Scenic Rainforest Rides

Day 90: Jul. 17 – Kuranda

Today I took the scenic train through the rainforest up the mountain range to the village of Kuranda.  The train takes about 1.5hrs and the views along the way are well worth the trip.  They go nice and slow so there are lots of opportunities to take pictures along the way.

Passing by the sugar farms

Passing by the sugar farms

Our train

Our train

More of our train as we go around a bend

More of our train as we go around a bend

Baron Falls

Baron Falls

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Baron Gorge

Looking back over the suburbs of Cairns and the ocean in the distance

We stopped at one of the stations just before reaching Kuranda to take a look at our surroundings

We stopped at one of the stations just before reaching Kuranda to take a look at our surroundings

Baron Gorge

Baron Gorge

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Once arriving in Kuranda I just strolled around the little town.  It’s 400m from the rail station to the other end of town, so it’s a pretty light and easy walk.  There are a pile of shops, cafes and a few sanctuaries which I didn’t visit (I believe a butterfly sanctuary, a bird sanctuary, a place to pet the koalas and I think a reptilian sanctuary as well).

Here's a random photo for today.  These are posted quite regularly in public washrooms through Australia

Here’s a random photo for today. These are posted quite regularly in public washrooms through Australia

 

After checking out the town I headed back down the mountain via the Skyrail, which is a 7.5km gondola ride over the rainforest canopy from Kuranda to Smithfield.  We were allowed to get off the gondola at a couple of stations on the way down to check out some more sights.

Rainforest as far as the eye can see

Rainforest as far as the eye can see

The scenic Skyrail gondola ride

The scenic Skyrail gondola ride

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Some info on survival in the rainforest for those who are interested:

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An example of a plant 'hitching a ride'

An example of a plant ‘hitching a ride’

Continuing down the last couple of km's of the gondola ride we start to see the farmland and suburbs north of Cairns and the ocean again

Continuing down the last couple of km’s of the gondola ride we start to see the farmland and suburbs north of Cairns and the ocean again

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The afternoon was spent running some final errands and packing up my bike and luggage as tomorrow I have a flight back home to catch.

Where Two World Heritage Sites Meet

Day 89: Jul. 16 – Daintree and Cape Tribulation

Today I joined a tour that was heading north from Cairns to check out the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation.  Both of these are World Heritage sites.

We made a quick stop at some lookouts along the coastal road and Port Douglas, which is a resort town.  After this we headed to the Daintree river for a river cruise with the crocodiles.

Our boat on the Daintree River Cruise

Our boat on the Daintree River Cruise

We were on the boat for less than 5min when we spotted our first crocodile relaxing on the bank

We were on the boat for less than 5min when we spotted our first crocodile relaxing on the bank

Daintree River

Daintree River

This river is a blend of freshwater from the mountains and salt water as tidal effects from ocean.  The trees that grow on the river bank have roots that grow upwards which act as 'snorkels' to filter out the salt from the river

This river is a blend of freshwater from the mountains and salt water as tidal effects from ocean. The trees that grow on the river bank have roots that grow upwards which act as ‘snorkels’ to filter out the salt from the river

It's a bit distant, but that's another crocodile hanging out on the sandbar

It’s a bit distant, but that’s another crocodile hanging out on the sandbar

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Another crocodile sighting

Another crocodile sighting

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Our tour guide said he would guess there are at least 80-90 crocodiles in this river.  He joked when pointing out the life jackets that we might be better off without the life jacket 'cuz it'll just slow us down

Our tour guide said he would guess there are at least 80-90 crocodiles in this river. He joked when pointing out the life jackets that we might be better off without the life jacket ‘cuz it’ll just slow us down

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More of the roots acting like snorkels

More of the roots acting like snorkels

 

There is actually an interesting story about the guy who first started running these tours on the Daintree River in the 80’s.  He was an American who lived in this area of Australia for about 40 years and had become a well known environmentalist in the area before passing away a couple of years ago.  Upon his passing it was discovered that he was actually a drug fugitive from Florida who faked his own death 40yrs ago.

