Bikepacking North Stradbroke Island (Indigenous: Minjerribah) – Day 2 of 2

I woke up early before dawn feeling awake and rested. It was Anzac day and the sound of waves crashing was fitting. I made my breakfast, donned a jacket and walked the short 40 odd metres to the beach. Using the sand as a makeshift seat, I sat back chewing on my toasted muesli watching the glow of the sun increasing and thought about those brave soldiers and what they endured. Some people might think riding a fully laden fat bike for miles, is hard or tough… HAH! nothing compares to what these guys had to do! Kudos to them! Let us remember those brave souls who made the ultimate sacrifice so we could be free. Lest we forget.

The tide is on its way in now and I planned to reach point lookout for a second breakfast. The best way is by beach but not when the tide is in. So I packed up camp and headed off towards the point lookout hotel. There was no one around and the beach was invigorating. Plenty of hard sand and a calm wind allowed me to cruise at a good speed.

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The short climb up to Point Lookout showcases some great views. My photo does not do it justice.

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The view from the Hotel is pretty sweet too.

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Point Lookout is Queensland’s most easterly point. To the north lies Cape Moreton and to the south the next major headland is Point Danger on the New South Wales/Queensland border. The headland is a great spot to sight whales as they migrate along the east coast.

The single greatest loss of life resulting from a submarine attack in Australian waters occurred off Point Lookout on 14 May 1943 when the hospital ship AHS Centaur was sunk by a Japanese submarine.

(Taken from Wikipedia)

After a delightful second breakfast at the hotel, I went off with excitement to explore the ‘North Gorge’. This gorge is absolutely amazing, if you ever go to Straddie (and I highly recommend you do) don’t leave without doing the North gorge walk. Although there is steps here and there, I took my bike along it.

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The walk ends up at the Point Lookout Surf Life Saving Club. The club is built-in a pretty cool location, check it out in the following photo.

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The view from this spot was just breathtaking!

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Next I wanted to head South towards the road that crosses the island ending back up at Dunwich. This involved either beach riding or inland tracks that I could see on the maps I had. I knew the beach option was going to be tough as the high tide was almost in and the wind was blowing a strong southernly. I could either change my route, sit around for an hour or so or just grind into the wind on soft sand. I love riding my bike, pedalling was an easy choice for me.

I rolled down the sealed road beside the surf club, getting some decent speed before hitting the beach. As a cyclist, I love momentum and detest braking it off wasting it when I do not need too, leaning back and holding the bars tight, I trusted the fat tyres. Wooooo hooo what a blast. As I slowed down to a normal pedalling pace, I noticed two life savers standing beside their four-wheel drive. There was no one around, too windy, the sea was raging and no one was surfing. The two lifesavers looked shocked at witnessing some lunatic on a fully loaded mountain bike, they both had cheeky grins on their facets.

The going was tough now! The foam in the next picture was being blown towards me along with sand. I was in my second slowest gear grinding away. The load on the legs felt like climbing a steep hill. But every pedal stroke, I knew I was moving forward. I did get annoyed a little bit so I checked my map and saw the first vehicle road heading inland was close by, has to be easier I thought.

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The inland track running parallel to the beach was better in some spots, worse in others, however I was now out of the wind making things allot more pleasant.

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At one spot I think I come across a fresh water spring. I could not believe how clear and fresh the water was. I filled my water bottle up and had a swig. Oh my god, it was chilled water and crystal clear. I hung around for three minutes or so and filled my tummy up. I have never come across such beautiful clean drinkable water on the ground. I topped up my water bottles and continued.

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By the way, this road was locked off to four-wheel drives. You could tell it had been locked off for some time with the vegetation growing out onto the track reclaiming what was once its own. So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across another fresh water lake. This one was more special because to get to it you have to walk kilometres or ride a fat bike! Not a soul around. It was heaven on earth. I sat on a seat, had a bite and enjoyed the serenity.

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Then another several kilometres I came across another lake sanctuary. This time I rested again and had a hot sustagen. Had the place to myself. Bliss!

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Things got interesting next. I was now on a track called the ‘keyhole’ track. It runs beside ‘Eighteen Mile Swamp’. This swamp is the largest of its kind in the world! It is unusual for its size and dimensions, it is long and narrow, covering 30 square kilometres.

Anyway, the road here is pretty low and it had 20 odd water holes that I had to walk/ride through. With thick scrub either side, there was no option to go around and I certainly was not going back, I had travelled for many kilometres on this track to get to here, some of it soft sand.

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Here is a short 17 second video of me riding through one. It’s not great but I was quite busy and didn’t take much time out for media.

At one stage I spotted hundreds of tad poles swimming around in the clear water. You can see them in the next photo. Love seeing life striving like this. Go you little frogs!

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Soon I reached the end of this interesting road which joined me on to the main sealed road that runs East/West across the island. I knew there was some climbing on this road, but being sealed makes it a lot easier. So off I went ending up at Dunwich.

My adventure was coming to an end. I grabbed a chocolate milk and headed down to the barges. What do you know, there is one being loaded again and straight on I went after a short two-minute wait.

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The ride home from Cleveland was easy-going being back on sealed bike paths.

North Stradbroke Island is absolutely beautiful and I cannot wait to go back and explore more of it. I highly recommend you go. You can even leave the car at Cleveland and use the bus on the island to take you to either Amity Point or Point Lookout etc making for a very cheap island getaway!

Stats…

  • 135.4 Kilometres.
  • 1239 metres elevation gain.
  • 10.2 hours pedalling time.
  • Burnt roughly 6300 calories.

 


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