Unable to cycle Switzerland and the French Alps due to COVID, we intead explored the completely opposite terrain of Northern Queensland with a mixture of driving, cycling and hiking. Here’s what went down!
Noosa to Chillagoe – Loaded the Golf with bikes and gear and drove North with stops at Gayndah, Cania Gorge NP (stayed a few days to hike the trails), Clermont, Charters Towers & Atherton. Checked into Chillagoe and found that we were the first tourists since the start of the COVID troubles and the State lockdown finishing. Chillagoe is a cute little town – once much, much bigger when the copper smelter was operational. The many limestone ridges and outcrops near town are the remains of ancient coral reefs when the top of Australia was underwater. Many have caves to explore – which we did, and also walked or rode the fantastic tracks maintained the the friendly, helpful rangers.
Chillagoe to Undara Lava Tubes – drove the dirt tracks all day to get to Undara. Blown away by the fantastic tour of the Tubes – the ranger guide was fascinating – Well worth the small frustrations of joining a tour. There are several Kilometres of walking / cycling tracks around the resort area which take you through various vegetation types.
Undara to Cobbold Gorge – Along the Gulf Developmental road (great scenerey) through Mt. Surprise, Georgetown and South to the Cobbold Gorge (unfortunately got a puncture 40K out on the ROUGH dirt road and had to limp in to cobbold village on a space saver tyre). Really enjoyed the tour and walking, cycling the tracks around the camp ground.
Cobbold to Hughenden – Tyre repaired and watching out for rocks, we safely arrived in Hughenden. Visited the Dinosaur museum and checked out the iconic town. We did several trips out to Porcupine Gorge to cycle and to hike down into the Gorge. The is a good lookout over the town from a “Jump Up” 10K out of town. It was a HARD cycle up the 16% gradient to the lookout, great views and super quick ride down….wore out brake pads…hands turned to claws for days.
Hughenden to Winton – had a ball in Winton visiting the packed and cheery pub to try various beers. The Age Of Dinosaurs located out of town on top of a huge “Jump Up” was soooooo fascinating and just brilliant being able to see a real fossil being worked on…..and all the huge plaster coated fossils stacked up for later work. Great views of the area from the valley walk. Rode South from Winton to the Bladensburg National Park – very flat, windy desolate ride, bones of various animals be the side of the dirt road were a bit disconcerting – rode past the camp for the Shearers Strike.
Winton to Longreach – Longreach is an interesting town and has the Qantas museum and Stockman’s Hall of Fame – we spent two afternoons in the Qantas museum and checking out the old planes including the Jumbo. Also several rides out and around the town and some excellent walks.
Longreach to Kangaroo Disaster to Barcaldine to Noosa (H0me) – disaster when a kangaroo jumped into the front of the car driving home…. damage to (kangaroo) radiator and coolant hoses forced a day stopover in Barcaldine (which was a fortunate but unplanned stop). Mechanic cabled tied and superglued engine back together (better than new). Long drive home and then time to give the bikes a good wash down to get the red dust off.
Now planning another trip to North Qld…. as OS travel not yet an option. We intend it to be more of a cycling trip than driving. Look out for the new blog in July/August.