You need to open this one to read Tristica’s own words
Another post from Ducati Paradise – normally we’re in New Zealand February each year, but for various reasons we stayed in our paradise on the Atherton Tablelands this year. The weather, although sometimes a little wet has mostly been great for riding adventures. Sunday riding is a magical experience – winding twisting back roads leading to the well travelled roads where we soon find a cafe with great coffee and treats. We ride around Lake Eacham, then take our GT1000 Ducatis off the bitumen and on to the unsealed roads. This time we took the high road – Topaz Road – it meanders through rain forests, farmland, life style properties which are all far away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. The views of Bartle Frere, Queensland’s highest mountain and the Tablelands are stunning from up here. These ‘country roads’ give the Ducati rider a different kind of thrill – cornering is slower and tighter, straights are narrow yet easy and the pace allows you to absorb the splendour of paradise and to say “moo” to the curious cows who wander up to the boundary fences to check us out. The local drivers are wonderfully courteous, so there’s no worries about ‘not enough space’ when they give you plenty to ride by. Come experience this for yourself – a big M for magic 😉
Eat, drink and be merry (and ride a motorbike)
After a day of adrenaline on the Ducati, everyone likes to relax with a good meal, great friends and the tipple of your choice. Here’s our guide to the best watering holes in and around Malanda. What better way to finish a few amazing hours touring on North Queensland’s Tablelands on one of our well maintained rental motorcycles?
In Malanda itself, we have one of the oldest pubs in North Queensland. The Malanda Hotel’s dining room features photographs of the early settler days and a grand old wooden interior. If you feel like something to eat, the Malanda Dairy Centre is known for its light meals, drinks and curries. If a pie is in order, the Malanda Bakery is hard to beat. There is a Spar supermarket if you want to buy your own fixings for a picnic at Malanda Falls, just on the edge of town.
The ride out to Nerada’s Tea Plantation is 8.5km of farming splendour – you’ll go through rolling green fields dotted with dairy cattle, and cross crystal clear creeks. Nerada is home to the rare tree kangaroo – if you’re lucky you’ll spot one whilst enjoying a cup of tea or having a bite to eat at their cafe.
Lake Barrine Teahouse at the top of the Gillies Range is also a stunning destination – take in lake views or a rainforest walk followed by a meal or Devonshire tea.
Don’t forget the Peeramon Pub – the old girl has survived a cyclone or two and there’s nothing better than enjoying the view from their outdoor dining area.
At 2 Wheels North we take care of the motorcycles, the accommodation and all the necessities so you can kick back and enjoy your leisure time. If you happen to be the owner of one of these fantastic bikes, we provide service and repairs too, if of interest.
Contact us now to talk about your motorcycle hire, accommodation and touring needs.
We are mad about the Ducati and proud of it! Here’s a bit of Ducati history for those of you who share our passion for this Italian masterpiece.
Ducati was co-founded in the 1920s in Italy by Antonio Cavalieri Ducati. His three sons – Adriano, Bruno and Marcello – joined the family business. In the 1920s, they worked on short-wave radio transmission equipment, and in the 1930s one of their most popular products was the Ducati radio. It wasn’t until the 1940s that the first Ducati motorcycle – the Cucciolo – rolled off the production line. The factory was bombed during World War 2, but fortunately production restarted immediately after the war. In 1949 the first real complete motorcycle, the Ducati 60, was manufactured.
In 1954 the design and engineering genius Fabio Taglioni joined the company and developed the Ducati Gran Sport. They smashed 46 speed records in 1956 with the Ducati Siluro, thanks to the introduction of the Desmodromic system. Thanks to this success, the production range was widened. 1968 saw the introduction of the Ducati Scrambler, which was hugely popular in Italy. Fabio Taglioni then developed the first Ducati with the L engine configuration, the Ducati Apollo, in 1963
Ducati’s first maxi-motorcycle, the 750 GT, appeared in the 1970s. This was an era of win after win on the tourist circuit in Europe. The pinnacle was Marco Lucchinellis’ win in the 1988 Superbike World Championship, racing a Ducati 851. The latest Desmodromic engine was also released in the 1980s.
Ducati’s Monster was released in 1993, followed quickly by the beautifully designed Ducati 916. In the 2000s, Ducati debuted in the MotoGP. Troy Bayliss took out three consecutive World Superbike Titles and really put Ducati on the map as a speed and performance machine. Casey Stoner’s win at the 2007 MotoGP World Championship clinched the deal.
