Brisbane to Cooktown in June 06
I have 4-5 weeks this summer (June to July) to spend in Australia. My better half has business in Sidney and I am going to accompany her. My thought is to rent a bike and ride (on my own) from either Sidney or Brisbane up to Cooktown.
My questions are:
1. From a weather perspective is this a good option?
2. Am I being overly ambitious (too much distance there and back)?
3. Are there better rides?
4. Is Daintree National Park a good option?
This is my first trip to Australia and I want to make the most of it.
1. Weather - perfect (north of Brisbane that is)
2. Distance - 2-3,000 kms Brisbane-Cooktown (add 1200 from Sydney). probably double that with all the excellent detours. Not too far, plenty of petrol, plenty of roads down to the beach or up to the Great Dividing Range.
3. The problem is a few hundred kms north of Brisbane all the way past Rockhampton (about 1200 kms I guess) is dead-boring. All the rest is fine.
4. Daintree - perfect.
Another option (which my brother took) was to ride north and stick the bike on a truck for the long haul back south.
hope that helps
You`re running terribly late aren`t you?
I`d leave it and try again in`07 :-)
Anytime of year is good for a ride. Around that time of year the northern rain/cyclone season should be well over and all roads will be passable. Daintree and Cape Tribulation is a beautiful part of the country. Maybe a visit to Fraser Island just North of Brisbane would be worth it. There are many inland roads less travelled that will get you off the boring highways. If 4-5 weeks is what you have available then it can be covered comfortably.
I know you haven't asked for someone to travel with but if you are let me know when you get some definate dates together. If they fit in with whats happening around here I could maybe swindle some time off and join you for a couple of days or a week. If that's no good then I can certainly pick you up from the airport and point you in the right direction.
A good friend has a good late model KLR650 he is looking to move on, I will make some enquiries and let you know what his intentions are and how much.
Have bike will travel.:scooter:
I appreciate your interest and will definitely be in contact with dates once I have them. Obviously, my dates are June/July '07 (not '06 as in my header). My bad!
At first I had intended to rent, but if buying a good quality bike is a reasonable option I would certainly be interested. My first thought is...what do I do with it once done? I guess park it and return to ride it next year, too!!!
What do you mean by dead boring? Is there just wide open space on straight roads? I am suffocating in NY-metro (New Jersey) right at the moment but spent most of my life in the wide-open Western USA. I could really use some 'big-sky'.
The guy with the KLR is still undecided what to do with it. Might be time to disregard it and search elsewhere. I know someone else with a local bike shop who has sourced bikes for travellers before. If this sounds like what you are after let me know and I will email you his contact details.
Plenty of big sky in Oz. Plenty of beer as well but too much of it and you will fall over. There's a lot of straight highway with open farmland, especially (but not only) north of Gladstone to north of Rockhampton. It'll be dry that time of the year and you should have the trade winds at your back from about Gladstone so riding will be comfortable enough. But there are a lot of boring straight bits. If you like that kind of thing then fine, otherwise you should make a good study of the map and plan a few detours. Especially up and down the Great Dividing range which runs parallel to the Bruce Highway.
As you get even further north (north of Townsville that is) the mountains get closer to the coast and there are heaps of fantastic roads. You can ride up and down the mountains from Innisfail to Port Douglas where you will hit the coast road to Cooktown (assuming you're taking the more challenging coast road through Cape Tribulation).
I know the roads north of Brisbane (and especially north of Townsville) pretty well and am happy to help you plan a route when the time comes. The tableland areas of Queensland are quite beautiful and should be checked out if you have the time.
Jeez, I could talk about this all day...hell I'm jealous.
Bris, Cooktown, CNS, tbl lands etc!
Was just reading your replies. Yes Troy I can see how you would feel bogged down in NJ, I worked there for a while in 2004 but I was out in the Harbour so it wasn't too bad.
Brett, Are you from the tablelands? I am from Atherton originally and yes your right there is some amazing riding country there if you know where to go and look. I have ridden most of it from when I joined the first Atherton bike club in 1976 the same year as the Cairns centenery 2 day Enduro where Hans Appelgrun (Husqvarna factory team)won it. A friend of mine rode one of the forst IT400C there and did pretty bloody good against some of the worlds best at that time.
By the way mate, are you in Dubai? I am on Sohar, Oman right now and have just finished a ride along the mountains here on a R1200GS I have bought. Unreal sights!! Bit different than the tropics of Nth QLD tho! No waitawhile for one thing!!
Yes your right I have rode from Cairns to Brissy many times and up to Cooktown once of twice. First time when I was 15, whoops no licence! Was easy those days to get away with things like that!
