Saturday, June 16, 2007


We've made it to Bourke!

So here we are in Bourke, having just completed Stage 4 of the Great Outback Bike Ride! The last week has gone quickly, but it seems we've packed a lot in and been to some interesting places. The temperature has been dropping, and dropping... the frost on the ground this morning (and on tents, swags and the table!) confirmed what we all knew - it was a cooooold night!

Leaving Quilpie on the Queens Birthday public holiday, we headed for the pub. That is, the pub with no town! Toompine was a former Cobb & Co staging point, and was quite a busy hub in its day! Now, it's population 2, as well as camels, goats, sheep, llamas, a pig, pups and a cocky! We ate a fantastic meal in the pub, and slept 'school camp' style, swagging it on the floor in the big hall next to the pub. Toompine was also the location for our inaugral outback golf challenge, playing on the recently made golf course - the greens are more like reds, and there's not much (any?) grass around!

From Toompine, it was a pretty long day on the bikes to Yowah. It was late in the afternoon when we arrived there, and cooling down quickly. It was a great surprise to find the artesian baths, in open-air bathrooms! The sky spread out above as you lay soaking in a soothing hot artesian bath... bliss! A bath and the roaring fire made it a cosy night, although chilly! There was no pub in Yowah, which was the original opal mining town, but the next night at Eulo made up for this fact.

Camping behind the Eulo Queen Hotel was luxurious - luscious green grass and majestic trees! The town of Eulo has a few interesting characteristics making it unique... there's a date winery, just out of town are the mud baths (but they didn't look very inviting when we were there!) and the town used to hold the World Lizard Racing Championships! We had a great night in the pub with the publican, Ken, dishing out a couple of great stories about the hey-day of the lizard races, and the tragic and untimely death of the champion racing cockroach, Destructo, from Sydney.

From Eulo, we headed on to Cunnamulla, where we were greeted by Mike who runs the Outback Masters Games every second year. Cunnamulla is on the Warrego River, and the town is known for the 'Cunnamulla Fella' who sits on his swag in the middle of town.

This was our last night in Queensland... From Cunnamulla, it was time to cross the border, but only just! Barringun is a border town and used to have the gates for passing traffic and stock. These days, there's the brightly decorated Bush Tucker Inn, and across the road the Tattersalls Hotel, with Australia's oldest publican, Mary Crawley, who is 84 years of age and sharp as a tack! We had a great night chatting to Mary (and her son Paddy) and spending time in the 1870's building.

After a long day's ride to Barringun, it was a quick spin down the road to Enngonia, population 90-100. Still a tiny town, but a little bigger than up the road! We had a fantastic night here at the pub with Pam, the publican, and then later a bit of a pool match between our guys and a couple of local shearers! The funny thing about outback pubs is that the locals will always jump in and help out if something needs doing. If someone's waiting to buy a drink and the publican's busy, then there's bound to be a local who jumps behind the counter and pulls a beer for you. Here, the phone rang and one of the shearers, Sarge, reached over to pick it up. Except that it was his wife calling, wondering if he was at the pub... couldn't talk his way out of that one, now, could he!

We've just had dinner and have been entertained by a bush poet and yarn spinner, and tomorrow we'll have a look around Bourke and get things ready for the final leg of this trip and we head on towards Griffith...

Saturday, June 09, 2007


Stage 3: Longreach to Quilpie

If the previous stage was the stage of entertainment, then this was the 'friendly' stage. Lots of people to talk to about lots of things, particularly people in the pubs and camping grounds.

From Longreach, it was a hop, skip and a jump across to Ilfracombe, a tiny little town between Longreach and Barcaldine. It's not that far from the 'city', but definitely has it's own friendly town atmosphere and town pride. On entering Ilfracombe, we cycled along the outdoor museum - the 'machinery mile' - with vehicles and machinery from eras long past. The Wellshot Hotel was a great little spot to spend the afternoon, and the historic Langenbaker House was interesting and well worth a visit. The caravan park here was one of the most friendly, with a rampaging happy hour where little old men and women pulled out some of the dirtiest jokes you'd hear...

