Riding Across Australia on a Yamaha XV1000

Neale Bayly tells the tale of riding across Australia in 1987 aboard a 1982 Yamaha XV1000.


| May/June 2017


It was a sunny May day in Sydney, Australia, when my fingers stopped on an advert in the local newspaper I was reading: “1982 Yamaha XV1000. Racks, bag, stainless pipes, new tires, $1,750 OBO.” That’s the one for us I told Karen, and a few hours later our friend Dave Peach was driving us out of the city to see the bike and take a test ride.

As soon as I saw it I knew it was the right bike, and after parting with $1,550 cash we were heading back to Sydney on the motorcycle that would end up taking us around Australia. Having landed six months earlier in Darwin on one-way tickets from Indonesia with just $22 to our names, it was hard to contain our excitement knowing the next adventure was about to begin.

Gearing up

With a total investment of $50 in plastic bags, bungee cords and waterproof gear, we headed off, rumbling out of Sydney on Australia’s southeast coast bound for North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The road out of Sydney is motorcycling perfection — or at least it was then — weaving and winding through the hilly countryside, passing the Blue Mountains and on to the rolling hills of northern New South Wales as we headed north. Goodbye, Sydney Opera House, Curl Curl Beach, the Peach family and our other good friends we had made over the six months we lived in this great city. Hello, Australia, here we come.

The first few days we sort of meandered along, with no great distances being covered as we acclimated to the feeling of the freedom of the open road after months working double shifts to raise the travel coupons (money) we needed to make this journey. It was just the two of us, our trusty Yamaha, and the road ahead.

Heading north up the coast into Queensland, we passed through Surfers Paradise, the beautiful white beaches stretching forever, crashing waves rolling endlessly up the shore and the cliffs above crowned in soft green grass. Surfers Paradise is aptly named.





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