Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Today caution won. I didn’t risk the slippery ledge alongside the waterfall, to the leech filled caves at Souita Falls. I didn’t try to sit on a mossy ledge in the middle of Pepina Falls. I did, however, find a very photogenic Little Millstream Falls, and am happy.

Little Millstream Falls

Today is the last of the low km days, meandering around looking at the sights. With only 50km to my next camp, I took some side trips.

Souita Falls was at the end of a dead end road, and right off the tourist radar. It is meant to be unspectacular unless you jump over the railing and make your way upstream to the upper of the two falls. With caves surrounding the pool under the waterfall, I was prepared to risk the leech infested waters to take some amazing photos. When I got there, I realised that the first 10m after jumping the railing was along a mossy, narrow ledge directly above the waterfall. This looked too risky, so I headed back.

Souita Falls
Souita Falls

The next waterfall was Pepina Falls. I have found a cool picture with a guy sitting on a ledge in the middle of the falls. I wanted to try that. Arriving there, I found the only way to get there was to scale the slippery rocks from below, or clamber down from the top of the falls through the tumbling water. I decided not to. I did get a leech attached to my foot for the effort.

Pepina Falls

The final falls were Little Millstream Falls near Ravenshoe. The little brother of Big Millstream Falls, unlike the brother, you can access the falls and the water for a swim. You can actually get close to the falls and sit and watch the water tumble down.

Little Millstream Falls

I’m camping at a beautiful spot on a river at Woodleigh Station near Innot Hot Springs. With a massive lawn under some gum trees, it’s a beautiful, quiet spot.

Woodleigh Station

A quick late afternoon swim in the hot spring pools was pleasant.

Innot Hot Springs
Innot Hot Springs

Tomorrow more haste than today.

The sun was rising behind the thick cloud layer and the world slowly came to light. Noone around as I stared at the base of these amazing waterfalls. Today was waterfall day, and I ticked them off – Ellinjaa, Zillie, Millaa Millaa and Nandroya.

With tripod and phone I potter around at the base of the falls. Its a solitary and very satisfying activity, trying to get the best photo. Ellinjaa Waterfall is right in your face – very close. The spray envelopes the space at the bottom of the falls. The dim light meant for a longer exposure and a beautiful effect on the water gushing down to the pool below.

Ellinjaa Falls

Zillie Falls is my favourite – and amazing. A huge rush of water behind a line of massive boulders. Again, the air was swirling with spray.

Zillie Falls

Cross Millaa Millaa Falls off your to do list. It is the most popular and well known waterfall in the area, but I thought it was very underwhelming. Why is it popular? Near the main road. Easy access. Can’t think of any more reasons.

Millaa Millaa Falls

A big concrete slab in front of the pool is ideal for setting up tripods for photos. My phone suffered from this concrete slab. The tripod lost balance and came crashing down, causing the phone screen to hit the concrete.

The road to Nandroya Falls was a longer one. The falls are 500m below Millaa Millaa and the road had some long steep descents (which were ascents on the way home). The path to the falls goes through some beautiful lush rainforest, and, to my surprise, was perfect for cycling on.

Nandroya Falls
Nandroya Falls
Lower Nandroya Falls

A few more falls tomorrow and then its into the outback, and more kms to be covered in a day.

“You can’t go there. Forensic are there laying tags. They took out a body.”

Road block

Usually you can cycle or at least push your bike through road closures. This time it wasn’t happening. This was a crime scene – a nasty car accident. It just meant turning around, going back where I had come from, and riding further up and down and up and down through the (beautiful) hills.

Millaa Millaa is really not very far from Atherton, and I wanted to stay overnight in Millaa Millaa. Soooo, I had lots of time on my hands today. This meant I followed signs to things that sounded interesting as well as taking a beeline to Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine – two volcanic crater lakes.

I did some bird watching at Hasties Swamp.

Hasties Swamp
Hasties Swamp

I marvelled at the curtain fig tree.

Curtain Fig Tree
Curtain Fig Tree
Curtain Fig Tree

And I swam in the (rather pleasantly warm) waters of Lake Eacham, followed by a loop of the lake.

Lake Eacham
Lake Eacham
Around Lake Eacham

I had Devonshire Tea at the famous tea house looking out over Lake Barrine. I sat perched on a beautiful balcony looking out over the glistening waters of the lake.

Lake Barrine
Lake Barrine

I was glad when I arrived at Millaa Millaa Hotel. I was knackered.

Today was snake day. I passed a snake lying on the road, warming itself in the sun. Another slithered away from the side as I passed. From then on I heard rustles of leaves everywhere. It’s good having snakes around. It means the road is not busy. Quaid Road from the coast up to the tablelands was closed to traffic, and I was the only one there, cycling through the forest.

Snake number 1
Cycling through the forest

Thanks to the Cairns Cycling Group Rides Facebook group for recommending Quaid Road to climb out from the coast. It was a beautiful bitumen road passing through the dense rain forest which, over time, opened out into savannah landscape.

It joined the main road at a beautiful swampy lake, and from there was a rather uninspiring main road.

Quaids Dam

Five km out of Atherton I was looking at my map when a young lady came up to me and said she was also a cyclist. She recommended I take the Atherton Rail Trail into Atherton which followed an old train line. It was much quieter and pleasant.

