Julie and I were supposed to be hiking the 5,000km Continental Divide Trail in the US in 2020, but COVID-19 derailed that plan. Instead, we will have an adventure in Australia, circumnavigating the country on our bikes, a distance of about 16,500km taking approximately five and a half months. We will use minor roads where possible and occasionally catch ferries across rivers and inlets to avoid busier inland routes. We will camp some of the time and stay in motels, hotels, etc, at others. There will be stretches of up to five days with no accommodation or resupply available, so we will need to be self-sufficient.

Day 026

Day:  026

Date: Monday, 27 July 2020

Start:  Babinda

Finish:  Port Douglas

Daily Kilometres:  134 (click for Julie's Strava and photos)

Total Kilometres:  2861

Weather:  Cool early then sunny and warm

Accommodation:  Motel

Nutrition:

  Breakfast:  Egg, bacon & cheese jaffles

  Lunch:  Beef, cheese & pickle sandwich/Chicken, cheese & mayo sandwich

  Dinner:  Bangers & mash/Pad Thai, ice cream

Aches:  Nothing significant

Highlight:  Our late afternoon walk around the Port Douglas headland and town.  At the end of a beautiful day it was lovely to stroll past the vast hard sand Four Mile Beach, populated with walkers and some swimmers, then follow the path up around the rainforested headland with many lookout spots, before descending to the beautiful parklands by the river.  Small groups of backpackers, grey nomads and others were gathered on the lawns beneath the palms, playing games, drinking, chatting and playing music while they waited for the sun to set behind the mountains across the river.  Perfect.

Lowlight:  The trusty Sony hardcase/waterproof camera that has accompanied me on many adventures over the past five years was used for the last time today.  It had developed some idiosyncracies in the last year that made me ponder its future, then two days ago it bounced out of my handlebar bag as the bike jolted across a cane railway line and crashed onto the road.  It lost part of its shell in the impact, and although it still worked, more or less, I got a replacement camera as we passed through Cairns today.  Hopefully, it lives up to the service provided by its predecessor.

Pictures: Click here

Map and Position: Click here for Google Map

Journal:

We cycled out of a sleepy Babinda at 6:45am, shortly before the sun rose, and joined the Bruce Highway, and many Monday morning commuters heading towards Cairns.  The road was undulating through the now-accustomed lush green farmland and sugar cane plantations beneath the towering Bellenden Ker, Queensland's second highest mountain (1,593m).

After a breakfast break at a roadhouse on the outskirts of Gordonvale, we continued on into the sprawling tropical city of Cairns where we hoped to take care of a few mundane needs - a more powerful bike pump, a new cycling top for Julie, a new camera for me (see above), and a post office to mail home some more unneeded gear.  Despite some shopping around, we failed to get the pump or the cycling top, and as expected, it did cost us some time.

We did, however, have time to detour around the attractive Cairns waterfront (if you ignore the mud flats) before continuing north towards Port Douglas, our goal for the day.  On the northern outskirts of Cairns we bought some sandwiches at a roadhouse, which we ate at a shaded picnic table in an adjacent park, before riding along the spectacular Captain Cook Highway that hugs the coast, passing by beautiful beaches, through patches of rainforest, and touching spectacular lookouts.

It's a scary ride in some places, with no road verge, blind corners, and fly-in tourists who have just collected their rented campervan from Cairns airport.  Friend, Meredith, had warned me of its dangers, and originally we had thought of riding it first thing in the morning.  But that's also the time all of the day tours and casual tourist workers head north, so we decided mid-afternoon might be better.   It wasn't that bad, though we had some occasions where a nervous driver was reluctant to pass us, yet we had nowhere to get off the road, so chains of following vehicles built up behind us as we pedalled furiously uphill on the winding road.

The last 15 kilometres left the coast and passed through more cane sugar country before we took the side road to Port Douglas, one of Australia's premier resort towns.  The last few kilometres passed resort after resort along a lush palm tree lined road, until we reached our motel near the centre of town.  After checking in and showering, we went for a lovely walk (see above) past the beach and around the headland and town, buying some microwaveable dinner on the way back to our room.

Another good day.  We will now be in more remote areas, with limited internet access, so the daily journal reports may not arrive daily!

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Dave and Julie!! Glad you survived that pretty road, sounds like the real stuff is starting now - Goodbye crowded cities.

    ReplyDelete