March 17, 2023
6 mins Read
However, until now, relatively few people tackle this epic ride which traverses the wondrous wilds of tropical North Queensland, bound for the continent’s northernmost tip.
Too hard, too expensive and a logistical nightmare, are some of the excuses you’ll hear. Well, Cape York Motorcycle Adventures’ new seven-day Cape York return guided tour might just leave these excuses in your rear-view mirror. Here’s why Cairns to Cape York by motorcycle need not be just a daydream any longer.
Most Cairns to Cape York motorcycle trips require you to flop onto a blow-up mattress or camp stretcher deep, deep in the Cape’s wilderness each night. Perfect, if camping under starry tropical skies is your thing, but for those looking for a little bit of ‘Cape luxury’, this seven-day tour offers way more creature comforts than creatures keeping you awake.
At the end of each day’s epic ride, a comfy bed, steaming hot shower and substantial sit-down feast await. Naturally, a cold one or two will be available to stimulate the evening’s storytelling.
‘Luxury’ in a Cape York context can mean anything from wood-fired pizza by the water, to sleeping soundly on a remote cattle station.
Small and light dirt bikes might seem perfect for Cape York’s varied and challenging terrain – until day two, when your bum and wrists might have something to say about it.
This is why Cape York Motorcycle Adventures provides ‘adventure’ motorcycles for its seven-day tour. The CFMOTO 800MT is a nice balance of off-road capability and big-bike power, offering a wrist-friendly upright riding position and tush-saving touring-style seat.
The grunty two-cylinder engine helps you eat up the big distances required to get from Cairns to the Cape and back in a week (around 2,500 kilometres, following a less technical route than the one-way, smaller-bike tours).
Making it to ‘the Tip’ is the ultimate goal, but the Aussie icons along the journey up and back rival the destination. Burbling along sun-rayed tracks through the Daintree and Cape Tribulation – where the rainforest and Great Barrier Reef rendezvous – is a life highlight.
This World-Heritage-listed realm has pay-offs around every bend, whether it be standing under the plunging magnificence of Bloomfield Falls or stealing a glimpse of the Southern Cassowary or teeny-weeny Musky-rat Kangaroo. A few hundred kilometres north, the millennia-old Quinkan Indigenous rock art site at Laura may just blow your mind, too.
Let’s be honest, ladies and gentlemen, riding Cairns to Cape York under your own steam is a one-way ticket to re-mortgaging the house.
You’ll be spending minimum $15,000 for a decent adventure bike, plus as much as you want to spend on boots, a helmet and panniers. You’ll need somewhere to sleep, so stash some cash for a tent and sleeping bag or a week’s worth of food and lodging, plus a few thousand kilometres’ worth of fuel (if you know where to find it).
However, on Cape York Motorcycle Adventures’ 7-Day Cape York Return everything is served to you on a platter. Your bike, accommodation, food and fuel are all included and they can even provide all the safety gear, too. Feel free to ride your own motorcycle though.
First things first: you’ve made it. Climb down onto the rocky point and snap the group shot next to the sign confirming that “you are standing at the northernmost point of the Australian continent”.
You’ve definitely earned a breather, so this tour factors in a day and night on stunning Punsand Beach, close to the Tip, before heading south again. Throw out a line and battle with a barramundi (keeping an eye out for ‘salties’) or just drink in a few beverages and the tropical serenity, before grabbing a nanna nap in your beach hut. For a higher perspective over the Cape, spend a little extra and book a scenic helicopter flight.
Cape York Motorcycle Adventures’ Roy Kunda has been exploring the Cape’s termite-mound-fringed red roads and bush tracks for decades, so be prepared to ride where few before you have.
Take a dip in the crystal-clear and croc-free waters of secluded Fruit Bat Falls in remote Apudthama/Jardine River National Park. Detour along bush tracks that take you to sombre plane wrecks dating back to World War II. The experienced guides know easier ways to tackle the famed Overland Telegraph Track (including the infamous Gunshot if you’re game).
And, naturally, they take you to all the best ‘watering holes’, including the thoroughly eccentric Lion’s Den Hotel, located in a swathe of rainforest south of Cooktown.
You do need a full motorcycle licence, a can-do attitude and, preferably, some off-road riding experience. This is no ride in the park – with river crossings and sand riding involved – but the guides will get you through it.
They can modify the route to your experience/ability, and there’s always a ‘sweep’ rider behind, so take your sweet time and ride safely within your limits. Crucially, you won’t be loaded with luggage (thanks to the support truck) so it’s just you and your un-laden adventure bike versus The Cape.
Lastly, this is no guys-only adventure, with an ever-increasing number of women motorcyclists hopping on this ride of a lifetime.
Prices for Cape York Motorcycle Adventures’ ‘7-Day Cape York Return’ start at $7139. Tours begin in Cairns and the price includes the use of an adventure bike, protective gear, plus accommodation, meals, and fuel (alcohol not included). Airfare to and accommodation in Cairns is not included.
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