20 individual stages that link up to create a fully supported and achievable cycling route around Australia
Choose one stage or ride the lot
Designed for teams to share the challenge by dividing each day’s distances, or join as an individual and ride with great new friends
Raising money for MS Australia and your own charity if you wish
All stages completed over 3 years with each stage varying between 4 to 14 days in duration
Achievable for most cyclists and budgets with accommodation and camping options available
Choose between our vehicle support or bring your own additional vehicle
Come share in this environmentally friendly adventure with a highly experienced support team creating safer riding conditions and organising all accommodation and camping options, meals, water, bike and luggage transfer and support.
For more detailed information about the Australia Ride concept, download the PDF here.
Camooweal, a historic outback town a long way from anywhere
Ride as a modern explorer on the now thankfully sealed original stock route that joined the wild west with the east
Learn the history of the pioneers along this unique corridor that assisted in the opening of Australia’s interior
Tennant Creek - a town that was built on Australia's last gold rush in the 1930's
"The border ride, QLD to NT"
We organise everything that you will need for the duration of this 7 day tour, including accommodation or camping, food, safety and support vehicles, bike mechanic and much more.
Imagine waking up in the early daylight and looking around from a comfortable room or your tent knowing that all that the day asks of you is to jump on your bike and experience some of Australia's most remarkable regions.
The food breaks, morning tea, lunch and afternoon snack are all at set times enabling all riders to plan their day and the amount of time required to enjoy the sights and any attractions along the way. Lunch is a great time to relax, refuel your body and chat to your friends, be it in a bakery, a country pub, next to a river or looking out from an ancient mountain range onto the outback. Cyclists can move off in their own time and pace, having been informed of the distance and terrain ahead and aiming to arrive at the overnight stop early to mid afternoon.
Check in or set up your tent then have a cuppa and a snack. Explore the surroundings, go for a walk, share a cool drink with friends or simply relax.
At 6 pm there is a briefing for all cyclists. It is always interesting finding out what happened during the day, sharing some laughs then talking through the sights and special attractions to look out for the next day. Then there are more laughs and stories to be shared as we settle down to a good healthy meal and a few drinks. Bedtime is not far away, where you can put your head down remembering the day and dreaming of tomorrow.
The camaraderie and memories made on a bike ride like this lasts a lifetime.
*Accommodation or 'A' represents both camping and accommodation inclusions. Refer to ride options for more details.
Meal and accommodation inclusions noted as B, L, D, A (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accommodation)
MOUNT ISA Friday, 4th May 2012
Day 1: Arrive in Mount Isa and prepare for the trip ahead. Today is the day for ride registration, checking over your bike, meet and greet the group and have your pre-departure briefing. There is also plenty to see and do in this outback town of 22,000 people. Take a fully guided mine tour (at own cost) underground with 1.2km of tunnels or stay above ground to view huge mining machinery in action and simply experience seeing the working of one of the world's largest mining operations. Then if you take your bike for a spin, have a look at the 'Rodeo Hall of Fame' and head up to the city lookout with a 360 degree panorama of Mt Isa. In the evening we invite you to join the staff and fellow riders at a nearby restaurant for dinner (at your own expense).
MOUNT ISA to BUCKLEY RIVER BUSH CAMP, 90km Saturday, 5th May 2012
B L D A
Day 2: Stage two begins! We ride out of the Selwyn Ranges to our camp next to the Buckley River. The Barkley Highway is an enjoyable ride, it is flat, long and has little traffic and with the lack of corners and high vegetation the vehicles give you plenty of room. We will all be camping tonight - even those on the accommodated package. It is a great way to experience one of the highlights of the outback, the night sky free of any light sources and often without a cloud in sight.
BUCKLEY RIVER BUSH CAMP to CAMOOWEAL, 99km Sunday, 6th May 2012
B L D A
Day 3: Another day of open straight road that takes us to Camooweal, with a population of about 300. We will be riding up what the locals call 'The Tojo's Highway' as it was built during World War II with American funds and was originally designed as a link between the southern states and the theoretical 'front line' in the Northern Territory.
The explorer William Landsborough was the first European to pass through the Camooweal area. At the time (1862) he was looking for Burke and Wills. His reports led to the area being settled by pastoralists and 22 years later the town of Camooweal was gazetted. It grew quickly but the growth of Mount Isa changed that and it is now considered a 'suburb' of Mount Isa, such is the vastness of the region and the huge jurisdiction the Mount Isa City Council operates. With the highway passing straight through town the locals like to joke that they have the longest main street in the world at 189 kilometres long!
