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Cycling to Cooktown (Rebecca Watts) PDF Printable Version E-mail



Rebecca Watts

October 2006

Rebecca and her partner, Kevin, not only live in a wooden house on stilts high in the rainforest of northern Queensland, not only developed this website from the beginning (and continue to solve technical problems for us), not only earn their living by computing for Australian companies and for the Queensland Police they are also cyclists!

Their recent ride to Cooktown took them to the mouth of the Endeavour River on the Coral Sea. Here Captain James Cook beached the Endeavour for repairs in 1770 during his 2,000 mile voyage of discovery up the east coast of Australia. He had gone aground just offshore on the Great Barrier Reef, now regarded as the greatest navigational hazard in the world, and it took several weeks for him to return to the open sea.

The town, under the nearby Cook Mountain, has an excellent Cook Museum. It is reached by two roads from Cairns. Bec and Kev rode the inland route north on the Development Road, the Mulligan Highway, until recently a road of gravel and dust. They returned on the coastal road, 4WD-only in parts, past the well-named Cape Tribulation (Cook was good at naming geographical features to match his experiences).

Rebecca writes:

We did a complete circuit on the Cooktown trip - heading first up to Cooktown on the inland highway, now sealed the whole way (325.59 km).

From there we took the Bloomfield track - a 4wd road down the coast to Cape Tribulation - and then crossed back up the range and then via another 4wd road home, only having to double up on about 40 km.

All we need now for a round the world trip are stronger wheels. The sunhats didn't get used, we thought they would be useful on the open roads, but most of our riding was done in the mornings and we didn't find it too hot - so they'll be left off the list for next time. $6 wasted on those.

The Ortliebs are great - we've collected the set over a few years, they particularly come in handy on those creek crossings. I was a bit concerned about moisture building up inside, but no problems with that to date. Food seems to keep fine in them as well so very happy with them.

The camelbacks are not bad actually, they do sit off the back a bit so there is some airflow, but they do get hot on a slow climb, but the compensation is that you can easily drink on a climb. I'm not the best one handed cyclist so I find I drink much more with one on than not. Also saves having to carry quite as many bottles. The perfect solution would be to have a water bladder on the back rack with a longer drinking tube.

We had a really brilliant time, we took it fairly easy and didn't do many long days in the saddle, but it is amazing what can be achieved in a couple of weeks.

We were also amazed at how much friendlier people were, we met and chatted to far more people than we ever would have in a car.