OUTBIKE – GULF 2 GULF
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OUTBIKE – GULF 2 GULF

4 MAY – 6 JUN 2022 – NORTHBOUND, LIMITED PLACES AVAILABLE

11 JUN – 13 JUL 2022 – SOUTHBOUND, NEARLY FULL

HALF-WAY 15 DAY RIDES NORTHBOUND OR SOUTHBOUND, LIMITED PLACES. LEAVE OR JOIN IN BIRDSVILLE

One of Australia’s great bike touring challenges, Outbike’s Gulf-to-Gulf blazes a trail across the heart of our amazing continent.

These ancient lands reflect the heritage of many nations of Australia’s First Peoples – who lived out there admirably well – and the courage, stubbornness, successes and tragedies of European explorers like the ill-fated Burke and Wills – and the settlers who forged an existence in what was for them, a land of unforgiving remoteness.

The ride can be considered as a series of 4 one-week rides, each section with its own defined character.

Week One (northbound) starts in Port Augusta and explores the spectacular Flinders Ranges to reach the desert railhead of Marree.

Week Two traverses the legendary Birdsville Track.

Week Three rolls across Queensland’s iconic Channel Country to Mt Isa.

Week Four rides Carpentaria’s Gulf Country via Cloncurry to Normanton and Karumba.

Demographics:  Typically most riders are Australians, ages 30s to 70s with median age around 60 – and slightly more males than females.  On the 2019 G2G we had a majority of ladies.  Internationals have included Canada, NZ and USA.  For 2022 we have strong entries from the age 60-70 bracket and visitors include US, NZ and Singapore. Fitness typically varies from ‘sufficient’ to race-fit!

Before and After: We’ve seen riders lose excess weight. One rider (a doctor) lost 7kg in 2016. Our Ride-Manager lost 4kg in 2019 – not riding but eating well and working hard!

Background: Previous rides ran ‘under our command’ in 2005, 2006, 2016 and 2019. Between 2007 and 2012 several more ran when Outbike was in other hands.

Download rider registration and waiver forms:

G2G 2022 RIDES IN BRIEF

CONFIRMED 5 May start from Pt Augusta, arrival Karumba 3 June. 

Riders can transfer from Adelaide on our bus on 4 May – and after a rest day, from Karumba to Cairns 5-6 June.

CONFIRMED 14 June start from Karumba (13th included as a free day prior to start), arrival Pt Augusta 13 July. 

Riders can transfer from Cairns to Karumba on our bus 11-12 June with a rest day before the ride starts, and on from Port Augusta to Adelaide on the same day the ride ends, 13 July.

GO JUST HALF-WAY:  OPTIONS for 15 day rides are offered on both events. Riders can elect to leave or join at BIRDSVILLE. There is a twice-weekly REX flight from Brisbane to Birdsville. Depart Brisbane Thu 19 May to join the Northbound ride or to leave the ride, depart Birdsville on Fri 20 May. Fly from Brisbane to join the  southbound ride on Mon 27 June at 2:30pm. Or if leaving the ride, the outbound flight departs 10:50am on Tue 28 June.

The Gulf to Gulf rides between Spencer Gulf and the Gulf of Carpentaria in 30 days, all the way across Australia!

A quarter of the route is gravel, notably the 520km Birdsville Track. Since we began the event in 2005, about 400km has been sealed. It’s getting easier – though we do like the gravel!

For 2022, ride rest days on both rides are in Marree, Mungerannie, Birdsville, Mt.Isa and Karumba (at northern end).

The ride schedule in the Flinders Ranges week will vary slightly from previous, with night stops in Quorn, Hawker, Wilpena, Angorichina Village, Copley and Marree.  This splits what was a long day (Quorn – Wilpena 120km) into two days, gives more time at Wilpena and moves a rest day up to Marree.

Karumba has a rest day to enjoy the Gulf of Carpentaria and local attractions before (or after) the Cairns transfer.