A coastal lookout

A coastal lookout

A walk through the rainforest

A walk through the rainforest

Some interesting trees

Some interesting trees

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Mangrove trees

Mangrove trees

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I thought the root systems were pretty neat

I thought the root systems were pretty neat

A beach at Cape Tribulation

A beach at Cape Tribulation

The ocean and more of those sand balls made by soldier crabs

The ocean and more of those sand balls made by soldier crabs

An edible flower (tastes a bit bland)

An edible flower (tastes a bit bland tho)

Rainforest meets beach

Rainforest meets beach

A sugar cane train loaded with harvest and delivered to a local sugar mill

On our way back to Cairns we swung by a sugar cane train loaded with harvest and delivered to a local sugar mill

 

Finding Nemo

Day 86 to 88: Jul. 13 to 15 – Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

From Airlie Beach I continued the drive north to Cairns, where I passed by mile after mile of Sugar Cane.  They even have trains specifically to move the sugar cane from the farms to the mills.

Sugar Cane train

Sugar Cane train

Another pic of the sugar cane train

Another pic of the sugar cane train

Cairns walkway along the water

Cairns walkway along the water

Lagoon in Cairns

Lagoon in Cairns

The Reefquest - our boat which will take us to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns

The ReefQuest – our boat which will take us to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns

Cairns from our boat

Cairns from our boat

 

I was going to take an intro to scuba diving lesson while at the reef, but some motion sickness (the ocean was a bit ‘rollie’ today) and weird popping in my ears were not allowing it.  So instead I spent some time snorkelling the reef.  The reef in this area had WAY more fish (and colourful fish) than the area I had snorkelled at the Whitsunday’s a few days ago.  This area was not damaged by the cyclone, but I am told it has encountered some bleaching (the coral turns white) in the last couple of years which is a result of warmer temperatures.  I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but it seemed pretty colourful and vibrant to me!  I wasn’t able to find Nemo or Dory though….

The reef is in the lighter coloured areas of the water

The reef is in the lighter coloured areas of the water

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any pics under the water.

On our way back to Cairns we spotted a couple humpback whales splashing their tales on the water. I wasn't close enough to catch a pic tho. This picture is of the boats racing back to Cairns after a day on the reef

On our way back to Cairns we spotted a couple humpback whales splashing their tales on the water. I wasn’t close enough to catch a pic tho. This picture is of the boats racing back to Cairns after a day on the reef

Some info on the reef

Some info on the reef

We are now officially in crocodile territory

We are now officially in crocodile territory

The trees of Cairns lit up in xmas colors. It's still more than a week away, but talk of Christmas in July is starting to pop up in conversations and some Christmas movies are appearing on commercials. I guess because July is their 'winter' they celebrate a form of Christmas in July as well as Christmas in December :)

The trees of Cairns lit up in xmas colors. It’s still more than a week away, but talk of Christmas in July is starting to pop up in conversations and some Christmas movies are appearing on commercials. I guess because July is their winter they celebrate a form of Christmas in July as well as Christmas in December :)

I’m on a Boat

Day 82 to 85: Jul. 9 to 12 – Airlie Beach and Whitsunday Islands

From Rockhampton I drove to Airlie Beach where I spent a day chillin’ before heading out on a 2 day sailboat tour of the Whitsunday Islands.

Airlie Beach at sunset

Airlie Beach at sunset

 

This area was hit quite hard by cyclone Debbie at the end of March.  Some of the boats are only now coming back into service and the locals said tourism has been really, really slow.

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It's a bit of a tease to finally be in nice warm weather but not be able to go into the water!

It’s a bit of a tease to finally be in nice warm weather but not be able to go into the water!

View of Airlie Beach

View of Airlie Beach

Marina at Airlie Beach

Marina at Airlie Beach

The 'Waltzing Matilda' our transportation and accommodation for the next two days :)

The ‘Waltzing Matilda’ our transportation and accommodation for the next two days :)

Skipper Jamie

Skipper Jamie

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Setting up sail

Setting up sail

And now we're officially sailing!

