Many moons ago, back in the normal times long before people fought over bog roll at the supermarket and when we could actually shake our mates hands and not do that weird elbow touch thing that is an accepted form of greeting these days; If someone said to me at the beginning of the year “ you’ll be celebrating your day of birth in Cooktown this year”, my immediate thought would have been “something has turned to shit here somewhere along the line!” And yes it has, but at the same time we are pretty lucky to be here.
We met a couple in Cape Trib the other day who were riding their bikes as well. They left Sydney the same time we did and got to Cooktown a few days ahead of us. Considering we drove all the way to Cairns and they have ridden, gives you some indication of our sloth like pace. To be fair they looked like they were having about as much fun as you good folk in Melbourne right now. You really shouldn’t rush fun.
It was a false dawn. Our triumphant departure from Kuranda was put back a day because the good folk at Auspost decided to inform us that our new tent poles had finally arrived in Cairns. What’s the point of a tracking number if you can’t f@cking track it! So next morning I was on the 7:45 bus with all the school kids back down the hill to Cairns. I scouted who was most likely to be the bully and stayed wide away. I was pretty grateful none of the kids picked on me because of my ginger hair. O’Doyle rules! Annie even made me a play lunch for my trip!
After managing to jag a ride on the 9:15 am back up to Kuranda and avoiding another full day in the cesspit that is Cairns waiting for the afternoon bus, we now had a full day to explore Kuranda. Plenty of green, plenty of tourist stores, plenty of hippies was our conclusion.
Our first days ride couldn’t have been any better. Black mountain road was a stunning start. Lush rainforest and zero traffic on a gravel rd were prime conditions to begin our trip. Peak enjoyment levels were reached at lunchtime when we sat down for an avocado and vegemite sanger and could hear the call of cassowaries in the forest.
They didn’t show their faces despite our best attempts of luring them from the bushes with some calls of our own. Our problem is we use the same noise for all animals. I’m pretty sure the whales in Maroubra speak a different tongue to the cassowaries in FNQ.
Our day ended just a little way down the beginning of the bump track and our first wild camp for the trip. The bump track was originally an Aboriginal trail linking the coastal regions and the hinterland. Later Christie Palmerston in 1877 turned it into a supply line joining Port Douglas and the early settlers and miners on the tablelands. It was the first track wide enough south of Cooktown for carts and wagons. Those poor bloody horses would have had to work hard to get up this thing. These days the bump track is a double black diamond mountain bike run.
One thing we could of done without was the 4km return hike down a steep hill at the end of the day to see some waterfalls. Yeah it was a bit of fun having a swim in the nude and it was pretty refreshing but our legs were already cactus after riding. We both felt like lieutenant Dan when we made it back to camp. By the time we had eaten it was pitch black dark and the forest had come alive. We fell asleep to the noises around our tent and woke in the morning with the hope none of the little pricks had chewed through any of our gear looking for food.
The next day some sections of the track felt like we were hanging on for dear life coming down the hill to Port Douglas. Upon completion we were both quite proud of the fact we weren’t dead. Then a few kids around 12 y/o come flying down past us, with one stating “ f@ck yeah that was awesome!” Is this the start of getting old for us?
After recharging our powerbanks and ourselves in Port Douglas we had our sights set on getting into the Daintree. On the way one of our stops was @ Mossman gorge. Staring in awe at some of these trees had us thinking we wouldn’t be surprised if some blue men jumped out and started throwing spears at us. It really felt like being on the set of Avatar.
That night at camp in Mossman we were talking with a guy from Zimbabwe about our trip. He told us a story about a couple he met a few days ago. The guy 35 years ago was riding his bike around New Zealand’s South Island where he met a danish backpacker at a pub. They kissed but went there seperate ways the next day. He was pretty keen on her but all he had was the date she was flying into Sydney. So feeling a tad embarrassed he flew to Sydney airport early that morning to meet every flight that landed. When he saw her walking of the plane he came up and tapped her on the shoulder. They have been married ever since.
Now a few days later when a guy came over to our tent to have a chat to the stupid pricks on bicycles. He started telling us a story about how he met his wife. After a few lines we burst out with “ we’ve heard this before, it’s you!” He got a tad embarrassed and said “ I’ve really got to stop telling that story”. Norm and Hannah it was a pleasure to meet you.
After having the hair on the back of our necks stand up seeing our first crock in Cape Trib and being pissed that everyone in the campground had seen a cassowary except us. It was time to set off towards Cooktown on the Bloomfield track. With feedback ranging from “your going to die” to “ it’s pretty much like a paved road these days you’ll be sweet”. We weren’t sure what to expect. One thing that was expected was the hills and they didn’t dissapoint. It was seriously hard work. One thing that is disappointing is the amount of cans on the side of the road in a world heritage area. Is it a pre requisite if you drink Jim Beam, Wild Turkey or Woodstock bourbon you have to throw your can out the window? Furthermore to our studies we never saw one can of Pale Ale. In conclusion, we have decided man buns don’t litter, only bogans do!
Riding through the Daintree has been the highlight of the trip so far. Without trying to sound like too much of a wanker it was absolutely stunning!! We would definitely cop a few hills everyday for that type of scenery. By the time we rolled into the Lions Den Hotel we deserved a beer and then a few more!!
Now we are in Cooktown for a few days and things couldn’t have started better for our trip. Well for Ana they probably could’ve. She has been coping it from the locals. From bites all over her ass ( the red dots are a real work of art) to having a fresh snake skin in her shower block, or going to the shower and finding a leech on her leg and blood all over her shorts. It really has been a rough start. Surprisingly they have left me alone. I guess our animals are a bit like us Australians. A few of them don’t like foreigners!
The Stylish Pedlars