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Recommended Motorcycle Rides - From the Ulysses Motocycle Club Cairns

The Atherton Tablelands

The Gillies Highway is one of the routes from the Cairns area coastal strip to the Atherton Tableland. It starts at Gordonvale, just south of Cairns and winds its way up the Great Dividing Range. It is reputed to have one of the highest numbers of bends in about 20 Kms. While the bends are enjoyable and a challenge, arthritic wrists get a bit sore on the way up. Luckily there are a number of places to stop and enjoy the view out over tropical rain forest.

On the Atherton Tableland there are a myriad of things to do and see. Lake Barrine and Lake Eacham are both old volcanic craters and are close together. Any visitor should drop in to see them. The Lake Eacham Hotel at Yungaburra oozes history and serves meals. In the same area is the Peeramon Hotel which has also been around since the year dot. This is a popular destination for Sunday lunch for many bikers.

Atherton is the business centre for the southern end of the tablelands and is worth a visit. There are many craft shops there. If one takes the long way around one can travel through Malanda. This town is the home of Malanda Milk, a milk factory with the longest milk run in the world extending to Mt Isa and Darwin. Some of our trips have been to Herberton which was noted for tin mining and was once a large thriving town. The Tin Pannikin is a museum of sorts and is located at Herberton. It houses a number of buildings with many displays of shops and life in the district. There is an old school room with forms and desks and slates. It sent shivers down my spine when I walked in. The dentists surgery from the turn of the century is the epitome of a torture chamber.

Riding south from Herberton is the Town of Ravenshoe. From Ravenshoe to Millaa Millaa is one of the best rides in the North. Along the way you can branch off at various interesting spots such as the Crater Lake. There are two routes available to Millaa Millaa. There is the so called scenic route with the signs indicating it is not suitable for caravans or the route most popular with us. The route then continues down the Palmerston Highway to Innisfail. A terrific place for a stop is at Mungali Falls shortly after Millaa Millaa.

The Palmerston Highway is a good road which does track through World Heritage listed rainforest so a slower trip may allow the rider time for more visual enjoyment.

There are a number of walking tracks along the way for those who enjoy that sort of thing. The circuit from Cairns to Ravenshoe and return would take most of the day if stops for walking or general sight seeing were included.

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