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Thread: Solo touring in WA newbie advice

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    Question Solo touring in WA newbie advice

    Hi all,

    A helpful reddit user pointed me in this direction for some advice ... I'm a touring newbie but now seemed like a good as time as ever to ask for some help. I've had a non-biking trip planned to Perth with my partner but unfortunately that relationship fell apart very recently. Rather than cancel the trip and loose all my money I've chosen to book a touring bike (MT-07 tracer) and am hoping to have an adventure! I'm going to be in Perth for 18 days from late April.

    This is the first time I've ever done any kind of proper touring and given my lack of experience and the fact I'll be travelling from abroad leaves me with lots of questions about what would be the best way to do this. I don't have a tent that I can bring out (or at least not yet) and was initially planning on "backpacking" and staying in hostels along the route. The bike I've rented comes with a full luggage setup.

    I have a vague plan that I'll ride from Perth up the 60 and 1 up to Exmouth. I would love to snorkel up there and I'm travelling in April which is in peak season for swimming with whale sharks. I'm also a climber and love the idea of doing a motorcycle climbing tour but that doesn't seem like such a sensible idea on my own (unless anyone is up for a trip?), and most of the climbing is down south except for Kalbari.

    Does anybody have any advice for a newbie solo rider travelling up that way, particularly in terms of accommodations and nice roads to ride? The whole trip is daunting but also I'm very excited as I've never done anything like this at all! If anyone has any tips on an itinerary that would be amazing.

    Another Reddit user suggested going south. I've been to Margret river before for some climbing but never any further. I don't think I have the time on the trip to go up north and go south unfortunately.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you have any advice it's massively appreciated!

    Ride safe.

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    Member dwillia's Avatar
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    Welcome - I'm sure there will be loads of information for you when everyone wakes up

    Bluff knoll springs to mind as something worthwhile to climb.

    Perth to exmouth is a reasonable run, you've been here before so I don't need to tell you about the size of this place, as I have had to with UK friends.

    I'm not sure about the seat on the MT07 tracer but if its as bad as the MT07 you might want to look at something to help your arse!

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    Hi!

    Good point! I was so busy getting excited I forgot to clock the time difference. Bluff knoll is down in the Stirling ranges right?

    Must admit I have no idea about the seat either. The MT-07 and 09 have been on my radar for a while so I'm kind of hoping this serves as the ultimate test ride. Cost of buying a bike in Norway is so high they've been out of my budget for a while but maybe one day.

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    Well, 3 weeks is not a lot of time given the size of WA. You definitely need to make a choice to go south or north. For the first time on bike I would strongly advise to leave the north alone. How much experience do you have riding motorcycles?

    South is easier because of shorter distances between towns, more accommodation to chose from, more to see and do and less likely to get stranded in the middle of nowhere and waste your time waiting for help. You can camp on the roadside if that is your cup of tea, a good swag will serve you well, better than a tent, especially if you are alone. Most highways have parking bays at regular intervals, can use those to park up for the night. Going south is also more fun on the bike, and more scenic too.

    Be aware of killer wildlife, roos on the road (don't travel in the dark), cattle especially if you go north, eagles (also north) and if you camp, snakes. Likely you will not run into them (snakes), but better be aware and prepared, especially when travelling alone.

    Make sure you take tyre repair kit with you, most small towns will have no facility to get your tyres replaced. Everything will need to be ordered from Perth and wait for it to turn up. This goes double for north. Fuel stops need to be planned, especially around weekends, not all towns have petrol stations and some may be closed over the weekend if they do. This is where south is better, but still needs some planning. Make sure you have some sort of breakdown cover for the bike. Likely you won't need it but if it does brake down it can get expensive to recover the bike and your gear.

    Be aware of the hoon laws. If they clock you 40 km (I think) over the speed limit, will confiscate the bike for 28 days. Would be interesting trying to explain it to the rental company where their bike has gone. In WA most police will be pretty unforgiving about speeding, they seem to think that it is the biggest evil on the roads. Even country cops are getting like that.

    April-May will start to get cold. Not your kind of cold, just cold enough to need proper riding gear with removable liners. Your mornings might be 5C and go up to 18-20 during the day. You need to stay comfortable on the bike so you have energy to concentrate on the roads. Shivering in wet gear is no fun... The Bureau of Meteorology has records to look at for the area and time of the year. Very useful.

    Good luck with your trip.

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    Member dwillia's Avatar
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    I'm not so sure about the tyre comment up there, nearly every town I've been to in the south west has a mechanic/tyre place. Not MC specific but it shouldn't matter. Big centres like Bunbury/albany mean that you no longer have to wait for perth deliveries,

    But yes, the general advice to be fucking prepared stands

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hati View Post
    Well, 3 weeks is not a lot of time given the size of WA. You definitely need to make a choice to go south or north. For the first time on bike I would strongly advise to leave the north alone. How much experience do you have riding motorcycles?

    South is easier because of shorter distances between towns, more accommodation to chose from, more to see and do and less likely to get stranded in the middle of nowhere and waste your time waiting for help. You can camp on the roadside if that is your cup of tea, a good swag will serve you well, better than a tent, especially if you are alone. Most highways have parking bays at regular intervals, can use those to park up for the night. Going south is also more fun on the bike, and more scenic too.

    Be aware of killer wildlife, roos on the road (don't travel in the dark), cattle especially if you go north, eagles (also north) and if you camp, snakes. Likely you will not run into them (snakes), but better be aware and prepared, especially when travelling alone.

    Make sure you take tyre repair kit with you, most small towns will have no facility to get your tyres replaced. Everything will need to be ordered from Perth and wait for it to turn up. This goes double for north. Fuel stops need to be planned, especially around weekends, not all towns have petrol stations and some may be closed over the weekend if they do. This is where south is better, but still needs some planning. Make sure you have some sort of breakdown cover for the bike. Likely you won't need it but if it does brake down it can get expensive to recover the bike and your gear.

