Latest posts by Warren (see all)

I’ve been waiting for a week of fine days in the northern tablelands to do a ride but it is the wettest place in Australia. Finally a three day window appeared so I grabbed it.

All that rain feeds many waterfalls in the north of Queensland, including what is perhaps the most spectacular in Australia, the Wallaman falls. With a total drop of 305 metres (same height as Sydney tower) and main drop of 268 metres this is the highest in Australia. It is far more impressive than my photo can convey. I especially like the rainbows in the mist.

The road up to the falls from Ingham is terrific. Sealed all the way with about 20 km of twisty road up and another 20 back down. A nice viewpoint half way too.

I’ve added it and a couple more from this ride to my Best Australia Motorcycle roads map which has not had any updates in a long time.

Watch out for these guys on the road to the falls.

The Bruce Highway AKA Pacific Coast Way north of Townsville is riddled with speed cameras in parked cars and yellow box trailers, I counted 5 by lunch at KFC Ingham. For once I regret that us Aussies handed in our guns after the Port Arthur mass shooting. Prior to that Bogan’s (Rednecks for my US friends) would have simply shot up these cameras like all our road signs were once riddled with holes.

Wish I could go ride those mountainous islands. Living in Japan if you saw an island you knew there was a ferry nearby and would be a road to a viewpoint at the top of the island.

Sorry about the image tearing
Sorry about the image tearing

Down south Wild Life zones are for Koala’s, here they are for Cassowary’s. These are a very large flightless bird that will attack you if approached but are clueless about cars and get killed too often on our roads. I was scanning the countryside to see one but was out of luck. Image via Wikipedia.


Side note. Every time I ride over one of these Wild Life road markings I start singing the INXS song Wild Life.

I went to Mission beach still looking for angry birds. It is a nice beach but no swimming due to the dangerous jelly fish found in the ocean here.

I am in Innisfail tonight. An area with the highest rainfall in Australia. I went looking for something nice to eat but small town I ended up grabbing a pizza and listening to INXS live at Wembley which was still playing in my head from today.

A cool and cloudy start in the morning, loads of rain on the mountains just off to my left as I blast north to Gordonvale to ride the Gillies highway.

I last traversed this road in a (then new) mid 80’s Ford Falcon at breakneck speed with a crazy mate. We rode 1st class in the luxury Queenslander train (now defunct) to Cairns for almost nothing as we both worked for the company and proceeded to drink the train dry of a beer no longer made (I think it was as pictured sold to compete with Crown Lager but discontinued). Ah, crazy days when I was young and clueless. Now just clueless.

The Gillies is phenomenal. As a rider, you know how some road surveying is superior, how rare it is that a series of corners flows just right on a motorcycle. The Gillie’s is that and not just in part, almost every corner for 20km seems a perfect radius and camber and surface.

Like this to begin then it climbs for another 20km

Another thing the Gillies has is plenty of laybys and a number of overtaking lane sections. The cars and camper vans I encountered were no problem at all even on my bike that lacks passing power. Add in the impressive valley views as you climb and this could be my favourite motorcycle road in Australia.

At the top is the Gillies lookout on the road to the Tinaroo dam. It is accessed via a gated track which started nice but deteriorated to a muddy red clay rutted hill climb. I might have tried on my old KX with knobbies but not on this bike. But here is the Google view.

I decided to try some ADV type of riding on the forestry roads to the Tinaroo dam. The dirt was nicely packed down from overnight rain but ho hum, just not my thing and I was glad to arrive back on tarmac near the dam.

Plenty of rain so the spill gates were open.

Stopped in Atherton for an early lunch. This region looks remarkably like the northern NSW border region I used to ride so much. Red soils, lush green rolling hills with dairy cows or huge macadamia nut plantations.

I rather ambitiously thought I might ride north to the Rex range so set off to Mareeba however by there I realised I did not have enough time to make it and the skies beyond there were darkening so I retreated south and went to Herberton instead.

This was a great decision. The road from Atherton to Herberton is lovely flowing with a nice small range to cross as well. Riding on towards Ravenshoe the road took on a distinct pink colour which I don’t think I have seen anywhere else.

Before Ravenshoe I detoured to ride the highest road in Queensland. After riding the three highest motorable roads in the world in the Himalayas this one is modest but right here right now I am still feeling I achieved something and hey anyway look at that sky.

From Ravenshoe I took a look at the old highway but then turned around and followed a newly upgraded road to Milla Milla which was superb.

Never seen yellow markings outside the Snowy mountains region

Along the way I came to the Milla Milla lookout and wow this joins my favourites in Australia.

I visited the Milla Milla falls but did not stay long. Last time here very long ago I thought they were impressive but after seeing the Wallaman falls everything else falls short (see what I did there haha).

The Palmerston highway is a fast flowing road of sweeping radius curves which rides downhill as nice as it does uphill. Most corners carry a advisory speed of 80kph but on a bike would be fun at licence loosing speeds. Here my small capacity bike is fun. It’s satisfying to twist the throttle to the max often and work the motor at high rpm but not be risking jail.

I have tried in the past to say less powerful bikes can be more fun on overpoliced roads but was scoffed at. Ryan from Fort Nine says similar but in a more entertaining way. Still that said for most of my riding I want comfort over fun and my next bike will likely be a big ass tourer. Guess that is my age showing.

Lower Parmeston highway

Really got lucky with the weather up here today.

I chose cheapo motels this ride instead of Aussie pub rooms. I like the pubs but they are not much less than some motels which have ensuite, kitchen and table to set up my notebook. A meal and beer or two at those small town pubs will set you back $50 these days so ends up being an expensive option now.

Amusing signage by “First Dog on the Moon” cartoonist.

I rode down to Etty bay the next morning in search of angry birds having been told I am sure to see Cassowary’s there.

Alas this is as close as I got.

Mena Creek Falls. Unlike Cassowary’s I was glad not to see any crocodiles.

The South Johnston river and hereabouts is well known to have many crocs.

Lovely countryside on the Innisfail-Japoon road. 1000’s of banana’s.

The forecast had been rain but it turned into a fine day. I took a look online for a room tonight but being Saturday and last minute that was always going to be pushing it and indeed I did not find anything so decided to stick to my original plan and ride back home.

An early lunch at Cardwell to get a table before the hordes of motorhomes decide to eat out. Seriously there are 1000’s of them up here in the north escaping the southern winter. Road side rest areas look like caravan parks.

The closest mountain road to me is the Paluma road to Crystal creek (above) There are plenty of mountains around me but no roads have been built on them. A popular swimming spot (too high up for crocodiles) the road is 20 km of curves and whilst not well surveyed is an ok ride weekdays and bit busy this Saturday.

Just a small look at the northern highlands and a chance to test some gear before my USA ride. I will visit the area again for sure as there is much more to explore.


  1. Big ass tourers are getting harder to find these days, with the adventure bike seemingly taking over. Maybe a big ass adventure tourer? Don’t let anyone tell you you don’t have a real bike, what ever that is anyway. No one laughs at Itchy Boots for riding a 300 Rally do they, not sure why people heap scorn on others for what they ride, its a personal choice. I’ll ride what I like, you ride what you like and we’ll be just fine at the end of the day.
    The Gillies looks like a lot of fun but is so far away from me.
    Another good post Warren.

    • Thanks Steve,

      I have opened the purse strings and paid bit more to rent a big ADV and a big Tourer for my USA rides so that will be an interesting comparison.
      The great thing about motorbikes is they are all good in their own way. I have not found one I did not like yet.

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