And now we’re officially sailing!

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands (there are 74 islands in total that make up the Whitsundays)

Sailing the Whitsunday Islands (there are 74 islands in total that make up the Whitsundays)

We were told the names of some of these islands, but I can't remember them

We were told the names of some of these islands, but I can’t remember them

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The wetsuits came out for a snorkel of the Great Barrier Reef.  Unfortunately the Great Barrier Reef also suffered a lot of damage in this area from cyclone Debbie.  In the area that I snorkelled, about 80-90% of the reef is now grey and the coral is broken/wiped away.  There were a couple pockets where the ocean floor was a bit lower and the reef was untouched - these areas were amazing to see.  The colours are so vibrant with a couple different kinds of fluorescent fish swimming around.  This would have been quite a sight prior to the cyclone.  Even post cyclone it was still interesting to see.

The wetsuits came out for a snorkel of the Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately the Great Barrier Reef also suffered a lot of damage in this area from cyclone Debbie. In the area that I snorkelled, about 80-90% of the reef is now grey and the coral is broken/wiped away. There were a couple pockets where the ocean floor was a bit lower and the reef was untouched – these areas were amazing to see. The colours are so vibrant with a couple different kinds of fluorescent fish swimming around. This would have been quite a sight prior to the cyclone. Even post cyclone it was still interesting to see.

A sandbar island

A sandbar island

Some coral washed up on shore

Some coral washed up on shore

Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda

Sailing away from the sunset...

Sailing away from the sunset…

Sunset on the Whitsunday Islands

Sunset on the Whitsunday Islands

A night spent on the water and under the stars

A night spent on the water and under the stars

I was hoping to catch sunrise on the water, but it was too overcast today

I was hoping to catch sunrise on the water, but it was too overcast today

Docked at Tongue Bay

Anchored at Tongue Bay

Whitehaven Beach - the white sandbars and blue-ness of the water was a spectacular site.  One of my favourite beaches that I've seen in Australia

Whitehaven Beach – the white sandbars and blue-ness of the water was a spectacular site. One of my favourite beaches that I’ve seen in Australia

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The white sands of Whitehaven Beach

The white sands of Whitehaven Beach

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These little balls of sand are formed by soldier crabs scouring the sand during low tide for food.  The little hole is one of their homes that they hide in during high tide

These little balls of sand are formed by soldier crabs scouring the sand during low tide for food. The little hole is one of their homes that they hide in during high tide

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Catching a ride back to our boat

Catching a ride back to our boat to sail back to Airlie Beach

 

Fraser Island

Day 79 to 81: Jul. 6 to 8 – Fraser Island and Rockhampton

Today started with a debriefing on how to drive a 4×4 vehicle and some tips for driving on sand.  Then our tour group of about 20 people drove our 3 vehicles to the ferry and headed over to Fraser Island.

We spent a couple days on Fraser Island with a stop at Central Station, Eli Creek, a shipwreck, the ocean and a couple of lakes.  In the evening we went for a walk on the beach where we saw a dingo (no picture – it wouldn’t have turned out in the dark) and had some good conversation with fellow travellers over a game of cards.

2 of our 4x4's for the next two days

2 of our 4×4’s for the next two days

A track on Fraser Island

A track on Fraser Island

That sandy area is actually a creek - the water is so clear it's hard to see it!

That sandy area is actually a creek – the water is so clear it’s hard to see it!

Cool tree, wrapped around another tree

Cool tree, wrapped around another tree

The highway on the east side of Fraser Island

The highway on the east side of Fraser Island

Eli Creek had a lazy river that we could tube down

Eli Creek had a lazy river that we could tube down

Maheno shipwreck

Maheno shipwreck

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Driving through a creek

Driving through a creek

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Sunset in Fraser Island

Sunset in Fraser Island

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The moon at sunset

The moon and beach at sunset

Sunrise on Fraser Island

Sunrise on Fraser Island

This gate had electric wires over it to keep the dingo's out

This gate had electric wires over it to keep the dingo’s out

Lake Garawongera

Lake Garawongera

These little red plants (sundew) are carnivorous plants that trap insects and eat them (I think they dissolve them)

