Great Dividing Range Australia Top to Bottom - Part 1

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by steve connelly, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Next day we eventually came out the other end of Mayhem after dropping the bikes once each and with our forearms and shoulders aching from trying to control our heavily laden beasts. Mark was about to call for the helicopter airlift and was dishing out his disapproval salutes (photo) It seems that our intial disbelief in ORBS the night before did not win us any favours with the mountain spirits and this section became known as the Mayhem (rather than Maytown) Track.

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    Was hard but really beautiful in the morning scattered light.

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    #21
  2. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We spent the night at Archer River and rehydrated.

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    #22
  3. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We were behind time and decided to skip a couple of our planned sight seeing detours and headed up the peninsular development road via Weipa (a hole and where birds shat all over my bike and gear. Mark recons they didn't like the DR .. but I am sure there was some other valid explanation). Mark's parts hadn't arrived but I picked up some new front brake pads.


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    We camped at Bramwell Junction which was at the start of the infamous Old Telegraph Track. We arrived early so we check out the first creek crossing Palm creek, which was washed out and rivalled Gunshot in difficulty. There was a tour group there and the tour operator dared us to ride through to entertain her group of excited pensioners. Loving to show off I took on the challenge and was rewarded with a bag of biscuits and cheese from the group. The tour guide said "they' have all discussed it and decided they could go without biscuits with their afternoon tea for the boys" .. One old duckie also asked me "does your mother know you are out here doing this sort of thing"... how sweet.

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    Attached Files:

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  4. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We were lucky that the water was down a bit so the creek crossings weren't too bad, just under the tank but still enough to wet the feet, although you always wondered about the crocs. At one muddy crossing with the croc warning signs we stopped and I started wading in to see how deep it was. About half way it was getting deep, swampy and murky and I turned back and we found a chickens way around. Once on the other side a 4WD pulled up and the drivers aged wife got out in her one piece swimsuit and waded across and back and forth...either she couldn't read the croc signs or the hubby had bumped up the life insurance before the trip! Either way we felt like real whimps.
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    Gunshot creek entries were tough for 4WD but no so bad for bikes. There were all these parts of vehicles hanging in trees which was handy for Mark to replace lost KLR parts :)

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    #24
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  5. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Elliot falls was a great place for a midday croc free swim ... it was getting really hot.

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    Where's the soap?

    Attached Files:

    #25
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  6. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    After doing our laundry we made some lunch

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    #26
  7. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    That arvo we crossed the Jardine on the ferry and arrived at Siesia near the tip for a cold beer and a lovely sunset.
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    Don't bother with the jokes about the waterfall swimming and romantic sunsets ... we have heard all of them already... and we are comfortable with our new lifestyles.
    #27
  8. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We the next day day off before heading up to the very tip. We chartered a boat and when it turned up we were a bit surprised how small it was and the kayak that operated as the backup?

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    Went over to Thursday Island and Horn Island for lunch and a look around, well worth it if you are up that way. Did a bit of fishing but didn't do any good despite the locals hauling them in from the jetties.

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    #28
  9. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Thursday Is sightseeing and a drink at the TOP PUB

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    #29
  10. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Went up early in the morning to the cape and the top of Australia, took the obligatory photos and built our very own rock pyramid (some one had prepared the foundations for us).

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    Mark was checking if there was a shallow river crossing across to Indo so we could keep going north.

    It was bloody hot at the top, about 38 degrees, we had done aver 4000kms, we were buggered but satisfied that we had made it, we went back to the camp site packed up our possessions again, and headed for Cairns, then Port Douglas to meet the family.


    It's comforting to know people are keeping tabs on where we are on the findmespot. Although, It is a bit scary when Mum called me "why did you go to those two mechanic shops in Weipa ... and .. that campground you are in looks nice, although why did you move to a different campsites at 4.23pm" Mum needs to get some other hobbies!!!
    #30
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  11. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Progress Report 3 – issued Mon, Aug 30, 2010


    Hi again supporters.


