September 2022 is shaping up to be a big month for cycling in Australia. Before the world championships in Wollongong, Port Douglas in far north Queensland is set to host a new three-day cycling festival.


Is that lovely smooth bitumen…? You’ll probably notice the good road surface etc, if you can take your eyes off the views in tropical north Queensland.


Remember back in The Before Time how you’d think about planning a holiday and consider your options? Ah yes, that was when travel was surprisingly easy, and we were all looking for new places to ride. That concept feels a bit foreign in 2022 but that hasn’t stopped Bade Stapleton from working hard behind the scenes to establish a new cycling tourism venture.

Today Stapleton will reveal details of an initiative aimed at attracting visitors to far north Queensland. His hope is that the inaugural ‘Port Douglas Gran Fondo’ will take place from 9-11 September this year.

On the menu are a range of cycling events, including mass-participation rides in the tropical surrounds of the Port Douglas region.

Running under the headline ‘The Perfect Excuse To Visit’, the gran fondo weekend boasts three itineraries for cyclists – a 48km ride for beginners or, for those who want more of a challenge, there will be 100km or 136km routes.

It’s a cyclo-tourism venture in FNQ. It’ll be hot. It’ll be humid. And it’ll happen only shortly before the UCI road world championships take place in Wollongong. Ordinarily, it’d be an ideal combo for international visitors: a holiday in Queensland to stretch the legs, before a trip to NSW to watch the world’s best in action.

In 2022, it’s more of a mystery, but Stapleton is confident that travel will be possible and holidays will be front of mind for many. With support from the Douglas Shire, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, and the Queensland state government, there are a range of events during the Gran Fondo weekend that are aimed at the cycling market.

“The Queensland Government is committed to supporting events that will reunite communities, drive visitation and showcase regions on a national stage,” said Michael Healy, Queensland’s Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development, in a press release about the event.

“I encourage visitors to stay a little longer to explore beyond the festival hub… from the Daintree Rainforest, and indigenous cultural experiences, to the Great Barrier Reef and tropical islands, not to mention the world-class dining, incredible wildlife and surrounding national parks.”

Evidently, the weekend is built around cycling… and a whole lot more, and the centre-piece is the opportunity to ride on closed roads with likeminded people and discover a part of Australia where tourism accounts for a considerable portion of the economy.

“Major events like this can ensure the long-term sustainability of our local tourism industry and bring a festival atmosphere to the village for locals to enjoy,” explained Douglas Shire Mayor, Michael Kerr.

The pandemic has certainly provided a catalyst for Australians to discover more of their country when there has been an opportunity for travel and events like the Port Douglas Gran Fondo and world championships are bound to prompt many to consider an Aussie holiday later in the year.


The launch of the Gran Fondo coincides with the opening of registrations for cyclists looking for a different kind of holiday. There is a cap of 3,000 entries for the mass-participation rides and Stapleton and co are confident that they’ll be able to fill that quota.

Visit the site to find out more about the route(s), the region, and the chance to ride a bike in a place that has always been a haven for holidaymakers. It could just be the perfect warm-up before the worlds a few days later.



– By Rob Arnold


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