These little red plants (sundew) are carnivorous plants that trap insects and eat them (I think they dissolve them)

A python hiding in the grass

A python hiding in the grass

The speed sign is posted on the bottom of the dune

The speed sign is posted on the bottom of the dune – it’s usually 80km/hr on the beach and 30km/hr on the tracks inside the island

Some info on dingo's

Some info on dingo’s

Some info on Lake MacKenzie

Some info on Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie

Lake McKenzie

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Peeps from the tour and Lake McKenzie

Peeps from the tour and Lake McKenzie

 

The next day I made the drive to Rockhampton.

A kookaburra at my Airbnb hosts place (back on the mainland)

A kookaburra at my Airbnb hosts place (back on the mainland)

Typical scenery between Hervey Bay and Rockhampton

Typical scenery between Hervey Bay and Rockhampton

Rockhampton, also known as Rocky is the beef capital of Australia. They have 6 cow sculptures around town for each of the main breeds they have in the area. Apparently most, if not all, of the horns of the cow sculptures have been taken as souvenirs!

Rockhampton, also known as Rocky is the beef capital of Australia. They have 6 cow sculptures around town for each of the main breeds they have in the area. Apparently most, if not all, of the horns of the cow sculptures have been taken as souvenirs!

Rockhampton is also where the Tropic of Capricorn lays

Rockhampton is also where the Tropic of Capricorn is

Tropic of Capricon spire

Tropic of Capricorn spire

 

And some more (likely last) Dash pics of the trip!

Panting in the sun

Panting in the sun

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Eyeing up some popcorn

Eyeing up some popcorn

Australia Zoo

Day 77 & 78: Jul. 4 & 5 – Australia Zoo and Hervey Bay

Daily Distance = 8.01km, Trip Total = 2,365.50km, Today’s Climb = 9m

Today I made the short bike ride to pick up the rental car and was on the road (in 4 wheels!) by 10am.  I headed to the Australia Zoo where I spent the afternoon.

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Komodo dragon

Komodo dragon

Alligators

Alligators

Cassowary - I had never heard of this bird before, but was later warned by a local to watch out for these birds and give them their space as they can be aggressive (according to the local they're capable of disembowelling a person with their strong/sharp claws!).  They live in northeastern Australia

Cassowary – I had never heard of this bird before, but was later warned by a local to watch out for these birds and give them their space as they can be aggressive (according to the local they’re capable of disembowelling a person with their strong/sharp claws!). They live in northeastern Australia

Koala's

Sleeping Koala’s

This guy was awake

This guy was awake

Busy eating the eucalyptus leaves

Busy eating the eucalyptus leaves

And this guy was just waking up

And this guy was just waking up

A yawning koala.....it's so hard to shortlist the koala pics!

A yawning koala…..it’s so hard to shortlist the koala pics!

Casper the croc

Casper the croc

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I attended one of the shows at the zoo where they showcased some of the animals.  It was pretty cool, they had birds that they brought in and out of the venue on queue and had them flying to music.

I was too slow with the camera to get decent pics of the birds, but here are a couple in the right hand side of the frame

I was too slow with the camera to get decent pics of the birds, but here are a couple in the right hand side of the frame and one on the left

Vulture

Vulture

Terri Irwin feeding a crocodile

Terri Irwin feeding a crocodile

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Rob Irwin feeding the same crocodile

Rob Irwin feeding the same crocodile

 

After the show I kept meandering around the rest of the zoo.

Kangaroo's chillin'

Kangaroo’s chillin’

Tiger

Tiger

The zoo is massive, this is one of the areas that you walk through between different sections of the zoo

The zoo is massive, this is one of the areas that you walk through between different sections of the zoo

Rhino's

Rhino’s

Giraffe and zebra

Giraffe and zebra

These guys were pretty fun to watch.  The giraffe's would eat their food from the tree, dropping some on the ground and then the zebra's would come in and eat what was dropped on the ground, using their hindlegs to kick the giraffe's out of the way if needed!

