Australian Wing Riders Association (Qld) Inc

A club for riders of Honda GoldWing and Valkyrie motorcycles

Two Members ride to Ayers rock

Member Input - Private Trip
Written by John Gilbert
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 17:22

Late Aug 09 saw John Gilbert and John Brak from Melbourne and a Ultra Glide Harley Shane Blakeborough from Geelong head off in the early morning to Ayers Rock 2300km away. This was the first major trip for the two new wings and as Shane only just bought his Harley the week before it was a new bike for him as well.

Day 1 Melbourne - Mildura

Today saw the two GoldWings head out from Melbourne and as it was early and a Saturday the traffic was light. Just out of the city the clouds darkened over and the air started to get cold, we knew we were in for a bit of rain with a quick stop under an underpass we put on our wet weather gear. A short distance up the road it poured with rain and the wind picked up enough to toss our bikes around. The heaters came on, on the seats and handle bars as we made our way through to the other side of the storm. As we got onto the country roads towards Mildura the weather cleared up to clear skies and the temperature was starting to raise. The plan was to meet up with Shane in Mildura but as we came through the little town of oyouen Shane and two of his mates were stopped for coffee. Mildura is the fruit bowl of the state of Victoria with orchards and grape vines everywhere and very rich soil. 

Crossing the SA border 

Day 2 Mildura - Port Augusta

This morning saw us get underway all eager to get some miles under our belts and with not a cloud in the sky we were off to a good start. We followed the Murray River (one of the biggest rivers in Australia)for some time and then started to head inland towards the South Australian border and the small old town of Burra.  As we got closer to the border the clouds started to come over and the temperature dropped again as it appeared we were headed for another dumping of rain with the temperature dropping from 18 degrees to 8 degrees, the heaters got another workout. The rain was a little kinder to us this time and it appeared we were just behind the rain and only got a few drops on us. We arrived in Port Augusta all ready for tomorrows ride into the true Australian outback.


Leaving Port Augusta  

Day 3 Port Augusta - Coober Pedy 

Today saw the bikes travel over some of the flattest and barest country in Australia, our first stop was in Plima which is the turn off to Woomera, so a side trip into Woomera was taken to see the rockets and remoteness of this part of the country. You have marvel at how people live out here in such a sparse part of Australia. (Woomera may bring back some memories for some of the ex military members of GWRRA as in the 60s there was a large USA contingent in Woomera for the fitment of radar etc.) Back on the road again for the 300 km trip to Coober Pedy the opal capital of Australia. The road remains very flat all the way with not a tree for miles. The road from here up all the way to Ayers rock has a lot of road kill on it and this in turn draws the wedge tail eagle to the side of the road and they can take some time to get going in flight when they hear you coming so caution is needed when approaching this large bird.  As you approach Coober Pedy you know you are close as the country side is littered with small mounds of dirt from the individual opal mines. Tonight’s accommodation  is in the underground motel an old opal mine made into a motel and, boy, once the lights were turned out you could not see a thing.


Rooms in Coober Pedy 

 A wing and a road

The long and lonley road

Day 4 Coober Pedy - Erldunda

Today’s ride was a very long ride with long straight stretches going on forever the vegetation in these parts of Australia is very low due to the heat and low water. Along these parts of Australian roads the massive road trains travel and with up to four trailers can be a daunting site as they come towards you and can take some time to pass. As we rode to the Northern Territory Border it seemed be moving away from us instead of getting closer, but finally we made it to the border and after a quick break and some pictures we rode on into Erldunda which is a road house resort at the turn off to Ayers Rock. There is something about the air in the Australian outback that draws you to it again and again. Having been here a couple of times it is something you never forget and at night the display of stars is unbelievable.

 A friend at Eldundra

 Day 5 Erldunda - Ayers Rock,(Uluru) 

Well today is the day we get to see the rock, we could have  covered the distance yesterday but it would have meant getting into the small township of Yulara late and miss seeing the rock on the horizon as come into town. We awoke with cloudy skies and the likelihood of rain however it is not so bad when it rains in this part of the country because you dry very quickly and the temperature stays warm, so it is quite pleasant to have some showers.  The two GoldWings were on our own today as Shane had to go to Alice Springs and would join us later in the day.  As you ride towards Uluru there are a couple of false starts as there are one or two rock formations that look quite like the rock itself but once you see the real rock there is no doubting you are seeing one of the natural wonders of the world. After three hours of riding from Erldunda to Yulara we checked into our cabin and then we head straight out to the rock for our first visit. It costs $25 for a tree day pass to enter the park.

We rode around this mammoth rock and marvelled at its height and beauty that it brings to the barren landscape. (Its taller than the Eiffel tower and equal to an18 story building) Ayers Rock (Uluru) is an inselberg meaning "island mountain" an isolated remnant left after the slow erosion of an original mountain range

Sunset at the rock

Day 6/7 Sunset –Sunrise of Uluru – and walking the rock 

We awoke at 5.30am to see the sunset on Uluru. There is no picture that can show the colours that you see with your naked eye, and we experienced lots of them for both the sunset and the sunrise. We were lucky enough that there was a lot of cloud and some rain around which formed a rainbow over the rock (I am sure there is a song about that) after sunrise we headed off to the Olgas or Kata Tjuta actually means 'many heads' in traditional Aboriginal language which is another beautiful rock formation 30 kilometres from Uluru. With the day drawing to a close we headed back in the hope that tomorrow the walk would be open and we would e able to climb the rock. We headed out early along with most of the other tourists to see the sunrise and hopefully walk the rock early however the wind was very strong and the walk was closed. As the rangers check the wind strength every two hours we came back at 10.00am again it was closed so we decided to stay on until 12.00pm and we were in luck the ranger opened the rock walk and we were the first to go up.  The first part of the climb is the steepest but once on top the view is unbelievable and the moonscape has its own beauty. The walk took us about three hours to complete and you knew you had walked the rock when you returned to the bottom With the trip drawing to a close it was time to press the home button on the GoldWing GPS. The journey home took us the same way as we came up as we did not have enough leave time from work to take the round trip to Mount Isa and back down the east coast to Melbourne.

As we headed away on the 2300 km ride from Uluru we had many colourful pictures in our minds that will last us a lifetime.

Sunset at the rock

Rainbow over the rock