NORTHBOUND Day by Day <approx distance>: Port Augusta <40> Quorn <65> Hawker <55> Wilpena <80> Angorichina <85> Copley <115> Marree x 2 nts <55> Clayton Station* <85> Cooper Creek* <65> Mungerannie Pub x 2 nts <315 in 4 days***> Birdsville x 2 nts <190 in 2 days*> Bedourie <195 in 2 days*> Boulia <300 in 3 days**> Mt Isa  x 2 nts <120> Cloncurry <185 in 2 days*> Four Ways <200 in 2 days*> Normanton <70> Karumba Point.

SOUTHBOUND Day by Day <approx distance>: Karumba Point <70> Normanton <200 in 2 days*> Four Ways <185 in 2 days*> Cloncurry <120 Sunday> Mt Isa  x 2 nts <300 in 3 days**> Boulia <195 in 2 days*> Bedourie <190 in 2 days*> Birdsville x 2 nts <315 in 4 days***> Mungerannie Pub x 2 nts <65> Cooper Creek*<85> Clayton Station* <55> Marree x 2 nts  <115> Copley <85> Angorichina <80> Wilpena <55> Hawker <65> Quorn <40> Port Augusta.

* denotes bush camp (11 nights, of these 3 are rest areas or campsites with basic facilities)

Rest days:

  • Marree is a fascinating old town, once the railhead for the Ghan.  Flights to Lake Eyre are possible.
  • Mungerannie is a pub and bore-fed warm artesian lake – however in 2019 it was empty due to water concerns.
  • Birdsville is iconic and we’ll arrive early afternoon, having a day plus some. A drive 40km west out to ‘Big Red’ could be possible.
  • Mt Isa arriving lunchtime will be in effect a day and a half.
  • Karumba has plenty to see and do for our day and a half.

Half days: Short riding days will give us afternoon time in the towns of Hawker and Quorn, time for gravel detours in the Flinders Ranges, walks or flights at Wilpena Pound, spa tub at Clayton Station, a dip in Bedourie’s artesian baths, an afternoon in Boulia, and time to explore Normanton and a possible ride on the Gulflander.

A more detailed description is at the bottom of the page.

Riders:  We aim for between 12 and 20 riders.  We will accept up to 22 registrations to allow for possible withdrawals.

Crew:  Staff of 2 to 4 plus a few helpers (free trip) to give a high level of service together with 3 or 4 support vehicles.

Daily Grind:  Typical cycling distances are 80km a day on dirt roads (of varying surfaces) and 100km on sealed roads (longest 120km).

Included Meals, Nights, Transfers:

2022 Ride includes 33 nights camping (11 at bush sites and rest areas), hearty breakfasts on all days, snacks galore, lunches on 26 ride days, dinners on 11 bush nights plus Wilpena and Angorichina (dine at local pubs or make use of campsite-kitchens the rest), extensive rider support and transfers on our bus from Adelaide and on to Cairns.

Cost:  Participation per rider in 2022 is $7000 (same as 2019). Half rides are $3600 and include either the Karumba/Cairns or Pt.Augusta/Adelaide transfer.

2022 RIDER INFORMATION

Bikes:  MTB recommended.  Hybrid and cross-country bikes OK if you’re expert on loose gravel and through sandy patches.  Two sets of tyres suggested, knobblies for the dirt and narrower for bitumen.  Make sure your bike is comfortable for successive long days.

Hire:  We will have a number of 27.5 OR 29 MTBs for hire at $500 for the 30 days with two sets of tyres, knobblies and narrower for road (eg Maxxis Detonator 1.50″/38mm 80 psi).  You may like to bring your own saddle, pedals and bar-ends.  In 2016 and 2019 our hire bikes were Gary Turner Avalanche 27.5 MTBs.

Transfer between Adelaide and Port Augusta:  By our mini-coach and included in the rate.  Our mini-coaches have wide-opening windows, XL-legroom and comfy reclining seats.

Transfer between Karumba and Cairns:  Taking 2 days with a night en-route camped and a visit to Undara Lava Caves.  Transfer, camping and breakfast is included, while meals and Undarra admission are extra.

