The Easter period is often a chance for people to take some time off and get away from the humdrum of everyday life.
For riders it presents a chance to get away to one of those destinations that has been on the bucket list for a while. The roads and towns can get a little busy with other people out and about, but with a little careful planning it’s still a great time to get some serious miles under your wheels and get to know our amazing country. We’ve compiled a handful of our favourite rides and destinations to help motivate you into organising a road trip this season. Just remember to pack extra spares and tools as many businesses will be closed, and if you undertake one of our less-travelled off-road routes, take plenty of water to stay hydrated under, and let people know what your itinerary and plans are so they can check up on you. Happy trails and stay safe out there!
Great Ocean Road, Vic
The Great Ocean Road south-west of Melbourne is one of the most iconic and best known motorcycling roads in Australia. It’s popular as a touring route from the coastal villages and surfing towns near Geelong through to Warrnambool, and also as a day or weekend destination for local riders.
The road is officially designated the B100 and runs for 215km from Anglesea to Port Campbell. It follows the coastline for much of its length and offers some great sections of corners well suited to motorcycles.
There are plenty of facilities along the route for fuel, food and accommodation. We love to camp at one of the many spots along the water’s edge.
And remember to keep your eyes open for some of the abundant wildlife.
Oxley Highway, NSW
The Oxley is always high on riders’ lists of favourite roads due to the variety of corners and great scenery on offer, although surrounding roads such as Thunderbolts Way are equally suited to motorcycling and offer truly stunning views across the Barrington Tops.
Heading inland from Port Macquarie, the ride starts at Wauchope and continues for around 160km to the town of Walcha. While there are a couple of petrol bowsers along this route, it’s best to fill up at the service centre at Port Macquarie as you pass through Wauchope.
The road meanders west to Long Flat, where the Long Flat Hotel and general store/cafe opposite are the main features in town. The Gingers Creek General Store halfway along the route is another popular place to stop and also offers fuel.
Definitely one to cross off your list if you haven’t done it yet.
Flinders Ranges, SA
If you like a bit of scenery with your riding, Australia’s remote central landscapes take some beating.
Northern South Australia features some spectacular views, particularly around the Flinders Ranges National Park. The sealed road from Hawker to Blinman is a great ride in itself and passes a number of worthwhile tourist attractions, including Wilpena Pound, Sacred Canyon and Willow Springs.
If you can handle a bit of dirt, the Moralana Scenic loop through Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges will take you through some of the most scenic places you will ever experience.
Wilpena Resort offers accommodation and facilities and we can recommend it as a good base to explore the area.
Where to start and end!? Pick any part of Tasmania and you will find great motorcycling roads.
We like to ride around Cradle Mountain because the scenery around Dove Lake (above right) is just magnificent, and there are several routes that link across to other good areas. One option is to cut across to the Tarkine wilderness area on the north-west coast via Waratah. This picturesque little town features a natural waterfall during wet periods and the Waratah Hotel is run by motorcycle-friendly folk who offer accommodation and great food.
Tassie is very popular with tourists, though, so book ahead or carry a swag/tent.
Queensland is massive and has so much variety it’s hard to pick a favourite ride. One stand-out for us is checking out Gayndah, the oldest established town in the state. It’s a bit out of the way but is surrounded by excellent dirt roads that typify the red dirt base for which Queensland is known, as well as flora and fauna that make it instantly recognisable, like boab trees. The area is accessible from Brisbane via a network of great sealed and unsealed roads over the
Jimna Range, D’Aguilar National Park and Mt Glorious.
The Red Centre
If you’re up for a more challenging adventure, you might consider hitting up some of the more remote sandy regions in the centre of the country.
There are several rides that offer an interesting route without being too extreme for the average dual-sport motorcycle and rider.
Birdsville is one such destination and provides a real outback desert feel. The Birdsville Track itself is an achievable unsealed ride that is easy to navigate and offers several options to link onto either the Northern Flinders Ranges or the Oodnadatta Track, which is also a moderately easy ride (to Oodnadatta and Coober Pedy).
Bad weather and wildlife are two of the big cautions when planning a trip through this area. We can tell you from experience that emus are unpredictable, stupid and plentiful. Just make sure you carry enough spares and extra fuel for the bike, and lots of water for yourself.
High Country, NSW and VIC
We have to mention the Alpine regions that stretch through lower NSW and into Victoria. These high-country areas contain some of the best riding and scenery in the country, and are within a comfortable day’s ride from either Sydney or Melbourne.
The Snowy Mountains Highway in NSW and the Great Alpine Road in Victoria are great starting points to explore this motorcycling nirvana, but they are just a gateway to the multitude of sealed B-roads that weave through the alpine wilderness.
The options available to link up some of the best of these roads are too extensive to list here, but there is barely a bad choice and many of the towns throughout the area are very motorcycle friendly and offer plenty of alternatives for food and accommodation, with many areas to camp in the national parks in between.
Story & Photography Tim Munro
As published in AMCN (Vol 67 No12)