Archive for April, 2010

CAIRNS to TOWNSVILLE

It doesn’t just rain in Nth Qld, so much water falls, it is like someone is throwing a bucket of water at you, over and over again. In fact, Tully gets so much water, they have built a 7.9 m “Golden Gumboot” in the main street – incredibly, its height is equal to the amount of rain recorded here in 1950, and is an Australian record! So now that we know all this, it comes as no surprise that our ride south from Cairns was a little damp…

But it began with a fantastic send off, from Anne-Marie, Bryce and Portia, who joined us on their bikes for the ride to Edmonton. There were possibly a few sore bums the next day, but judging by the smiles before we left them, I think you could safely say it was worth it. Great effort folks!

Just north of Innisfail, we bumped into Link from St Kilda. Now if you think we are crazy, he is walking from Cairns to Melbourne – slowly, of course! You can check his facebook page here.

If you ever visit Nth Qld, you simply can’t miss the Great Barrier Reef. For a start, it’s 2 300 km long, the same size as Germany, and the largest living thing visible from space! It’s also really, really cool too – so you just have to see it!!

First, we hopped on board with the friendly crew at Sunlover Cruises for a trip to Moore Reef, just off the coast of Cairns. It was a great day, a wonderful experience, and we even got to pat a giant fish!

Next, we visited the Reef HQ Aquarium in Townsville, where you can see all the amazing stuff the reef has to offer – but not get wet!! They even have a Turtle Hospital, where sick and injured turtles are cared for and rehabilitated. Simply, awesome, dude!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Graeme and Charlie from the Coral Coast Caravan Park, in Townsville, amazed us by organising a fundraising BBQ on our behalf. It was a great night, we got to meet lots of people, talk about all the good stuff Ardoch is doing, and share a bit of our journey.

Speaking of which, it’s scary to think, that that “journey” is getting closer to the end. With now 29 000 km under our belts, there is only 10 weeks to go before Melbourne… Aaargh!!!

But it is not over yet. Our next stop will be Rockhampton on the Central Qld Coast.

Enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

Hey Kids, the factsheet is coming, but in the meantime check out the following Great Barrier Reef links below;

Reef HQ

http://www.reefhq.com.au/

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

 http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/

With Anne-Marie, having brekkie on the Esplanade in Cairns

 

View of Cairns from the Red Arrow lookout

 

Great sunset shot, if only that bloke didn't get in the way!!

 

With Teaghan Maitland from Sunlover Cruises

 

Sunlovers' reef pontoon at Moore Reef

 

They just don't stop smiling! The friendly Sunlover crew waving goodbye.

 

Ready to roll! With Anne-Marie, Bryce and Portia.

 

Sore bums and smiles. In Edmonton 20 kms south of Cairns.

 

With Link, who is walking to Melbourne - slowly, of course!!

 

Tully, home of the Golden Gumboot and lots of rain!!

 

Anyone want a banana? There are plenty around here !!

 

We've found the perfect beach. Wongaling, Mission Beach.

 

You don't get more "Queensland" than this!

 

All downhill from Cairns, hey?! Except for the Cardwell Range!!

 

By popular demand - another jumping shot!! How's the helmet !!

 

Laura Dunstan from Reef HQ, showing us around the Turtle Hospital

 

How many different corals can you see here ?

 

Want a good reason to take climate change seriously? If the ocean heats up, only females turtle are born, which = extinction !

 

Not all sharks are dangerous - this Tawny Nurse shark likes lots of cuddles!!

 

On The Strand in Townsville - Melbourne and the end is getting close now!

ATHERTON to CAIRNS

How far can you ride on a tyre stitched together with fishing line?  Unfortunately a badly split sidewall, which required this innovative roadside repair, meant we were going to find out…

But fortunately, well sort of, this incident happened outside the Mount Molloy Café – home of the world’s best hamburgers.  Fate had brought us together, so we treated ourselves with two of Rudy & Angela’s masterpieces. Truly, inspirational stuff!

Dropping off the Tablelands, we then entered the breathtaking Daintree National Park – the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest on earth!  All that huffing and puffing up the Alexandra Range was worth it, on the other side, pristine rainforest, white sandy beaches and fringing reefs along the shoreline.  We visited the Daintree Discovery Centre to learn more, and get a unique perspective on the rainforest – seeing it from the top of their 23m canopy tower!  Tyre a little wobbly, but still ok.

While continuing our ride onto Cape Tribulation – the most northerly point on our journey through Queensland – we were lucky enough to see a male Cassowary and chic crossing the road.  There are only about 1,200 of these ancient birds left in Australia – proof that you really do see more travelling by bike!  That tyre looks like it might just make it (we hope) ?

