Every journey starts with a first step, or in the case of Cyclist, a first turn of the crank. With ominous clouds thunderclouds following us, the start of our 131-kilometre ride from Cairns to Port Douglas (and back again) along the Captain Cook Highway in Far North Queensland began with an easy 10km jaunt to the sugarcane fields across the Barron River before picking up the pace to Palm Cove where the adventure really began. More than 30km of World Heritage scenery flanked both sides of the road with rolling hills covered in lush rainforests to our left and spectacular turquoise seas to our right. We reached the summit of Rex Lookout 44km into the ride before sweeping corners and rollercoaster hills delivered us to the Hi Tide Cafe on Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas. After a quick bite and stroll through the sand and surf, we mounted up for a reversal of the 65.5-km route to deliver us safely in Cairns for lunch at the Salt House.
Do it yourself
Where to stay?
Pullman Cairns International is an upscale hotel, perfectly located in the CBD of tropical Cairns. Overlooking Cairns Harbour and the lush mountain hinterland, this 321-room hotel is spectacularly positioned to take advantage of all the city has to offer.
Cyclist pick: The Cairns Harbour Lights is a beautiful apartment-style hotel on the Cairns Marina, offering the ideal waterfront accommodation. Studios start at $169 per night, while a two bedroom, two bath starts from $350 per night. For more info visit www.accorhotels.com
Where to eat?
Famous for its nightly seafood buffet, High Tea and Sunday Brunch, Coco’s, located at the Pullman International is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the best “Cairns Waterfront Dining” spots is Dundee’s Restaurant located beneath Cairns Harbour Lights Hotel. The award-winning Tamarind is the signature restaurant of The Reef Hotel Casino offering a contemporary fusion of asian and western cuisine.
Cyclist pick: The Salt House, situated at Marina Point, next to the new Cairns Yacht Club facilities, Salt House is a unique dining, bar and entertainment venue offering a panorama of the ocean, marina and city on the waterfront in Cairns. For more info, please visit www.salthouse.com.au
Where to dive?
What’s the point of visiting Cairns without taking a trip to the Great Barrier Reef? Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises explores Green Island, a beautiful coral cay at the reef with unique island rainforests surrounded by white sandy beaches and magnificent coral reefs with abundant marine life. Say hello to Cassius, the largest saltwater croc in captivity, while you are there.
Cyclist pick: Book a full day with Compass Cruises to explore the outer reef amongst fantastic coral formations teeming with colourful tropical fish from just $99. For more info, please visit www.compasscruises.com.au