Camping gear:  We provide Malamoo or Speedy pop-ups (pairs and singles).  For mattress, we provide 2 layers, a closed cell insulation mat and a self-inflating soft foam mat – so you’ll have 5-6cm of comfort under you.  Sleeping bags are available for hire.  Spares bags and blankets are carried for colder nights.  For the campsite, we have gazebos (some with insect mesh), awnings to use on the sides of vehicles, tables, stools and comfortable chairs.  We have a shower enclosure and solar heated water bags.  On many nights we will have a campfire.

Drinks:  You may bring alcoholic drinks to have on our bush overnights but we ask that they not be consumed before 4pm – and in moderation.

Entertainments:  There’ll be a bunch of books, games and sports gear.  We have a number of documentaries and movies themed to the country we travel.

Power:  We have a generator, solar panels and battery storage to provide power in remote locations.

Breakfasts and Lunches:  Fuel up on healthy buffet breakfasts.  Pack lunch before setting out and we’ll keep it cool for you to pick up at the lunch rendezvous.  Dietary requests can be advised and we will cater for these.

Support vehicles:  We plan to use 2 or 3 of our 21 seat mini-coaches (with large enclosed trailers) and our 4wd Nissan X-Trail.  One vehicle will stay to the rear of the last rider and act as a sag-wagon at day’s end for riders in distress or who have fallen well behind.

Chores:  We will have most things covered with our crew and helpers. For the bush campsites where we have more camp set-up and to prepare dinners, we’ll run a roster for riders to assist.

Water points:  Each day we will set up water containers at points advised on the day.

Morning Tea:  Our crew and vehicles will be typically at 25-40kms intervals with thermoses, filter coffee and tea, cold drinks, fruit, cake, biscuits and other snacks.

Crockery, cutlery:  We ask riders to bring their own plate, bowl, cutlery and coffee mug and cup, best kept in a calico bag or similar.

Lunch stop:  Typically at 50-80kms with one of our crew and a vehicle on site.

Afternoon Tea:  On our longer days we will have an afternoon tea at 75-100 kms.

Volunteer non-rider helpers:  We can use up to 3 non-riding helpers for campsite, rider support and catering tasks.  It’s a great way to see a lot of Outback Australia at next to no cost.

Fitness:  Riders should have experience at completing 100km days and competence at riding on dirt roads.

Medical:  Registrants will be required to advise of medical conditions on the registration and waiver form.  We reserve the right to ask for a doctor’s letter.  If the Ride Manager becomes concerned on the event for an entrant’s ride-fitness or ability to ride on safely, they may discuss with the rider possibilities to tackle shorter distances for a day or more – combined with rest and recovery, riding on the vehicles.

Communications:  Several UHF hand-helds will be issued amongst riders.  Ride vehicles have UHF radio.  A satellite phone is carried.  In 2019 Optus had the best mobile coverage on the route.

First Aid:  Comprehensive first-aid kits will be on all vehicles.  We carry plenty of sunscreen and personal insect repellant.

Traffic:  The full ride does 2200 kms along remote highways including around 600 kms on dirt roads.  As it is mostly in Outback SA and Queensland, none of the roads are too busy however care needs to be taken, especially with single lane bitumen, dust clouds, passing trucks and road trains.  We recommend riding with a mirror and being prepared to pull over if a large vehicle is likely to pass closely or create serious dust (eg if it also faces oncoming traffic – or on sections where you are on narrow road).

How busy are the roads?  Traffic volumes per day, total in both directions approx (using recent annual estimates divided by 365):
Birdsville to Bedourie on the Eyre Development Road  30
Bedourie to Mt Isa on the Diamantina Development Road  45
Mt Isa to Cloncurry on the Barkly Hwy  600. FOR 2022 WE HAVE SCHEDULED THIS STAGE ON SUNDAYS TO LESSEN THE NUMBER OF MINING TRUCKS AND GIVE THE OPTION OF TRAVELLING ON THE INLANDER TRAIN.
Cloncurry to Karumba on the Burke Development Road  75
Sourced from Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads.