From Ilfracombe, we scooted across to Isisford, which lies on the banks of the Barcoo River, where we camped amongst the trees and grass (and motorhomes!). A highlight here certainly was the Clancy's Overflow Hotel, where we were entertained by publican Margaret and 8-year-old Rebecca, whom the guys had heard on the School of the Air in Longreach the previous day! With a stool to reach the till and the counter, Rebecca pulled a mean beer and certainly didn't take any nonsense from anyone - made for an entertaining evening! Throw into the mix a little joey (called Jenny) slung in a calico pouch and later hopped around in search of her bottle, and a menagerie of baby budgies and other creatures!

Russleigh Station was a memorable stay. We were warmly welcomed by Jo and Buster (who I think were a little puzzled at what these blokes called a 'holiday'!). In the afternoon, the weather started to change and the clouds rolled in... then the rain began. We were nervously anticipating whether or not the bus would need to be moved (as we were camped by the creek) but the rain only turned out to be a shower. Being on the station made us realise how precious the rain is, and how much the farmers are at the mercy of the weather... stuff you always hear, but always brings it home to see it again first hand. Buster had some intruiging stories about the Over the Horizon top secret radar detector down the road at Stonehenge...

But when we got to Stonehenge, there was not indication whatsoever that there was a highly secret radar surveillance around town! You would never have guessed that just out of town is a compound which requires ASIO check to enter, with millions of dollars of computers and temperature controlled bunkers and radars and towers... Stonehenge is a tiny little town, with a very friendly pub who put on a great meal for us that night.

From Stonehenge down to Jundah, another friendly town with another friendly pub! And then Windorah, which was - you guessed it - a friendly town with a pretty cosy pub. Windorah is supposedly QLD's wealthiest postcode, according to census analysis data. You'd never guess by looking at the town, as it's a quiet little outback town.

Some spectacular bush camps followed, along with the onset of winter... And now we're in Quilpie, a big town by our standards! Ready to leave tomorrow to set out for Stage 4: Quilpie to Bourke.

With some new riders on board, it looks like the next stage will be a blast! in a week we'll be over the border...

Saturday, June 02, 2007


Stage 2 - Hughenden to Longreach

This has been the stage of entertainment! Almost every night has been something different. In Hughenden, it was the country singing postie who entertained us at the caravan park along with putting on a bit of a barbie. In Stamford, we were joined for dinner by the local school principal for a lovely evening. In Winton, we were treated to one of the top bush poets and yarnspinners, and there was another bush poet in Longreach.

Leaving Hughenden, we headed down the track for a little place called Stamford. We knew there was a roadhouse there but that was about all. It's not often that you meet the entire population of a town, but we did (two or three times over!), it's not that hard when there's only 4 people living there. Plus 3 dogs! There is a tiny school of 11 students from surrounding stations, and the principal was a young woman, Kate, who came to join us for tea that night. A little tiny place with a lot of character!

Next night was Corfield, and we weren't sure whether the pub would open or not after rumours of their irregular trading hours (i.e. when they felt like opening, they opened). We were in luck though, as we arrived at lunchtime on Sunday and the pub was opening 5pm-9pm. Camping was in a yard next door alongside the tennis court. That was about all there was to Corfield, beside the racecourse - which is the town's big event each year with a prizemoney of $47,000.

Winton (or 'Winin') is home to the musical fence and the Matilda Centre. It's a cosy little town, with a couple of nice pubs and a great atmosphere. We were treated to hear bush poet Milton Taylor, one of the best, as he entertained a full house at the caravan park that night. He really put on a show and had everyone in stitches. We had a great lunch at the Tattersalls Hotel and a look around the Matilda Centre which had lots of interesting displays and collections.

