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Adventures on Two Wheels: Cycling in Port Douglas Daintree

Port Douglas Daintree is widely considered an adventure playground of Australia. With its pristine coastline and majestic hills, on a bike you’ll see more than you would on foot, as well as travelling at an ideal pace to soak in the views of the World Heritage tropics.

But it’s not all about nature: cycling gives you the perfect excuse to indulge in local food, fruit wine and coffee. We asked local cyclist, Iron Man and Ultra Man competitor Adrian Whittaker, a man who’s explored just about every inch of Tropical North Queensland by bike, for his top routes around the region.

#1 Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas

Distance: 9KM

Leaving the very friendly Bike Shop and Hire and heading up to Macrossan Street, you realise you are not in any ordinary town with all the boutique retail shops, cafes and restaurants. Macrossan St to the esplanade and along to the Port Douglas Surf Club where you can make a right turn and gain access to the iconic Four Mile Beach. This glorious stretch is one of the few places in the world you can actually ride along the compacted sand for over 4km.

All of a sudden, your breath is taken away by the sheer beauty of the tropics. To the right of you, the coastline is fringed by lush palm trees and coconuts laying on the ground. To the left is the magical Coral Sea. Riding along listening to the sound of the waves, the gentle sea breeze blowing in your face and the incredible views of the tropics is hypnotic. It’s easy to understand how this 9km out and back ride is a must.

#2 Port Douglas – Cooya Beach – Shannonvale - Port Douglas

Distance: 45KM

Heading out of town along Port Douglas Road with smooth tarmac and a wide bike path, the ride is a pleasure and it only gets better. Turn right on to Captain Cook Highway and head towards Mossman. It’s a nice flat road with courteous drivers and plenty of room.

Turning right turn off the highway on to Bonnie Doon Road towards Cooya Beach and it suddenly feels like you’re at one with nature. Bonnie Doon Road is lined with sugar cane fields that stand nearly 2 metres tall. The traffic is usually very light and the views of the hills in the distance give you an overwhelming feeling of serenity. As you navigate the bends, you will shortly find yourself in the township of Mossman.

Mossman town is home of the Mossman Sugar Mill and the beautiful Mossman Gorge. Turn left on the Captain Cook Hwy and head through the town until you arrive at Shannonvale Road, make a right turn. Shannonvale Road leads to the most beautiful section of road you could ever dream to cycle on. An oasis appears out of nowhere and it’s an outstanding surprise. The road is sheltered by trees and crystal-clear water gently flows over a concrete bridge. Most of the time it’s perfectly safe to ride through, although extreme care is to be taken after heavy rainfall. Shortly after the water crossing to the left is Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery. You will shortly be greeted by the only climb on this ride, it’s nice and short but steep enough to get the blood flowing to the legs.

Take a left turn at the end of Ponza Road and then right, onto Captain Cook Highway. Head back to Port Douglas town for a well-deserved coffee.

#3 PORT DOUGLAS – MOSSMAN – DAINTREE - CAPE TRIBULATION – PORT DOUGLAS

Distance: 180KM

This route is a well-ridden route for serious cyclists, and is best enjoyed on The Jungle Ride – an annual charity ride held to raise funds for local group, KIND (Kids In Need Of Donations). Fit thighs for charity – what a win!

The first section of the ride from Port Douglas to Mossman is a thoroughly enjoyable and rather leisurely 20KM along the Captain Cook Highway. Ride through the township of Mossman and under the glorious raintrees on Foxton Avenue where the Mossman Markets are held each Saturday morning (and if you’re riding on a Saturday, it’s a good place to stop for a quick coffee and locally baked goods refuel!).

Riding out past the canefields and coastal roads for the next 30KM, the road gentle meanders past roadside fruit stalls and small suburbs Rocky Point, Miallo and Wonga Beach until reaching the Daintree Ferry. From the Daintree River to Cape Tribulation is spectacular with two very challenging up-hill sections to get your heart rate up and blood pumping.

Make sure you stop at the beautiful Alexandra Range Lookout where you can gawp out over jaw-dropping views of the Daintree Rainforest and the coastline where it meets the impressively blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef. From there it becomes a fantastic downhill reward trip (take care on those hairpin corners) for a few kilometres until things even out once again and riding becomes a rainforest sensation.

The 90KM mark hits the Safari Lodge, located in the heart of Cape Tribulation village. Overnight accommodation is available should you want to break up the ride, otherwise there are plenty of tasty snacks available at the lodge’s Turtle Café to refuel on. Take some time out to explore the beaches by foot, or jump back in the saddle for the return ride back to Port Douglas.

There are trails to suit every kind of rider, from the serious adrenaline junkie to more relaxed family adventures. The crew at Bike n Hike Adventure Tours know their bikes and their adventure routes. You can mountain-bike down the famous Bump Track or up Hartley's Falls on a cross-country bike tour, take on an action-packed night tour, or experience the rainforest like never before on a full-suspension electric mountain bike!

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