Terra Australis - The Great Southern Land
Terra Australis (Latin for South Land) is a hypothetical continent first posited in antiquity and which appeared on maps between the 15th and 18th centuries. The existence of Terra Australis was not based on any survey or direct observation, but rather on the idea that continental land in the northern hemisphere should be balanced by land in the south.
In 1814, Matthew Flinders published the book A Voyage to Terra Australis. Flinders had concluded that the Terra Australis as hypothesised by Aristotle and Ptolemy did not exist, so he wanted the name applied to what he saw as the next best thing: 'Australia'.
Today ‘Australia’ is a vibrant dynamic country on the international stage yet its vast interior and the far reaches of the rugged mountain ranges down the Eastern seaboard have remained largely unseen by the great majority of our population or to the multitude of international visitors to our shores.
Since 2014 there has been occasional chat on social media about planning a top to bottom touring/race route from the northern to southern tip of Australia. Nominally, the 1988 Bicentennial Trail was a starting point for discussion, however as a few have discovered after attempting to ride it, it is better suited as a saddle horse or hiking trail, constrained by stock routes, private access and resupply options for fast off-road riding.
The TABE route is the outcome of these discussions and considerations. Talk is cheap and action delivers ... over the past two years much of the proposed TABE route has been considered, ridden, revised. The inaugural Terra Australis Bike Epic was held in 2018 with eleven starters and just two finishers. The winner, Steve Halligan completing the course in 31d:9h:14m
The route as outlined will lead riders through distant rugged corners of ‘the great southern land’ allowing you to experience the magnificence of remote expanses of inland Australia, small isolated communities, giant eucalypt forests, golden surfing beaches along the eastern seaboard, the splendour of the towering sandstone escarpments of the Blue Mountains, Canberra our National Capital, the stunning high country wilderness of Kosciuszko National Park and finally through the rugged Victorian alpine region to the southern tip of Australia at Wilsons Promontory.
The simple challenge is for riders wishing to compete in the TABE to commit. Ride solo, unassisted, follow the route set, make their own decisions when to sleep, eat and ride. There is no entry fee, no prize/certificate/medal for winning or completing the course, just the quiet personal satisfaction of having completed a monumental challenge of human endeavour. #bemoremike