We then did an about face, and headed to Port Douglas and then beyond to Cairns.  The ride along the Pacific Highway that links the two cities was spectacular, winding its way right along the coast.

You wouldn’t believe it, but that dodgy tyre got us there – almost 300 kms!  But we were sure pleased to see Anne-Marie, whom we stayed with in Cairns, and our new tyres that were there waiting for us!

From here – now finally heading in the right direction for Melbourne – we head for Townsville.   It’s the home stretch now.

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

Kids, check out the Daintree factsheet below;

Introduction To The Daintree Rainforest

O-Oh trouble, a badly split sidewall

 

Our innovative fishing line repair job. Will it hold to Cairns?

 

Mount Molloy Cafe. Rudy & Angela with their masterpieces!

 

Truly inspirational stuff!

 

First, you have to catch a ferry before you start toward Cape Trib

 

Your not really there though, till you cross the Alexandra Range

 

This is sweat, not rain!

 

But the top is always worth it, especially here

 

With Peter and Kass from the award winning Daintree Discovery Centre

 

A rainforest has many levels

 

And you get to see them all on the 23m canopy tower

 

What do you mean, LOOKOUT SNAKE ??!!

 

You can't ride past ice-cream this good!! Aneysha (L) and Abi (R) from the Daintree Ice-Cream Company.

 

Slow down and be Cass-o-wary! But as if we will see one...

 

Cooper Creek, Daintree NP (really, that is what it's called!)

 

Oh what a feeling! Thornton Beach, Daintree NP

 

Why did the Cassowary cross the road...? What a moment!

 

Jess on Cape Trib beach, both stunning views

 

The Daintree. A fantastic few days (that's tea in the background!)

 

Jess, cooling off in Mossman Gorge

 

We really liked Port Douglas

 

The Pacific Highway to Cairns winds right along the coast

Say ‘cheese’ everyone!

NORMANTON to ATHERTON

“So, where do we start climbing from?”  This is what we’ve been asking, literally anyone that will listen, to better understand our route from Normanton to Ravenshoe, which sits at 920m and at the very top of the Great Dividing Range.  Right from the start, was the correct answer!

Unlike the mountain ranges we’ve crossed in South America and Europe, here they are deceptive.  You think its flat, but in reality you are slowly grinding your way uphill.  Combine that with a stiff breeze, which constantly blows right up your nose, and you really do earn your tea and fruit cake!

But lucky for us, this gently sloping country has created one of the rarest and most fascinating volcanic phenomena on earth – the Undara Lava Tubes.  Here, 190,000 years ago, a massive eruption caused a lava flow over 160km – which is the longest flow originating from a single volcano anywhere in the world!  As the lava cooled, it left tunnels (or lava tubes) which you can now walk through.  It is quite amazing and our guide Andrew Sturges from Undara Experience really made it come alive.  It’s a good thing we are not cycling back then!!

On the Atherton Tablelands, the scenery changes very quickly – which says a lot going at cycling speed.  The scrub and grasslands disappear, and are instantly replaced with rolling green hills, misty waterfalls and lots of dairy cows!  We visited Gallo’s Dairyland to learn more about the dairy industry and see how one of my favourite foods is made – say ‘cheese’ everyone!

From here, we go a little further north to Cape Tribulation and the incredible Daintree National Park, before turning around and heading for Cairns.  It is then all downhill to Melbourne, or so we are told… ?

Stay tuned and enjoy the ride!

Jules & Jess

PS:  Hey kids, check out the factsheets below;

How Does A Cow Turn Grass Into Milk

The Undara Lava Tubes

The Gilbert River stunningly cutting through the savannah grasslands

 

Do they calls these "development roads" because they need it, or create it?

 

Jess doing her best "pot of gold" impression !

 

Routh Creek, a great camping spot if your ever passing by

 

Jess slogging her way up the Newcastle Range

 

Where is this Turtle Rock thingy, we are meant to see ?

 

Happy Easter! Sunday morning at the top of the Newcastle Range

 

The Undara Lava tubes. You get inside through the collapsed roof.

 

Andrew Sturges from Undara Experience making it come alive !

 

The best bit is walking inside. Geez, this water is cold!!

 

Evidence of our "early ancestors" perhaps?

 

No flies on me, mate!

 

Amazing how quick the scenery changes

 

Millstream Falls, reputedly Australia's widest single drop falls !

 

And lots of dairy of cows!

 

Must be why they call this "windy hill" ?

 

Yet another shot of Jess pedalling uphill and into the wind (NB i'm on the bus...)

 

The photo I've always wanted - aka the pioneering timber cutter!

 

Something smells good? Gallo's Dairyland on the Atherton Tablelands

 

Everyone say cheese! Watching the good stuff get made!