Yes troy, July would be the best month to do it. Heart of Winter! About 4 degrees in the morning and gets to about 15. Depends where you are tho. Warmer on the coast, if your up on the table lands it can get to the minus in the mornings especially around a place caller Herberton, Irvinebank etc. I have know it to get to -13 in Herberton, but that was yrs ago when I was still at school when we used to ride around there.
What I would do is head west from Brissy, and get out of the rat race. Just pack enough clothes that you can carry comfortably and stay in the local pubs. (much cheaper too) And they have those old beds that curve like a banana when you lay in them. great for the back after a day of riding. There you will meet the locals and don't worry if they call you a yank, or septic, it's normal for us!
Stay west and head north and don't hit the coast until Mackay. come in from Peake Downs, Moranbar way. Have a few days around Mackay, if you like fishing then that's even better, Great fishing there and nothing like the 2 headed things you pull out of the water in NJ.
From Mackay head up the coast bit watch out for the F****n coppers, they have no sense of humour at all and don't even drink a beer and ride there they throw the book at you. Anyway they will be burning cane at that time of the year so you will get the sweet smell of sugar cane burning. There is a lot to see from Mackay up to cairns but you will have to get a map and study that. You can get good ones from AAA in Oz for a good price.
Once in Cairns, You can visit a bike shop called Wayne Leonards Bits for Bikes. They should be able to help you out on a few things etc.
Leave Cairns and head north up the coast and don't stop until your past Port Douglas, visit Mossman Gorge for a swim, beware it is cold tho! Then ride up the coast to cooktown and don't forget to stop at the Lion's Den Hotel!! You will enjoy it, and for sure you will be called a yank again.....haha. You can camp here too if you have a swag or sleeping bag or just get drunk enough and fall down like most do there!
Then next day up to Cooktown, stay a while and do some side trips around the place and be sure you don't miss the Museum, it shows a lot about the history of the place especialy the Chinese who came for the gold rush. On the way back down go the inland route and head toward Mount Molloy (Another pub)! and stop there as well. See you'll turn into a total drunk before you return home! Head east then to Mareeba and turn off here and head toward Chillagoe. They have limestone caves here which are worth a look, and you guessed it 2 bloody pubs! Don't get caught in a Goanna pulling competition unless your a big bastard and can fight. Other than that you will have a ball.
Head back to Mareeba and to Atherton, ( I can get you a place to stay there no probs) then don't forget Herberton, Ravenshoe, You can even go back down the inland route and come out at Charters Towers, even more pubs here, something like 10 I think?
Head back toward the coast and come out at Townsville then ether back down the coast or head inland again. You should try to get over to Magnetic Island for a look if u have time too.
Ok I hope I have rambled on enough now. So now you should just Do it!
Ivan, great write-up. For me, this is the very best thing about the virtual community here. There is nothing like local knowledge, and add to it genuine enthusiasm and it's unbeatable. Thanks mate, you have now made me unsettled again!
Nigel in NZ
(Who is going to spend a beautiful autumn morning teaching a nice young lady how to ride)
Just do the good bits
I've not explored between Brizzie and Cairns much, but i've ridden it a couple of times. I enjoyed it and would do it again, but it can get boring.
For maximum pleasure in a shortish time, I'd hire a bike from one of the three tour companies in Cairns and explore that whole area properly and in a more relaxed manor. Do you ride off road much? There's heaps, no, endless adventures to be had West of Cairns and up to the Cape.
You could just book onto a tour group if cash isn't to much of a worry, I did an eight day job. One of the best things I ever did.
We're in Darwin, it's a great trail from Cairns to here with heaps to check out. I might even make you a cup of tea when you get here.
Back in Oz at the moment but normally in Abu Dhabi. Lived in Cairns, Machans Beach, Malanda (worked at the milk factory) and Millaa Millaa. Fine days doing the Cairns-Kuranda-Gillies circuit, with beers at that pub on the creek just out of Gordonvale on the Gillies. The road up the coast past Cape Trib is truly fine, and the Cape Trib pubs are full of cute backpacker chicks. Did the Port Douglas rip up to Mt Lewis a heap of times. Went to uni in Townsville and used to ride home (to Cairns) and back every weekend, often via Millaa - about 1000kms a week. Forgot my gloves one week and got very serious sunburn on my hands. Lost it in a flood one time and slid into the sugar cane near Tully - got badly slashed under the chin by the cane. Hit a mob of pigs near Mossman once - a ute behind me finished off the one I hit. I stopped at the pub to calm my nerves and he bought me a beer for nailing a fortnight's food for his dogs. I could go on all day. God's country - shame my work's elsewhere. I can feel a ride coming on...
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