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Mackay to Cairns April

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:27 pm
by Maxwell101
Hey up hive mind. Planning a trip starting in Mackay heading north to Cairns. After scouring the usual places on the internet I havent found too much info on the route which leads me to believe it's all on the highway. Just wanted to see if anyone had any tips or alternative roads at any point on the trip?

I'm a seasoned tourer and have cycled Bundaberg to Brisbane and Melbourne to Byron Bay so other than dealing with crocs and the humidity I have a general idea of what I'm getting into.

Cheers guys

Re: Mackay to Cairns April

Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 9:45 am
by elantra
Maxwell101 wrote:
Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:27 pm
Hey up hive mind. Planning a trip starting in Mackay heading north to Cairns. After scouring the usual places on the internet I havent found too much info on the route which leads me to believe it's all on the highway. Just wanted to see if anyone had any tips or alternative roads at any point on the trip?

I'm a seasoned tourer and have cycled Bundaberg to Brisbane and Melbourne to Byron Bay so other than dealing with crocs and the humidity I have a general idea of what I'm getting into.

Cheers guys
After Townsville there are alternatives to the Highway, which should be seriously considered because the main highway offers little and will give you endless anxiety.

For example, north of Cardwell you could exit the highway (at Kennedy) and ride the Kirrama Range road, past Blencoe falls, and rejoin the modern world at the town of Mt Garnet.
From there you are back on main roads mostly but the scenery is pleasant all the way to the town of Atherton, heading in the direction of Cairns.
From Atherton, from memory you can follow some nice quiet roads at least some of the way and approach Cairns from the Gillies Highway, or from Kuranda.
However from Kennedy to Mt Garnet via Kirrama range is a long way on unsealed roads (160km) so you would need a “gravel bike” setup and between Kennedy and Mt Garnet there are NO shops. But the scenery is really fabulous, especially after a good wet season.

From Mackay to Townsville, the main highway is uninspiring and I am not aware of any viable alternative routes. From memory of driving it a few yrs ago, the highway is of inconsistent quality with often good shoulder but some ridiculously narrow bridges over creeks and rivers with no shoulder at all !
Don’t forget to check Strava for the popular routes into and around Townsville city and approaches to Cairns city etc. Cheers