Ride Guide:  We issue a descriptive day by day ride guide.

Signage:  Our vehicles will display ‘CYCLISTS ON ROAD’ signs.  Be advised we do not place marshalls and signage along the daily route.  Instructions will be given ahead of any route aspects that may be confusing.

Route Diversions:  Conditions in the Outback are subject to change due to occurrences such as rains and floods.  Diversions could range from a few hours to a few days and may involve travel on our buses.  In 2016 we made it to Birdsville with hours to spare before a deluge that held us up for 4 days – which we managed to catch up on.  In 2019 flood water closed the upper Birdsville Track from February to June and for nearly 5 days so we drove around via the Strzelecki Track, Innamincka, the Dig Tree and other dirt trails to reach Birdsville.

Participation:

  • $7000 full ride
  • $3600 half ride

Deposits and payment schedule for confirmed events:

  • Registration form, signed waiver and $100 deposit holds a ride place from 30 June 2021 until 31 December 2021;
  • A second deposit payment of $900 is due by 31 December 2021;
  • Full payment is due by end of March 2022.

Cancellation conditions:

  • Deposits of $100 and $900 are NON-REFUNDABLE.
  • Cancellation between 1 April 2022 and the event commencement shall incur a 50% LOSS of the full amount paid.
  • If an event is cancelled by OUTBIKE, full refunds will be made. If a participant has to cancel due to COVID19 restrictions, full refunds will be made.

Travel insurance:  Consider a travel insurance policy to cover cancellation or other unseen events.

Fund raising for charity:  While we have not yet linked the 2022 events to any specific charity, if any rider seeks to raise funds through their participation they are welcome to advise us of the cause.  We can put an item on our home page with a link to help promote.

Images on the event:  We do take images during events that we may later use on social media and in promotion. Participating in any Outbike event, you acknowledge that you may appear in such images. Note that we will not use a close-up photo of any rider without asking their approval.

Inquire or email go@arcadiatravel.com.au 

2022 NORTHBOUND PROGRAMME IN DETAIL

Prior. 4th May (Wed). Adelaide to Port Augusta on our mini-coach. Hotel bag pick ups from 0800. Loading of bikes beside Central Bus Station from 0900.

5th May. Port Augusta to Quorn. 40 km sealed. Climb Pichi Richi Pass. Railway history. (L)

6th May. Quorn to Hawker. 65 km sealed. Gentle grades among extensive Flinders Ranges mountain landscapes. We’ve adjusted from earlier G2Gs to make days 2+3 easier – or enable riding the gravel via the Mawson trail and/or Buckaringa Gorge (we used to do 120km to Wilpena in one day). (BL)

7th May. Hawker to Wilpena 55km sealed. Gentle height gain and the scenery becomes increasingly mountainous. Take a hike in the afternoon or an extra ride out on the Mawson Trail. (BLD)

8th May. Wilpena to Angorichina Village. 80 km incl 65 km sealed. Mountain scenery. Some climbs. Steep dirt descents after Blinman. (BLD)

​9th May. Angorichina to Copley. 85 km incl 35 km gravel via Beltana ‘ghost town’ and Leigh Creek, almost abandoned coal mining ‘suburb’ and the last ‘supermarket’ for over 2 weeks to Mt Isa. Choice of all sealed staying on Outback Highway, just 2km longer. (BL)

10th May. Copley to Marree. 115 km all sealed. Entering desert country. Lyndhurst is morning tea stop and has a pub and roadhouse. See the Aboriginal ochre pits and Farina township ruins, about 3 km extra. Mostly flat. (BL)

11th May. Marree rest day. Explore the town, railway station, yacht club, cultural centre. Possible Lake Eyre flights and 4wd tours. (B)

12th May. Marree to Clayton Station. 60 km dirt. Commence the Birdsville Track. Some small rises to keep views changing and interesting.  Spa tub at end of day! (BLD)

13th May. Clayton to Cooper Creek bush camp. 70 km dirt. (BLD)

