Cycling from Darwin to Adelaide
On the Stuart Highway, 3000 Km, paved
I have never cycled this route. It crosses vast sparsely inhabited areas of "outback" Australian semi-desert. I have worked in this region and it can be nice but I choose not to spend a month cycling across it.
But many cyclists do ride this route, so here is
some vital information.
The best time to ride it is late May to mid
September. From November through to March it can be extremely
hot, greater than 40 C in the shade (which does not exist).
You should plan to carry plenty of water as you may ride all day without passing a service point where you can get water.
Francois rode this route from October 19 to
November 18 and made these comments
- there is a perfect application for mobile phones called "Wikicamps" it's a community made map with all roadhouses, campsites and major and minor rest areas and all the useful information about all them (distances, available services, prices, review, ...) for all Australia (and USA, NZ & UK)
- there is no Telstra (mobile phone, mobile internet) coverage in the outback, only close to the roadhouses (which is enough !)
- absolutely all roadhouses have showers, most of them have swimming pool !
- the road train drivers are generally very professional and respectful of cyclists, I never felt in danger. There are many less trucks in Australia than in other countries !
(But take note, these trucks have 3 trailers and can be dangerous. Cyclists have been killed, so always give them plenty of clearance and respect)
- there were many tourist vans on the road, some of those
drivers are more dangerous !!
- I was offered water and food many times on rest areas by tourists.
- there is a 254 km gap north of Coober Pedy and a 180 km gap north of Marla bore, but the average distance between other roadhouses is approximately 100 km.
- in the north, I woke up several times at 4 am, cycling one hour under the stars and finishing around 12 am (midday) and spending the afternoon in the pool. That was perfect !
- there are no cars during the night, only road trains that you see coming from very far. It's safer than daytime in fact !
- price for camping vary between 0 and $25
- when you look carefully at it, the outback changes a lot from north to south, I didn't find it boring.
- I left my trike at the roadhouse at the junction with the
Stuart Highway and hitchhiked easily to Uluru and back.
- I carried a maximum of 10 litres of water on the longest and hottest days, that was more than enough. I'm sure that many drivers would stop and help me in case of necessity in less than 30 minutes.