    This is our third report covering from the Tip to Port Douglas where we have been on a week R&R with our partners. If you haven’t noticed, the reports are getting longer … more spare time on our hands. Sitting around the pool sipping cocktails is not what us adventure riders would normally be doing by choice, we would much rather be out in the bush sipping hot wine under a tarp … but the things that you do for your partners!


    To recap the story so far …we woke up rode bikes all day along hot and dusty tracks that led to nowhere much, set up camp, cooked dinner, couple of drinks, slept, woke up, packed up and rode bikes all day again on new hot and dusty tracks that eventually led to the top of Australia, took a photo and then turned around and headed for home along some hot and dusty track... it is relentless!


    We left the cape and headed back along the old telegraph track arriving at Bramwell Junction on dark, tired after me dropping the DR in for a swim in the Cockatoo creek crossing and Mark getting pinned under the KLR coming back up the infamous Palm Creek crossing. We were being closely followed by a couple of families in three 4WD’s who were going flat out as well, spearing a tyre and having to cut down some trees in the dark to get through Palm Creek. We crossed paths with this crew several times over the next few days. Mark and I had our first argument under the strain of a big day and we sorted things out by setting up our tents further apart than usual … all good again the next day!

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    #31
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  12. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We headed back down the Peninsular Development Road (PDR) bypassing the Frenchmans track as we heard from several sources that the Pascoe River was still up too high to cross safely. We had also been told by the owner of Bramwell Junction that “there is not much at all at Port Stewart but I haven’t been there for a while … but hey maybe now there is some shops, pub, marina and bare breasted maidens walking the streets” We decided that it sounded worth checking out! As we headed to the town the road was great and built like a runway … we weren’t the only ones going there hey?. By the time we came to the otherside of “town” we had passed six old deserted caravans, two corrugated iron sheds and seen the entire town population of two stray dogs and a snake (which Mark accidentally ran over)… damn, the maidens must have been out fishing!


    We then headed south on a loop around Running Creek through a private track. We had to take a detour because there was a crew herding a couple of bulls in a helicopter on our original route. They sent us closer to the ocean “there is a tidal river crossing but it is low tide so you will be right” This track was amazing, tidal flats into dry savannah, into ghost gums, into rainforest, back into tidal flats again …the sort of riding we would kill for back home… but you wouldn’t want to do it in the wet. There was a fair bit of bulldust, we were struggling a bit, and Mark was building on his lead on dropped bikes which now stood at 7 to 4. We arrived at Musgrave Roadhouse tired and sore again … and the cold beer was great.

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    Most bikers we have seen have 4WD support vehicles so they are travelling light and are more comfortable at each stop. So you always think you are doing it tough but ... then you meet someone who is doing it tougher. About 9pm that night two young blokes on KLR’s limped into Musgrave. They are on a round Australia trip and headed off from Musgrave in the morning hoping to get to Normanton that night. They had got lost and found themselves in the middle nowhere up shit creek without a paddle. After spending hours with punctures and low on fuel and water, they eventually decided to retrace their steps back to Musgrave at which point they were pretty well shattered and about to throw the trip in… especially after one of them phoned home to find his other best mate was cutting the grass back home!

    After a few beers with them we convinced them that shit happens and she’ll be right… the truth was they were lucky to be alive. They decided they would stick to the bitumen from now on, which was probably a good thing because they needed to get back to Cairns to give their bikes and egos some much needed maintenance.
    #32
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  13. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    The next day we headed off on another two dayer through Lakefield National Park, Kalpower where there was nothing doing, along the Starcke track past the Cape Melville turnoff. Extra water, fuel and cask wine once more.

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    Before we had left i rang the Lakefield Park ranger about crocs and creek crossings. He said he had been up there last week and that there were a few big animals about ... it took me half the call to get that animals meant crocs. He said should be ok but they can get territorial if you are making a lot of noise in the creek crossing. And here we were the DR down to the axles!!!

