Trip to the Tip – Cairns to Cape York bike tour

We were tired of the cold weather that was winter in South Australia and yearned for a stint in the tropics as we are known to do each year. We had booked a bike trip with Remote Outback Cycle Tours which would take us to the northern tip of mainland Australia, which is deep into the tropics during the dry season.

After  a quick diversion to dive the Great Barrier Reef we met the tour in Cairns, Queensland. Having been with this company before, we quickly settled into the routine of wake at 6am, breakfast at 6.30am, ride out just after 7am. The mornings are cool-ish at around 25C and made the first couple of hours on the road the best time to view the surroundings an appreciate the noises of the bush.

During the next 13 days we rode many degrees of outback roads, from just graded smooth tracks to jaw rattling corrugations and deep sand. We camped at isolated spots near billabongs and put up our tents at the back of outback pubs. We had quiet nights around the campfire and rowdy beers with the locals on the verandah of pubs; happily climbing into our tents to watch the night skies on balmy 20C nights.

Quiet billabongs

“Out the back” Musgrave station and Pub

Quiet nights

We swam at Fruit Bat Falls but decided against a dip in other waterholes.

A welcome swim to wash of some red dust

This limits the swimming options

We looked for crocodiles but only saw their slides on the muddy banks, although some saw 2 crocs at the tip of Cape York near the beach we cycled to. We were visited by dingos at night but the only thing they stole was the roll of toilet paper. Probably just the pups having a bit of fun with a new found toy or maybe the older ones playing a joke. There were sightings of Fruit bats at night and we heard their screeching penetrating the night. We saw feral pigs stampeding through the undergrowth, cattle grazing,  the occasional snake on the road, Palm Cockatoo gliding overhead and various parrots that were too quick for identification.

We crossed the Jardine River by ferry.

The Jardine River

The only way north is across the ferry

We visited the tip of Australia.

The last 28km to the tip on smooth-ish road

Just a small pond to cross

The group at the TIP of Australia

We walked on white beaches.

Punsand Bay

Deserted at night

We rode rough bush tracks.

Red dirt and corrugations

Mandy couldn’t ride after a shoulder injury, so she walked, jogged or ran, in a race to see who was the craziest.

Some people just can’t stand still

Not all things survive here.

The trip is tough on vehicles

This was once a resort near the Tip but the jungle claimed it back

We smiled a lot despite the rough roads, corrugations and red dirt.

Enjoying the bush tracks

We enjoyed the scenery.

Termite mounds abound

Now that’s a termite mound

We visited Aboriginal art sites.

Rock art

Chuckled at the road signs.

So it’s exactly 244.9km of floodways to come.

Vehicle registration plates that fall by the wayside are “recycled” at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse

We loved the challenge of the ride, enjoyed the scenery and the company of the group and appreciated being looked after by Terry and Arthur of Roc Tours.

Visit roctours.com.au to see all their tours or check out the Cape York itinerary for a detailed description of our route.

Cheers

Ian and Robyn