If you feel like stretching your legs after the day's ride it is worth having a look at the Camooweal Cemetery and the Drovers Camp Information Centre.
CAMOOWEAL to RANKEN RIVER BUSH CAMP, 121km Monday, 7th May 2012
B L D A
Day 4: It is only a short ride after breakfast to the NT/QLD border. With so much Barkley tablelands grassland about there is even a sign highlighting that you are approaching a photo opportunity and it really is. Especially for those that have ridden all the way out from Cairns and have now crossed the state, Congratulations! We can relax as we wind our clocks back 30 mins or as some Queenslanders like to joke, 30 years. With 51 km to go till we reach our camp we pass Avon Downs where interestingly out here, which could easily be considered the middle of nowhere, there is a police station. Over 350 km to the nearest Northern Territory police station and with no one to fine, you can see why they have set up a free tea and coffee stand out the front (for some company).
We will all be camping tonight - even those on the accommodated package.
RANKEN RIVER BUSH CAMP to BARKLEY HOMESTEAD, 140km Tuesday, 8th May 2012
B L D A
Day 5: After a night out in the bush, which we make as comfortable and entertaining as possible, it is always nice to come across a slice of civilisation. Barkley homestead with its mowed green lawns, swimming pool and bar and grill diner provide all the things that a weary cyclist might be pining for. An oasis in the grasslands with renovated motel rooms and many a fellow traveller keen to hear your story.
BARKLEY HOMESTEAD to 41 MILE BORE BUSH CAMP, 117km Wednesday, 9th May 2012
B L D A
Day 6: In the outback the first few hours on the bike are often the best. Fresh and rested from a good night's sleep, the cool of the morning, the low light and the birdlife that chirps and hops between the bushes and grass tussocks are a joy to experience.
You will notice that out in remote Australia even the drivers seem friendlier as they know that you are in it for the long haul and just how far it is to the next town. There will be passengers in the front seat taking photographs of you and you will get many waves and hoots of the horn. Then when we stop people are always full of questions 'How have you gone?', 'Where is all your gear?', 'Where are you riding to?', followed by 'How far do you go in one day?'. These moments and many others are all part of the unique experience of cycling around Australia.
We will all be camping tonight - even those on the accommodated package. Our last evening to experience the brilliance of the night sky in the outback.
41 MILE BORE BUSH CAMP to TENNANT CREEK, 95km Thursday, 10th May 2012
Day 7: With the end in sight we head for the Stuart Highway. Three Ways Roadhouse marks the intersection. Next door there is also a memorial for John Flynn who was the visionary bush clergyman who started the Royal Flying Doctors.
Turning south we have one last stop before arriving at our destination. The Tennant Creek Telegraph Station is a beautifully restored building that is well worth a look and has been visited by many cyclists. The first was Jerome Murif in 1896 that arrived here half starved from his hazardous cycling journey. He remained here at the Telegraph station for many days and it is written that his happiest memories centred around the dinner table, where he took a savage delight in the partaking of every meal. These guys sure did it tough before the days of gears, clip-in pedals, aluminium frames, roadhouses with hot food and cold drinks and of course roads! Just dirt tracks back then with the Stuart highway only completely sealed in the 1980's.
We made it! What an amazing 6 days crossing the Barkley Tableland. Those continuing onto Stage 3 will receive a complimentary breakfast and either a night accommodation or camping. Those leaving us after Stage 2 are free to organise their departure as it suits. We can book accommodation in Tennant Creek for you if you would like to stay in centrally located accommodation with the group before your departure.
TENNANT CREEK Friday, 11th May 2012
Accommodation tonight is an optional extra or included as part of the next stage. For those that are connecting this stage with Stage 3 this is your rest day, which includes breakfast. Enjoy the day, have a look around town, ride out to Mary-Ann Dam for a swim, take a gold mine tour, tune your bike or simply relax.
Question not answered below?
Feel free to contact us at any time through our website ‘Contact Us’ page, phone or email. We love what we do and want to get you on the best bike ride for you. Speak to us about what's on your mind and we'll help you make your decision.