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    Back onto higher ground

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    #33
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  14. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    We couldn’t actually go up to Cape Melville as even with the 12l extra fuel cell we didn’t have enough.
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    That night we bush camped on the side of the track in land next to the National Park. It started raining so we made a huge fire and set up our tents and tarp donga where we lived for the next 12 hours. Once again we were amazed at the varied and beautiful landscapes we travelled through, 100’s of km of plains, forests, savannah, sand… and once again we were stuffed.

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    #34
  15. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    On our second day of this detour, nearing the Battlecamp Rd end of the Starcke track saw us come across a couple of guys in full camo on camo quads with cross bows hunting pigs, then 20km later two blokes in a ute with pig dogs hunting pigs. They told us we had a little mud ahead due to the rain the night before.

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    We came across some puddles, then the road started to improve until we hit the mud … 15 kms of red wet sloppy mud to be precise. After the red mud came the grey mud which wasn’t as slippery but the water crossings started coming. Mark tried to take the KLR around and got stuck, the very next crossing he tried going straight through and hit a submerged rock throwing him sideways where he ended up pinned under the big KLR up to his neck in water… Bondi Rescue required adventure biker style!

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    #35
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  16. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    After a brief “Capt’n Cook” around Cooktown we headed for the Lions Den hotel near the CREB track where we hoped to dry out (clothes that is). We ran into 13 guys on a bike tour to the Cape with Cape York Adventures with Roy. We gave them an exaggerated gee up about what lay ahead for them … as they also did for us.

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    We couldn’t do the CREB because of the rain so we decided to do the now 4WD friendly Bloomfield Track to Daintree which is a beautiful ride through the rainforest.
    #36
  17. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Stayed in a seedy motel in Cairns where we laid up for a couple of days, washed all our gear (and spread it out over the whole motel grounds to dry out), rehydrated and booked the bikes in for a service and some more new rubber. The bikes had been going pretty well with a couple of things like lighting & horn gone and some loose grips on the KLR and a broken subframe on the DR.
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    Once again it was comforting to know Mum was keeping tabs, within 10 mins of arriving at the Cairns motel, mum rang “have you been for a swim in the motel pool yet” … And Mum for your info that building in Cairns is no longer a brothel it has changed to a motorbike shop, so don't worry. (just kidding)



    Cheers
    #37
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  18. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    Progress Report 4 – issued Fri, Sep 3, 2010


    A final hi supporters.


    We are now home safe and sound and this is the last report on our Cape York Adventure


    We had a great time in Port Douglas catching up with our families (a fair trade off for letting us go on this extended adventure). While the time with loved ones was fantastic and the rest did us well, the only problem was that for the week our calorie output had reduced significantly with the calorie input increasing … for the unscientific of you this means we added a few kilos each!

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    Checking the water crossings

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    #38
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  19. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    After picking up the bikes from their TLC at Leonards Bike store (and our credit cards once again suffering more cuts and bruises than their offroading owners) we headed back to Port Douglas, packed up and then headed through Black Mountain Road down to Kuranda and then Cairns.


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    It was then down the highway via Mission Beach and arriving at Flying Fish Point which is a nice little fishing village on the beach near Innisfail that was as humid as anywhere we have been … ever!
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    #39
  20. steve connelly

    steve connelly Stevo

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    It was also at Flying Fish Point where we had the best fisherman’s basket ever and taught the 16 yr old bar tender how to put limes into Carona Beers… we were patient trainers and he got pretty good at it after serving us about 12 beers.

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    Next day we headed further south stopping for an Indian curry lunch at Cardwell that “was almost worth the wait”, voted at Ingham (by the way who won?) and restocked before heading bush again.

    We headed west toward Mt Fox and the sunset closing in on the dark mountain range which was gaining height the closer we got… we couldn’t see any easy way through and the great dividing range began looking like a huge rock tsunami that was going to wipe us out.! Of course there is always a way through and we were treated to a narrow winding bitumen section to get us to the top. We were back where we loved to be … nowhere much!

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    #40