From Winton, we had planned to take 2 days to get to Longreach. It was going to be a pretty long day, just over 100km to get to our camping spot at Morella, which used to be a rail siding. Getting there in the heat of the afternoon, however, with the sun scorching down and very little shade, we decided to chuck the bikes (and riders!) in the bus and head into Longreach a day early.

Longreach is a town pretty geared up for tourists, and there were countless campervans (besides all the hundreds of Winnebagos we'd seen the previous few days!) around the town. Longreach is home to the Qantas museum (being its birthplace), and also the Stockman's Hall of Fame. We had plenty of time to look around and check out the shops, a few of the guys visited the Barber, and we had a meal in the RSL one night.

We've just started Stage 3 of the ride, from Longreach to Quilpie, and have been to Ilfracombe and Isisford, and will spend tonight at Russleigh Station. We'll give a bit more of an update of Stage 3 when we get to Quilpie, so in the meantime, stay tuned...

Friday, May 25, 2007


The Ride Begins....

We've reached Hughenden for the completion of Stage 1 of the Great Outback Bike Ride: Trains, Pubs 'n Bones, and so far it's been a memorable week full of changing scenery! Here is a bit of a summary of the highlights of where we've been so far...

Savannahlander train: Cairns to Forsayth
The riders jumped on the Savannahlander for a two-day trip from lush, tropical Cairns to Forsayth, stopping along the way at pubs, little towns and other points of interest. It sounded like a fantastic journey, with an interesting commentary by the Savannahlander crew, and the riders certainly disembarked in Forsayth with smiles from ear to ear after a relaxing start to the ride.

Cobbold Gorge to Forsayth

From Forsayth we drove across to Cobbold Gorge, in time for a delicious meal in the restaurant, and a night under the stars before our first day's riding. Bikes were assembled and tweaked the next morning, before we enjoyed a morning cruise on the spectacular Cobbold Gorge, which was a brilliant way to start the day. The gorge is narrow and we managed to spot a couple of 'freshies' (crocodiles) on the banks of the pools leading into the gorge. The afternoon's ride was warm, along a dirt road through Robin Hood station through some very typically gulf savannah country. Arriving in Forsayth in time for a beer at the pub (of course!)

Forsayth to Einasleigh
Another day through brahman cattle country. Today's ride cut through the Newcastle Ranges, and once we reached the top of the range the view was quite remarkable. Einsaleigh is one of the Savannahlander stops, and is a tiny town on the Einsaleigh River, where there is a gorge where the town is. Of course there's a pub there, and being a Saturday night it was busy till late. We stayed in the caravan park, which has been meticulously laid out by Mark, who moved there for the peace and quiet. The town is very open, with vast plains stretching out to the ranges, with a couple of rocky mounds closer by to break the horizon.

Einasleigh to Oasis Roadhouse, The Lynd
This ride is all about the pubs (well, not only about them, but of course they're a major part of the plot!) and today we reached what is supposedly Australia;s smallest bar. I'm not sure how many stubbies of XXXX Gold you could line up along the counter, but it wouldn't be a full round that's for sure! Road trains were lined up out the front of the roadhouse, giving a bit of a glimpse of the traffic we would encounter the next day (but luckily we didn't get too many of them passing us!). We heard reports of the road from here to Hughenden, and most of them said how rough it was going to be...

Bush camp #1: Einasleigh River
The notes said Hospital Creek, but our camp, which was off the road along a track, was actually on the banks of the Einasleigh where a lovely deep waterhole with flowing water set the scene for the most magical spot. A grassy knoll surrounded by towering gums, the flowing water and picturesque rocks and sany beaches made it a bush camp to remember. Topped off by Peter's delicious camp oven roast chicken and vegetables. Truly magnificent and it was hard packing to leave the next morning.

