After Birdsville I continue the ride across the outback. It is now mostly wide grassland. On the minor roads that I am on I can often count the traffic per day on a single hand. As always when in remote areas, many stop for a chat and ask if everything is OK. Every couple of days I pass a little community with a few dozens people. Then finally the landscape changes again as I climb to the tablelands. Every day now it is getting greener, the bush denser until I reach the tropical rainforest around Cairns.
Now I am really in the tropics. I take some days rest and do the mandatory dive at the Great Barrier Reef. Then I start for my last Australian adventure: Cape York.
Cairns itself has no beach but all along the way to the north there are plenty. Tropical, sandy beaches with palm trees. The only problem: there are box jellyfish in the water and crocs at the coast. At Cape Tribulation I am back in the rain forest. Almost every 4WD driver warns me about the terribly steep climbs along the Bloomfield Track. They did not promise too much. Some insane steep sections I even struggle to push the bike up. But the track is fantastic. A narrow, winding track straight through the deep, often dark rainforest with plenty of exotic voices out of the bush and every now and then a creek to ford. The croc warning signs next to the creeks always ensure for some adrenaline to quickly get across.
When I leave the coast, it becomes drier again and I am now cycling through a savannah. In Lakefield national park I often cycle along high grass and even higher termite hills. The different types all have their own architecture. Some thin and perfectly north-south aligned, some round and rather small or then 3m high towers.
After the park I have to go back to the main road. Unfortunately some days ago school holidays have started and now there is far too much traffic on the dusty road. For some days I cycle in the constant dust and at the end of the day always look as dirty as if I was working in a mine.
Then I can finally leave that road again, reaching the highlight of the trip to the Cape: the Old Telegraph Track. A track like something out of a Camel Trophy ad. Narrow, winding, often sandy and straight through the bush. Best of all are the countless creek crossings, some of which are quite difficult. I often cross beautiful creeks with crystal clear water. The most feared of those crossings is Gunshot Creek. When I reach it, it feels like coming to a rodeo. Dozens of spectators watch from the steep hillside as 4WD's are being winched up the steep, muddy banks and dirt bikes perform quite some stunts to get up those. Then it is my turn. I simply slide down the mud into the river bed and cross it in record time generating some wild applause from the audience.
Midway I stay some days at Eliot Falls. Some nice waterfalls with an even better waterhole. A rare chance to go swimming without the danger of crocodiles.
Then I reach Cape York, the northern most point on the Australian continent. I enjoy some days at the beautiful beaches with good view of the many close-by islands.
In a few days I will fly back and start the last part of my journey.