Thursday, June 4, 2015

Review: Australian Motorcycle Atlas 6th Edition

The good people over a HEMA Maps have sent me a copy of the latest edition of the Australian Motorcycle Atlas 6th Edition. I had previously owned the first edition from way back in 2003 which had 50 Top Rides and I'd recently been given a copy of the New Zealand Motorcycle atlas which was also a very handy book for our NZ trip last year. A lot has changed since the first edition came out and the latest edition has 2 books instead of just the one book and also comes with a wall sized map of Australia with a lot of the rides marked on the map. There's also now 200 top rides.

Hema Motorcycle Atlas 6th Edition

In the modern day that we now live in some people might think why do I need a motorcycle atlas which is big and bulky and hard to carry on a bike, when I can just have a GPS instead. Well you may be right but a GPS doesn't show you where the best roads are, nor does it tell you good places to stay, eat and fuel up. The motorcycle atlas has a short story with each ride with photo's and vivid descriptions from Author Peter 'The Bear' Thoeming. I was a little unsure about the 2 book format but I after thinking about it a little bit I can see the point in it. Rather than carry a thick book around there is one book for the Maps and the other book is for the detailed road information and planning. You use one book to plan your route and then just take the map book on the bike. They come in a clear plastic cover so you can just put both in if required.

Putty Rd Madness
These books can be quite easily squeezed into the top of a tank bag and readily available, although not quite as easy to navigate by as a GPS as reading the map really requires you to pull over and look at it. It has a spiral bound centre so it's easily opened at any page without ruining the spine. It's interesting to note that HEMA also offer a ON and OFFLINE GPS navigation app for smart phones and tablets so you could use one of those instead. On the plus side for the books, they don't require batteries or power supplies. I have found my old atlas quite useful in looking for roads that I haven't explored before and that's exactly where this book excels. If you need to take a closer look at the roads then I generally use google maps and use the street view, but first you need to know which roads are good bike roads and that's what this atlas does best.

There is a mountain of information in this book which must have taken a few years to piece it all together however I did notice one small gaff, on the Wee Jasper Road Peter trumpets that' There is fuel and country style food at the friendly store in Wee Jasper, but that's the only thing approaching services on this road'. Well looks like Pete hasn't been on this road in a few years as we stayed at the pub 2 years ago and the general store had been closed more than 12 months then, so there's no food or fuel here except pub food of course. I suppose you couldn't ride all of these roads within a couple of years so some info could be a little old, but still some of the more popular roads have very up to date info on them. Maybe Pete should read my blog!

All in all its a pretty good read and should be on every motorcyclists must have route touring planner shopping list. The atlas is broken up state by state, showing great rides in each state with descriptions, pictures and map references. There's a distance calculator at the start of each state. Very easy to read and follow. The maps show all capital cities and country areas with the top 200 rides highlighted to make them easy to see.
Oxley Bliss

I was contacted some time ago by Natalie Wilson the publishing manager from Hema, who wanted to use some of my photo's for the atlas to which I agreed and she organised to send me a complimentary copy. My photo's appear on the Bells Line, Oxley Highway and the Putty Road. Thanks Natalie. The mighty R1 now features in the Hema maps book!!!!!

If you're in the market for a good motorcycle tour planning book then you can't go wrong with this.


  1. I still use paper maps and guide books for route planning. It's part of the fun.

    1. Yeah me too, I prefer planning with paper maps, then use the computer for more accurate distance info etc

  2. A great planning tool for any riders wanting to visit/ride Australia.
    I am always amazed to see rides posted on place like ADV and HUBB which are the Pacific highway from Brisbane to Melbourne.
    Used to jump on and say Uhm it not like the Pacific highway from LA to San Fran mate but given up now.

    1. Hi Warren
      Sure is good, I got the NZ version as well which I think you recommended on your blog.
      Yeah sometimes there is such shit advise on some of those forums also with some bad attitudes.

  3. Hey very interesting blog!

  4. The Australian Motorcycle Atlas 6th Edition is a comprehensive guide for bikers exploring Australia's top rides. Despite GPS availability, its detailed ride descriptions, accommodation, and dining recommendations make it invaluable. The two-book format aids in planning and navigation. While some info may be outdated, the atlas remains a must-have for bikers seeking new adventures. Highly recommended.