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A weekend in Cairns

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by mendosi, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. Good evening everyone.

    I just got back from a very nice weekend in and around Cairns. I was up there for a friend's wedding, but I made sure to leave plenty of time for some riding.

    I caught a nice early flight up from Brisbane, it was freezing cold in Brisbane riding to the airport, considering that this is October, but beautiful weather once the plane touched down in the tropics.

    img_1810.

    I had a little bit of an issue finding a bike to ride; the bike I had booked became ... unavailable ... at the last minute. I ended up with a GS500 from Mini Car Rentals who, despite their name, also rent bikes.

    img_1815.



    As you may know, I'm accustomed to riding something a little smaller, lighter, and less powerful. The GS was slightly intimidating initially due to its weight, but I wasn't planning on spending my whole time in Far North Queensland doing figure-eights and u-turns in the car park, so happy times for now.

    It's great to be on the open road, enjoying the gorgeous scenery and the subtle smells of the tropics. I've always liked Cairns, squeezed between the forested mountains on the one side and the coral sea on the other.

    img_1813.

    I soon find myself heading north out of the city, towards the place on the map where it looks like the cartographer had Parkinson's. The road is actually of very high quality, and not just the Captain Cook Highway up the coast, but the Kennedy Highway through Kuranda and to Mareeba is excellent. Very reassuring. The road up into the mountains is also punctuated with considerately placed passing bays, where slow vehicles can slow to let the traffic banked up behind them past. It's a pity that not all drivers of slow vehicles use them.

    As the road ascends into the rainforest the air suddenly chills from the shade. Signs along the road warn of cassowaries, but today is not my lucky day (or unlucky day, depending how close they come). I stop at Kuranda for lunch, and a chance to see the sights. The Barron Falls make a striking view:

    img_1816.
     
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  2. After that short walk through the forest it's back onto the bike and continuing out west. I'm very surprised at how quickly the landscape changes from rainforest to drier scrub. The temperature increases again and the faint scent of eucalypt fills the air.

    I've never been out in this direction before, so I'm constantly on the lookout to see what can be seen.

    The bike is going well. My socks have not been knocked off, but it is easy to ride and provides plenty of useable power. The ground is rolling by beneath my feet and the warm, dry air is rushing past. Why would anyone think of hiring a car?

    Eventually, I saw a sign which indicated a place where I simply had to stop:

    img_1911.

    I was vaguely aware that coffee was grown in northern Queensland, but driving past a farm without dropping in to buy some coffee is unthinkable, so a stop is on the agenda. There is a slightly unconventional driveway:

    img_1910.

    and a few little dogs to greet me and try to chase the motorbike right up to the cafe. I've only ever seen coffee farms in the mountains before, so it's a little strange to see trees planted in rows. But they make good coffee, and have plenty of beans available in the shop (which I tuck under my jacket for the ride home).

    When it really comes down to it, I'm pretty happy whenever I get a chance to ride, so being able to go for a ride in beautiful country while away from home is a big bonus.

    If ever you're up in Cairns, look up the bike rental places and head out for a couple of days. You'll have to share the roads with a few tourists, but there sure are some special spots around, if you have the time to find them.

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  3. Looks like a fun trip! There's some great places and fun roads in that area for sure.
    My first time riding something with two wheels and a motor was actually in Cairns, in the wet season - rented a scooter for a day and puttered town for a while.
     
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  4. Didn't realise rental bikes were so readily available.
    How much did the GS cost for the weekend?
     
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  5. The GS was $180 including insurance for 24 hours (I had wedding stuff on Sunday afternoon) which is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive bike to hire in Cairns.
     
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  6. Great write up, Mendosi. Looks like a cruisy little trip. :D
     
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