These guys were pretty fun to watch. The giraffe’s would eat their food from the tree, dropping some on the ground.  And then the zebra’s would come in and eat what was dropped on the ground, using their hindlegs to kick the giraffe’s out of the way if needed!

 

After the zoo I continued the journey north to Hervey Bay where I strolled around and enjoyed the warm weather for a day.

Bats hanging in a tree

Bats hanging in a tree

Sunset in Hervey Bay

Sunset in Hervey Bay

Brisbane

Day 75 & 76: Jul. 2 & 3 – Brisbane

I spent a couple of days resting in Brisbane and went on a nice long walk of the city.

Horn is from Brisbane and the fight was today, so lots of the local pubs were packed for the fight

Horn is from Brisbane and the fight was today, so lots of the local pubs were packed for the fight

Outside standing room only at this pub for the fight noted above

Outside standing room only at this pub for the fight noted above

Brisbane river

Brisbane river

I thought this tree was pretty cool

I thought this tree was pretty cool

A dry dock at the Brisbane Maritime Museum

A dry dock at the Brisbane Maritime Museum

Seemed to be a pretty big crowd gathered here, but nobody was performing when I first walked by.  So I decided to continue walking and come back later....

Seemed to be a pretty big crowd gathered here, but nobody was performing when I first walked by. So I decided to continue walking and come back later….

How handy is this?

How handy is this?

A peace pagoda

A peace pagoda

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When I came back to where the crowd was gathered there was a band performing, so I took up a seat and stayed a while

When I came back to where the crowd was gathered there was a band performing, so I took up a seat and stayed a while

Brisbane botanical gardens

Brisbane botanical gardens

Something New Zealand and Australia have in common?  They have cafe's EVERYWHERE!  This one is on a bridge!

Something New Zealand and Australia have in common? They have cafe’s everywhere! This one is on a bridge!

Sunset in Brisbane

Sunset in Brisbane

Some of the trees are lit up

Some of the trees are lit up

Story Bridge

Story Bridge and part of the Brisbane skyline near dusk

 

A Wrap on my Australian Tour Cycling

Day 74: Jul. 1 – Gold Coast to Brisbane

Daily Distance = 87.76km, Trip Total = 2,357.49km, Today’s Climb = 543m

I had a decent amount of ground to cover today and I often find cycling in unknown cities slows me down quite a bit for a variety of reasons: the constant stop and go of traffic lights and roundabouts, trying to follow signs to make as much of the ride on trails and paths as possible and constantly checking with google maps to ensure I’m still on route or don’t get too far off route.  The benefit of riding into a city, is that as long as I could get within the city limits by sunset I should have street lights to light the way, so it’s not as much of a necessity to be at my final destination by sunset.  The other variables working in my favour today?  The wind did indeed change direction a couple nights ago, so I have a great tailwind, it is clear skies with no hint of rain and the temperature is perfect for cycling – not too hot and not too cold (3rd day in a row riding in a t-shirt :)). Nevertheless, I feel more comfortable finishing my day in daylight, so opted to be on the road nice and early.

Heading out of Gold Coast I was going to follow Hwy 2, however within a few hundred metres I was re-routed as it was closed due to a marathon.  I actually think the marathon is tomorrow (I had seen signs for it on my way into Gold Coast yesterday), but they must have been having some of the shorter distances run today.  So I spent a couple km’s along a path slowly weaving between runners who had finished their run.  I didn’t mind as I always like the vibe and energy around these kinds of events.  When the path ended I was at a road where the run was in progress.  There was another cyclist there and we were told by the volunteers to ‘boot it’ when we saw a gap that we could make it through!

Fair warning to cyclists for crossing tram tracks

Fair warning to cyclists for crossing tram tracks

Run in progress - just needed to find a gap to get through

Run in progress – just needed to find a gap to get through

 

It took a while, but eventually I was able to get through the run-in-progress and had the luxury of a couple of km’s on roads with absolutely no car traffic – it was a rare treat in such a busy city!