Bush camp #2: Poison Creek
The scenery changes a bit each day, and today we had a couple of special moments. Passing by a herd of brahmans, we spotted on the other side of the road a day-old calf sleeping while its mother watchedy by. We managed to stop and take a few photos without disturbing them. Then further on we passed a grove of cycads (blackboys) on the side of the road, with lusciuos green fronds on top, and up to 5-6 foot or more high. Our camp was in a disused roadworks camp which had been cleared for the machinery and vans, but there was a little track going down to the creek where there were relics of a stone house.

Porcupine Gorge
We had planned to have a rest day here, but after arriving with plenty of time to do the walk, we decided to stay one night and head into Hughenden the next day. It was a good choice, and while the gorge is quite spectacular, we had ample time to walk and take it all in.

To Hughenden
the landscape keeps on changing as we headed into Hughenden. The road was still partly dirt, partly sealed, but more sealed as we got into town. We had morning tea with a road worker who was sitting by his giant grading machine in the shade. Interesting to get the local perspective, particularly about the road conditions and the politics of it all.Hughenden is a friendly town with about 1500 people and three pubs, although only two are in operation. We were treated to a night of country singing in the caravan park with the local postie putting on a show to raise money for the local country music festival.

Next it's off to Stamford, population 4, and Corfield, on our way to Winton and then Longreach. People have heard about the ride, and almost everyone notices the bike riders as they enter town!

It's been great so far with so much change in the landscape in such a short time. Looking forward to the next stage!

Cheers, the Outbike Team.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Rail Connections

Rail Connection Information
Each stage of the ride starts and finishes in a town with a rail service, meaning that you can use the train network to join up with or leave the ride easily by train.

Stage 1 :: 18-25 May :: Forsayth to Hughenden

Joining: Catch the weekly Savannahlander from Cairns to Forsayth, a two-day trip travelling through rugged bushland and stunning gorges. The Savannahlander has limited space for bikes but Outbike can transfer bikes from Cairns to Forsayth in the ride vehicles.
Departs Cairns Station, Bunda Street, Wednesday 16 May, 6:30am
Arrives Forsayth Station, Fifth Street, Thursday 17 May, 5:45pm
Fare $95 (Ride Only Special – RRP $190)
More information at

Leaving: Catch the Inlander from Hughenden to Townsville, an 8-hour trip with ample space for bikes in the baggage cars.
Departs Hughenden Station, Resolution Street, Saturday 26 May 2:39am
Arrives Townsville Station, 502 Flinders Street, Saturday 26 May 10:10am
Fare $58.30 / $116.60 / $176.00*
More information at

Stage 2 :: 26-30 May :: Hughenden to Longreach

Joining: From Townsville, catch the Inlander to Hughenden, an 8-hour trip via Charters Towers with space for bikes in the baggage car.
Departs Townsville Station, 502 Flinders Street, Thursday 24 May 12:30pm
Arrives Hughenden Station, Resolution Street, Thursday 24 May 8:19pm
Fare $58.30 / $116.60 / $176.00*
More information at

Leaving: From Longreach, catch the Spirit of the Outback to Brisbane via Rockhampton, a 24 hour journey via mining towns Emerald and Blackwater with ample space for bikes in the baggage cars.
Departs Longreach Station, Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, Monday 4 June, 8:00am
Arrives Brisbane Station, Roma Street, Tuesday 5 June, 6:55am
Fare $174.90 / $231.00 / $357.50*
More information at

Stage 3 :: 31 May-9 June :: Longreach to Quilpie

Joining: Catch the Spirit of the Outback from Brisbane Rockhampton to Longreach with ample space for bikes in the baggage cars.
Departs Brisbane Station, Roma Street, Tuesday 29 June, 6:25pm
Arrives Longreach Station, Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, Wednesday 30 June, 5:58pm
Fare $174.90 / $231.00 / $357.50*
More information at

Leaving: From Quilpie, catch the Westlander via Roma, Toowoomba and Ipswich to Brisbane, an overnight trip which crosses the Great Dividing Range. Please note that the first section from Quilpie to Charleville will be on a connecting Road Coach.
Departs Quilpie, Wednesday 13 June, 3:05pm
Arrives Brisbane Station, Roma Street, Thursday 14 June, 11:15am
Fare $121 / $179.30 / $261.80*
More information at

