Must-Ride: Atherton, day 1 in paradise

Words by Flow | Images by Damian Breach

Up where the cassowaries play and the kangaroos swing from trees (for real), there’s a little town called Atherton. A little town, with a big plan for mountain biking.

Over the past twelve months, we’ve heard ever increasing amounts of talk about Atherton, and finally we decided to pack our bags, head way north and see it for ourselves.

Three hours from Sydney, and you're in Cairns, add one more hour and you're in Atherton with singletrack galore.

Three hours from Sydney, and you’re in Cairns, add one more hour and you’re in Atherton with singletrack galore.

Atherton is real banana bender territory; it lies about 80km from one of Australia’s seminary mountain destinations, Cairns, but away from the coast up on the tablelands at about 800 metres above sea level. It’s cooler, calmer and there are far fewer poisonous jelly fish. It’s incredibly beautiful too, with volcanic crater lakes, rolling pastures and rainforest clad ranges.

Signed, mapped and growing.

Signed, mapped and growing.

But Flow’s here for the mountain biking, and over three days of filming and shooting we’re capturing what riding in Atherton is all about. There’s over 30km of amazing singletrack in the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park already, but the long-term plans for mountain biking in the town are colossal. As the old saying goes, ‘build it and they will come’ and that’s exactly what they’re doing here, with plans for well over 60km of world class trails.

Chris and Mick flowing up - and out of - Bandy Bandy, one of our favourites loops.

Chris and Mick flowing up – and out of – Bandy Bandy, one of our favourites loops.

Ridge line razzing on Ridgey Didge.

Ridge line razzing on Ridgey Didge.

And as we've discovered, there is plenty of tropical goodness to entertain us off the bikes. This photo is not fake, Mick cops a freshwater head massage in the rainforest after lunch.

And as we’ve discovered, there is plenty of tropical goodness to entertain us off the bikes. This photo is not fake – this place exists – Mick cops a freshwater head massage in the rainforest after lunch.

Our impressions so far? These trails are sweeter than a Mareeba pineapple. We’re in heaven.

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