Roads all to myself!

Roads all to myself!

 

Eventually I got past all the road closure areas and was mixed with traffic again, however by that time I was on a road with a very well signed bike path and there were lots of road cyclists out for a morning ride.  I even came to one small bridge where it was very heavily signed that traffic was not allowed to overtake cyclists on the bridge and the whole bridge was painted green noting a bike path (I would have taken a picture but I didn’t think traffic behind me would have appreciated me stopping to do so).

Awesome bike lanes heading north of Gold Coast

Awesome bike lanes heading north of Gold Coast

The theme of my ride today - red stop lights! I think I only hit 4 green lights all day, each and every other one would turn yellow just as I was getting close to the intersection

The theme of my ride today – red stop lights! I think I only hit 4 green lights all day, each and every other one would turn yellow just as I was getting close to the intersection

Is that a telephone pole dressed up as a palm tree?

Is that a telephone pole dressed up as a palm tree?

 

Just as I was getting closer to the highway I started seeing signs for the v1 cycle route and was able to pick up the bike route quite easily.  This route was pretty well signed in this area as it followed quiet roads going from one suburb to the next close to the highway, mostly with wide bike lanes.  I did however still keep a close eye on google maps on my phone as my research indicated that one or two of these signs actually point you in the wrong direction.  As a result, there were a couple times that I followed google maps instead of the signs.

The V1 cycle route signs

The V1 cycle route signs

In most places they even have the V1 cycle route identified on the road signs at roundabouts

In most places they even have the V1 cycle route identified on the road signs at roundabouts

Cycling the V1 - wide bike lanes on quiet roads

Cycling the V1 – wide bike lanes on quiet roads

See the bridge in the distance? That's the other side of this roundabout. It literally crosses over the multi lane divided highway below and further. My exit for this roundabout was only about 100m away from where I entered it

See the bridge in the distance? That’s the other side of this roundabout. It literally crosses over the multi lane divided highway below and further. My exit for this roundabout was only about 100m away from where I entered it, but in the opposite direction of traffic.  So I blindly followed this roundabout all the way around!  Another roundabout like this occurred further up the road and instead of following it all the way around with traffic I eventually spotted a sign that pointed cyclists on the sidewalk against traffic so we could take a shortcut to get to our exit

The Brisbane km countdown continues....

The Brisbane km countdown continues….

I was starting to get a little nervous when the V1 signs seemed to be heading towards the highway - in the wrong direction no less! But then I spotted the path just to the right of the exit lane for cyclists

I was starting to get a little nervous when the V1 signs seemed to be heading towards the highway – in the wrong direction no less! But then I spotted the path for cyclists just to the right of the exit lane

 

There is a stretch about 30km’s from Brisbane where the road traffic gets busier and the V1 cycle route (and signs) seem to disappear.  This also came up in my research, so I just followed the roads in the most direct route possible.  Within about 20km’s of Brisbane I was able to pick up a dedicated bike path and followed that for a good stretch.  This path eventually went back and forth between being a dedicated bike path and following quieter roads.  On one of these quieter roads I unknowingly missed my turnoff back onto the path.  After about 1km something didn’t seem right, so I consulted my phone to find I was off route.  I was able to correct course pretty quickly and was able to pick up the path again.

Dedicated bike path following the highway

Dedicated bike path following the highway

 

Eventually the path deposited me on the southbank of the Brisbane river where I made myself north on a very busy path (it was a Sat. afternoon, so lots of people were out and about taking in the sunny afternoon).  From here I was able to cross the Story Bridge and arrived at my destination around 3:30pm – well before sunset!  I checked into my accommodations, cleaned up and made the quick walk to the grocery store to stock up on groceries.

My first glimpse of Brisbane when the path I was on led me to the southbank of the Brisbane river

My first glimpse of Brisbane when the path I was on led me to the southbank of the Brisbane river

A natural rock climbing wall in the city!

A natural rock climbing wall in the city!