Stage 4 :: 10-17 June :: Quilpie to Bourke

Joining: Catch the Westlander from Brisbane to Quilpie (Charleville to Quilpie on connecting Road Coach), an overnight trip with space for bikes in the baggage car.
Departs Brisbane Station, Roma Street, Thursday 7 June, 7:15pm
Arrives Quilpie, Friday 8 June, 2:40pm
Fare $121 / $179.30 / $261.80*
More info at

Leaving: From Bourke, catch NSW CountryLink Western Rail Service to Sydney via Dubbo, Orange and Lithgow.
Departs Bourke Station, Monday 18 June, 9:15am
Arrives Sydney Central Station, Monday 18 June, 8:48pm
Fare $66 / $83.16*
More information at

Stage 5 :: 18-23 June :: Bourke to Griffith

Joining: Catch the NSW CountryLink Western Rail Service from Sydney to Bourke via Dubbo, Orange and Lithgow.
Departs Sydney Central Station, Sunday 17 June, 7:10am
Arrives Bourke Station, Sunday 17 June, 6:25pm
Fare $66 / $83.16*
More information at

Leaving: From Griffith, you’ve got the choice of getting to Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide.

Griffith to Sydney Catch the NSW CountryLink Southern Rail Service to Sydney.
Departs Griffith Station, Sunday 24 June, 7:40am
Arrives Sydney Central Station, Sunday 24 June, 4:24pm
Fare $58.74 / $81.18*
More information at

Griffith to Melbourne Catch the V/Line to Melbourne (V/Line Coach Griffith to Shepparton, V/Line Intercity Shepparton to Melbourne)
Departs Griffith Station, Sunday 24 June, 1:10pm
Arrives Melbourne Southern Cross Station (Spencer Street), Sunday 24 June, 7:31pm
Fare $31.70 / $37.70*
More information

Griffith to Adelaide With the Outbike vehicle(s)
Departs Griffith, Sunday 24 June, 9:00am
Arrives Adelaide, Sunday 24 June, 10:00pm
Fare $150

Rail services must be booked directly and not through Outbike. For the Savannahlander from Cairns to Forsayth, please mention The Great Outback Bike Ride: Trains, Pubs ‘n Bones for the half price fare offer. Please contact the service providers for fare and availability information on transporting your bike on these services. The times and prices listed are correct at time of printing, but may change at the service provider’s discretion. Please consult the service provider for exact times and prices. * Prices listed are economy / first class where applicable.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Brochures are Out!

Want to get a touch for Outbike. Then have a look in your town's/city's major bike stores to find our brand new brochure. With information about the 'Bike 'n Wheels Expedition' soon to start its pedal across Australia, 'The Great Outback Trains, Pubs and Bones Bike Ride', you want to be quick for this one, 'Outbike the Original' and the even more luxurious 'Alluring Adelaide'.

Can't find the brochure or want a booking form, then check out the website, or navigate through the other blogs or contact us on

Hope to hear from you soon

Friday, March 02, 2007


Great News

Peter and Ralph, the directors of Outbike, have recently been on a visit to Brisbane to participate in the launch of Outback Week. During the launch the CEO and Chairperson of Outback Queensland Tourism Authority launched the Trains, Pubs and Bones Bike Ride. Peter Solly said 'The launch was an exciting event'. It was exciting to be recognised as a major event in the context of all the other great things that are happening in Australia’s outback. Our ambassador Tim Fischer asked us to send a message of encouragement and support to the event. Peter said 'He would like to thank the scores of people who showed encouragement towards the event and he hopes to see a good many of them out on the ride'.
Peter and Ralph caught up with many of the Outback personalities, owners of stations and people that own many other great products throughout outback Queensland. Both Ralph and Peter came back raving about what a great time people will have on the Great Outback Trains Pubs and Bones Bike Ride.

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