Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Canadian Winter = Australian Summer (sort 'f)

More Planning and Anticipation

The rains are coming down, and they are talking about 110 kph winds on the outside of the Vancouver Island. I have made some moves in order to make the jump to an Australian walkabout.  I have applied for a visa, and I am working on some further planning.

My Current Position
I have a SPOTGen3, and I have been struggling to understand the new technology in order to track my travels.  Hopefully this page shows some tracks of where I have been.....

Current Weather in Australia
Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Current Weather in Canada and British Columbia

It is simplistic to think that the state of the weather "down under" is a reverse of our Canadian seasons.  We seem to be experiencing a relatively warm and rainy winter here on the "wet" coast of British Columbia, while our neighbours in the eastern part of Canada have had some horrendous storms and bouts of Arctic cold.  In our small village of Tahsis,  the rainfall amount over time can range to as much as 4 meters on an annual basis.  I am hoping to avoid most of this winters' rains as I tour Oz.  Our local school, Captain Meares Elementary Secondary School, has a very comprehensive web page detailing the daily weather in our community.

I loved teaching Social Studies and I have always had a fascination with maps, so readers will have to bear with me, as I listen to the wind and rain and I  reacquaint myself with the nuances of blogging and embedding maps and links to useful information for my upcoming visit to the land down under.   I anticipate that I will be landing in Sydney and searching for a suitable motorcycle in and around Sydney and possibly the surrounding cities and states on the eastern coast of Australia.

I have been trolling the internet for awhile as I ramp up my anticipation of a visit to Australia.  While a lot of backpackers go for caravans and other vehicles for their jaunt through Oz, I am focused on riding a motorcycle around this grand continent.  There are a number of online resources for planning which are worth mentioning.

Horizons Unlimited

This website is the go-to information center for folks contemplating a moto journey.  Based on a cooperative model, travellers share all sorts of information regarding the issues which arise when one sets out to see the world.

In this section of the HU website, it becomes pretty clear to me that the cost of shipping a bike to Australia and back can get expensive and onerous.

I cannot speak highly enough of the HU members of the Sydney Australia forum.  I have been reaching out to them in an effort to understand the Australian laws and expectations regarding purchasing a used bike, as well as the "rego" (registration legalities) for the different states. Without fail, folks have responded to  my naive questioning with facts and good concrete advice.  I will be forever grateful for the contacts which I have made through Horizons Unlimited and the support which the Australian riders have offered to me.

Adventure Rider

Another world-class website catering to those of us who ride is also focused on sharing tips about riding.  The Australian section of the Adventure Rider forum has many pages of advice and commentary from those Australian riders who enjoy year-round riding.

Lonely Planet Guide

Thanks to my nephew, I have a hard-copy of the Lonely Planet Guide. I found that it was invaluable in South America, and helped with discovering hostels and the like.  I have been lurking on the Thorn Tree forum, which offers reasonable advice for those interested in backpacking and travelling in Australia.

GumTree Australia

Thanks to some tips from folks on the ADV forum, I have learned that Gumtree Australia is one of the primary sites to watch for people selling motorcycles and other gear.


I have found that Bike  is also a very good internet site for discovering  different motorcycles for sale in Australia.

You Tube

Some old-schoolers will decry the onset of technology, and admittedly there have been times when my tangle of chargers, cords, batteries and sd cards has caused  me to  shake my head, I still find that there are wonderful resources for travel and exploration of new countries.  I have recently discovered the great resource which YouTube can be for discovering video diaries and documentaries of travellers' journeys in the land down under.


I have upgraded my satellite tracking system to the newer version, the SpotGen3.  I have set up an account, and hopefully, I can embed a map of my travels.

Moto Dealerships in Sydney, Australia

These dealers will be the starting point on my quest to find a decent touring bike.  While I like the XR650L Honda, I understand that Honda Australia does not import them anymore, and that they are relatively  expensive.  I am finding that overall, used bikes in Australia are in fact, more expensive than here in Canada.  I have noticed that there are a few used Kawasaki KLR650's in the different sites. I know a few folks here in Canada who swear by them, and they seem to be comfortable enough.  I have also looked at a number of Suzuki DR650's, so I may be considering one of these as well.

Considering my options:

 Comparing KLR and the DR650:  Oklahoma ADV is a long one, but he makes some good points about each bike.

Suzuki 650 V-Strom

This site gives this bike a good rating.  I have had a hint from a fellow HU member informing me hat  there is a V-Strom for sale in Australia, fairly near to Sydney.

As I fantasize about my ride around Australia, this is my idealized tour of the continent down-under.  A complete encirclement of Australia, with a visit to my friends in Alice Springs and a side-trip to Uluru thrown in, would make my day.  Dr. Google says that this route is only 17,500 kilometers, so that is easily manageable in terms of wear on my ass.   I think, however, that I may need to analyze a few of the particulars a little bit more closely....

View Larger Map

My Trip on Blondy to Newfoundland and Back last June:

View Larger Map

The good news is that Navigating in Australia should not be a problem, I will just head south from Sydney and keep the water on my problema.  The better news is that I do not have to return over the same track, as I did in Canada.  This will be a bonus and undoubtedly the roads will be better than I found in Quebec: no broken shocks for me!

So my Mantra will be: Stay Left, Water on the Left, Stay Left!