View of Brisbane from the Story Bridge

View of Brisbane from the Story Bridge

Proof that I was here :)

Proof that I was here :)

 

It is a little bittersweet arriving in Brisbane, as I have decided that this will be the completion of the tour cycling portion of the trip.  In total I have only cycled half of what I originally hoped.  I definitely underestimated a few factors that has led to this difference in mileage, such as:

  1. Shorter daylight hours reduce the amount of ground that I can comfortably cover in a day
  2. Shorter daylight hours along with the cooler temperatures also impacted my camp vs not camp decision which had a ripple impact on how quickly I was going through the allocated trip budget
  3. I kept getting sidetracked with all of the sightseeing trips and tours along the way :)

But overall I am still pretty darn proud of what I have accomplished and how much ground I was able to cover, especially given how little I was prepared for this trip vs the Canadian trip.

Most importantly: THANK YOU for all the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, messages and advice along the way – I really wouldn’t be able to do this kind of travel without the support of such great friends and family!  It goes such a long way to knowing that I’m never alone and keeping my spirits and confidence up (especially on the more challenging days)! :)

I still have a few things I want to see while I’m in Australia.  So from here I will be picking up a car to do some more sightseeing.  I’ll still provide a few more posts of what I’m up to, but they will likely be fewer and farther between and focused more on pictures vs the state of the roads I’m travelling/rain/wind/how hilly it is 😉

Oh – and lastly – thanks for following along and not pointing out all of the terrible english and grammar errors.  I wasn’t really checking anything so hopefully the posts were somewhat intelligible!

Thanks all!!!! :)

Canal Cruise

Day 73: Jun. 30 – Coolangatta to Gold Coast

Daily Distance = 27.20km, Trip Total = 2,269.73km, Today’s Climb = 86m

With a relatively short and flat ride ahead of me today, I opted for a later start and slowly made my way to the path along the water. I was able to follow the path for the first 5km until it directed traffic on to a sandy beach, which is not exactly cyclist friendly.  I couldn’t see any signs for where cyclists where to go, so I headed to the closest road heading in my direction and cycled along it for a while.  Eventually other cyclists ended up on the same road and going in my direction so I just started following them.  The rest of the ride was spent going back and forth between a path along the water, dedicated bike lanes when I could find them, following other cyclists when they seemed to be going the same way as me and when all else failed, hopping onto the closest road heading north.  I was surprised how disjointed this stretch was for cyclists, but it’s very possible I was missing signs because I was busy looking at the views around me.

Path along the water in Coolangatta

Path along the water in Coolangatta

Mail being delivered on a motor scooter and dressed in fluorescent - this has been common across the country. In fact, one day I was asked if I was delivering mail :)

Mail being delivered on a motor scooter and dressed in fluorescent – this has been common across the country. In fact, one day I was asked if I was delivering mail :)

Back to a path on the water

Back to a path on the water

And now a trail a bit inland

And now a trail a bit inland

And then back to a path on the water which led to this sandy beach - not passable by bike in my opinion

And then back to a path on the water which led to this sandy beach – not passable by bike in my opinion

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The high-rises were always a landmark as to how close I was getting!

The high-rises were always a landmark as to how close I was getting!

For a while I was on this really quiet road with a bike lane

For a while I was on this really quiet road with a bike lane

And then back to the path along the water where I had to take a pic of this koala statue

And then back to the path along the water where I had to take a pic of this koala statue

 

I made it to my hostel shortly after noon, had a chat with a couple people, got cleaned up and then went on a cruise of the canal system.  Gold Coast area has over 400km’s of canals and waterways.  Our tour guide was quick to let us know that if we see anybody swimming in the canals they are likely tourists, as the canals do have bull sharks in them!