14th May. Cooper Creek to Mungerannie 70 km dirt. Arrive early afternoon to enjoy this remote oasis. (BL)

15th May. Rest day at Mungerannie. Enjoy the warm lake (was dry in 2019), shady trees and roadhouse hospitality and bar. (BL)

16th May. Mungerannie to bush camp. 80 km dirt. Undulating desert country with occasional points to look at. (BLD)

17th May. Bush camp to bush camp. 80 km dirt. (BLD)

18th May. Bush camp to bush camp. 80 km dirt. (BLD)

19th May. Bush camp to Birdsville. 40 km dirt. We’ll aim for a late morning arrival. (BL)

20th May. Rest day at Birdsville. Relax, stroll about the iconic town. Hop on the bus out to Big Red sand dune at the edge of the Simpson Desert. Enjoy the bakery and pub. (B)​

21st May. Birdsville to bush camp. 100 km possibly all sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. (BLD)

22nd May. Bush camp to Bedourie. 90 km mostly sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. (BL)

23rd May. Bedourie to bush camp. 100 km sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. (BLD)

24th May. Bush camp to Boulia. 90 km sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. Visit the Min Min Centre. (BL)

25th May. Boulia to bush camp. 110 km sealed. Country becoming greener and more shapely. (BLD)

26th May. Bush camp to bush camp. 110 km sealed. Village of Dajarra has a friendly store. Country greener and hillier. (BLD)

27th May. Bush camp to Mt Isa. 60 km sealed. Morning ride through mountain scenery into Mt Isa city. Gentle grades. (BL)

28th May. Rest day in Mt Isa. See the Isa, consider an underground mine tour. (B)

29th May. Mt Isa to Cloncurry. 120 km sealed. A fast run on the highway shoulder. Hills, curves and gentle grades. We’re now doing this on a Sunday and there is the choice of the train! (BL)

​30th May. Cloncurry to Terry Smith rest area. 80 km sealed. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. Have a look at Cloncurry’s sights before riding out. (BLD)

31st May. Bush camp to Burke & Wills Roadhouse. 100 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BL)

1st June. Burke & Wills Roadhouse to Bang Bang rest area. 95 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BLD)

2nd June. Bang Bang to Normanton. 112 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BL) Becoming more tropical. Squeeze in an afternoon ride on the Gulflander train.

3rd June. Normanton to Karumba. 70 km. Flat riding across Gulf Country. You’ll be pleased to see the sea shore – the finish line! (BL)

4th June. Rest day in Karumba. REALLY RELAX!! Take a cruise up the river (own cost). (B)

5-6th June. Transfer to Cairns by our bus. Via Croydon, Undarra Lava Tubes and Atherton Tableland. Note, this is a 2 day trip to allow some sightseeing.​ Approx 950 kms.  Travel from Kuranda to Cairns is included.  Lunches and dinners are extra.

​7-8th June. Option to travel 2 days on the Savannahlander rail motor from Forsayth to Cairns.

2022 SOUTHBOUND PROGRAMME IN DETAIL

Prior. 11-12 June (Sat-Sun). Travel from Cairns to Karumba with overnight camping and breakfast is included.  Transfer from Cairns by our bus via Atherton Tablelands, Undarra Lava Tubes, Georgetown (overnight camp) and Croydon. Note, this is a 2 day trip to allow sightseeing.​ Approx 750 kms. Lunches and dinners are extra. (Bs)

13 June. Rest day in Karumba. RELAX!! Take a cruise up the river (own cost). Set up bikes. (B)

14 June. Karumba to Normanton. 70 km. We’re off! Flat morning ride across Gulf Country.  Browse Normanton’s history and take an afternoon ride on the Gulflander train (extra cost). (BL)

15 June. Normanton to Bang Bang rest area. 112 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BLD)

16 June. Bang Bang to Burke & Wills Roadhouse. 95 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BL)

17 June. Burke & Wills Roadhouse to Terry Smith rest area. 100 km. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. (BLD)

18 June. Terry Smith to Cloncurry. 80 km sealed. Mostly flat, scrubby grazing country. Have an afternoon to look at Cloncurry’s many sights. (BL)

