May 23, 2018
After a couple days at sea, we were ready to ride again and keep moving north. Bags strapped and gas in the tank, we cruised out of Airlie Beach and away from the sailboats bobbing in the harbor. Less than twenty minutes later, we were in the sugar cane fields, following the sugar cane railway tracks.
We stayed along the coastal A1 route, which took us through towns like Bowen that boasted access to the northern Whitsunday Islands. High up in the sky, skydivers swooped with the wind currents and landed in the field next to us. The road changed to flat open plains and farmland extending until the mountains in the distance.
Close to Home Hill, there was a turnoff for a lookout point at Inkerman Hill up an incline that felt almost vertical. The bikes had no problem and the view from the top revealed ocean to the right, mountains of the Great Divide to the left, and farmland laid out like a patchwork quilt ahead.
The Giant Mango
We coasted back down the steep hill in neutral and kicked it back into gear on the highway along the farms we had just seen from above. The road hugged the bases of those far off mountains until it carried ya through the industrial outskirts of Townsville.
Our hostel, The Rambutan, has a reputation for being a pretty swanky place. I’ll admit, the luxurious pool, cushy cabanas, and resort like vibe were pretty posh. However, when it came to our room, they seemed to overlook a few crucial details, like the fact that the light to the bathroom also turned on the light to the entire room (not good when sharing a room of six people). Or that there wasn’t any soap or door handle in the bathroom. We were content to spend most of our time outside the room.
This was the first big city we’d been in for a while, so we walked around and shopped to stock up on supplies. The city seemed pretty empty–completely void of people. There were also lots of Closed or For Sale signs in shop fronts. Later on when we walked past the nightclubs blaring beats to a vacant dance floor, we asked the bouncer if this was unseasonably quiet. He informed us that no, this is pretty typical for a Wednesday in Townsville. We headed to bed, glad to be heading to Magnetic Island in the morning.
Accommodation: Rambutan YHA, $23
Distance Covered: 275km