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Terra Australis - 2nd Leg

MAREEBA - LONGREACH • 1237k 6,131Vm

Day 7 sees our virtual ride heading south east to Central Queensland and the city of Longreach the western most point of the Terra Australis route.

The first six days for the Cape York - Mareeba Leg are detailed in the previous Blog.

NOTE: While the current Covid19 travel restrictions remain in place I have put Terra Australis entries on hold until it becomes clear that the event can proceed. I have every expectation that this will be the case however for the time being I'm happy to receive Expressions of Interest [EOI] by email and send out the Course Notes and .gpx file for all or any particular Leg of interest to prospective entrants.


Day 7. Mareeba - Lynd River 250k

Our 2018 Terra Australis finisher Brendan Corbin is currently the one confirmed starter for the Mareeba - Longreach leg. Another two have lodged an EOI and are well underway planning their ride. Brendan reports he has a new Salsa Cutthroat he’s prepping for the ride. These riders will head out on Saturday morning 6 September so effectively 24H ahead of this virtual Day 7 seven ride. Someone to chase, some tracks to follow….

For most riders Mareeba will be a chance to resupply for staples, get some laundry done and maybe a bike service. The journey ahead travels through some very remote country with days of open sky, mid to high 30º+ temps and conversations with the local cattle.

9.00am Wind Rose at Mareeba

3:00pm Wind Rose at Mareeba

The other near certainty will be some easterly breeze on the shoulder and with some decent paved roads there’s expectation of knocking over some decent K’s for the day. From the get-go it’s Mango country, this is a rich food basin watered by the Mareeba Dimbulah 176-km gravity-fed main channel which takes water from the Tinaroo Dam through Mareeba, Walkamin, East Barron, Mutchilba and Dimbulah. Our race route follows the water channel for much of the distance out to Dimbulah…. and it flows in the direction we’re going. Filling a bottle isn’t a problem.

From Dimbulah the route links across to a rickety rail line with attendant service track that the historical Savannahlander train from Cairns does a weekly trip out to Forsayth and back. It’s something of a mystery how this is achieved taking account of the condition of the track/sleepers and timber trestle bridge crossings.

At the 100k mark the rail trail pops out on to the Burke Development Road, with 72k of pavement through to Chillagoe. Almarden conveniently halfway along with a Pub offers a cold drink and water popup. Chillagoe has a couple of Pubs and a counter meal might be the go to fuel the tank for the road south. At Chillagoe the road swings south on the Bolwarra Road.

Heading south on Bolwarra Road out of Chillagoe

The first 20-30k can be a bit chopped up by tourist traffic visiting the local caves. Hopefully if it’s had a grader over since the wet season it will improve further on and the endless creek gully dips can be hit with enough speed to get up and onwards to the next one without loosing too much momentum and speed.

Wet Season Bolwarra

At 200k there are some stock yards and a big dam …. riders need to have a thoroughly well planned cue sheet identifying these water opps right the way through to Longreach.

Muster and move .... Bolwarra Station

At 225k the twinkling lights from the Bolwarra Homestead will pass on the night riders left. Another 25k and our target distance of 250k will be achieved for the day … maybe midnight? Sleep will come easy on this barmy night under a million stars. Tomorrow the Lynd River freestyle crossing will be first up after breakfast.

Thanks to Penny McClymont, Bolwarra Station for the pics.