British Lions Motorcycle Tour of Queensland Australia
For those motorcyclists who love their rugby, could it get any better than to watch a two games of the British Lions tour of Australia and then motorcycle tour northern and central Queensland over a couple of weeks, this June? The British Lions are back touring in Australia for the first time since 2001 this June for a six week tour involving a three test series. The Lions rugby team only tour every four years and this year are to be coached by current Wales coach kiwi Warren Gatland – their last tour was in 2009 where they lost the test series to South Africa. The Lions fans - the ‘Balmy-Army’ - are well known for being eager supporters and following their team in a campervan convoy for the duration of the tour, and now, here is your chance to follow the tour by motorcycle.
New Zealand company Two Wheel Touring NZ is putting together a seventeen day tour following two Lions games (Queensland Reds and the First Test) and taking in the best of the Sunshine State Queensland. The tour starts in Brisbane with the fixture Lions v Queensland Reds and then the motorbike tour proper starts with route winding its way up to Mackay, and then making its way over a couple of days up to Cairns and Cooktown. A rest-day in Cooktown, and then the tour travels across Cape York to Normanton and Karumba on the Gulf of Carpenteria. From Normanton the riders ride down to Cloncurrie and onwards to Longreach which plays host to another rest-day. Here the riders can experience the Stockman’s Hall of Fame and also the Qantas Museum. Carrying on from Longreach, riders make their way to Roma and then back to Brisbane in time for the opening test at Suncorp Stadium. There is also an optional extra package to continue on for another week and ride through to Melbourne via Canberra to see the Second Test at Docklands Stadium (previously known as the Telstra Dome).
For those interested in following the tour by motorcycle, they can be expect to ride around 5200km at average of around 440km per day with two easy days and two rest days. Queensland is roughly six times the size of New Zealand, and 25% larger than the land mass of South Africa and is Australia’s third most populous state. The tour itinerary aims to keep off motorways and and yet provide riders with a fully tar-sealed riding experience in outback Australia. In some cases riders will ride on a single lane tar-seal roads where they face the possibility of meeting road-trains as well as the usual riding obstacles of Australia such as kangaroos, emus and the like. A back-up van will act as a tail-end-charlie and follow the tour party should any mishaps or breakdowns occur, as well carrying emergency spare fuel and surplus gear. Motorcycle rentals will also be available from a selection of hire firms, hiring most of the major motorcycle marques, and all bikes will have touring gear supplied. The tour itinerary has been critiqued by a hardened Aussie motorcyclist to ensure to ensure a interesting tour and that there is fuel available at least every 350km along with enough road-houses included to satisfy on the road hunger pains. One of these road-houses is the remote Burke & Wills Road House, south of Karumba which is the sole refuelling and meal stop available on that day’s 460km ride.
Accommodation is at motels and tourist parks, and is on a shared room basis to keep costs down. In some towns, mining companies block-book motels making it difficult to obtain a bed, so there maybe caravan parks used as a last resort. If the opportunity arises there is a pub-stop usually within the last 50km of the days ride where riders can meet fair dinkum Aussies and tell yarns along with tall-stories with fellow riders on the days ride. Breakfast and a two course evening meals are included in the tour price as well as match tickets to the to rugby fixtures. There is also a visit to the Haigsley Motorcycle Museum towards the tour end.
Two Wheel Touring NZ , operated by rugby fan Robert Scott (also a long time treasurer of his local rugby club) of Auckland is pitching this British Lions Motorcycle Tour to all dedicated motorcycling rugby fans of New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. Robert usually takes on the role of tail-end-charlie on his tours fixing the punctures and sorting out problems with breakdowns. All tours have a tour-leader who leads via a GPS programmed riding route and all riders are expected to ‘buddy up’. There are regular catch-up stops en route to allow for a quick rest and for the slower riders to catch up and there is a morning debrief before the start of each day’s ride. If you’re a rugby fan and love motorcycling then this British Lions Motorcycle Tour of Australia is for you this June.
British Lions Motorcycle Tour June 2013 - Key Points
Dates – Friday 7 June to Sunday 23 June
Starts and finishes in Brisbane
Cost – Approx. $A7000 per person
- Tour leader and tail end charlie/back-up van
- Rugby tickets for two games (Queensland Reds and First Test)
- Accommodation on a shared room basis.
- Breakfast and evening meals
- Motorcycle rental for a mid range motorcycle
Cost additional to the tour price for the rider:
Travel to and from Brisbane
Lunch, coffee stops, and alcohol
Fuel and break down repairs/services.