2010 saw Ducati’s entry into the cruiser market with the Ducati XDiavel, and the Ducatia Multistrada is released. And in a blast from the past, the Ducati Scrambler was renewed and reintroduced to a new generation of Ducati fans worldwide.
Why not be part of the Ducati story with a few days of touring North Queensland’s magnificent Atherton Tablelands on one of our rental motorcycles? Just a little over 1 hour from Cairns but a world away from the grind of the city, you’ll escape the heat of the coast for the cool of the Tablelands with its rolling hills, winding roads and open vistas. Contact us today to discuss accommodation, rental and hire options.
Riding from Malanda to Paradise
Whilst any time on a Ducati is a pleasure, it can be good to know just how far this is from that. On North Queensland’s Tablelands, this might mean the distance between one beautiful view and the next, or one great coffee and the next. Starting from our base in Malanda, you can expect the following distances of riding pleasure.
Firstly, Cairns to Malanda – this 77 km stretch takes in the amazing Gillies Range with its hairpin turns and million dollar views. From Malanda, you’ll pass Lake Eacham (swimming, bushwalking), Lake Barrine (teahouse, bushwalking, boat trips), the Gillies Range (163 corners, and 800m elevation change in only 19km of road) and Gordonvale (historic sugar town).
Malanda to Yungaburra is a 12km stretch via Peeramon (home of the iconic Peeramon Pub), or a few kilometres further if you want to visit the the Curtain Fig Tree. Yungaburra is a jewel of the Tablelands – set on the banks of Tinaroo, it’s easy to kill time wandering through the quaint village centre or grabbing a bite to eat from one of the many eateries.
Malanda to Atherton is a beaut 19km stretch taking you straight past Gallo’s Dairy Land for fresh and local cheese, chocolate and great coffees. Acre after acre of cropping where often brolgas and cranes eat alongside cockatoos, white and black, and there’s always egrets to be seen – they love to ‘hang out’ with the cows.
Malanda to Millaa Millaa is 22km stretch of largely upgraded road with the best views around. From Millaa Millaa you can do the waterfalls circuit – the sealed road’s narrow but the views are amazing. Mungalli’s ‘Out of the Whey’ cafe (on Watson’s Bio-dynamic farm) is just one of the many pitstops you can make if you need to recharge the batteries. Or head back towards Millaa Millaa to the “Falls Teahouse” for great food with a view.
What better way to see the sights than on one of our hire Ducatis. Once you’ve woken up refreshed after a night in our bed and breakfast accommodation, you can enjoy the cool mountain air of the Tablelands and the rolling green hills and dramatic mountain backdrops of the Tablelands. Riding on the Tablelands is a dream – long sweeping curves and stretches, challenging ranges through rainforest, and great secondary roads leading you through the southern hemisphere’s most northern dairy farming region . Your rental bike is going to be in top notch condition thanks to our repairs and maintenance expertise. We know and love Ducatis so you can be assured your bike is going to go the distance, and it’s probably done all the roads before 😉
The hidden piece of paradise in Far North Queensland. Liz and Mike Pulman are a fantastic Kiwi couple, living in one of Australia’s quiet jewels – the Atherton Tablelands. With the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns an hour away on the coast, this wonderful area is untouched by the tourist juggernaut and really is a place where you can enjoy riding one of their beloved Ducatis on quiet but stunning roads. You can meander on the plateau, head into the dry hinterlands or carve a gorge with literally hundreds of corners as you descend towards the coast.
For my wife, Jane, and I, we did head into town for a day but with relaxing high on our list, we also spent days on the narrow ribbons of seal that the locals use to wend their way around this lush piece of paradise – all done with the visor open and the sounds of classic Ducatis wafting through the countryside as the laid-back pace of life in this unspoilt corner revealed safe, pure swimming lakes, backroads through tunnels of rainforest and arty towns where partisans ply their trades.
It’s a food lover’s dream, as this area is the fruit bowl of the nation, growing tropical fruits, tea, berries of all sorts, coffee; if you want to eat or drink it, this region can grow it.
