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3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now the forum is photo friendly I'll copy the posts from my adventure post back at the GTAMotorcycle sight.
I ride a White Burgman 650 Exec at home in Canada and Bruce rides the same in Australia.

My rides in Aus are a KLR650 and for now a bright red ST1100 is which is similar to the Burgman 650 ( I prefer the Burgman )
For those interested in Tropical Australia and maybe even getting here to is the thread covering the previous two years.
Lots of cool photos - crocs and eagles and creepy things and many offroad photos.
It's a stunning area - World Heritage rain forest with the Great Barrier Reef offshore.


Currently - Bruce is a member here - think it's how we met and we ride together here. Same age, rides the same Burgman here I ride at home and many interests in common Hs wife makes AMAZING cakes as a business. ymmm

Had a long day out with Bruce yesterday…. met at Skybury Coffee
then caught a couple of areas new to him

We have ScalaRider comm sets and chat away the day when riding - makes the time go quick as we had lots to catch up on .

Stopped for lunch at Lake Barrine which is a volcanic crater and famous with birdwatchers.

I want to go back and take the little cruise around the lake and do some bird photos. Gorgeous day we had and was nice to kick back on the veranda over the lake.

The grounds are lovely - easy to spend most of a day just relaxing and photographing - a fav destination = what looks like red flowers are actually leaves.

Main goal was the Cathedral Fig but we ended up with a twofer….the Curtain Fig which I had not seen and the Cathedral thanks to a GPS muck up.
Strangler figs are amazing - they start tiny and then engulf a tree which then dies and they can twist around in incredible shapes.

The curtain fig is cool - when the original tree died it fell and took down it’s neighbor which fell at an angle. And the curtain grew down….now we’re talking trees that are 120m + - these are huge.

and it truly is a curtain - hence the name and the park designation - nice boardwalk around this one…

The Cathedral Fig you may have seen some of my pictures before….it’s just too huge to try and encompass. a 2,000 sq meter canopy, 130 meters high and 500 years old

those epiphytes that look like hairy catepillars are the size of a queen sized bed….maybe bigger.

Step inside and you feel like you are about to be eaten by an Ent.

This is looking straight up the inside.

Really love the area up around Lake Tinaroo which this is part of - it’s an enormous manmade lake that feeds irrigation for hundreds of square KMs around if not thousands.

It's at the top of both the Gillies ( 219 turns - 19 KM ) or the Palmerston range roads and then the way home includes the Kuranda or the Rex - all most fun even on the KLR - the tire set I have is the best yet and feels good on road and off.

The ST up and down these roads is a work enjoyable one. Shoulders and hands a bit sore earlier in the day but drugs do wonders. 300km on a KLR set to dirt is slowish. Bruce is patient and made it easy to chat tho the tire drone could be heard by both.

Many good photo ops etc over the last few years around that lake including my dinged shoulder :-(
Some pics further back of that "adventure" tho was worth it given the size of that tree that came down. Truly jaw dropping.

Ken is 6' 1"!!!!


1,113 Posts
Wow, that looks like an amazing place to explore. Glad you got the chance - even more glad you generated this cool post with pix!

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Glad you enjoyed it - I will be retiring here with GF in about 4 years.
Meanwhile we travel 2 months together and I'm here 3 months in NH winter.

The full blog is here

I did not post on the Burgman site before as the photos were limited to 800 pixels wide and too much work to convert.

Very photo friendly now.
Try and get here if you can.

It's tucked between two World Heritage sites....100 million year old Rain Forest and the Great Barrier Reef.

This bird's ancestors were strolling the same region when the dinosaurs were around.

This was wild and about 15' away....they are pretty fearless as they are well armed and almost as tall as us.

They can disembowel a human.

This big male was caring for a chick and he nailed the teddy bear a couple of times just to be on the safe side

He was just outside the lodge at the Daintree and one of the loviliest places we've stayed and GF and I are VERY well travelled.

The cassowary was a total ife treat as they are rare to see let alone photograph in the wild.

There was food out for them but none had been seen for 3 month.

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Mount Lewis - getting my dirt road mojo back

Finally got off the pavement at Mount Lewis up behind one of my fav hangouts the Highlander. Good food and coffee and decently fast wifi and a fantastic outdoor but under shade setting. Too nice.

