If you have children in tow on your next Tropical North Queensland adventure, add these family-friendly trails to your itinerary.
If you’re searching for the ultimate thrill on a mountain bike, Tropical North Queensland is the place to find it, whether it’s at the revered Kuranda downhill run or on the most challenging trails of the world-famous Smithfield Mountain Bike Park. But there’s more to mountain biking here than getting rowdy. With more than 700 kilometres of trails in the Cairns region alone there really is a route for every kind of rider, even those with little legs.
Four Mile Beach
This beach’s never-ending line of coconut palms and Coral Sea views are stunning enough but what makes it special for cyclists is its hard-packed sands, which essentially turn it into a four-mile-long highway. With easy access from various points along its shores, plus Port Douglas’ lack of hills and many bike paths, it can be easily scheduled into a two-wheeled day exploring the town with the family.
This old logging trail traces a 6km path through the World Heritage rainforest of the Djiru National Park just inland of Mission Beach. Wide, relatively smooth and only gently undulating, it takes in thick tracts of beautiful Licuala Fan Palms, river crossings and other rainforest delights – and locals reckon it’s one of the best places in the region to sight a Cassowary. Car parking and swimming opportunities at both ends of the trail add to its family-friendly appeal.
This gentle, undulating, 16km return ride through the Wooroonooran National Park south of Cairns crosses a series of waterfalls, each one tumbling through the rainforest to meet the pristine waters of the Mulgrave River below. When you get back to the start you can take a short walk to the base of Kearneys Falls, a huge, three-stepped waterfall that you’ll have seen in the distance at the start and end of the ride.
Atherton Tablelands Rail Trail
This trail runs on a decommissioned railway corridor from Atherton and stretches 20.5km north to Walkamin via Tolga on a consistent, gently graded surface that’s perfect for riders of all ages. Its proximity to these three tablelands towns and their family-friendly attractions – from the Tolga Bat Hospital and Atherton’s Crystal Caves to Walkamin’s Granite Gorge Nature Park – allows you to mix and match your ideal day out on the bike.
Just like Port Douglas to the north, the beach in this dreamy coastal town has a nice, wide section of hard-packed sand that is super easy to ride on. A lazy post-breakfast amble down its coconut tree-lined shore, which can be accessed from several points and offers fantastic views of Dunk Island, is the perfect family pick-me-up ahead of a day sampling the region’s other delights.
The green-rated trails of the Smithfield, Atherton Forest, Davies Creek and Mission Beach mountain bike parks are all designed to deliver relatively easy riding and minimum intimidation while throwing in the odd challenge to keep things interesting. They’re great for young mountain-bike stars in waiting or riders still developing their basic skills.