How fit do I need to be and what training is required? (AR)
This depends on whether you plan to ride the entire stage or divide each days ride distance between a team. If you have a good level of general fitness, are in good health and are a reasonably keen cyclist that is prepared to do some additional training you shouldn’t have a problem with our tours. As a guideline you should work on being able to comfortably ride at 20 km/h on the flat with consistency more important than speed.
To get the most out of your ride leave plenty of time to build your kilometre total distance in training, to gradually attain about 110 km a day for 2 days straight or the distance agreed amongst your team members that you will ride each day. A training outline will be sent to you in your pre-tour info pack. In situations where you cannot complete a particular section of the ride for any reason we will always have support vehicles to transfer you and your bike or in the case where you have your own additional support vehicle you will provide that assistance to your team members.
How do I get there and back?
Recommended arrival date and time: We suggest you arrive no later than midday on Friday 4 May 2012, allowing you plenty of time to settle into your accommodation or camping (included in tour price) and set up your bike for the next day’s ride departure. A suggestion, especially for those arriving from overseas is to allow at least one day prior to 4 May, which will provide you with a more relaxing time to enjoy Mt Isa before your cycling holiday and minimise the risk of flight or other delays.
Recommended departure date and time: We suggest you begin your onward travel the day after the tour finishes, allowing you sufficient time to pack up your bike and gear and get to your departure point whether it is the airport, train station or bus terminal
Registration time and location: 4 May 2012 – 4pm Burke and Wills Outback Motel
Tour finishing time and location: 10 May 2012 – 4pm Tennant Creek , Centrally located accommodation or camping site
Closest airport to the destination:
• Start: Mt Isa, Queensland
• Finish: Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, or bus or rail to Darwin, NT or Alice Springs, NT
Key airlines servicing Mt Isa:
• Brisbane 2.5 hrs - Qantas
• Townsville 1.75 hrs – Qantas, REX
• Cairns 2 hrs Skytrans
• Darwin 2 hrs Airnorth
• Gold Coast 2.25 hrs Airnorth
Key airline servicing Tennant Creek:
• Darwin 2 hours – Fly Tiwi - www.flytiwi.com.au
Ghan rail departing Thursday 10 May - 11:00pm to Darwin
Check greatsouthernrail.com.au for more info or call 132 147
For bus transport or freight options check www.greyhound.com.au or call 1300 473 946
Post touring options: Australia Ride Stage 2, Tennant Creek to Darwin
Is the riding safe?
We have a great safety record and do our best to inform motorists so that they can drive accordingly, however cyclists have to play their part in keeping well over to the left. We have support vehicles on the road showing 'Caution Cyclists' signs and a ‘tail end Charlie’ (vehicle following the last rider) with a flashing beacon to warn traffic about our cycling group. You will also be briefed before each day's ride pointing out parts of the road that may get narrow or have any known hazards.
Meals and Food
Always a big part of any cycling holiday! Check tour details for meal inclusions on your ride. Our emphasis is on fresh food and balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins, fruit and vegies catering for a cycling holiday. We successfully cater to most dietary requirements, however feel free to contact us with any questions. Most meals are included as part of our tours, however you may be required to purchase some meals. See the 'Day to Day' tab for more details, or click the 'Generate Itinerary' button.
What is the accommodation like?
We always try to obtain great accommodation in the best location for you to rest your weary head (and legs) in each town whether it be a motel, hotel, cabins or similar, usually 3, 3½, 4 star. We choose the best and most welcoming motel for cyclists and our tour group needs. On occasion we travel through some very small towns where accommodation is extremely limited. If for whatever reason, such as limited options, the accommodation one night is below normal standard, we strive to improve this with an extra good room the next night or nights following.
Sharing rooms – how does it work?
On the online entry form you can nominate any travelling companions that you would like to share a room with and/or be accommodated close to so that couples or friends can be roomed together. This can be in a double bed or in twin beds. If you are travelling alone like many of our riders, you can choose to 'twin share' where single riders are paired with other riders of the same gender and sometimes changed at each accommodation to create interest in sharing rooms. Single Supplement is also available for those that would like their own room for the whole trip. If you are a chronic snorer or have other habits that may affect your fellow room-mates we suggest booking your own room.
What is the camping like?
