Northern Queensland Trip

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 Gorge

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.

Revised Holiday Plan

Unfortunately, we, like everybody else have had to make changes due to the COVID19 Corona virus.

Gone are our lovely French villages and dreams of baguettes, rose wine and cheeses…..

Gone are the beautiful rolling hills and greenery patched with golden wheat fields, heady scented lavender farms and Red poppies by the side of the road.

Gone are the hilarious attempts to speak a pidgin version of bad, disjointed, bastardised French.

So where are we off to now…… if intrastate travel restrictions are lifted, we’re planning to drive, ride and walk outback Queensland and revel in the culinary and cultural cornicopia that resides therin.

This may require a substantial store of alcohol…but, them’s the breaks!

Stay tuned for our adventures starting some time in July or August.

Planning our next trip

We’ve just finished our latest trip and have identified areas we want to visit and some places we would like to see a bit more of.

We decided that we wanted to see more of the beautiful scenery and mountains of the Alps and the Drome region. We also want to explore Burgundy….an area we haven’t visited before except while passing through at 250kmph on a TGV.

We pulled out all our maps of France and checked out where “Velo Routes” in the general areas of interest are. Then we came up with a provisional route and worked out which towns would best fit within a days ride. The towns we want to spend longer exploring have been identified and those where we may need to utilise train transport to link longer distances checked with SNCF timetables to see if trains would work.

Flights have been booked and accomodation at the start and end of trip booked. The itinerary was then checked to see where we would be on Sundays and Mondays…..when shops are often shut…. and towns checked to see if supermarkets would be open or convenient to accomodation.

Our old bikes had been smashed around over the years of travel on planes and we decided that new bikes were needed. Internet research on best touring bikes gave us a list of bikes to look at and we decided on the 2020 Giant Toughroad.

Purchased two bikes and had them fitted to our body sizes.

We are now at the stage of double checking the planned route ensuring that we can get from town to town via either a Bike route or quiet country roads. We are booking accomodation using our preferred booking site. So handy having all,the bookings on the same site as we can see them all at a glance and check that the dates all match up.