Great Dividing Range Australia Top to Bottom | Part 3 - Moto Trekkin

Great Dividing Range Australia Top to Bottom | Part 3

It has taken a while for us to get the next message out, things are pretty hectic on the trail! This one covers our journey from Atherton (previous message) to the Cape.

Trip is going real well, seems like we have been on the road for months, so much crammed into a short time. 

We had spent an extra day at Atherton with the mechanics getting the DR attended to. After a day test ride turned out the rough running was just altitude issues and the mechanic was disappointed that I didn’t want him to pull the motor out. He didn’t realise that all you have to do is add fuel and air in the right proportions and away you go.

We were happy that the delay gave us the chance to refuel our energy stocks with a KFC bucket.

We left with new rubber, a few dollars out of our pocket and the DR’s reputation bruised.

This leg was where we started getting into the remote country. On our spare day in Atherton we checked out the powerline route to Mareeba (as per locals advice) but taking the bikes up the steep tracks with loose rocks the size of basketballs wasn’t going to be easy.

We decided to stick on our original route of the bicentennial trail which was great.

We went via Mt Mulligan to Palmer River Goldfields and spent two days out in the wilderness. After burgers at Palmer River Roadhouse, we had to stock enough water and food and trade the rums for a cask of wine that didn’t need ice. It’s harsh country and hard to believe that tens of thousands of people used to live out there during the gold rush days, now there is just a few ruins and a couple of cattle stations.

It was here we met two guys on pushbikes basically doing the same route we were but in reverse … we thought we were doing it tough… they were never sure where their next feed was coming from, at least we had our chunky beef stew cans and two minute noodles.

We also met a guy on a Mt Mulligan station where we camped who was bankrupted and escaping from society. He was ok though because he had an old XR600 “making his own tracks” and he introduced us to ORBS (see spot of light in night photo … zoom in for a closer look) “they are intelligent life forms whose health indicates the health of the environment around them and can only be captured on digital cameras set on 800 ISO.” We were finally feeling fully in touch with our spiritual sides and asked if we could have some of what he was having.

ORBS…

Next morning we went from Maytown up to Laura along the washed out old coach road. This was the most difficult leg we have had and it started with long sections of bulldust holes and then it was km after km of hills of rough rock tracks … or steps and stairs .. it was relentless!.

Mark showing how much he loved this track

Relentless is a word we have been using a fair bit up here! We had to push the bikes up and down a couple of sections. One of the things that kept us going was seeing the tracks where the pushbike boys had come through the other way. 

Eventually we had to give up trying to get through that day and we made camp … fresh assault the next day.

The three legged stools seemed like a great idea when we left but they were close to the end of their journey, struggling with the evening work.

Bush camping among the stars has been fantastic, we were contemplating what tomorrow had in store for us.

Next day we eventually came out the other end of Mayhem after dropping the bikes once each and with our forearms and shoulders aching from trying to control our heavily laden beasts. Mark was about to call for the helicopter airlift and was dishing out his disapproval salutes (photo) It seems that our intial disbelief in ORBS the night before did not win us any favours with the mountain spirits and this section became known as the Mayhem (rather than Maytown) Track. Was hard but really beautiful in the morning scattered light.

Bush camping among the stars has been fantastic, we were contemplating what tomorrow had in store for us.

We spent the night at Archer River and rehydrated.

We were behind time and decided to skip a couple of our planned sight seeing detours and headed up the peninsular development road via Weipa (a hole and where birds shat all over my bike and gear. Mark recons they didn’t like the DR .. but I am sure there was some other valid explanation). Mark’s parts hadn’t arrived but I picked up some new front brake pads.

We camped at Bramwell Junction which was at the start of the infamous Old Telegraph Track. We arrived early so we check out the first creek crossing Palm creek, which was washed out and rivalled Gunshot in difficulty. There was a tour group there and the tour operator dared us to ride through to entertain her group of excited pensioners. Loving to show off I took on the challenge and was rewarded with a bag of biscuits and cheese from the group. The tour guide said “they’ have all discussed it and decided they could go without biscuits with their afternoon tea for the boys” .. One old duckie also asked me “does your mother know you are out here doing this sort of thing”… how sweet.

We were lucky that the water was down a bit so the creek crossings weren’t too bad, just under the tank but still enough to wet the feet, although you always wondered about the crocs. At one muddy crossing with the croc warning signs we stopped and I started wading in to see how deep it was. About half way it was getting deep, swampy and murky and I turned back and we found a chickens way around. Once on the other side a 4WD pulled up and the drivers aged wife got out in her one piece swimsuit and waded across and back and forth…either she couldn’t read the croc signs or the hubby had bumped up the life insurance before the trip! Either way we felt like real whimps.

Gunshot creek entries were tough for 4WD but no so bad for bikes. There were all these parts of vehicles hanging in trees which was handy for Mark to replace lost KLR parts 🙂

Elliot falls was a great place for a midday croc free swim … it was getting really hot.

After doing our laundry we made some lunch.

That arvo we crossed the Jardine on the ferry and arrived at Siesia near the tip for a cold beer and a lovely sunset.