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About Smithfield

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Getting there and getting around

Mountain-bike trail from McGregor Road entrance. Photo: ©Queensland Government

Mountain-bike trail from McGregor Road entrance. Photo: ©Queensland Government

Smithfield Conservation Park is approximately 16km north of Cairns via the Captain Cook Highway.

McGregor Road entrance (trailhead)

This is the primary entrance to Smithfield Conservation Park and the only entrance with a car park. From Cairns, travel north along the Captain Cook Highway for 16km and turn left at the McGregor Road roundabout near James Cook University. Drive 1km along McGregor Road, past the university, to the Smithfield Conservation Park car park. This entrance provides access to the start of the ‘easy’ mountain-bike trails.

Park features

Trails twist through vine-wrapped rainforest. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Trails twist through vine-wrapped rainforest. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

This small park (278ha) encompasses the foothills of the Macalister Range and extends to the alluvial flats of Atika and Moon creeks. The escarpment rises 350m above the suburbs of Smithfield and Trinity Beach. Dense rainforest clads the southward-facing slopes as well as the damp gullies and creek lines of the northern and eastern slopes. Open eucalypt woodlands cover the steep slopes and ridgelines of this park. These woodlands are dominated by emergent pink bloodwoods and Moreton Bay ash. Where the soil type changes acacia and swamp box open forests thrive.

The western side of the park, along the ridge line, borders Kuranda National Park. The residential area of Smithfield adjoins the remainder of the park’s boundary.

The Cairns Mountain Bike Club under an agreement, maintains the network of shared cross-country and downhill trails for mountain bikers, ranging from easy to extreme.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Smithfield Conservation Park.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cairns and the northern beaches.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Mountain bike trails are suitable for all levels. Photo: Gordon Greaves.

Mountain bike trails are suitable for all levels. Photo: Gordon Greaves.

Advanced riders will even find trails to suit their skill level. Photo: Gordon Greaves.

Advanced riders will even find trails to suit their skill level. Photo: Gordon Greaves.

Mountain biking

A network of more than 12km of trails provides a variety of downhill and cross-country mountain-biking trails, suitable for everyone from beginners to world class athletes. All trails within the park are classified according to their level of difficulty, as per the International Mountain Biking Association’s (IMBA) trail difficulty rating system.

All trails in the park are accessible for mountain bikers, with the exception of the world cup downhill course, as this is within the Restricted Access Area (PDF, 164K).

Maps

Key to trail grades

Grade

Symbol

Description

Easy

Easy trail grade symbol

Wide trail with gentle gradient and smooth surface. Some obstacles such as roots, logs and rocks. Suitable for beginner mountain bike riders with basic mountain-bike skills and off-road bikes.

Intermediate

Intermediate trail grade symbol

Trail with moderate gradients, variable surface and obstacles. May include steep sections. Suitable for skilled mountain bike riders, with mountain bikes.

Difficult

Difficult trail grade symbol

Suitable only for experienced mountain bikers, used to physically demanding routes. Navigation and personal survival skills are highly desirable.

Expect large, dangerous and unavoidable obstacles and features. Challenging and variable trail with long, steep climbs or descents and loose surfaces. Some sections will be easier to walk.

Extreme

Extreme trail grade symbol

Suitable only for highly experienced mountain bikers, used to physically demanding routes. Navigation and personal survival skills are highly desirable.

Severe constructed trails and/or natural features—all sections are challenging. Includes extreme levels of exposure and/or risk. Expect large and unavoidable obstacles and features. Some sections will be easier to walk.

Things to know before you go

The best times to visit are the cooler drier months between June and October. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

The best times to visit are the cooler drier months between June and October. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Essentials to bring

To ensure a safe and enjoyable visit always bring:

  • a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
  • sturdy, reliable footwear
  • drinking water
  • rubbish bags
  • appropriate safety gear for mountain-bike riding—a helmet approved to Australian Standards (AS 2063) and protective gloves and cycling glasses.

Opening hours

Smithfield Conservation Park is open 24hrs a day but riding at night is not recommended.

Permits and fees

Permits may be required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Dogs on leads are permitted on all shared access trails. Dogs are not permitted within the declared Restricted Access Area (PDF, 164K). All other domestic animals are not permitted in the conservation park.

Climate and weather

Smithfield Conservation Park has a tropical climate. In summer, maximum temperatures are around 33°C with high humidity. Between December and April there are frequent heavy downpours of rain and the possibility of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.

Between June and October are the cooler drier months. The weather is pleasantly warm with reduced humidity, lower rainfall and average maximum temperatures ranging from 27–30°C.

For more information see the Bureau of Meterology.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available nearby at Smithfield, Palm Cove and Cairns.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Mountain bikers should wear appropriate protective gear on the trails. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Mountain bikers should wear appropriate protective gear on the trails. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Mountain biking safety guidelines

  • Wear appropriate safety gear—a helmet approved to Australian Standards (AS 2063), gloves and cycling glasses.
  • Stay on formed trails and take care on loose and uneven surfaces especially when wet as trail conditions are subject to change.
  • Select the appropriate trail grade for your skills and experience.
  • Inform someone of your itinerary including start and finishing times.
  • Ride at precautionary speeds—always expect that walkers or mountain bikers may be around the next corner.
  • Give way to walkers—slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary, and pass walkers at a slow speed.
  • Follow the International Mountain Bicycling Association rules of the trail.
  • In an emergency phone Triple Zero (000). If you have difficulty connecting to Triple Zero (000) from your mobile phone, try dialling 112.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Dogs on leads are permitted on all shared access trails. Dogs are not permitted within the declared Restricted Access Area (PDF, 164K). All other domestic animals are not permitted in the conservation park.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided—take rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Do not remove plant material, living or dead.
  • Stay on trails at all times—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion.
  • Never scare, chase or feed wildlife.
  • Take care not to transport pest plant seeds. To avoid bringing pest plants into the park, check your clothing, footwear and bike, and dispose of seeds prior to entering the park.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Myrtle rust

Myrtle rust—a fungal disease affecting many native plants—has been found in Smithfield Conservation Park. The disease poses a significant threat to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Follow these guidelines to help prevent its spread:

  • Do not collect or move plant material, living or dead.
  • Stay on roads or vehicle tracks when walking or mountain biking to reduce contact between bikes, people and plants.
  • Avoid contact with infected plants as this may spread spores.
  • Clean your bike before you enter the park and before you leave.

Learn more about myrtle rust and how to minimise its spread.

Park management

Cairns Mountain Bike Club assists in management of the park. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Cairns Mountain Bike Club assists in management of the park. Photo: ©Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Smithfield Conservation Park was gazetted in 2000. The park borders the Kuranda National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The park is managed for the conservation of natural and cultural values and to provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities for visitors, through partnerships with key stakeholders.

In 2014 the Cairns Mountain Bike Club signed a revised formal agreement to manage the entire trail network within the park (approximately 39ha), for mountain-bike riding. The club plays an important role in maintaining, managing and developing the trails, rider behaviour and events within the lease area.

Tourism information links

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
2 January 2018