Atherton Rail Trail

At dinner I met some more people that like cycling. I have a nice lunch option for the day after tomorrow at a bio dairy.

In French the word for clumsy is maladroit (bad with your right hand). I told this to a friend once in France. He said I was malagauche too (bad with my left hand). It took me two hours to assemble my bike from the bike box. The configuration of the baggage carrier and mudguard flummoxed me. But now the bike is in one piece and ready to go. Croydon and my friend Elizabeth – here I come!

Kilometre 0 in Cairns

I have known about Turtle Cove Resort near Cairns for a long time but have never been. Cycling out to see my friend Elizabeth, Cairns is the obvious place to start and so Turtle Cove – although a detour – was on the itinerary.

Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove
Palm Cove

While watching out for the crocs.

Croc warning

And stepping through the cairns of rocks.

Rock cairns

Locked into the resort as the iron man competition closed the road, it was a time to chill before the start of the bike trip proper. Some photos at sunrise and a scramble over the rocks exploring with a couple of Canadians.

Turtle Cove at sunrise
Turtle Cove at sunrise
Turtle Cove at sunrise

 Thanks to the amazing team and guests at Turtle Cove Resort. A lot of fun was had – quite a contrasting experience to the rest of my upcoming trip. I doubt I will be doing any pole dancing further west on this trip.

The stars were extinguished, one by one, as the sky moved through shades of deep blue and then orange. Then the sun burst through as I watched at Waterhole Hut. The sunrise is the theme of my little video – cycling through Namadgi National Park.

I cycled through the gate onto a grassy patch with paragliders waiting to jump over the cliff. Below me were the plains of Lake George and the Federal Highway snaking its way from left to right. I didn’t know I’d have this view, but it’s the unplanned things that are often the best.

Looking over the cliff

On the first day of the cycle trip, my goal was to get to Canberra as quickly as possible to have time to go into the mountains. Returning, I had the whole day and tried a different route – one that avoids the highway as much as possible.

I had time to pass Parliament House.

Parliament House

I have discovered Camberra’s cycle path network. There are at least 7 long routes. I followed C4 into the city and C1 out. Nicely marked, they keep the cyclists out of the traffic and make it a pleasant experience for cyclists.

The Canberra cycle network

Filling up with water, I started talking to a cyclist who was resting in the shade. He had a good tip of a side road to Gundaroo.

A peaceful gravel road rather than the busy main road

Getting from Gundaroo to Collector involved a bit of climbing on a dirt track. It was beautiful, quiet bush, and I took it slow. On one of the climbs I realised the bike has gone 81,000km.


I had had enough by the time I got to Collector and decided on taking the highway to Goulburn. Not pleasant but mostly flat and quick. I quick stop to take a photo of the Goulburn sheep and then into the town for a celebratory meal. My short Christmas biketrip in the mountains was at an end.

The giant sheep

Everything was covered in an early morning frost as the sun burst over the neighbouring hill to announce the start of the day – a day of lots of pushing, some river crossings, and a beautiful, remote feeling.

Waterhole Hut at dawn

I spent a few hours playing around at the hut, including flying the drone around.

Waterhole Hut

And poking my nose in Westermans Hut.

Westermans Hut

Then it was off to continue the ‘challenging’ route along the Naas Valley. The challenging part was the constant steep up and down. Often it was a case of inching up the inclines, two steps up and one slide back. I loved it though.

Naas Valley
Naas Valley

I was quite looking forward to the river fords up to your waist. Today they were up to my shins. One was up to my knees. The waters from the recent rains have subsided.

Now I’m back in civilisation. Yesterday night when I was looking up at the night sky, I saw the glow coming from the north. Now I’m inside that glow. Canberra.

“There’s the challenging route and the less challenging route.” If my cycling friend says its challenging, it is. I like challenges, and so I did a lot of pushing in the glorious weather on the most beautiful roads.

A steep drop into the gully.

Steep, pushing up and sliding back down, cramp, beautiful wide grassy valleys, kangaroos galore and a shooting star. And some beautiful huts. The road along the Naas Valley was beautiful.

Naas Valley – easy bit
Naas Valley – easy bit
Turn off out of the valley

The push up to the Brandy Flat Hut was a struggle. Once, I realised I just wasn’t going to make it, and I carted up the luggage separately.

Up to Brandy Flat Hut
Brandy Flat Hut
Spot the road up on the other side.

The road out of the gully took some time as I had to stop to let some cramp subside. Then onto the Old Bobayan Road which was stunning. Rolling hills through alpine fields.

Old Baboyan Road
Old Baboyan Road

And the kangaroos were everywhere, jumping along the road and in front of me. So beautiful.


It was a dash in the failing light to get to the hut. I’m now lying in the tent listening to the crickets and frogs.

Waterhole Hut

“We can chuck it under there,” he said jovially, pointing to under the bus. There was noone else in the bus anyway. I was just happy I could get to Goulburn in daylight and have time to cycle to Canberra.

In the train replacement bus she goes.

The goal was to get to Canberra by public transport. The journey through the mountains starts from there. It was a bit grey and it drizzled a bit. Fine for knocking off some kms after lunch through the undulating countryside.

Thistle en route
20km to Queanbeyan
Molonglo River

After a quick dash through an outer arm of the Australian Capital Territory, I’m back in New South Wales for the evening, snug as a bug in a rug.