THE RIDE

So the Wangetti Trail will put you straight in front some of Tropical North Queensland's most knockout scenic delights, but what about the riding? Being both dual-directional and having to cater for walkers, a certain level of aggressiveness has had to be sacrificed.
 
“We’ve only built trails that are single-directional but this is dual-directional and has to allow for hiking, too,” says Jacobs. “That means designing it a certain way because if you had it balls-out, steep and going crazy, well, you’d have to come up that as well and you don’t want that.”
Jacobs reckons the final alignment lands on just the right balance between giving riders thrills while allowing them to really soak up their surrounds.

 

“What we wanted was a flowing, pump-style trail with good line of sight around each corner, one that’s enjoyable,” he says. “It’s not a footpath but it’s not aggressive, either – it’s a wilderness-style trail that will allow you take it all in, and you’ll want to absorb the terrain you’re in because Tropical North Queensland is like nothing else.”
 
Now it just comes down to who builds it. Jacobs hopes it will be World Trail but that decision will ultimately fall on the Queensland Government.
 
“We hope we do get to build it but you never know,” he says. “There are a lot of trail builders in Australia, though I don’t think there are any with our long experience and knowledge working in rainforests.”In any case, construction starts soon, with work on the Mowbray North section near Port Douglas scheduled to begin in September.
 
THE VARIETY
 
The full Wangetti Trail has been designed to be completed in two to three days by mountain bike or around six by foot. There will be public campsites and privately-operated eco-accommodation at five locations along the trail.
 
These facilities, plus a range of mooted commercial tour, transport and other opportunities along the route, mean riders will be essentially able to enjoy whatever kind of adventure they can dream up, from hard-core to lazily indulgent.


 
“You can stretch it over quite a few days, you can do a day’s ride with the family or if you’re someone like Cadel (Evans) you can just go, ‘Bang!’,” says Jacobs. “Or you can just do a morning ride. A really cool one will be Palm Cove to Ellis Beach, it’s only 8km, you can go for a ride, come back to Ellis Beach and there’s a bar there and it’s on the beach.
“You can do it with a tour group and they’ll look after you or you can get a lodge and there’ll be food there and you’ll have your beds for the night.”
 
THE LEGACY

The Wangetti Trail – even if it’s not built by World Trail – will be the realisation of a thought bubble that goes all the way back to Jacob’s childhood.
 
“It started with sitting in the back of the car as kid, bored, looking out the window going, ‘Ooh, I wonder what’s out there?’,” he says. “Up here (in Cairns) you’re either out on a boat or you’re driving along that road looking at the scenery going, ‘Jeez, isn’t that wonderful?’.”
When Jacobs started riding mountain bikes the dream of a trail between Palm Cove and Port Douglas crystallised, then was pushed to the side for decades. Then came the chance conversation that has ultimately led to it becoming reality.

 

“A couple of my friends mentioned to me one day, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to ride from Palm Cove to Port Douglas?’ and I said, ‘I’ve been thinking about that my whole life, I should go and talk to somebody about it’. I ended up talking to one politician, then somebody else and somebody else, and it’s all just happened.”

Jacobs has already given more than your average bloke to the Tropical North Queensland and Australian mountain-biking community but he’s tipping Wangetti Trail might just be his ultimate legacy. “Wangetti Trail is going to be – and I say this quite openly – like nothing else in the world,” he says. “It’ll be truly spectacular, it’ll change mountain biking in Australia.”