Having a glass of wine on the canal cruise

Having a glass of wine on the canal cruise

Setting out on our cruise with Gold Coast in the background

Setting out on our cruise with Gold Coast in the background

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Some of the multi-million dollar homes along the canals

Some of the multi-million dollar homes along the canals

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Gold Coast city line

Gold Coast city line

The gap in the middle of the building is to ward off evil spirits (feng shui principles). According to our tour guide, that gap could instead be 12 units at 1million dollars per unit

The gap in the middle of the building is to ward off evil spirits (feng shui principles). According to our tour guide, that gap could instead be 12 units at 1million dollars per unit

Our cruise was at hightide, so we got a little close to some of the bridges

Our cruise was at hightide, so we got a little close to some of the bridges

According to our tour guide, this is one of two chapels in the world on water

According to our tour guide, this is one of two chapels in the world on water

This area is called million dollar row

This area is called million dollar row

 

After the cruise I meandered around town.  I asked some people about the best cycle routes into Brisbane, but wasn’t able to find anybody who has done the ride.  So I headed back to the hostel and did some research online.

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This is a pretty busy city with lots to do (wax museum, ripley’s believe it or not, canal cruises, nightclubs, etc)

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Crossing a State Border

Day 72: Jun. 29 – Byron Bay to Coolangatta

Daily Distance = 68.60km, Trip Total = 2,242.53km, Today’s Climb = 349m

The wind has picked up quite a bit over the days that I’ve been in Byron’s Bay (especially in the afternoon) and it has turned to a north easterly vs a south westerly.  Meaning I would be heading into a headwind.  From conversations at the hostel I knew they were expecting the direction to change in a couple of days.  It sounds like locals keep a close gauge on the wind direction as it impacts the swells for surfing.  I’m not the only one who is wind obsessed!  And like me, they preferred the south westerly (or at least the westerly part).  Upon checking out of the hostel, the employee at reception was quick to let me know that the wind would be changing direction to be in my favour tonight. :)

It’s also worth noting that today is the first day on this trip that I’m cycling in short sleeves!  Well, sorry, the second day.  I also rode in a t-shirt for the short mid-day ride from the Melbourne airport to they city centre.  Still.  Soooooo very happy to start getting into warmer weather!

I headed out of Byron Bay towards the highway on a bike path that is currently under construction in a couple of places, so was re-routed along with other cyclists from one side of a very busy road to the other a couple times.  It would take anywhere from 2-5min to cross this road.  I am a fan of roundabouts, but on busy roads they certainly don’t provide the breaks in traffic that lights provide!

I joined the highway for about 20km where I seemed to be somewhat protected from the wind.  And then turned off on a quiet road heading to the coast.

Quiet country road heading back to the coast

Quiet country road heading back to the coast

Finally ditched the long sleeve layer and am now cycling in a t-shirt!  YAY!!

Finally ditched the long sleeve layer and am now cycling in a t-shirt! YAY!!

 

As soon as I got to the coast and started heading north again I felt the full force of the wind.  I’m lucky that I was able to get through the first 30km of the ride (and actually – most of the Australia trip to date) without too many headwinds, but I definitely had to work for the last 40km’s today.  The first stretch of this road (Tweed Coast Road) was really quiet and pretty with lots of little pull over points and paths through the trees to the sandy beach and then the ocean.  And after several km’s a river opened up on the other side of the road too.

Ocean to the right, river to the left (hard to see through the trees but trust me, they're there!)

Ocean to the right, river to the left (hard to see through the trees but trust me, they’re there!)

The river in Hastings Point

The river in Hastings Point

 

I eventually met up with the highway again where I had a nice wide shoulder and even had a very well signed bicycle only path across a bridge over the Tweed River.

Another Brisbane countdown sign!

Another Brisbane countdown sign!

The shoulder lessens on the bridge, but there is a dedicated bike path that takes you across the bridge (even if it's a bit overgrown)

The shoulder lessens on the bridge, but there is a dedicated bike path that takes you across the bridge (even if it’s a bit overgrown)

Tweed river

Tweed river

 

After exiting from the highway I made my way to my destination where I crossed the state border from New South Wales to Queensland, however I couldn’t find any signs to mark this occasion.

I was tired from the effort of cycling into a steady headwind, so ended up calling it an early night.

See those high-rises in the distance on the right?  That's Gold Coast - my destination for tomorrow :)

See those high-rises in the distance across the water on the right? That’s Gold Coast – my destination for tomorrow :)