Just sitting here - bit of a breeze - 28 degrees - fluffly clouds and a big blue sky over the rain forest.

Mount Lewis is a National Park and starts out paved then meanders up and up gradually getting less maintained and then....

Even the KLR looks puzzled.

But that's at the end as far as I could get riding alone ( there was a route but would need two of us to be safe getting around or under that tree and will come back again.

Under to the left should be doable but the KLR650 is tall

for another day

not sure what this little car was doing up there but lucky it was not wet or he'd be there for a while.

It was an easy track going up in the dry ....would be okay on the KLR in the wet - there were some fun whoops but I'd not want to try it in that - no clearance, and street tires. No idea.

It was lovely riding along this

I imagine he was trimming the centre grass the whole way.

Love these ferns ...some are tree sized

There are always the yahoos

A few of the denizens

A very pretty 15 km through the rain forest.

This is the paved section where there are houses

this pretty Kingfisher was harvesting insects all along the area - caught him posing in a big palm

just a stunning day to ride up into the rain forest.

Some curious cattle across the street checking out the action at Highlander.

They are an Indian breed and this area is one of the few tropical dairies in the world.

You can see the droopy ears and classical hump of the Indian breed.


3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Cool pics are where you find them.

This was in front of the mcycle where I was parked at the Highlander just below Mount Lewis and the lighting caught my eye

Sometimes the Pacific Ocean takes your breath away

and the bird life

just plain eye candy

Cute kids on the Kuranda Train...

Great ride up through the range - tough to build given terrain and weather - quite a few died.

Forgot about the bats....flying foxes hanging out til sunset.....bwahaha


4,876 Posts
Beautiful shots! I like the cows.

I had an ST1100 just like yours.

Decorated for Christmas...

View attachment 23330

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Tooooo cute - matching helmets too....just needed a Rudolph nose....maybe get Bikersmurf to lend his :D

230 Posts
HA the nose comes out on special occasions .There are some beautiful roads up your way .My wife and I will be up your way probably some time in August -September for a ride not shore what I will be riding as we have not decided on just staying on tar or doing some off road just picked up an r1100gs of a friend who is retiring, its seen 2 trips around oz and 20000ks around Europe it has 218000ks on the bike but still rides great would love to take that ,,best of both worlds. IMG_20140317_091613.jpg

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Why yummy little girls as above stay away from the waters edge in FNQ
Even the kids area on the Esplanade has a croc warning.

GF looking tropical under dinosaur size plant.

even the beach stuff is interesting with the macro at a distance long lens//


3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Yeah I can guide you on that. To get a decent kit is about $1000.

I just snagged a Gx7 with the 20 mm pancake lens for $969 Aus all in - can't even match that back home.

MicroFourThirds MFT are ideal for motorcycles as the main camera and lens is pocketable.

then this lens is for birding and also macro at a distance

It runs about $600
This kind of "shot from the hip " with the little lens. It's insanely fast.

and big spaces...

It will shoot in full 4k..

this kind of detail at a distance with the big lens..

and macro at a distance ( about 2m )

And it all goes in my shirt pockets

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks....what pray tell is a drop bear ?????

Glorious trees...

never mind......more like be careful of smart ass AUssies misinforming us poor tourista's :D

Got a couple of smirking girls here when I asked...:rolleyes:

for your reading amusement

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
lovely easy ride up from Cairns to Cooktown..300 km .got wet, got dry, monster sandwich ( remains for breakfast this am )

at Palmerston River which is famous for the Australian gold rush complete with aboriginals playing cannibal. Great stories to read.
Some relics and got some very good bird pics

Little piggy butcherbird got a nice chunk of bacon fat

Peewee munching on some bread

Unknown birds as well - have to look them up

Knew the AirBnB was in the bush....not quite prepared for how far. Followed directions fine
There were three or four smaller creeks and the usual mud and roots etc of a forest track
Normally would be no problem but I've done no off pavement in 9 months so rusty and a bit fatigued from the ride up.

problem creek is over the lip here. - steepish drop into it.