Back to Mike and Liz’ base in Malanda, there is either a cute and superbly set up cabin or you can stay in their wonderful and inviting home. Riding can, and should, include at least a ride or two with your hosts, as their enthusiasm for riding and just enjoying their surroundings, is one of the very special things these two ex-pat Kiwis bring to the Far North Queensland experience – and they’re always keen to go for a spin.
Rather than tick it off as a place seen and done, it quickly became an experience we will repeat on a regular basis and catch up with the core group of like-minded souls that are found in their tableland homes. And for the traveler who doesn’t like the cloying heat that often plagues the coastal tropics, it is a few degrees cooler up on the plateau as well, so you may need an extra layer if you go during winter.
With their engineering and mechanical service on hand, the bikes are always ready to roll so you needn’t worry about anything, so you can rent a classic Ducati without worry or jump on a more modern bike if you wish. A highlight for me was blasting the backroads to the Yungaburra markets on a GT860, the narrow roads and lack of traffic making it feel like I had just travelled back to a time less cluttered, a pace less hectic and the smile said it all as I rolled into the quaint, arty township. Best holiday ever!
Huge thanks to Liz and Mike – we most definitely will be back.
A group tour with family and friends – touring the Atherton Tablelands, riding the ranges and enjoying the company and scenery together brought smiles to all. The Atherton Tablelands was our starting point, at Mike and Liz’s hire and repair workshop in Malanda, then down the Gillies range to Cairns, what an exciting 200 or so corners that road boasts! Then north up the coast road to Port Douglas, a delicious coffee and lunch – there’s so many great eateries to choose from at this popular destination; a stroll back to the motorcycles cooling under a raintree, mount up and roar up the Rex Range to the cooler temperatures of Mt Molloy for some cold beverage at the local, a few more stories to share, and the mid afternoon sees us cruising back to the Atherton Tablelands via Mareeba. A chance to share stories and laughs, enjoy more hospitality as we share in the preparation of a BBQ and trimmings with Mike and Liz.
Ducati is best known for high-performance motorcycles characterized by large-capacity four-stroke, 90° V-twin engines, with a desmodromic valve design. Ducati refers to this configuration as L-twin because one cylinder is vertical while the other is horizontal, making it look like a letter “L”. Modern Ducatis remain among the dominant performance motorcycles available today partly because of the desmodromic valve design, which is nearing its 50th year of use. Desmodromic valves are closed with a separate, dedicated cam lobe and lifter instead of the conventional valve springs used in most internal combustion engines in consumer vehicles. This allows the cams to have a more radical profile, thus opening and closing the valves more quickly without the risk of valve-float, which causes a loss of power that is likely when using a “passive” closing mechanism under the same conditions.
Ducati also extensively uses a trellis frame, although Ducati’s MotoGP project broke with this tradition by introducing a revolutionary carbon fibre frame for the Ducati Desmosedici GP9.
Malanda – a scenic town in Far North Queensland worth visiting!
Malanda is a town on the Atherton Tableland in the Tablelands Region, Far North Queensland. The town has a population of 2,000 people and was first developed in the 1900s. After the discovery of tin and copper at Herberton the town saw a steady stream of miners and engineers moving over the mountains from the coast. The town is surrounded by pockets of rainforest and rolling hills covered with lush green grass. Freshwater creeks snake their way through this region, culminating in waterfalls that cascade into refreshing swimming holes.
The Malanda Hotel
This is the most obvious landmark of the location, characteristically built from the timber of local trees. As you enter the restaurant section of the hotel, you will notice the prominence of these timbers, seen in the floorboards and the magnificent staircase (made from local Silky Oak) leading to the hotel rooms and second floor. The hotel serves a range of very tasty counter meals, reasonably priced, to be eaten with a selection of beers, wine, spirits or soft drink.
The name Malanda is synonymous throughout Far North Queensland with milk and cheese. The production of milk is now part of the Dairy Farmers label and the Malanda Dairy Centre café and restaurant in town is a popular spot with the locals to have lunch or dinner.
Malanda Falls Visitor Centre is located on the edge of the Malanda Falls Conservation Park featuring the scenic falls and tropical rainforest. You can spot birds, freshwater turtles and other wildlife. Right on our doorstep is one of the best places in the world to see a tree-kangaroo, and though they can be difficult to spot, many visitors are rewarded with a sighting.
Malanda is a great place to stop on your travels and discover more about this unique region of Tropical North Queensland, the wildlife, and the people who live here.