6th, 7th and 8th July 2017
Cairns to Port Douglas
Thursday – A few jobs to get done today, so not a huge rush to get going. We took a short stroll around the block and found Pete and Paul’s, little family run cafe, and had a nice reasonably priced breakfast, then back to the YHA to do some washing, before taking our bikes round the corner to McSuds Car Spa, for a wash. They were pretty dirty, and tomorrow they are booked in for servicing, and no mechanic wants to work on a filthy bike. We broke our number one rule, and just put on our helmets and jackets. Will even rode in his Keenes hiking sandals, and me in my sketchers. Not ideal, or recommended, but we didn’t break any speed records in the 500 metres we rode.
My job was to hold the jackets and helmets, not a tough job, but important.
The rest of the day we walked around the streets near us, and relaxed at the YHA. We did meet a fellow bike adventurer, Terry, who is a bit older, from the Gold Coast, and been right the way around on this trip, having done 30,000 kms. Wow, that is fantastic. It was nice to meet him, and compare notes.
Hi Terry, thanks for chatting and sharing your journey.
Dinner in the communal kitchen was even busier tonight, bit like feeding time at the zoo, and a bit difficult just to cook a couple of steaks (the BBQ was apparently out of order, which was a bugger), zap a couple of small spuds, and chuck together a salad. Couldn’t find a sharp knife, so lucky we had cherry tomatoes that don’t really need a chop up. Might eat out tomorrow night. But we did sit with Terry, and talk lots about his adventure, and discovered he had stumbled across the two guys we met in Burra, way back in the beginning of this trip, Terry and Ian. He, or they all caught each other in the Northern Territory, and he said the Canberra boys were currently up at Cape York. Maybe we will see them again. I hope so.
Friday – Bike service day, which meant up and at ’em. Bikes need to be at Yamaha around 8am, and I’ve had the Shittest sleep, and have a serious case of dislike for everybody, even Will. Look out! So cup of tea, some fruit toast, and notice they are using the BBQ to make pancakes, so it wasn’t broken, they just didn’t want to clean it…..that didn’t help my crap mood! So Will is rushing things, doesn’t like to be late (who does), but it’s just a quick service and they’ve got all day, so what’s 10 minutes? Anyway, today we do better with Rule number 1, and put our long pants, boots, jackets etc on for the 2km ride. Darryl gets us sorted, we get an Uber for $8 back, and change into relaxing, summer clothes. Ah, better.
We’ve decided that we wanted to look around Cairns a bit more, so hired a couple of electric bicycles to do it. This should be fun, and as I struggle to walk, it should be better on the old dick knees. So we walk around the corner and grab two bikes, and head off to……..where are we going? What direction are we supposed to go? Will is talking to me, forgetting we don’t have intercom….pretty funny….and we have to stop heaps to try and orient ourselves. Finally we find the Esplanade, and have a burl along the lovely cycle path, getting the hang of these motorised beasts. Bloody great actually.
Bit of a wobbly start, all the weight is on the back, making the steering light.
You can turn the motor off completely, to ride unassisted if you want to, and it has three gears. Or, much more fun, use the motor (which also has three levels), to smash out the fast kays, and peddle a bit if you want, or just use the throttle. If you peddle a bit, the battery lasts longer, oh and you feel less guilty! So we had an explore along the Esplanade, and stopped to watch the helicopters land and have a refreshment at the marina, before getting the call, our real bikes are ready. Right, so back to YHA, change, Uber back to Yamaha, ride back to YHA, change, and ….. phew, worse than teenagers and their outfit changes, can we just stop for a bit? Then we can go explore on the pushies some more hey?
Will loved his “easy” bike. Great cycle paths along the Esplanade.
It turned into a pretty enjoyable day, and we went to a pub nearby for dinner. It was pretty poor, but it was also pretty cheap, so whatever. Back at the YHA, it was dead quiet. I guess Friday night is out on the town night. We could have cooked in peace. Bugger.
We rode around the Botanical Gardens, which were great, but full of Mozzies.
Saturday – We wanted to get going early this morning, which was lucky, because it was actually looking like a pretty warm day. So off to eat our nuts and berries, and our bananas, which were not looking too flash. A quick half coffee, then pack, load and we are ready. A last chat to Terry, who told us the Canberra guys (Ian and Terry) were actually here in Cairns, and tried to find us last night. Bugger, we missed them, would have been good to see how they’ve gone. So by 9.30 we were cruising out of Cairns towards Kuranda, in the hills.
It was an easy morning ride, following the usual caravans and other tourist vehicles. Just before Smithfield, we turned onto the Kennedy highway, heading back up the range. It was really pretty, and another lovely, twisty ride through the rainforest. Just not long enough, but very enjoyable. As we had plenty of time today, we took a short detour to have a look at Barron Falls. A few years ago, Will’s brother and Dad visited here and it was a roaring cascade. But that was February, this is July, and it wasn’t the spectacle of water today. But it was still a nice short walk and impressive view.
Nice little sculptures with info along the boardwalk and just a trickle for us.
Kuranda looked like a lovely little village. This is also where the sky rail from Cairns goes, and there is also a Scenic Railway, neither of which we did today. Riding the bike was fun enough. The beautiful thick rainforest, and then the tablelands. Farming and low rolling hills. It was a very nice ride through to Mareeba, which was quite a bit bigger than we both expected. Another surprise was a coffee plantation, and plenty of other crops. Mangoes, avocado, tropical fruits and even tee tree oil. It looked like a pretty nice place, but we were on our way to Mt Molloy, which is up the range from Port Douglas, and our planned lunch stop.
It was a very cruisie ride up to Mt Molloy, and we were both taken by the large lake we noticed on our left about half way there. We weren’t aware of it, not noticing on the maps when we planned our day. It turns out, that it is actually a dam, the Lake Mitchell Dam, which overflows into the Mitchell River. It was made as an ornamental lake, and was very nice. We’d been up to Mt Molloy before, way back, and enjoyed a nice lunch there, in the tiny little town which doesn’t really have much more than the pub, so decided that we’d do it again, before enjoying the ride back down the range to our destination. A delicious steak sanger, and cold drink, and we were happy.
Riding through, and over the GDR, has been spectacular every time we’ve done it this trip. This was no exception. We really enjoyed the road, especially as it was in good condition and dry. We stopped at the lookouts, and only had to slow up for the last bit, caught behind a couple of slower cars. Then we were on the flats, in amongst the sugar cane, heading for Port Douglas. This road looked just the same as last time, and as we rode through the town centre, we didn’t think it had changed too much. Still a beautiful holiday centre. We tried to book some accommodation but could only get two nights but needed three. Luckily we have family here, and they were willing to put up with us for a few days. So here we are, taking it easy again, in the awesome Queensland winter.
It is such a lovely ride, and lots of bikes were out enjoying it too.
After a great day riding, we can enjoy a nice cold beer at the brewery on the marina, with Geoff, Taryn and friends.