Glad I had decent tires on.
NOt sure I was on the right road

Walked the rest of the way to Waratah's and of course she was mostly au natural as befits a good wiccan in the wilderness. Good laugh as she did not expect me to walk

KLR did NOT like the rocks in the this creek which was about 10 meters across and it's about 2' deep and I didn't get the best line on it
entrance was okay but exit was steep and muddy as well and KLR would kick a rock out then stall - no way to get any speed up plus was not even sure I was on the right road as was 3 km so into the rain forest.

Exit is over on the right and both sides of the creek quite steep
Now I know the best line will be easier getting out. We drove back as it was a hot day and wrestled the KLR across and up on to dry land.
Pretty wet and sweaty by the time it was over. Looks innocent ( which most of these crossings are - it's not due to the rock size, difficult footing and tires squirming every which way)
Easy on 4 wheel drive tho rocks kicking from it as well.

but worth the effort - fantastic setting at the base of the mountains - gravity fed dammed pond and water system

lovely spot off the grid - traded staying for computer services - sold a hard drive that Larry is shipping.
Big sprawling house build from scratch ( timber cut on the property and ripped to planks. )

off grid entirely - solar and battery

but NOT offline...despite the headaches we had yesterday - it's a fully functional online officex ( cept for the ants in the printer )

Waratah my host works online about 2-3 hours a day.
I got the desk on the left - satellite speed was just okay but her computer was dismal so had to work off my backup drive while I fixed hers
dismal speed as a result - multitasking on a 2.26 with 2 gigs of RAM

sorted her computer - fragmented to **** and gone
never did fix the wireless modem - - the satellite was fine but of course the AIr has no not go online directly and her wireless set up was fubar
Used hers off my back up drive while defragging ( as bad as I've seen ) and setting up a better back up.
Took most of the night to do all the backing up and defragging as her drive was stuffed.

totally open - Good dinner of Thai food - mostly grown on the property or got in local market
and learned a lot about Aboriginal arts and local issues

fresh eggs if the dingoes don't get the chucks ( chickens )

my kind of messy sprawly place

house is still a work ing progress but the basics are there

and that is the weekend adventure to Cooktown to date....

Just having a very civilized coffee across Capt Cook Park - where the market is.

Thinking of getting the KLR back across the Creek when we get home so I don't have to deal with it in the morning.
Then I'll be fine riding out from there and staying to left there are small rocks and it's shallower and the exit on the other side is much flatter than going in.

Stay tuned :D

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Cruised by Black Mountain is a whole unique ecosystem within the rocks and new species were identified recently.

And it does not involve the remains of european tourists ;) U7dz03Njg-/

Sydney (AFP) - An expedition to a remote part of northern Australia has uncovered three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years, with scientists Monday calling the area a "lost world".

Conrad Hoskin from James Cook University and a National Geographic film crew were dropped by helicopter onto the rugged Cape Melville mountain range on Cape York Peninsula earlier this year and were amazed at what they found.

It included a bizarre looking leaf-tail gecko, a gold-coloured skink -- a type of lizard -- and a brown-spotted, yellow boulder-dwelling frog, none of them ever seen before.

"The top of Cape Melville is a lost world. Finding these new species up there is the discovery of a lifetime -- I'm still amazed and buzzing from it," said Hoskin, a tropical biologist from the Queensland-based university.
Few more photos from Cook town

This was a big wallaby just outside a friends house in the middle of town - what a lovely hideaway.

her driveway had the Hercules of strangler figs...

and a noisy friarbird having fun in the bath

Fast ride home - decided to sacrifice a couple mm of knobby , music was good - fueled with a good flat white at Lakeland and poof almost home.

Stopped along a lovely river....

Much Australia's weath was built on iron ore and there are mines of various types in the region I was riding through.

That caught my eye.

This was fun even the KLR with knobbies...there was about 8 km of sweeps with steep ( for a highway ) grades ....9% - sport bike heaven but really any ride would provide fun on the well paved and not slippery road surface.

stunning view from the top

Lazing at Skybury coffee - barramundi for lunch - decided against Mossman as it was wet - Mareeba always sunny. 300 days a year they claim

Feastng eyes on a bevy of long legged 20 something Aussie girls dressed for the weather at the table in front of skimpy clothes :D

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Chillagoe with the ST1100 and the Burgman 650

After a couple days break with rain the weather cleared and decided to take the ST for a spin. What a shift from the KLR. Quiet even at 150 kph which we touched a couple times on long run to Chillagoe ( especially on the way home ).
Of course it was drinking fuel with all that frontage.

