After a year of uncertainty, bushfires, and a pandemic, traveling the east coast of Australia has become almost impossible for many BMX riders that make the yearly trip at some point during the year. Jumping in your car with a bunch of mates and taking off with a general destination in mind can be some of the best times you will ever have. This is exactly what Wilton, Pollard, Jase, Joe, Chris, Jayke, Jerry, Pa, Turley, Sean, Damo and Myself did. A trip to Cairns with a massive crew of 12 sounded like the best thing after not going anywhere all year. So on the 3rd of July, the fellas took off with Cairns as the destination. With no shortage of good skateparks, epic camping spots and local legends to meet along the way, the trip looked like a winner before it began.
Left- Cody Giving the Sugar Bowl Hell. Right- Damien Kluva folding one over. Photo By Sean Connor.
Day one began in a few places, and on a couple of days, with some of the crew leaving Thursday and some Friday the first stop for everyone to meet was Boyne Island. A beautiful little beach town 6 hours north of Brisbane. Everyone arrived at the skatepark and the fellas enjoyed the sunset with some transition to stretch the legs. As the sun went down we all moved camp to Cody’s brother’s house where we all we able to get a few beers and a place to crash for the night.
Joe sliding the top of the vert wall in Gladstone. Photo by Sean Connor
As we woke up in Boyne Island, everyone was pretty eager to get on the road, so after some coffee and a quick bite, the convoy left Boyne island for Gladstone skatepark. We arrived in Gladstone and the guys got to work quickly excited to shred something unfamiliar. After a few hours at Gladstone and plenty of wild lines and big gaps, the crew packed up and made their way to Mackay’s Sugar bowl. We all arrived after the sun started to fall into the canes fields and the session was well and truly on. Everyone jumping in the bowl and giving the massive concrete construction their all. Jaak Bailey, a Mackay legend that had spent some time in Brisbane came down to meet up with the crew and have a shred. Once the dudes had finished riding the guys all headed back to Jaaks place, parked 8 cars in his back yard, and enjoyed the pool table and Jason’s electric shock machine.
Day three we woke up to Jerry V joining the trip, making the 11hour drive the night before. The crew was finally all together and ready to make their way to far north tropical Queensland. From Mackay, we left for a short(er) drive to Bowen. A small town on the coast with some incredible beaches and two great skateparks. The convoy pulled in and got a few hours in at the local skatepark by the water. The shade cloths were prooving a little low for the dudes so they decided to head to the Grandview Hotel for a quick schooner and a brainstorm. After finding an epic camping spot on the water next to some rock cliffs the guys made a fire and put their feet up for the night. The stars were incredible in this location, and the feeling of being on the edge of the earth was definitely real. Around 11 pm we were all met by a security guard that was nice enough to let us stay so long as we “pretended to leave until the other parties were gone”. So following his instruction a few troopy’s got started up and then before we knew it we were alone with the just the sound of the waves against the rocks.
After waking to an amazing sunset the guys all went their separate ways for an hour or two sorting things out, doing shopping, and looking around town. Meeting back up at Bowens second brand new skatepark. The park was great and the spot was perfect for breakfast and some coffee. While watching the session some of the guys met the local Policemen that gave us some good local knowledge and told us to “keep an eye out for cops”, which was followed by a big laugh. After that, the guys packed up their cars for a pretty special session at an abandoned full pipe.
Turely cleaning while Pollard rips. Photo by Sean Connor.
Goldring getting up in the pipe moments before the session got cut short. Photo by Sean Connor.
Driving west from Bowen and into what felt like the middle of Australia, the search started and after not too long we found it! The moment we got their everyone knew it might be a shortlived ride so all hands on deck to clean the years of sand and dirt that had been building up in the pipe. The session began and the guys carved the pipe for a solid 10 minutes before having the session cut short by the local law enforcement. Thankfully he was really understanding and explained the local situation, he sent us on our way. Half the crew decided to spend a night a little further west so half the gang headed to a spot nearby and the others to a small town called Collinsville for the night. The pub in Collinsville was one for the books, awesome food, awesome hospitality, and some locals that might not have seen out of towners in a while. The showground came with hot showers and after a few days on the road, the whole crew gave them a go. Big thanks to the caretaker at the showgrounds, that signed us in and orginised the courtesy bus and let us stay for free!
