Hughenden to Charters Towers to Townsville

The next post is a couple of days late. We actually arrived home in Townsville two days ago on Thursday afternoon after a looong day…but you will read about that soon enough!

An afternoon of laying around in the motel room in Hughenden eating junk…I mean, really healthy, nutritious food, and watching equally worthwhile television did wonders. The next morning we woke early, feeling refreshed and ready to crack on.

The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring, Holden’s Bakery

A quick trip to Holden’s Bakery for an extremely good pie and pastie (bread rolls too), and back to the small supermarket for a couple of supplies, and we were off. No earlier than normal though, we may have been procrastinating a little.

The morning started okay until we got 100 metres down the road. A la headwind!! Not to worry, we only had 46km until Prairie, a tiny town with a pub where we could get a drink and have a rest.

The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring

There are hills between Hughenden and Prairie (of course) which added interest to the scenery and vitality to the headwind.

We stopped at the famous Prairie Hotel just before midday and spent so long chatting with the owners Tom and Andrea, that we didn’t get moving again until nearly 1.30pm.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Prairie HotelWe bought some neck scarves made by Dani, to protect our neck and top of our chest from the sun. Dani had just begun sewing these scarves in between her normal sewing of horse blankets and halters. If only we had had them at the beginning of the trip!The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Prairie

As we rode off at 1.30pm, preparing to buy some local honey from down the road, we realised we had yet another rear puncture. Prairie’s public park was just across the road so we walked across there and ate lunch while Mick fixed the puncture. We weren’t going anywhere tonight!

Except back to the Prairie Hotel of course. They have free camping out the back, and we even got to camp on some grass in Tom and Andrea’s private yard.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Prairie

We decided to eat at the hotel after sitting around drinking beer and chatting to the other visitors, and what a fantastic evening it was!

There was only one meal on offer and everyone was served at the same time in the restored dining room. We sat and chatted with the other travellers and ended the evening with some lovely wine, courtesy of the wine sales representative who happened to be there that night.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Prairie Hotel

At 7am the next morning we were on the road again after a quick cup of tea and breakfast. We wanted to get to Pentland today, which was just over 90kms away. The wind forecast was pretty much the same, so we expected it to take a while.

Torrens Creek Motel was open so we ate a toasted sandwich and drank Sarsparilla (can’t believe I am now happily drinking soft drink at 10.30am in the morning!).The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Torrens Creek

About 20kms later, we came to the White Rock National Park. The views were spectacular, the narrow road/roadtrain combination not so spectacular, and the Anzac biscuit a kind woman gave us at the top when we were at the lookout was brilliant!The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring White Rock

It was around 2.30pm when we reached Pentland. The first place we saw in Pentland was the Wookatook Cafe. Apparently people were giving good reviews of this place (local word from Prairie), so we stopped in there for a coffee and lamington. The owners were friendly and we sat comfortably chatting for an hour until moving on. The lack of a photo is an indication of how tired we felt…

The caravan park looked a bit sad so we went back to the Pentland Hotel, which has free camping out the back and even had green grass!The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Pentland Hotel

We can only eat pub meals so many nights in one week, so we cooked our own dinner in the midst of mosquito coil fumes before getting to bed at our usual early time of 7pm.

Thankfully the headwind didn’t kick in for a while the next morning. We left at 7am, hoping to get some kilometres in before the day got too late. We pedalled along, stopping at Homestead for a morning tea break. Our friend, Macca, drove past just as we were leaving. He was heading out to Winton with his daughter Natalie in the comfort of his air conditioned car. We eyed it off enviously before heading off again on our bike.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Homestead

The rest of the day continued as per normal except for the more recent addition of hills. Long ones that gradually climbed for kilometres at a time. The headwind wouldn’t allow us to roll downhill either and we had to keep pedalling just to keep moving.

With great excitement we rolled into Charters Towers at some time in the afternoon. First stop was the supermarket where we bought 2 litres of pure orange juice (sculled as soon as we got outside) along with some fresh vegetables for our tuna curry dinner. It was such a delight to have so many fresh vegetable offerings that we nearly bought a trailer load to bring home.

We checked into the Dalrymple Caravan Park, which was just as lovely as it always is and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening resting and eating. At this stage we were looking forward to getting home and staying out of the wind for a while!

The final 140km to Townsville was pretty slow. We enjoyed the hills between Charters Towers and Calcium, with a stop at the Burdekin Duck Roadhouse for an excellent hamburger (at 10amish in the morning no less!). Hills meant we got to coast downhill and rest our legs.The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring Burdekin Duck Roadhouse

We stopped at Reid River rest area for an apple, then rode the next 10km to Calcium PUMA roadhouse for some hot chips. While there we also drank coke and ate big chocolate bars for the first time this whole trip. The final 50km to Townsville was unlikely to feel great and we needed all the help we could get!The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring

True to form, the headwind had kicked in with it’s usual ferocity by the time we left Calcium around 2pm. It took us just over three hours to ride the final 50kms to home despite the coke and chocolate!

So, that’s our six weeks cycle touring trip around Queensland done! We gave all our gear a good run and have made interesting observations about various items. When we have gotten over headwind-itis, we’ll fill you in on what we liked and what we didn’t like about the things we used. For now, that couch is looking pretty comfy!The Bicycle Pedlar - cycle touring

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