Had not really anticipated Chillagoe and did not have enough time but now I know the route will leave early on the ST and spend some more time as there are caves and very interesting rock formations.

Stopped at Dimbullah for tea and cookies....I left my pack of Macadamia nut cookies when we left :(.
Dimbullah is the cutoff to the long and lovely dirt route to the Mitchell River ...not for road bikes tho.
Bruce in his glaring hi-viz helmet.
Very enjoyable chatting on the Scala the whole way. The ST1100 is a notch up from the Burgman in having a quiet bubble behind the screen.

We boogied on the empty highways mindful of unfenced cattle everywhere - tho horses were a first

Lost the high speed runs in a series of dirt sections - 1 km to 6 km long.

The copper and iron is obvious as we neared Chillagoe

Stunning sky all day with temps hitting 33 - just above 90F

Took a break after the last dirt section ....really no issue if you pay attention ...a couple of very minor and paved stream crossings tho one had to watch loose sand covering the pavement.
A week earlier and it all would have been impassable.

Began to hit some interesting rock formations - volcanic which produced the ore and the caves the area is know for.

Happy to pull into town and left the ST1100 snoozing under a tree.

Local town social centre, bar, lunch counter, hotel

served a fine Burger and Coke

some local history and thousands of signed notes from all over the world covering every wall including some other Canadian visitors.

and useful information from some patrons.
We did not have a enough time to get to the caves but some of the rock formations on the way out were lovely. You can see the volcanic upthrust.

This was right along the street.

Typical outback small town store

Fast ride home for Bruce to hit a time point...130-150 indicated once we got past the dirt sections.

SHort break at Dimbullah again which has lots of Ibis about...caught this pair lurking on an aerial

Made friends with the ST again. Covering in a few hours a fair bit of territory and felt okay when I got home tho hand was still sore from the weekend.
At least the ST has a throttle lock.

Will go back up in the area - maybe on the KLR so I can get off road a bit more and poke around.
There is a nice back route to Herbertville - another ex mining town tho given how narrow the road is and a warning about road trains....will tread cautiously.

Road trains are up to 3 trailers - and run up to 36 meters long - 120' or so and they do not go slow. From wiki

Enjoyable day in the AUstralian savannah

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
anyone got a source for waterwings for bikes

something wicked this way comes

We're on the wrong side of it and they tend to head south...

Well this and adventure :rolleyes:

Last one was Yasi and missed to th south at the last minute tho did lots of damage.

and of course - this one is expected to do the same munching along the coast to the south.


3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Update - looks like we will dodge this and it will stay north but it's a nasty with 280 kph winds.

There is a good video in this article that shows the various categories of storms...

“People come up here and think it’s a challenge in their 4WDs and these blokes want to ride out a big storm. I’m not sure what turns them on but it’s dangerous.

“They’ll know about it if we get a storm surge and big trees start flying around.’’

A QPWS spokesman said entering these areas at this time of year was dangerous which was why many Cape York camping grounds and parks were closed.

There were no QPWS camping areas at Princess Charlotte Bay. The closest sites were either at Rinyiruu (Lakefield) or Cape Melville National Parks, both of which were closed for the wet season.

Mr Shephard said he believed the men proposed to camp at a hut at the northern end of the bay.

10am: Cyclone Ita is expected to pose a significant threat to Cape York communities, with gales to hit the coast as far south as the holiday centre of Port Douglas.

Gales are expected to start building in 24 to 48 hours and it is expected to cross the coast as a severe category 4, bringing destructive winds to 280km/hr and flood rain.

Buddy in Port Douglas gonns get too...but he'll be in the gale zone.

1,113 Posts
Glad to hear it's likely to miss you. We get these storms up here too and they're pretty unpredictable. About the only thing you can say for sure is that, once they get into the Gulf of Mexico, they're sure as heck going to hit SOMEONE.

Stay safe!

3,142 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 aint.

We are now on watch and will know in 24 hours about going on warning status...

This is a nasty

plans are being made....stay tuned.
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