The next morning the crew met back up at Collinsville skatepark for a quick rip before heading to Ayr skatepark. Ayr park was perfect, old transition, good hips and nice coping the guys had an awesome ride, blasting the quarters to the shade cloth. Thankfully the hip wasn’t covered by shade and the guys were really able to let it rip. The park session was starting to heat up and the guys were figuring out the lines. At one point during the session, Wilton looks up to see a familiar face in an unfamiliar part of QLD. Stoney, a past Fairfield local comes cruising into the park. The session really got going everyone was having a good go! From there we headed to some local trails that have been around for 20 years. Daniel Kelly an Ayr local took us to his spot and despite the wind, the guys had a red hot crack and managed to have a pretty good session there. The local guys told us about a beach not far from there where camping was fine so the cars got packed and the crew headed off. That afternoon the 4WD’s on the trip really came into play, pulling out Jason’s Fast&Loose bus multiple times, plenty of fun on the beach in the cars but it was time to set up and camp and get ready for the final drive the next day. That night the fellas went fishing, with Pa and Kluva coming out on top as the king fishermen. The next morning the pack headed north once again to their final destination.
Early Morning session at Bowen's Second Park before heading to Mackay. Photo by Sean Connor.
The next morning the crew left at different times, some more eager to get their then others. Damien left the trip to head back to work and by the afternoon everyone had arrived in Cairns. First stop, the skatepark. Once everyone had arrived and rested after the 5-hour drive the guys started warming up the bowl, figuring out the lines and working their way around the capsule. It was rad to see the scene up there is alive and well with heaps of shredders all over. That night the guys ripped the bowl a new one. Finding new lines new gaps and faster ways around the capsule. The session started to wind down and the guys headed to cairns local Micheal Marks Place for the night. Micheal was able to have us all in his backyard so with camp sorted and Bungalow pub within walking distance we all went for dinner and couple quiet ones before waking up for the croc farm the next day, minus Pollard who was starting the long trip back south the next morning.
The next morning everyone was looking forward to a day off. Jason put his hand up to be the tour guide for the day and everyone piled into the bus. Pinocolada’s were the drink of choice and fellas enjoyed a scenic drive north, with picturesque views of the reef on one side and rainforest on the other was an incredible sight. A short but beautiful drive to Hartleys Crocidile Adventures later we arrived and everyone was excited to see the crocs in action. The boat ride was a big highlight seeing the crocs jump out of the water. Really puts in perspective how dangerous these animals could potentially be. Everyone was pretty amazed by what they had just seen, but the day was far from over. Tourist day also included meeting up with Cairns legend Levi Jackonia and seeing some of the cairns nightlife. Off to Gilligans we all went and that’s where that day ended for most.
The worlds deadliest predator- the north Queensland croc.
After a rather long night at Gilligan's, A few more of the guys headed more north in search of wild crocs while some Chris, Sean, and myself headed south for Brisbane. Before we could make it back to Brisbane there was one last stop left in Rockhampton. Jake Norris is a central QLD legend and it was only right to finish the trip on Mount Rocky (Mount Archer), with some beers while we watched the sunset over this great sunburned land.
Jake giving Mount Archer a rip while the traffic watches. Photo by Sean Connor
The trip was definitely one for the books and something that all BMX riders should give a go at some point. Where ever you go, Australia has a lot to offer in ways of skateparks and places to ride, not to mention some incredible scenery to back it up. With restrictions around Australia still uncertain maybe a trip in your own state. Thanks to all the guys on the trip, all the locals we met, the security guard for letting us sleep the night twice, and BMX for bringing this trip together!
This was the first proper biking road trip I had been on in a number of years. In fact, it had probably been very close to 10 years since I last tossed my bike in a vehicle, and hopped on the road with a convoy of riders, going from town to town, riding parks, pipes, and anything else we could pedal around on, with the sole goal of having as much fun as possible on and off our bikes.
Throughout the trip, I was reminded of how welcoming and helpful the community within BMX can be, even to a complete stranger. In our case, a local from the skatepark in Cairns, after hearing us discussing options for camping, invited us all back to his place, generously allowing 8 trucks, vans, and even a bus to park in his massive backyard, so we could not only sleep, but also walk to the pub, to enjoy the non-riding time as mentioned earlier.
Being provided places to stay for the night, cook food, have much needed showers, or opportunities to ride trails without requiring us to lift a shovel were all examples of hospitality and generosity provided by fellow bike riders we met along the way. United by our enjoyment of utilizing a bicycle to express ourselves we found ourselves surrounded by a family of sorts, whether that was 5 hours from home, 2000 kms away, or halfway across the world. This trip reminded me of how thankful I am for all that BMX has provided over the last 20 years. Thanks to all the fellas on the trip, thanks to all the locals we met along the way, thanks to the friendly police officer who let us off with a warning at the full pipe, thanks to security officer who gave us two warnings for sleeping where we weren’t supposed to in Bowen, Jason for driving and being bus driver to the croc farm and most of all, Thank You BMX!