The BMW TS Safari stands for Touren Sport and translates to a 5 day sports touring on tarmac that occurs every second year.
The 2016 TS Safari kicked off at Pepper’s Resort and Spa in Kingscliff, on Sunday March 13 with registration, followed by the welcome dinner function. Riders were treated to a gourmet buffet and drinks on arrival. The energy and atmosphere in the room was electric as participants celebrated the beginning of the event and eagerly looked forward to the week ahead.
Around 120 riders gathered from all over Australia as well as NZ and Denmark to escape the daily grind for an epic week of road touring with like-minded people.
The ride started at NSW Tweed Coast and continued down south through the gorges, mountains and forests of the Great Dividing Range towards the final destination at the historical Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains. Throughout the week, riders enjoyed ideal weather conditions with only a drizzle here and there.
It was only on the final day that the group experienced some consistent rain and weather challenges.
The TS Safari is characterised by the social, relaxed environment where riders can enjoy and take in various sights as well as make stops along the way. Pillions are always encouraged to join the TS Safari and this year was no different, the group included a huge mix of riders and 25 pillions from couples to father / son and father / daughter.
TS Safari is the only Safari event that allows pillions to join the ride. This year’s TS Safari participants were able to bring a buddy on another brand of bike, opening up the Safari experience to all riders.
Each day, riders were provided with a comprehensive route sheet and briefed about fuel and food stops, as well as things to see and do along the way. Technical support was provided along with a luggage truck service to make the ride hassle free for riders on sporty bikes without storage.
At night riders were treated to a mix of accommodation, entertainment and food.
A highlight was Nelson Bay’s rider briefing venue on the water.
The Safari concluded with a farewell dinner at the spectacular Jenolan Caves to celebrate the week’s adventures, memories and friendships
Day One: Kinsgcliff to Coffs Harbour, 505km.
Riders began the route with a short ride south along the coast and up towards the hills, passing through the iconic town of Nimbin. Many took up the optional Lion’s Road Loop, a popular and challenging road, well known for its bridges, underpasses, causeways and the occasional live stock. The road required a bit more concentration with changes in the tarmac surfaces, twists, turns and narrow sections.
The views coming into Coffs Harbour included a sea of green as the route wound its way near a banana plantation and through the Big Banana Fun Park.
The sun was out and everyone was in high spirits after a great day of riding.
Day Two: Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie, 259km.
Riders made their way through Uralla down Thunderbolts Way to Walcha, followed by a stop off at motorbike-friendly Gingers Creek Café. The ride was a great combination of twists and turns. Highlights of the ride included scenic waterfall stops and short walks along the way. Throughout Waterfall Way riders encountered picturesque views.
The Oxley Hwy, behind the Gingers Creek Café, was a highlight of the week with open roads, smooth tarmac surfaces and a mix of everything from slow to fast making the route extremely interesting to ride.
Day Three: Port Macquarie Loop, 380km.
Riders had the choice to have a rest day and hang around the pool or get back in the saddle. The majority chose to complete the loop and headed towards the northern NSW beaches. It was a jam packed day of riding and the route offered options to cater to different rider abilities, activities and distances.
It was an early start and riders were eager to take on the day, they travelled along the Oxley Hwy in the morning and through impressive views overlooking the water at Skyline Lookout, Crescent Head.
Points of interest along the route included the historic Trial Bay Gaol, the Heritage Hotel at Gladstone and the Pub With No Beer at Taylors Arm. The Pub With No Beer was the perfect midpoint for the day with many enjoying lunch and the great ambience.
Day Four: Port Macquarie to Nelson Bay, 497km.
The route for day four linked three awesome and well known motorcycle roads, the Oxley Hwy, Thunderbolts Way and Bucketts Way. Many stopped for morning tea at Walcha, before heading to Thunderbolts Way on open, fast flowing roads past rural paddocks. The Gloucester Cafe was a popular stop and the town was quickly filled with bikes by lunch.
Riders were treated to a scenic run along the water’s edge into Nelsons Bay.
Many enjoyed celebrating the day’s ride at popular restaurant spots the Wharf and the Little Beach Boathouse.
Day Five: Nelson Bay to Jenolan Caves, 427km.
The last day of riding was filled with a mix of winding country roads with magnificent views that ran along the Hawkesbury River towards the Blue Mountains.
The weather was cloudy and overcast, it began to get worse throughout the day with windy conditions and heavy rain. Despite difficult riding conditions at times during the ride due to poor visibility and fallen down foliage, riders were in high spirits and were excited to finish the weeks ride. Jerry’s kitchen was a favourite stop for riders and seemed like a popular local bike hub.
After catching two ferries -The Wisemans Ferry and The Sackville Ferry- riders criss-crossed along Bells Line Road through the Blue Mountains which were some of the best views of the whole week with gorges, cliff faces and mountain tops.
The tail end of the route wound its way towards the historic Jenolan Caves.
At times, the route was very narrow and windy.
It was a spectacular sight for those who had never ridden through the Caves. Everyone was buzzing from the week at the Farewell dinner, where prizes were given out and everyone celebrated together.
More information about BMW Safari can be found here – bmwsafari.com.