Australia’s Rivendell

Lonely beaches north of Cape Tribulation. This is where the road officially ends for vehicles.

Lonely beaches north of Cape Tribulation. This is where the road officially ends for vehicles.

australia-travel-map

Think of Australia as a camel, cut into 6 states. The Daintree forest is located in and around Cape Tribulation. I began my Australian adventures in Darwin right near the Kakadu National Park.

Daintree National forest is in the North East tip of Australia's state Queensland (QLD). Think of Australia like a camel, cut into 7 states

There are only 60 people living North of the Daintree river. After crossing the crocodile infested waters I found myself pedaling through a dense rainforest. The soil in some areas was so poor that trees adapted large “Buttress” roots for stabilization and nutrient accumulation.

"Curtain fig". This towering fig tree was once two living organisms.

“Curtain fig”. This towering fig tree was once two living organisms.

I have arrived in Australia’s Rivendell and am surrounded by a rainforest that stretches from the inland mountainside all the way to sea. In the last ten days I have followed an ancient lava canal from the central Tablelands to rich fertile cane fields, eventually giving way to acres and acres of luscious rainforest; the Daintree National Forest.

Emmagen beach, 7 km down a steep muddy dirt road. Well worth the ride I had the whole beach to myself but spent a long windy night in the tent. This is the morning after a storm an hour after sunrise

Emmagen beach, 7 km down a steep muddy dirt road. Well worth the ride I had the whole beach to myself but spent a long windy night in the tent. This is the morning after a storm an hour after sunrise.

Emmagen beach sunrise. Each morning while camping in Daintree I would wake up an hour before sunrise to the sound of strange  birds.

Emmagen beach sunrise. Each morning while camping in Daintree I would wake up an hour before sunrise to the sound of strange birds.

Roads north of Cape Tribulation

Roads north of Cape Tribulation

Rocky beaches

Rocky beaches

One of the many secluded estuaries

One of the many secluded estuaries

Miles of cane fields eventually gave way to the forest.

Miles of cane fields eventually gave way to the forest.

Sugar cane production process

Sugar cane production process

Debris left on the beaches from Bubbler sand crabs

Debris left on the beaches from Bubbler sand crabs

The last week has been spent hiking through the Aboriginal lands of Mossman gorge, pedaling remote coastal roads and camping on deserted beaches. The weather has taken a turn for the worse and has been windy and extremely rainy, leaving most of the  park lands vacant. Due to its remote location, there are only 60 people living in the territory north of the Daintree river. Most of these individuals are old hippies in their late 60’s living off the grid on small farms with solar panels, rain catchment and growing exotic fruits such as durian and marijuana.

Lookout from the Alexander mountain range. Below is where the infamous Steve Erwin was killed by a sting ray

Lookout from the Alexander mountain range. Below is where the infamous Steve Erwin was killed by a sting ray

DCIM101GOPRO

The only way to describe the feeling of this place would be to call it a mix of Northern California’s Lost Coast and Hawaii’s Napali coast. The entire Daintree rainforest was at one time only accessible by a muddy dirt track that took a high clearance 4w drive vehicle to traverse. In recent years the rough road was paved giving rise to a large increase in tourism and a world heritage status. This is the only place in the world where one world heritage site literally meets another; The Great Barrier Reef begins where the forest ends and extends 15 km from the beach.

DCIM101GOPRO

Farm land south of Daintree river

Farm land south of Daintree river

The debris collected at the bottom of the canopy. Mossman Gorge

The debris collected at the bottom of the canopy. Mossman Gorge

Venturing across a jungle causeway

Venturing across a jungle causeway

I had one day of sunshine and spent in on this beach in Cow Bay

I had one day of sunshine and spent in on this beach in Cow Bay

To me the most beautiful thing are the silent and untouched estuaries, which pass as rivers in the valleys, streams and creeks near the roads and mangroves before touching the Coral Pacific sea. I am sad to reflect on such a beautiful place as this Thursday I fly from Cairns to Brisbane and begin my southern tour of Australia’s coast. J.R Tolkien’s Rivendell may only exist for the reader in New Zealand but there are many other places which share its mystic beauty.

Mossman creek

Mossman creek

More of Emmagen beach

More of Emmagen beach

Adventure before Dementia

Innot Hot Springs. I pedaled a long 140 km to reach these by night fall, it was worth it.

Innot Hot Springs. I pedaled a long 140 km to reach these by night fall, it was worth it.

Caravanning is the fastest growing business in Australia right now and in the last year the number of caravans on the Australian roads has grown from 150,000 to 300,000. In the 4 weeks that I have been here I have only met one couple driving a Caravan that is not retired, and the majority are affluent white couples in their early to late 60’s. These large vehicles dominate the roads and often leave pass giving me very little berth. Hours or sometimes days after passing the drivers greet me asking me where I am from and how far I have ridden that day. It seems to me that most have the Philosophy of “Adventure before Dementia”.

Good bye to the warm desert, dust and endless bull flies

Good bye to the warm desert, dust and endless bull flies

Headwinds have finally came to rest as my path turned north-east. For the first time in 2,500 km there was no wind chiseling my spirits and keeping me from my goal. The landscape and weather have also changed drastically  and I am reminded that it is winter in the southern hemisphere. It has been cold and rainy since leaving the deserts, and each night I reflect on the hardships of traveling in these conditions. My sleeping bag has progressively gotten wetter and tonight if it doesn’t stop raining soon will be borderline unbearable.

DCIM101GOPRO

DCIM101GOPRO

The desert track of the Savannah highway has completely worn my chain, chain set and cassette. Yesterday while pedaling into the small town of Atherton my gears were skipping so bad I was forced to pedal in my granny gear for over 80 km.  The flat barren land of the interior has given way to rolling hills, streams and cow pastures. I am so excited to once again be climbing through rainforests that I can easily forget about the suffering of my damp and cold body.

The damp and wet Tablelands of the north coast

The damp and wet Tablelands of the north coast

I am in the Tablelands of Queensland, near many national parks, lakes and waterfalls. I have 8 more days to explore before flying to the southern coast city of Brisbane. Tomorrow I head to the famous Mossman Gorge, known for its untouched rainforest and wildlife. From there I continue north to Cape Tribulation where I will get a taste of the north coast.