Planning a route from Melbourne to Finke on a Hema roadmap
I will ride from Melbourne to the Finke Desert Race on Queen’s Birthday long weekend on 10th - 14th, June 2022. It’s a 7500km trip through the Australian outback. It’s my first time out there and I look forward to checking out Uluru and the many National Parks, pubs and people scattered along the way.
The distances are big. There are back-to-back 500km days on a mix of outback roads, tracks and highways. It’s not obvious from the map. I don’t know the condition of the roads, only that they are dirt and dead straight. Fatigue will be an issue and I don’t like to travel over 80km/h on dirt, increasing the ride time.
It will be cold. The average temperature during the day is 20 degrees celsius in winter. That’s good for physical trail riding or fighting the sand. It maybe too cool for long, straight miles. It will drop to below 10 degrees celsius at night. That will be okay in the tent in a sleeping bag but not on the road as it gets dark.
Riding towards dusk will be dangerous. There are a few reasons:
Kangaroos will feed at dusk. This coupled with fatigue and the coming night cold may cause me to take risks to get to the campground on time. Packing some warm clothes will be important and knowing when to stop.
There are few stops for fuel, water and a good rest. A good rest means a shower and a hot meal. I can camp in the outback if I need but I’d rather not. That’s why the miles are so long. I can cut them back by taking highways and skipping national parks if I need too.
My tyres will be shot by Alice. I called ahead to the local mechanic to make sure they save a pair for me. I have a fresh pair on the bike. A Pirelli MT-21 up-front and a Dunlop D606 on the rear. They already show wear after 100km. They should make it 4500km to Alice.
Hopefully I make it to the Finke on time for the Sunday & Monday (12th/13th June) for the race and to meet up with my cousin and her partner. I can go to Uluru if I arrive early or do it after depending on how my tyres look.
The ride back should be easier than the way up. I left some leeway in my dates in case I have a problem or am falling behind schedule. I can take the highway in the worst case.
Safety is a big concern. I’ve got a few things that will help out:
- Garmin InReach Mini - Satellite GPS/Communicator
- Uniden 850S - UHF Radio
- 5 litres of water
- x2 6 litre fuel bladder (range > 700km)
- Spare front/rear tubes
- Tow rope
- A couple of empty coke bottles for water/fuel
A great safety feature will by my Lightforce 6” lightbar. It was kindly supplied by Lightforce Australia and is going to light up those outback tracks if I end up on them after dark. They will help spot wildlife long before the standard lights would and will absolutely save my life.
- Melbourne > Little Desert NP (Dimboola) - 500km
- Little Desert NP > Mungo NP main campground (booking essential) - 500km
- Mungo NP > Mutawintji NP - 500km
- Matawintji NP - Tibooburra - 300km
- Tibooburra > Innamincka (via cameron corner) - 400km
- Innamincka > Birdsville (via cordillo downs rd) - 450km
- Birdsville > Bedourie - 400km
- (optional) Birdsville > Diamantina Lakes - 500kmn
- (optional) Diamantina Lakes > Bedourie - 200km
- Bedourie > Jervois Station Roadhouse - 500km
- Jervois - John Hayes Rockhole Camp - 520km
- John Hayes > Alice Springs - 80km — Decide to go to Uluru or stay for Finke — 5000km - 10th - 13th
- Alice Springs > Curtain Springs Station - 400km
- Curtain Springs > Uluru > Curtain Springs - 100km
- Curtain Springs > Mt Dare Hotel - 500km
- Mt Dare > Oodnadatta - 200km
- Oodnadatta > Maree - 400km
- Maree > Blinman (via camel yards track) - 500km
- Blinman > Danggali - 550km
- Danggali > Ngarkat - 300km
- Ngarkat > Benigo - 450km
- Bendigo > Home - 150km
The real route varies from Google as it only lets me use 10 destinations per map.
Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for short snippets of the trip!