Due to the long distance between accommodation in some of Australia’s more remote areas, camping may be necessary for the entire tour group. Check tour details for specific information. These nights out in the bush are often the highlight of the tour for many people. We will provide basic amenities with an emphasis on enjoying the camping experience and a focus on hygiene. We often have a fire which is used to cook delicious dinners on for an authentic outback experience.
Those booked on an accommodation option can choose to have their air-mattress and tent provided free of charge for any nights where camping is necessary or they can bring their own.
For those on a camping option, tent, air-mattress and sleeping bag are usually available for hire, bookable on the ‘Optional Extras’ area of the booking form, or you can provide your own. Packing a small comfortable pillow can add a lot of comfort to a night sleep.
What’s not included in the tour price?
• Airfare and transportation to and from the tour pick-up/drop-off locations
• Accommodation before and after the tour other than stated on the 'day to day' inclusions (pre & post accom can often be booked by us - check the ‘Optional Extras’ under the ‘Pricing’ tab)
• Personal accident or travel insurance
• Personal items purchased during the tour
• Some meals may not be included allowing you the opportunity to explore the regional cuisine and choose your own meal. Check tour details for more information.
• Optional activities and sightseeing
What sorts of people join our rides?
People from all parts of Australia and overseas. Ages generally range from 30 - 70 with the average age about 50 years old. Adventurous cyclists usually about 40% women & 60% men with a mix of singles, friends and couples.
What is the weather likely to be?
Our tours have been specifically scheduled to take into consideration the best time of year to travel to that destination. This takes into account the temperate range, possible rainfall and the prevailing winds. Of course, we can’t ever control the weather however this only adds to the adventure and excitement of your travel experience!
For more specific weather and climate information visit www.bom.gov.au or for our international tours visit www.worldweather.org
What type of bike is best?
A comfortable racing bike, road bike or touring bike with a good seat and road tires with slick or near-slick tread. A hybrid or mountain bike is also possible if you are comfortable riding the daily distances and average speed of the tour (ask us for the 'Training Tips' document for this ride).
What bike mechanical assistance is provided?
A tour guide with bike mechanical knowledge will be part of our crew and will have most items that are required, including a good stand-pump for different valves. The bike parts used for replacement will be charged at shop prices. Labour is free for the first fifteen minutes, there after costs may be incurred at the mechanic's discretion. Cyclists with rare or different bikes are asked to contact us at AllTrails as parts can often be very difficult to obtain.
Accidents - who can help?
We have a great safety record, but accidents can happen. We have comprehensive First-Aid Kits with trained 1st aiders as tour guides and drivers, mobiles and a satellite phone for emergency calls and the locality of hospitals in the areas that we travel through. We also have vehicles that can take anyone injured or sick for further treatment.
Camping Equipment Hire
Tents, air-mattresses and sleeping bags are often available for hire. Check ‘Optional Extras’ under the ‘Pricing’ tab to view exact hire costs. Tents are usually 2 or 3-man dome tents which are quickly and simply assembled. Staff can also assist you with setup and pack-down if required when they are available. If you wish to share a tent with a travelling partner, make this request when booking. Air-mattresses are comfortable inflatable air-pads. Sleeping bags are dual zip bags, rated to zero deg celcius.
Can I rent a bike?
We do not have a fleet of hire bikes however we can usually help you out with organising bike hire through our local contacts near our office in Melbourne, or closer to a ride departure location. When you make your booking just let us know that you would also like to hire a bike and we will get the ball rolling for you and put you in touch with the right people where possible. You can also bring your own seat and/or pedals to give you that little bit of 'home comfort'.
Do I need insurance to join the tour?
Travel Insurance for lost deposits and cancellations:
Lost deposits: We very strongly recommend you take out travel insurance for your trip. This should include cover for cancellation fees, lost deposits, and stolen or lost luggage (including your bike). We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. There are many unforseen reasons why cyclists may need to withdraw from a ride - injury, health, weddings, business, personal and many more. Cancellation fees can be a major financial loss to you and as a small business we need to adhere to our cancellation policies. Please go to the ride page on our website for your ride and click the 'Terms & Conditions' button to see the ride's cancel policy.
Travel Insurance: Domestic travel insurance cover tends to be significantly cheaper than international cover (approx $50 for one week). Above are two websites that offer both international and domestic travel insurance that you can look at. You can also speak to your local travel agent, or often airline booking websites will offer travel insurance as an optional extra as you book your flight.
