Must-Ride: Atherton, day 4 in paradise

Our trip to Atherton could not have been planned any better; our final day of riding took place under blue skies, but the very next day the rains rolled in. For the next few months, that relentless pattern of morning mugginess followed by afternoon downpours will be the norm – the wet has arrived.

The tremendous rainfall in this part of the world is the reason it all feels so alive and vibrant, but it does present a challenge for trail building. Everywhere we looked, clever drainage and armouring solutions had been employed to preserve the trails. We were fortunate enough to grab a chat with Glen Jacobs from World Trail, the man who developed the Atherton mountain bike master plan, and he explained some of the techniques the team had used in weatherproofing. Glen cut his trail building teeth in Cairns, an area that can get over seven meters of rain a year, so he knows a thing or to about drainage.

There are numerous junctions in the Atherton network, allowing you to put together loads of different loops. It’s not like you come here and just ride in a circle.
Top: Pepper the cattle dog practices her skills, rounding up this chook. The resulting Mexican standoff was priceless. Bottom: Arty the horse comes in for some muesli.

There’s more rock armouring in Atherton than just about anywhere we’ve seen, no more so than on the magical Waterfall track. This was the final trail we rode in Atherton and it’s spectacular. It climbs deep into a gully, traversing across two waterfalls along the way. These weren’t running when we rode, but we’d love to come back to this track after a decent rain as you’d literally be riding through the cascading sheets of water.

The signage in Atherton is spot on. Numbering the trails makes it easy for out-of-towners to find their way around, while the locals tend to use trail names instead.

We guess we’ll just have to make another trip back up to Atherton soon for that experience. It won’t be difficult to woo us back; the trail network in Atherton is growing like lantana in February, and with Cairns and its trail just down the road too, there’s more than enough riding on offer here to keep you in a singletrack daze for a few days.

We’ll have our full Flow Nation video from Atherton up very soon.


Climbing up the Waterfall track – note the rock armouring across the gullies.
The Crocodile Belly berm on Waterfall.
The pay off – ripping back down Waterfall. The perfect grade reversals surf the hillside.
Glen Jacobs has been involved in the Atherton development process for almost a decade now.

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