden bikes since teenagers, had no license, nothing. But bit by bit we organised ourselves, bought bikes, had a bike stolen, got licenses, bought gear, upgraded gear, test rode, and then bought different gear .. you know how it goes.
For navigation we got hold of some Hema maps which are great as well as a free download of shonkymaps (before OpenStreetMap). We plotted 12 straight line segment routes of our planned route to the Cape and back by as much dirt as possible for running on a Garmin 60Csx which did the job admirably (I have attached actual track maps below and track stats at the end). We also bought a Gen 1 SPOT tracker for emergencies, letting the girls know we were safe each night, and letting friends and family follow our track if their lives didn’t have enough excitement.
We modified the bikes a lot and assembled spares, nightly filter washing gear, tubes, tools etc to deal with most expected issues. I have got to say that this ADVRIDER site is gold for anyone doing anything related to adventure biking, there is usually someone who has already done it or has the answer.
As planning got closer, the girls worked out we were fair dinkum and then the negotiations started in earnest. As negotiators, they would make the UN negotiators look like amateurs! In the end we were pretty happy that we would do 4 weeks of riding split with the families flying to Port Douglas for one week of family time and R&R (bit of a dent to our trip food and beverage budget).
Progress Report 1 – issued Sat, Jul 31, 2010
Mark and I are well into our trip, we are at Atherton having a rest day and getting the bikes serviced.
Trip has been absolutely great so far … but bloody hard work!
It was bloody cold when we left Mark’s place at 6:28am but we had the gear for it, we have the gear for just about any eventuality.
We followed the bitumen to Jimna before we hit the dirt, had a burger in Hivesville, with an excellent scenic dirt run through to Mount Perry without hardly seeing another vehicle.
We camped at the camp ground and the guy offered us an ensuite site?? Turns out it is for the vans and he said we could sleep inside and save putting the tents up. First time I have slept in a toilet block!
We had a reef and beef at the local for dinner as we didn’t want to start roughing it and peak too early.
Next day was an early start up to Kalpower which was like a ghost town, bit scary actually, no fuel, no eats. We grabbed some fuel at Ubodo and continued up to Calliope then we had some great tracks into Malborough where we camped next to the highway.
On the way we had become lost in the bush somewhere between Bracewell and Mt Alma and came across this clapped out old van with a hermit living in it, rubbish everywhere, no vehicles or roads in sight. He gave us a few directional tips but when he said he needed to go back to his van to get his glasses, we didn’t know if it was going to be accompanied by a 12 gauge, so we took off.
Steve & Mark
Cape York Adventurers 🙂