For the most part in my trip, I had been able to fulfil key desires in my trip, most prominently visiting Uluru & Tasmania. However, I also have my fair share of regrets, and this is mostly attributed to the very tight schedule that I was running. Below are a list of items that still remain in my travel bucket list for the surrounding routes that I had travelled for this whole trip:
- Explore more of the region around White Cliffs (New South Wales)
- Explore more of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and complete the whole walk around Uluru (Northern Territory)
- Visit the Kings Canyon (Northern Territory)
- Hike the Standley Chasm (Northern Territory)
- Travel past Alice Springs into the zone of unlimited speed limits (Northern Territory)
- Visit the Lake Eyre region (South Australia)
- Spend a day or two in Kangaroo Island (South Australia)
- Hike the Grampians (Victoria)
- Ride along with the Melbourne social riding groups (Victoria)
- Hike the Cradle Mountain (Tasmania)
- Visit the lake region of Strathgordon (Tasmania)
- Ride the prime scenic roads south-west of Hobart (Tasmania)
- Visit Mona, the highly acclaimed art gallery in Hobart (Tasmania)
- Eat the fresh local produce and seafood of Tasmania (Tasmania)
Day 23 – Melbourne area
Ambient Temperature: 11°C to 18°C
Only one aim today, and it’s not really motorcycle-centric. Throughout my trip, I had been looking up on numerous articles about food along my riding route, and there was one that really caught my eye. A good burger is what I really enjoy, ever since my time in the kitchen at a grill restaurant, Hurricane’s Grill, and this article on Buzzfeed had my appetite up for a good burger in Melbourne.
The best one for me, by far, was the Kettle Black burger, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for supreme cafe food, even though it more resembles a very fancy sandwich with a black bun.
Day 24 – Melbourne to Canberra
Ambient Temperature: -4°C to 16°C
The quickshifter, as I had mentioned in my previous blog posts, have become fully unoperable, and did not respond to any attempted shifts. I wasn’t really keen on continuing my journey like this, so there was only one place for me to go: Fraser Motorcycles – Melbourne.
Initially the underlying issue of the quickshifter was not immediately diagnosed, so I had to allow some prime daytime hours for the bike to be left with the team. Visiting my friend, Kat, allowed me to pass by the hours with relative ease until I received a call from Fraser, anxiously and almost expecting a serious bill for a completely brand new quickshifter module. With much delight, the service amounted to just a measly seven-zero, 7 and a 0, $70.00. I had to have it repeated to ensure that I was not mishearing a $700.00 bill. The issue? An over-accumulation of some extremely gritty road dust, grime and dirt. A good clean up was what she had only needed!
By the time I picked up my Panigale and prepared myself to depart Melbourne, it was already 6:00pm, and my destination was Canberra, where I had accommodation booked for the night. All I can say is that my situation was not looking too great for the night, and it was by far the coldest trip ever embarked, reaching temperatures of down to just -4°C. By the end of it, where I reached my hostel in Canberra at 4am, I was just glad that I had even made it without any other issues. Time for a much-needed hot shower!
Day 25 – Canberra to Sydney
Ambient Temperature: 5°C to 17°C
Home is where the heart is, and home was definitely what I was wanting to go. My mind, strong and willing, but the body exasperated by the continuum of riding bonanza for every day of the past few weeks. 2:30pm, and I make it to the foreshore of Sydney Harbour, and I’m ecstatic. The whole experience had made me realise how beautiful my city is. It’s not perfect, far from it, but it’s definitely unique in its own way, bad drivers and congested streets and all.
Many thanks to the bike, above all else. The Ducati 1199 Panigale is not just a manic bike for the track. It’s not simply a bike to be known for its hell-raising performance, nor is it to be regarded only as a form-over-function type of bike. Yes, it is one of the best looking bikes out there and it will make you feel sexy on it. Yes, it will burn up your rear whilst doing so. No, it’s not intended as a cross country tourer, and it’s not meant to be taken on and over the rough. However, the sum of its parts make this a bike to be something that will continue to reverberate in my memories for years and decades to come.
And the trip itself? It was hard. Actually, damn difficult at times to the point where I would have just hit the Quit button, if there were ever such an option in life. Riding on sleet, facing head on with the coldest of conditions that Australia can throw at me (yeah, some of you will sneer at this… but Australia is unforgivingly bloody cold when it actually is!), and just simply random weather occurrences really threw me off my comfort zone more often than I would have anticipated. Speaking of random occurrences, the inconvenient suicide of the front wheel guard was one that could have ended my journey at quite an embarrassing point of the trip, on day two. Fighting off extreme fatigue, dodging around animals without a sense of direction, and just simply screaming whilst trying to thwart off all pain whilst riding across huge distances were some of the things that I could have done without. Through and through, however, it allows me to remember the journey that got me to all the places that I had always wanted to visit and the experiences that I had so longed for. For all that, ultimately, it makes it all the more cherishable.