Being on call for jury service over three weeks has limited my riding somewhat. On Thursday 22 September 2005 at 3:30pm Patrick Peck (of Patrick & Belinda Peck fame) and I left Cairns and headed south along the highway to Kennedy. I was riding my Suzuki DL650 and Patrick was on his Yamaha Super Tenere. Kennedy is about 180km south of Cairns.
Arriving at Kennedy at about 5:30pm, I was able to check to determine if I was required for jury service in Cairns the next day. I wasn’t, so I was free to ride. Patrick stocked up on his food supply at the Kennedy store ( I had come properly prepared) before we started our westward jurney inland to the foot of the Great Dividing Range.
About 3km west of Kennedy, we took the turnoff to Blencoe Falls. The road to Blencoe Falls is 67km of rough dirt road climbing from the coastal plain to about 850m above. This road was built by the Australian army during WWII and is now only seldom used. The first 40km take you through dense rainforest (Wet Tropics National Park) as you climb the mountain range before the country opens up into cattle country.
By 7:00pm the light was fading and we came to a small clearing by the side of the track next to a stream. It was here that we made camp for the night. Dinner was cooked over an open campfire. Patrick brought out his Kennedy store tin of beef stew only to find that he had no can opener or anything to heat it up in. Luckily I was better prepared so Patrick was able to have his hot stew for dinner.
Waking at 6:00am on Friday morning, we had cups of tea and coffee for breakfast before breaking camp and heading on our way.
The track up the mountain range was not too bad and the weather had been kind to us. The track was dry all the way. After about 2 hours of riding, we reached Blencoe falls. Even in the dry season, these falls are quite spectacular. Near the falls there is a campsite with basic facilities. We finished a cold breakfast at the top of Blencoe Falls.
Blencoe Falls plunge 90m to a pool below before cascading 230m to the start of the Herbert River gorge. These falls are one of the most stunning waterfalls in Australia. The falls are on part of the traditional land of the Warungnu Aboriginal people.
As you take the short 200m stroll to the lookout and listen carefully, a distant dull rumble becomes a roar as you get closer to the falls. At the lookout, you soak up the sights and sounds of Blencoe Falls as the water races towards the Herbert River. Here, relic hoop pines shrouded in mist create as eerie feeling.
From Blencoe Falls we rode the 100km of dirt road to Mt. Garnet. Without stopping at Mt. Garnet, we travelled the 15km of sealed road east to Innot Hot Springs. It was here that we had lunch and spent an hour or so relaxing in the hot spring thermal pools.
After lunch and a relaxing soak, we rode 5km out of Innot Hot Springs turning left onto the Silver Valley Road. This dirt road takes you the 45km to near Herberton. As we approached Herberton, we came to another dirt road that lead towards historic Irvinbank, an old tin mining town now almost deserted. Not having visited Irvinbank for some 20 years, we decided to head that way and from Irvinbank to Petford.
It was getting later in the day. Patrick and I wanted to get back to Cairns before dark. At about 10km from Irvinbank we came across another dirt track that bypassed Irvinbank and made straight for Petford. With time against us, we decided to give Irvinbank a miss this trip and head straight for Petford.
We arrived at Petford at about 4:00pm. Back on the sealed road again we took 2 hours to travel the final 140km to Cairns through Mareeba. We arrived home at about 6:00pm, tired but exhilarated.
In a little over one day, we covered 750km including about 400km of dirt.Posted by rbscairns at September 25, 2005 07:36 AM GMT
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