Destination CAIRNS

Published
Dec 8, 2022

Words
Mandy Lamont

Photos
Mandy Lamont
Clint Trahan
Con Chronis
Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Located on the east coast of Cape York Peninsula on a long, narrow coastal strip wedged between the Coral Sea and the Great Dividing Range, Cairns is gateway to two of the world’s greatest natural attractions and World Heritage listed treasures of the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforests, and now the Crankworx World Tour!

Crankworx Cairns

Set high in the tropics, a crowd of thousands witnessing 5 days of the world’s elite. Under the canopy of ancient tropical rainforest, competing for King and Queen of Crankworx. In the disciplines of downhill, dual slalom, slopestyle, pump track and speed and style. There were thrills and spills galore with the world’s best riders showcasing their skills. All broadcast live on crankworx.com and Redbull TV, the world’s most watched mountain biking event reaching millions.

It’s been 5 years since Crankworx added a new stop to its World Tour. Now the ultimate experience in mountain biking has a new home with tropical vibes in Cairns. Securing an event like this down under has been years in the making. And had three trail teams shaping up a storm creating something amazing for the best riders in the world. Designing courses to push the limits, the World Trail team has made sure the first ever Crankworx was one to remember.

The trail builders

No stranger to international events, Smithfield Mountain Bike Park’s iconic trails have hosted two UCI Mountain bike World Champs and two World Cups. But apart from the downhill track, all the other trails were custom built from scratch.

Project Managers and Australia’s most awarded trail-building company, World Trail, oversaw everything. As well as maintaining the downhill course.  Based in Cairns, where founder, renowned trail builder and local legend Glen Jacobs has been instrumental in taking the local mountain biking scene from the primitive jungle trails of the 80’s to hosting World Cup races. Now Crankworx is another feather in the cap with Cairns further securing it’s place on the mountain biking world map.

Getting to play in Cairns’ rich red soil alongside World Trail was Remy Morton’s Flux Trail. Building and designing the skatepark inspired pump track. Bringing new style to the dual slalom course with a challenging wall ride and other technical features. Flux also built the racing sections of the Speed & Style course. With Tom Hey’s Elevate, building the jumps sections, and creating the unique slopestyle course with the first ever dirt half-pipe in Slopestyle and an additional 10 features. Teaming up to make the best course going around, it was a super impressive build in what was a tight corridor from conservation and parks.

Holidaying in Cairns

With Crankworx returning in May 2023, Cairns is the perfect place to base your next holiday. There are many heart pumping adventure based activities, sparkling waters to swim and lush tropical rainforest to explore. Nestled between the green farmlands food bowl and the Coral Sea, tempt your tastebuds with the freshest seafood and tropical produce. The best time to visit Tropical North Queensland is between May and September. With temperatures ranging between 17 and 26, the weather is usually dry and less humid than during the summer.

So much to explore

Mountains, beaches, tidal wetlands, freshwater lakes, mudflats, mangrove swamps, bays, rivers, estuaries and rich coastal plains. All features of this diverse tropical region. I stayed in the peaceful, tropical beachside village of Palm Cove. The ideal place to base and relax between Crankworx and the some of many adventures on offer…

Great Barrier Reef

World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the natural world and the world’s largest coral reef systems. Visit one of the many islands, sail into the sunset, scuba or snorkel the reef.

Smithfield Mountain Bike Park

Catering for all skill levels with 30-40 kms of easy to extreme double black trails is a stone’s throw from Cairns. It has spectacular views of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea from the highest points on these trails, around 1,000 m above sea level. All trails can be ridden except the World Cup Downhill which is a restricted access area.

Wet Tropics World Heritage Area

The Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is one of the most remarkable places on earth and home to ancient remnants of the Gondwanan forest that once covered the Australian continent.  Providing a safe haven for the evolution of species over millions of years and is a refuge for ancient songbirds. From which two-thirds of the worlds birdlife today are descendants. The area is a region of spectacular scenery, rugged, fast flowing rivers, deep gorges and numerous waterfalls, the mountain summits provide expansive vistas of undisturbed rainforests.

Atherton Tablelands

Tour the Atherton tablelands, celebrated for some of the best food experiences in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Rising 700 metres above sea level. You’ll find the temperatures cooler in the lush, highland plateau, and an abundance of delicious flavours to taste. Visit the many farm gates to sample home-grown produce of the region and take a drive around the 17km Waterfall Circuit. Which includes the region’s most beautiful waterfalls scattered throughout the ancient rainforest.

Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park

Drop in to rocky gullies and clear water creeks, ascend forest-clad valleys and ridgelines and rehydrate whilst taking in breathtaking vistas of the surround landscapes. With over 50 km of stunning single track waiting to be explored Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park is sure to get your heart pumping. Rob and Leah of Off Camber Mountain Biking offer guided tours of the Bike Park on ebikes which includes a delicious morning tea, water bottle and a professional guide.

Catering for first timers to experienced riders looking for the most technical trails, learn about the history of the area as you ride the park. I rode loose, rocky tecnical switchbacks, climbing to the top of the park to take in the views before taking some fun flowy descents down into and along the valley floor.

Misty Mountains Wilderness tracks

The Misty Mountains wilderness tracks are a 130km network of wilderness trails traversing sections of Tully Gorge, Tully Falls and Wooroonooran National Parks. Taking you through pristine, high-altitude rainforest, along crystal-clear creeks, overlooking thundering waterfalls and panoramic views. Some tracks are for walkers only while others are shared tracks with mountain biking permitted.

Kahlpahilm Rock

At around 1300m above sea level, Kahlpahlim Rock (Lambs Head) is the highest point on the Lamb Range and part of the Misty Mountains wilderness tracks.  The sheer size of the rock and views over the Davies Creek catchment are impressive. Two steep but stunning trails lead to the granite boulders of Kahlpahlim and can be walked as a circuit. The 12.6 km loop takes an average of 4.5 hours.

Mt Bartle Frere

Mt Bartle Frere in the Wooroonooran National Park is the highest mountain in Queensland with an elevation of 1,611m.  Mt Bartle Frere East Trail Head at Josephine Falls is 75 km south of Cairns.  A challenging, steep climb to the summit which offers some of the best views around Cairns and the Atherton Tablelands. Set in tropical rainforest, the track is rugged and remote with several river crossings, some rock scrambling and steep rooty sections.

Breaking out of the thick rainforest, soak in the rewards of incredible views over Cairns. The total distance from Josephine Falls is 15km return roughly 10-12 hours, and not for the faint hearted. Cool down with a swim in a tropical rainforest waterfall at Josephine Falls, a short 700 m stroll from the car park and well worth the visit. Mt Bartle Frere West Trail Head is 92 km south of Cairns, a longer drive but an easier walk to the summit. The best place to camp for sunrise views is (name of camp site) just down from the summit.

Walshs Pyramid

Walshs Pyramid in the Wooroonooran National Park is 30 km south of Cairns City. An independent peak rising 922 m above sea level with a distinct pyramid appearance. A steep 6km return walking track to the summit rewards walkers with stunning views of the surrounding ranges and local landscape. Around 5-6 hours.

Thanks to Tourism Tropical North Queensland for hosting me in Queensland.

For more information on Tropical North Queensland, visit the tourism site here

To see more of Crankworx, visit their site here

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