My mind is whirring. I'm thinking of the hills, the tropical climate, what I'd need to pack, who I would do the trip with, and how to manage all the logistics. It's an adventure in the making, just one flight away from most Australian capital cities.

“Ideally, do the trip at the end of August or September,” says Graeme. “It's still cool and once you start getting into October it gets a bit hotter and the amount of water you're going to consume changes too. It's cool at night and not humid during the day. And you can just about guarantee you're not going to get any rain. Well, you can never guarantee that up here, but it's about as good as you're going to get.”

With that, we pack our bikes into Graeme's four wheel drive ute, and enjoy the air conditioning and a cold drink for the return trip. As a passenger and no longer a pilot on the bike I get the chance to look around a bit more. To the high peaks, the dense forest, and the steep terrain. Tropical North Queensland is littered with old trails and backroads, and I'm left to wonder if this is the ideal playground for riders looking for a new adventure off the beaten path.

Where else should I ride?

There’s lots to do, with plenty of dirt roads and firetrails suitable for well-equipped gravel or cyclocross bikes around Lake Tinaroo, Mt Edith, Kuranda and Mt Molloy. The road loop around the lakes on the Atherton Tablelands is also one of the most scenic rides in the area!

Get more details at ridecairns.com

CREB Facts

The CREB track is steep and rough, running from Daintree to Wujal Wujal. It was originally the service track for the powerline to Cooktown. It is just 71km long, but has many steep climbs and descents, and it is recommended to be travelled along from south to north.

The CREB track is difficult in the dry, and near impossible to travel along in the wet. Always check road conditions before heading out.

tourismportdouglas.com.au

Choosing a bike for the CREB 

We tackled the CREB track on Norco Threshold cyclocross bikes, and they did an admirable job. You could take a variety of bikes but look to have the following:

  • Gear for hills more than flats
  • Make sure you can carry water in cages and on your back or in a frame bag
  • Strong tubeless tyres are recommended – plus tubes in case you tear a tyre
  • Disc brakes are highly recommended, with sintered pads
  • Avoid super-light parts, the track is rough!
  • A cyclocross or adventure bike would be good, although a 29er hardtail might be better