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Outback Riding


The Australian “Outback” is one of the last true frontiers, a land that is both beautiful yet haunting at the same time, thus careful planning and the following of a few simple procedures are required before taking a Compass Expeditions bike into these remote regions. Every year people find themselves in trouble and tragically people do die in the outback. When renting a Compass Expeditions bike for travel into the outback, we urge clients to consider the following points.


Detailed Itinerary: You should submit to Compass Expeditions a detailed itinerary of your planned route, Compass Expeditions can assist you in putting together a fantastic itinerary, and when you expect to be in certain destinations. This is a critical point that is an important tool that will assist if you become lost or break down in a remote area.


Experience: If you plan to ride into the outback you must be an experienced rider in off road conditions. In the middle of the Australian outback is not the time to realise that you can’t ride off road. This point is not to be taken lightly, however you don’t need to be a Dakar competitor either, simply a good understanding of what is required to be off road for extended periods of time and the ability to be self sufficient.


Points to consider: You have made a decision to travel into the outback on a motorcycle. These regions are extremely hard on any vehicles, including motorcycles, and breakdowns can happen, in a remote area motorcycle parts can take many days to arrive. This means you could be waiting some time for repairs to take place. While everything possible will be done to get you going again as soon as possible delays are beyond Compass Expeditions control and so lost travel days and other costs such as accommodation ARE NOT REFUNDED no matter what the reason for the breakdown.


All our BMW motorcycles are covered by a 24 hour / 7 day a week breakdown service Australia wide but as mentioned Australia is an immensely vast continent and getting parts does take time.

What to expect when riding the outback

The Australian outback is a truly remote destination and is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world. Australia IS the most sparsely populated country on earth! Riding out here is like nothing else and you should be prepared for the following:

Road Trains: The biggest trucks in the world, weighing over 120 tonnes with up to 5 trailers, these giants stop for no one, especially bikes. You must share the road with these trucks and pass only when safe, they are up to 55mt / 180ft long. If you encounter one of these trucks on the dirt you must stop and allow the dust to settle as you WILL be blinded.

Wildlife: Due to the vastness of the outback there are few fences, cattle, sheep and even roaming camels wander the roadside, especially at dusk and dawn and immediately after rain. Kangaroos can be 5ft / 1.5mt in height, (standing position) and have no regard for road users. We strongly recommend that no night riding or dusk and dawn riding be attempted as this is when the wildlife is the most active.


Road conditions: The outback roads consist mainly of dirt, this dirt can be bike shattering corrugations, sand, mud and gravel up to a well maintained gravel road used frequently by 4 x 4 drivers, road trains and holiday makers. These roads can flood quickly or be heavily “rutted” after trucks have gone through following recent rains. Again you do not need to be a Dakar proficient rider but some off road experience is necessary. The entire Australian continent can be ridden on paved roads on Highway 1 if dirt isn’t your thing.

Vast distances: Australia is a massive country in fact the only country that has a continent to itself. People always underestimate the time needed to cover these huge distances. Services such as food, fuel and water outlets can be few and far between in the outback, sometimes up to 300ks / 187ml apart sometimes more, additionally accommodation facilities will be great distances apart and when available very basic, generally within a basic truck stop complex. You can camp almost anywhere in the outback but water may be an issue.

Riding the great Australian outback will be some of the most rewarding things that you could ever do on a motorbike. You will discover a silence and a sense of vastness long thought extinct in today’s world. The above points are simply there to ensure your safe return and a wonderful trouble free adventure.

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