Capturing enough of the diverse and unique magic of Australia for your memory bank in less than a week sounds like a pipe dream. But it can be done.
Pick the right routes, get some miles under your belt, be wary of snakes and you’ll get a perfect taster of this incredible and huge island. So says Triumph adventure rider Weronika Kwapisz, who reveals although a full month would be great to discover the rugged, beautiful heart of Australia, it’s not impossible to get a good flavour in just few days.
An unexpected visa delay meant six days was all she had before her flight back to Poland, so she chose her route wisely (starting and finishing in Melbourne) and says any strapped-for-time motorcyclist should follow her lead for an appetite-whetting snapshot of Australia.
“You’ve got to be prepared to rack up an average 500 or 600 miles a day but if you do, then the rewards more than compensate for any tiredness. And anyway, you’ve got lots of time to be tired when you’re old,” Weronika says.
Her most memorable moment came as she rode her 2018 Street Scrambler through the verdant forests of Port Campbell National Park along the Great Ocean Road in south-east Australia’s Victoria province.
“…the real Australia”
Henty and Wagga Wagga
Weronika’s first contact with Australia was the kind of monotonous dry bushland that never finds its way into the tourist brochures: “I rode to Henty and Wagga Wagga through total dryness and mile after mile of red sand and dust, but it was enthralling because it was so different… the real Australia.
“I rode for hundreds of kilometres. It was like roaring through the Wild West and then suddenly I’d hit a small town with just a main street of architecture that could have come from a European city like France. Time for a drink, refuel and more wilderness.”
Check your boots for snakes
Australia was a shock at first, with many public toilets featuring antidote stations for snake bites: “It kind of brings it home to you that this isn’t a safe place if you’re not aware. Every time I got back on my bike I checked beneath the engine and in my boots because they love the warmth. Spiders are another thing I’m terrified of but it’s best to remember the bigger they are the less dangerous they tend to be.”
Triumph: bringing people together
Sydney and south
Three years earlier, after her American adventure, Weronika had been contacted by a Polish Triumph Thruxton rider living in Sydney who told her to get in touch if she was ever passing. Now was that time.
“I got in touch with him and he was my guide for three days, showing me a few of the 150 beaches around Sydney and really helping me soak up the atmosphere,” she says. “We had two things in common… we were both Polish and both rode Triumphs, and that was enough to create a bond. Riding a Triumph definitely brings people together.”
Weronika then took the winding road south again: “It had the lot… plenty of twisties taking you towards the Tasman Sea and then back towards eucalyptus forests.”
“Hundreds of white parrots flying free”
Long road down to Twelve Apostles
“As I weaved in and out of a string of twisties I saw limestone stacks jutting out of an azure-blue sea to my right – the Twelve Apostles – and above me in the trees hundreds of huge white parrots flying free. It’s a wild place, stunningly beautiful and just as nature intended,” she says.
“I saw Australia’s wildlife, from wombats and koalas to the very occasional kangaroo. That was a cool way to end a trip that started with a far less colourful venture into the red dusty internal roads.”
Eating up the dirt without realising
Back to Melbourne
“It’s not the smoothest road but the Scrambler’s seat made up for that and I could stand on the pegs whenever potholes lay ahead. When the road got really bad, I edged on to the dirt where she felt most at home with those tyres. I was doing around 600km every day, but it didn’t feel like it.
“You need to choose the right bike to do a condensed trip like this and if you do, choose the local roads – you see things that the average tourist without a bike never will. Six days was enough to get a flavour… but I’ll definitely have to go back to see more.”