Exploring the vastness of Australia from coast to coast is one of those special things that you must try at least once in your lifetime, and if you love touring on a motorcycle, the open stretches of Australian road will not disappoint you. The best time to visit Australia is during their summers (December to February), which is winter in the northern hemisphere, and that also makes for a great winter escape vacation if you reside above the equator. Here are 5 of the most important tips that you need to know about touring Australia on a motorcycle.
5 Tips for Australian Motorcycle Tours
1. Stay hydrated and protect your skin
Summer temperature in Australia can reach as high as 35 degree Celsius, and we strongly recommend that you don’t venture outdoors during the middle of the day especially if you are not used to such high temperatures. According to the travel advisory issued by the Australian tourism department, the summer sun can burn your skin in less than 15 minutes! So, always make sure to cover your skin with a high SPF (>30) sunscreen lotion and stay hydrated by drinking water whenever you get the opportunity. Look for symptoms of dehydration such as headache and lack of focus and take necessary precaution to avoid being under the sun unnecessarily. A good way to avoid the strong sun is to plan your rides early in the morning, and stay indoors during the mid-day till 3:00 PM. On average, the sun sets by 7:30 PM during summer, which means you get quite a lot of time to cover ground even if you resume your ride after the hottest time of the day.
2. Plan your rides (especially if you are touring the ‘Top End’)
The Northern Territory of Australia, also commonly known as the Top End, is famous for its waterfalls and bustling tropical wildlife that comes alive during the summers (from the beginning of November). Tourists love to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site – Kakadu National Park, famous for glimpses of aboriginal culture and amazing biodiversity. Apart from Kakadu, the Top End draws tourists to its other national parks, namely, Elsey, Nitmiluk and Gregory – all of which are great spots to explore. Being on a motorcycle, you need to be prepared for the tropical rains in the region during this time. Be sure to keep your luggage covered and have appropriate tires on the motorcycle to tackle the occasional muddy patches of off-road sections. It’s also a good idea to find out whether the roads exist because rain water often submerges unpaved roads here.
3. Watch for the speed cameras
Speed limits in Australia are strictly reinforced which means you need to keep an eye on your speed limit and stay within the demarcated maximum. One thing that trips travelers from the United States and Europe is that speed limits are kilometers per hour instead of mph. If you fail to abide by the speed limits there are speed trap cameras placed all along the highway which will definitely catch you and penalize you.
4. Brush up your outback survival skills
The Australian Outback is a particularly challenging place and it is very sparsely populated, which means if you get into trouble it’s all guts & wits that will get you out of trouble! Most of the road related injuries in the Outback happen because of unpaved road surfaces so you need to have a motorcycle that is worthy of tackling those challenges. Also, it is a good idea to never ride alone and have somebody accompany you on your trip to the Outback, preferably someone with camping skills and who knows his or her way around motorcycles. Make sure to get updated maps (you’ll need paper maps, because the internet connectivity is iffy at best) and plan your route accordingly. Carry a motorcycle repair kit, and enough food and water to last you at least a couple of days even if you do not plan to be out for more than 9 hours at a stretch.
5. Learn a little about Australian motorcycles
The Australian automobile landscape is completely different from what you would expect if you are an American or a European visiting Australia for the first time. While you might get quite a few common automobile brands, there is a vast difference in the models and makes of vehicles available here. BMW GS1250s, Tiger Triumphs, Africa Twins or Yamaha Teneres may not be as easily available as you might expect, which means you will need to find a compatible machine if you do not already have your own motorcycle. It is also a good idea to acquire an international driving license from the Automobile Association in your country before arriving here with intentions of riding or driving around.
Last but not least, getting the basics right can completely change your travel experiences. One of those is getting the best accommodation in Australia for your budget, and the second is staying safe during your motorcycling trips, which is why we strongly recommend that you wear the proper riding gear such as a Safest Motorcycle Helmet, gloves and a pair of riding boots.
Author: Aryan Khanna is an avid rider proud of the miles on his odometer! When he is not hitting the highways, Aryan loves sharing his experiences and opinions on motorcycle riding safety and scenic routes across. Over the last 8 years, Aryan has written on motorcycle safety topics such as helmets and gloves, as well on other aspects of road safety.