Finding adventure on the Cairns Regional Electricity Board trail.
Big Red fills our vision and we take off, straight into our lowest gears. We can ride some sections, and push others. A group of motorbikes come through, and we share nods and waves. Most people travel in a northerly direction on the CREB, but not everyone. Thankfully on a bike you can hear anything else that is approaching.
The higher we get, the more the view opens up. Looking back down the climb, the enormity of the rainforest is apparent. We stop where there is some marked phone reception for the obligatory 'adventure' photos. This was also our turn around point for the day.
“Beyond Big Red it starts to steady out a little bit. It's not as difficult after that, not nearly as steep. The second half has a lot more fireroad and is a lot steadier,” says Graeme. That sounds about right. We'd done the hardest part. “The environment changes to the open eucalypt type of forest. It's a lot easier to manage.”
Given our time constraints, doing part of the route with vehicle support was the best mix for Wil and I. But I do wonder – is the CREB track Australia's newest multi-day adventure route?
“It would be perfect as a two day trip,” says Grame. “If you come over the top of Big Red, and then come down into China Camp, there are some really nice camping spots there. The issue with going all the way through is you end up at Wujal Wujal and you're in a no-mans land of sorts. It's a long way to Cape Tribulation, and it's a good ride to get to Cooktown as well. You're better off doing a turn around and coming back to Daintree.”
A long trip puts more luggage on your bike and the need to plan for food and water, and for accommodation – camping or otherwise.
“Past the houses at China Camp, you should be able to find water. Everyone has tanks and up here I can't see anyone having problems with giving you some water if you needed it. The CREB could be that adventure experience. If you put some thought into it you could essentially ride from Cairns to Cooktown, which is about 300km - and you could do it over three or four days and come across very little bitumen.
"You've got the Lions Den Hotel and you could spend a night there, then it's an easy day into Cooktown, and there's plenty of transport out of Cooktown to get back to Cairns. If you planned it well you could get a really good trip. Three or four days would be fantastic.”