Cycle Queensland Preview: An iconic Australian journey
Starry skies, red dirt, tents, camp fires, beaches, and bicycles. Cycle Queensland offers up a unique mix of iconic Australia on two wheels. Cyclist takes a look at a touring event that’s got as much on the bike as off.
Queensland is the ‘Sunshine State’, their number plates even say it. A visit here rarely ventures from the beach and hinterland. On the contrary, a mention of ‘The Outback’ conjures up images of Uluru and the desert surrounds. Not to take anything away from these destinations, they are two of Australia’s natural wonders, but there must be something overlooked in those 2,000 kilometres in-between.
2017 marks the 16th year Cycle Queensland has been basking in these far reaches of the sunshine state. This September, riders will trace a route through the lesser known roads from Goondiwindi to the Gold Coast.
This is the first time Cyclist has previewed Cycle Queensland, and there is some intrigue. How does this event keep attracting riders and how does it differ from so many other fondos, charity rides and events?
After 16 editions the organisers Bicycle Queensland have honed their skills in running such an ambitious event. The success lies in the simplicity. Pack the wardrobe, box the bike, arrive at the start line, and Cycle Queensland takes care of the rest. Meals, repairs, luggage transfers, massages, pitching tents, to pouring an afternoon ale. They’ve got it covered.
The heart of the event is The Hub, akin to a travelling circus for cyclists. This is where riders meet, depart and return – albeit in a new town – each day. Riders can share stories over a coffee in the Hub’s bar, or go out and explore the town and enjoy a cold beer in the local pub, before returning for dinner and a movie in the outdoor cinema. If that sounds all a bit much riders can just lay in the tent and gaze at the stars in preparation for the next day of new and unridden roads.
Cycle Queensland Route
Goondiwindi to the Gold Coast, besides some alliteration the route captures a snapshot of Queensland’s history. From red dirt outback country and sprawling cattle stations, historic towns and wine regions, volcanic mountains, world heritage rainforests and finally a path to world famous beaches. The distances may seem short but that’s intended. The ride is designed to allow time to explore these regions by foot too – but there are endless open roads for those wanting the extra kilometres.
Goondiwindi Out’n’back 45 km
Riders are welcomed to the west with a flat, easy pedal around the McIntyre River with lunch at Undabri Station.
Goondiwindi – Yelarbon 56 km
Enjoy the ride under huge open skies and birdlife of the Yelarbon desert.
Yelarbon – Texas 63 km
Continuing along the Dumaresq River through the remnants of historic Tobacco and Rabbit industries.
Texas – Stanthorpe 100 km
The Queen Stage, plenty of climbing is in store as the ride moves from the river flats into the Granite Belt Region.
Stanthorpe Rest Day 0km
Explore the food and wine region of Stanthorpe, enjoy the day to sample some local delights.
Stanthorpe – Woodenbong 104 km
Enjoy the views of the volcanic mountains and ancient Gondwana Rainforest during the crossing into New South Wales.
Woodenbong – Kyogle 60 km
The Border Ranges provide some lush greenery as the road snakes through the Richmond Valley.
Kyogle – Murwillumbah 76 km
Make the most of the natural beauty of the Scenic Rim and the cultural centre of Murwillimbah, but don’t forget to stop for a beer and a pie at Uki.
Murwillumbah – Gold Coast 31 km
It may be short, but there’s a punchy climb at the border before rolling into Currimbin. A celebration and a cold dip in the ocean awaits all the riders
Cycle Queensland is a fully-supported and fully-catered nine-day cycling adventure running September 2-10, 2017. Entry includes all riding, support, meals and accommodation. All the details for the tour, including entry, maps, distance, what to expect and off-the-bike activities can be found at www.cycleqld.com.au.