    Be aware of the hoon laws. If they clock you 40 km (I think) over the speed limit, will confiscate the bike for 28 days. Would be interesting trying to explain it to the rental company where their bike has gone. In WA most police will be pretty unforgiving about speeding, they seem to think that it is the biggest evil on the roads. Even country cops are getting like that.

    April-May will start to get cold. Not your kind of cold, just cold enough to need proper riding gear with removable liners. Your mornings might be 5C and go up to 18-20 during the day. You need to stay comfortable on the bike so you have energy to concentrate on the roads. Shivering in wet gear is no fun... The Bureau of Meteorology has records to look at for the area and time of the year. Very useful.

    Good luck with your trip.
    What he said. I've got a swag you can borrow if you want

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    Not what you would see in Europe but there are some bumps in Exmouth. Check with National Parks or local climbing groups first though.

    They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwillia View Post
    I'm not so sure about the tyre comment up there
    If the tyre cannot be fixed and needs replacing in a town like Denmark, Manjimup, Mount Barker etc., it will be the next day before a new tyre will make its way into town, assuming it's a common size.

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    There's way more interesting motorcycle roads in the southwest than up north. Going north is still good, but probably worse bang for buck on a short tour, and it's a different flavour of experience. And as Hati mentioned, going southwest is far less practical hassles in many ways. If you're looking for general inspiration for places to ride, here's a high volume of suggestions and routes: https://www.bestbikingroads.com/moto...tern-australia.

    The best possible thing you can pack in your saddlebags is time. Be aware that when you depart major highways and go exploring minor roads, some roads marked as 'sealed' on the map will turn to gravel halfway along. In terms of equipment, less is more, it's not a third world country and you can pick up anything you really need at regional centres. Just purchase your motorbike specific stuff in perth (ie tyre repair kits and any comfort/touring related items).

    My method for planning is to create a google map, put a star on every place that interests me, and allocate 50% more time than I think I need to explore that region. That way you can plan your ride day by day, explore cool roads that you didn't see on the map, not feel rushed or on a tight schedule, and still have flexibility if you meet people (recently single backpacker riding a motorbike, you will meet people) and want to hang out for longer in a town or go to an event.

    Good luck!

    edit: These guys have some solid touring wisdom: http://www.ironbutt.com/aow.cfm
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    Sorry, been a hectic couple of days and haven't had a chance to log on and reply. Thanks for all the input! It sounds like the best choice is to maybe go south if I want to get the best trip I can for the time I have. There is no particular reason I cannot come back in the future when I have more time and then go north.

    Thanks Hati for input on the tyres, I'll definitely do some reading up on this. I've fortunately never had to deal with that here as the roads are typically very well maintained and clean. Can't imagine being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a floppy bit of rubber being much fun.

    Chew - those definitely look like bumps. Maybe you might be impressed by some of ours though (did borrow a stock photo for this) ....



    I've been recommended the google my maps before. I usually look at this when planning any kind of trip so will be sure to do that for this!

    Thanks for your inputs guys it's really appreciated.

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    Go north
    The timing is tight but doable

    The difference is between a motorcycling holiday ( its about the ride )
    Or a holiday on a motorcycle
    To be honest i would not recommend coming for a motorcycling holiday
    South west Western australia has the best roads in WA but you could do That holiday better and cheaper elsewhere


    However for a destination holiday adventure on a motorcycle
    Perth to Exmouth to swim with whales
    You wont find that other places
    Note: this may not be the universe where the above is relevant.

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    Practical advice

    You might not need to go all the way to exmouth
    Some boats do the whale shark thing from coral bay
    Id book that bit beforehand , be a bitch to get there and find it booked out

    So 18 days?
    Youre gunna loose 2 days with jet lag and gathering bike , sorting odds n sods.

    Day 3 perth to dongara or greenough , check out the pinicles on the way
    There's nothing in particular at dongara or greenough and geraldton is doable in a day but its a holiday not the dakar
    Day 4 on to kalbarri
    Day 5 kalbarri there are things here to fall off or splash around
    Day 6 on to canarvon youll be happy to see it when you get there but equally happy to leave. If there was more time id say go to denham / monkey mia but you just wasted a day dicking around kalbari
    Day 7 on to coral bay or exmouth
    Days 8 & 9 & 10 doin the whale shark thang (pre booked ideal day 9 note days 5&8 can be used to compensate for breakdown weather etc) apparently there's a fair amount of swimming involved
    Gives you 7 days to back track to perth (by which time you'll be a seasoned tourer and be able to do the return in one day)
    Note: this may not be the universe where the above is relevant.

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    I have actually got in the habit of stopping at Jurien bay for a swim on the way to Geraldton. There is a snorkel trail on the beach there at the old jetty. Haven't done it, usually swim out to the floating platform, do a few bombies have a shower and continue.

    Kalbarri for sure, then Carnarvon. Buy some beers and keep going to Minilya and sleep in the riverbed was the drill.
    They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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    Space museum in Carnarvon is worth a look. Lobster shack Cervantes.

    Time is tight but you could head across to Karajini, then take the inland road back to Perth thru some exciting places like Meekatharra, Cue, and Wubin. Maybe loop thru Toodyay.
    Capricorn Roadhouse has good accommodation... Be wary of stock and wild animals on the roads up there... once you get north of Kalbarri or Wubin there are no fences.

    You can skydive onto the beach at Jurien.

    If you're planning to go off main roads you might want to take a PLB.
    Last edited by peter600; Yesterday at 09:09 PM.

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