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Let's re-do a trip we did 21 years ago....take our bicycles to North Straddie for the weekend.  This time we have mountain bikes (with standard 2.1 tyres). It's got to be easier than 21 years ago when we attempted cycling through Straddie's inland sand tracks on road bikes!

On telling our son, Luke, what we were doing he promptly declared it wouldn't be possible and that we needed fat bikes (bikes with oversize tyres). Well, let's see.....

A 25-minute water taxi trip from Cleveland to Dunwich early Saturday morning got us into a  relaxing  'island mood' for the weekend.

Our first challenge, on arriving at Straddie, for the weekend was to find bait (for fishing) and the bakery. Both accomplished by following our nose (ie the main road) into town.

Then the cycle challenges began. The bitumen road out of town, heading across the island, begins with a rather solid climb, but fantastic views distracted us as we made high ground.

A short time later we arrived at Brown Lake via 1km of dirt road. It was only 8am and the lake was peaceful. I went for a swim but Alex declined at this hour of the morning.

Around 9am tourist buses and hoards of families arrived armed with all sorts of fun water toys and beach umbrellas.  Time to leave!

Back out to the bitumen and onto Blue Lake, ascending and descending some more hills.

From the  Blue Lake carpark, we took the 2.5km Kaboora track. This is the shortest, least hilly and as advised by a local walker the easiest track. Maybe so, but we had to push our bikes through a few sandy spots.  Not a problem really (fat bikes not required Luke).

Another tranquil freshwater lake and this time I convinced Alex to also have a swim. After finding the nearby Geocache we sat beside the lake to eat lunch. Just as we were finishing 20 young guys turned up for a swim. Time to leave!

We decided to take the inland tracks that would lead us close to the surf beach rather than taking the bitumen road.

Well, well, well. Look what we are now faced with!

And then this....

I'm still not admitting we need fat bikes. What is wrong with a bit of walking?

Both up and down! The heavy-laden bikes wouldn't even roll downhill through the soft sand. (Don't mention this to Luke)

We eventually found a nice shady, mostly solid track running alongside swampland.

Finally able to make good time we arrived onto the beach a little earlier than planned. It was still over 3 hours until low tide and cycling was tough. We rested in the shade in the dunes until 2pm.

Ah, now it's much easier to cycle on the hard packed sand.  (See Luke - we don't need fat bikes!)

A group of 3 other cyclists came zooming up behind us (they had fat tyres - but don't tell Luke)

A side detour, on foot, to find another Geocache and then we set up camp. Late afternoon drinks overlooking the ocean. Life is good!

We decided to sleep under mossie nets as no rain was forecast. In fact, we didn't even bring our tent.

And you guessed it....at 2am I awoke to the feel of rain. Alex checked the weather radar and the only small rain cell was headed directly for us. Great...pull down the mossie nets, use our tarp ground sheet to cover us and back to sleep, luckily, to not much rain.

Our rainproof bed! 
Sunday morning 5am, I drag myself from our wonderful bed to see the sunrise. 

Beautiful sunrise.....

.....but, oh no, the tide is coming up quicker than expected.  "Alex, get up! We need to move or we will be pushing our bikes along the beach."

We cycled to within 1km of Point Lookout...

....before we found ourselves pushing through soft sand. 

(Luke, I'm starting to think those fat tyres would help.)

The original plan had been to snorkel at South Gorge beside the surf club but with a brisk onshore wind the water was better for surfing than snorkeling. 

We had a quick wash at the surf club and headed to a cafe for a coffee. Here we found the 3 guys with the fat tyre bikes having breakfast. They gave us some great info on tracks to take later in the day.  But first we did the short, but fantastic, North Gorge walk around the headlands and North Gorge of course.

Cycling onwards, towards Amity Point we took the old road which turned out perfect for cycling.

At Amity Point we found a quiet beach for lunch and for me, a quick, thigh deep, dip in the water.

Alex decided to have a coffee instead, using the excuse of not wanting another swim this weekend. I think he didn't like the signage about the area being a known spot for sharks and swimming wasn't recommended. 

From Amity Point we once again took inland tracks towards Dunwich. Our 3 'fat bike' friends had recommended this route.  Well, it was great to be off the bitumen, but for the first hour they can be glad they were not with us. The sand was soft and certainly a lot more walking than cycling was done along with a fair amount of cursing. 

Eventually, the track hardened and it was great cycling through the bush.

Our last stop for the weekend was Myora Springs.  This would be a very special place if visited at a quiet time of day.

A final, short cycle brought us into Dunwich for the water taxi trip back to the hustle and bustle of life.

There is certainly nothing like an island to help one relax and unwind. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend cycling along the beach and swimming in the freshwater lakes.  (And maybe Luke, I'll admit fat bikes would have made things easier but it was achievable on normal mountain bike tyres!)

Length of cycle
     60km circuit approx.
    2 short days
Best Time to do
    Any time of year, great for swimming in summer. 
    Easy/moderate if cycling at low tide and using coastal tracks with some bitumen roads. A fat bike would make it easy. 

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