19 June Cloncurry to Mt Isa. 120 km sealed. A fast run on the highway shoulder. Hills, curves and gentle grades. This is timed for Sunday to minimise traffic – and there is the choice of the train (departs 0520, BQuick fare $29.70)! (BL)

20 June Rest day in Mt Isa. See the Isa, consider an underground mine tour. (B)

21 June. Mt Isa to bush camp. 110 km sealed. Ride amongst mountain scenery out of Mt Isa city. Gentle grades. (BLD)

22 June. Bush camp to bush camp. 110 km sealed. Village of Dajarra for morning tea stop and has a friendly store. Country becoming drier and flatter. (BLD)

23 June. Bush camp to Boulia. 60 km sealed. Morning ride to reach an iconic western Queensland town, Campground is by the river, something of an oasis. See the Min Min Centre and head over to the Australian Hotel. (BL)

24 June. Boulia to bush camp. 110 km sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. (BLD)

25 June. Bush camp to Bedourie. 80 km sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. Arrive about lunch time. Enjoy the artesian pool. (BL)

26 June. Bedourie to bush camp. 100 km mostly sealed (30km gravel). Undulating and flat Channel Country. (BLD)

27 June. Bush camp to Birdsville. 90 km all sealed. Undulating and flat Channel Country. Arrive about lunchtime. (BL)

28 June. Rest day at Birdsville. Relax, stroll about the iconic town. Hop on the bus out to Big Red sand dune at the edge of the Simpson Desert. Enjoy the bakery and pub. (B)​

29 June. Birdsville to bush camp. 80 km dirt. Undulating desert country with occasional points to look at. Some good sandy sections today buy watch out for the soft spots! (BLD)

30 June. Bush camp to bush camp. 80 km dirt. (BLD)

01 July. Bush camp to bush camp. 80 km dirt. (BLD)

02 July. Bush camp to Mungerannie. 80 km dirt. (BL)

03 July. Rest day at Mungerannie. Enjoy the warm lake (was dry in 2019), shady trees and roadhouse hospitality and bar. (BL)

04 July. Mungerannie to Cooper Creek 70 km dirt. Arrive early afternoon to enjoy this remote oasis. (BLD)

05 July. Cooper Creek to Clayton bush camp. 70 km dirt. Spa tub at end of day! (BLD)

06 July. Clayton Station to Marree. 60 km dirt. End of the Birdsville Track. Some undulations to keep views changing and interesting. Iconic 2-storey Marree Hotel. (BL)

07 July. Marree rest day. Explore the town, railway station, yacht club, cultural centre. Possible Lake Eyre flights and 4wd tours. (B)

08 July. Marree to Copley. 115 km all sealed. Leaving desert country. Mostly flat. See Farina township ruins and the Aboriginal ochre pits. Lyndhurst at 80km is lunch stop and has a pub and roadhouse. Head over to historic Copley Hotel. (BL)

09 July. Copley to Angorichina. 85 km incl 35 km gravel via Beltana ‘ghost town’ and Leigh Creek, almost abandoned coal mining ‘suburb’. Supermarket is the biggest store since Mt Isa. Choice of sealed road staying on Outback Highway, just 2km longer. (BLD)

10 July. Angorichina Village to Wilpena. 80 km incl 65 km sealed. Mountain scenery. Some climbs. Steep dirt climbs towards Blinman. (BLD)

11 July. Wilpena to Hawker 55km sealed. Gentle height drop and the scenery becomes less mountainous. Take a hike in the afternoon or an extra ride out on the Mawson Trail. (BL)

12 July. Hawker to Quorn. 65 km sealed. Gentle grades with extensive Flinders Ranges landscapes. Possibility of riding the gravel via the Mawson trail and/or Buckaringa Gorge. Railway history in Quorn. (BL)

13 July. Quorn to Port Augusta. 40 km sealed. Descend Pichi Richi Pass. (BL)

Continue same day from Port Augusta to Adelaide on our mini-coach.