This is also very strongly recommended. We cannot emphasise enough how important this is. Cycling can be a dangerous activity and you must be prepared for the worst. You may have an accident in training for the ride, on the ride itself, or cycling down to the corner dairy. If you are a cyclist coming on our tour you should be 100% prepared for the unexpected.
Cyclist insurance can be bought separately, or it comes with cycling memberships such as Bicycle Network Victoria or Bicycle Queensland. If you are involved in a crash or collision they will support you with personal injury costs, loss of income, third party liability insurance, assistance in completing your claim paper work & free legal consultation.
Life Insurance and TPD Insurance (often paid through your superannuation), and Private Health Insurance are also worth considering.
Bring your friends and save some money! For all groups of 5 or more entrants you will receive 5% discount off your respective entry fees. This excludes any optional extras such pre and post tour accom, cycling jersey, t-shirt etc.
Contact our office for more details and information.
I have a group who would like to know more. Can I book an info session?
Contact us if you would like to find out about booking an info session for your group of friends, or if you would like to find out about a travel talk happening near you in the future.
Be inspired, hear from the experts, learn more about a destination and even book your tour on the night.
Not a problem! You’ll find other like-minded cycling companions taking part in our rides. If you’re a solo traveller we will pair you with other solo travellers of the same gender in twin share accommodation or you can opt for Single Supplement (additional cost) to receive a room of your own.
Tour dates, ride direction and prevailing winds?
Each stage has been specifically scheduled to take place when as many factors important to a great cycling holiday are likely to, or will, occur. We have taken into consideration the prevailing winds, hence the anticlockwise direction of the circumnavigation of Australia as well as the south to north crossing for stages 17 & 18 from Adelaide to the Top End. We have also taken into account the temperature range, potential risks, possible rainfall and the best times to view the attractions on route. Of course, we can’t ever control the weather however this only adds to the adventure and excitement of your travel experience!
For more specific weather and climate information visit www.bom.gov.au
Brochure. How can I get one?
You can download an AllTrails brochure from our homepage, otherwise contact us with your postal address and we will mail you a copy.
Can I talk to someone who has done one of your tours?
Absolutely. We will be happy to give you the names and telephone numbers of people who have participated in the ride or a similar ride that you are considering. Where possible we will provide you with the details of someone within your city or state.
Another good place to look is our ‘Testimonials’ page.
How can I stay in communication with home?
Will my mobile phone work on tour? Part of the appeal of a holiday is to get away from the hassles of everyday life! If you can’t leave home without your mobile phone, check with your service provider to see where you will have coverage. Telstra Next G provides the greatest coverage for remote towns and areas in Australia. As you may not always have mobile phone coverage, particularly if you travel into remote locations, it's best to purchase a phonecard or calling card before you leave home, as most public telephones do not take coins.
Some towns may have an internet café or access to an internet terminal, so you may be able to check your emails from time to time while you’re away. If you don’t already have a web-based email account, it is a good idea to set one up before you leave, e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail.
I am coming from another country, what do I need to know?
Welcome! Traditionally most of the clientele on our rides have been from Australia or New Zealand, but we also have had many riders from USA and UK/Europe. You just need to make sure that your passport and visas are in order and check the cost of transferring your bike to Australia, or rent one here.
What if I need to change or cancel my tour?
We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for all our Australian rides at the time of deposit and ensure that it includes coverage for cancellation fees if for some reason you are not able to travel. For our international tours we require all participants to have Travel Insurance to assist you in the event of a medical emergency, lost baggage, personal liability, cancelled tour or any other trip related issues.
Should you wish to change your booking with AllTrails to a different tour, there will be a very reasonable service charge. We try to keep this figure as low as possible to allow flexibility where we can as we want to make sure that you get on the right tour for you.
For cancellation and refund policies for your tour click the ‘Terms & Conditions’ button on the relevant tour page of our website.
What to pack?
We recommend you bring a soft bag or backpack. We advise against bringing a suitcase as they are bulky, difficult to stow on board vehicles or trailers and heavy. You may be required to lift or carry your own luggage from time to time, e.g. into accommodation. Any excess luggage may need to be stored or forwarded on to your final destination at your own expense.
Information about what to pack is included as part of your Pre-Departure information. Generally we advise that you pack as light as possible.
(c) copyright AllTrails Bicycle Tours 2013. All rights reserved.