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Bunya Mountains Bikepack


Old Coach Road

This large multi-day adventure took us on a rugged but picturesque loop of the South Burnett, including the foothills of the Bunya Mountains. It had everything – rail trails, old stock routes, thick forests, big climbs, long descents, and even some organic wine.


Day 1.

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Preparation

Sixteen intrepid riders turned up at Linville early on Saturday morning. We had loaded our bikes with all the gear we’d need for three days. In the final minutes before riding off, many of us made some nervous adjustments to our rigs to make sure everything was ok.

The Team

We lined up fresh and clean for our “start of the ride” photo, eager horses chomping at the bit to embark on our ride.

Leaving Linville

We set out from Linville along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.

This former railway line slowly climbs up the Great Dividing Range for 22 kilometres. The gradient is easy because it was originally intended for trains which like lazy riders don’t handle steep slopes very well.

 

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

We took it easy on the way up, aware of the distances ahead, and happily chatted as we gained altitude.

Brisbane Valley Rail TrailBrisbane Valley Rail TrailBrisbane Valley Rail TrailBrisbane Valley Rail Trail Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Happy riders approached from the opposite directions. Kids on small bikes, smiling teens, mums and dads all coasted by us happily as they rolled down the hill we had been climbing.

 

Staines Road

At Benarkin, we left the rail trail and pointed our bikes along a quiet back road towards Taromeo.

Staines Road

Staines Road is a delightful clay road which runs between farmland and forest. It has a gentle downhill slope, so we rolled for several kilometres in the shade. This was a pleasant way to start a big ride.

Packer Road

Someone had imaginatively hoisted an old bike in a tree. Note to self: If you’re on the rail trail and ever need a spare part, this would be a good way to come.

Taromeo

After emerging from the forest we parted ways with Darb and Calum. They had joined us for the day and had to start the homeward leg of their loop while we continued.

Old Esk Road

Some of the bikes were heavily laden. They handled quiet roads, rail trails and gravel roads quite well. But some of the roads ahead were rough. How would they go?

 

Old Coach Road

“Old Coach Road” is part of the Bicentennial National Trail. It’s bumpy, rutted and full of history. Optimistic gold miners travelled along here in the nineteenth century in search of a fortune at the Seven Mile Diggings. Drovers took their cattle along here on the way to markets in Brisbane. Horses dragged Cobb & Co coaches full of anxious passengers up and down these treacherous hills.

Old Coach Road

We all carefully picked our lines and rode it bravely.

Old Coach RoadOld Coach RoadOld Coach RoadOld Coach RoadOld Coach RoadOld Coach Road

Jason’s bike weighed in at over 40kg. I was surprised how well he handled it.

Old Coach Road

At one or two spots we decided to walk the bikes. With less weight it would have been a blast to bounce down, but we didn’t relish the idea of crashing with all that weight.

How did coaches ever get up and down “Old Coach Road”?

Lunch Break

At the bottom of the descent, Eric picked out a shady tree, hung his bike from it, and sat down for lunch.

We decided to join him, although nobody else was able to find such a fine bike-parking branch.

Seven Mile Diggings

We eventually crossed Cooyar Creek, site of the Seven Mile Diggings.

Seven Mile Diggings

Prospectors found alluvial gold in Cooyar Creek in the 1890’s. At its peak, over seven hundred miners worked its banks looking for elusive golden flecks.

As we crossed the creek, a couple of modern prospectors were still looking for gold. If they had found any, they weren’t telling anyone.

Seven Mile Diggings

The climb out of Cooyar Creek is steep and bumpy.

Most of us pushed our bikes up the hill.

Old Esk Road

At the crest of the climb, a friendly sign reminded us our destination wasn’t too far away.

Nanango

Our lodging for the night was about six kilometres outside Nanango.

Since we were passing through town I suggested we visit the local pub to pay our respects and conduct some research into the quality of ale in rural districts. It’s a challenging task, but we all agreed that someone needed to do it.

 

Nanango

With our thirsts temporarily quenched, we worked our bikes up one or two final hills before arriving at Uncle Bob’s.

Uncle Bob's Cottage
(Photo: Jason Grant)

Rod and Celia Price operate this delightful B&B / vineyard and kindly offered to feed and house sixteen hungry mountain bikers. What wonderful people!

Uncle Bob's Cottage
(Photo: Jason Grant)

Some of us camped in their back yard. Others stayed in the cottage or the bunk house. There was room for everyone.

Uncle Bob's Cottage

We sampled some of Rod and Celia’s amazing wine while they and their neighbours cooked our meal.

Some seasoned Epicureans stayed up longer than others. After a big day and such a delicious meal I started to feel drowsy after 7pm. By 7.30 I was fast asleep, dreaming about tomorrow’s adventure.

In total we rode about 260km in three days with about 22 hours total riding time including breaks.

We climbed a total of about 3,000 metres in elevation and I burned about 8,000 kcal.

I’d like to express my thanks to Eric for the work he put into organizing this ride.

Thank you to everyone who took part – you were great company and made this a memorable ride.

Well done!

Brooklands

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6 comments to Bunya Mountains Bikepack

  • Awesome ride Neil and great numbers too! Great work on the route too. Now, just add 100-150km and 2000m climbing to each day, at altitude, repeat for 20 days in a row and you will be Tour Divide Race ready!

    I wish I had been around to come for a roll with you but can’t be too sad as I was bikepacking in the Snowys at the same time.

  • Ian Morrison

    AND Dave, That’s the reason I love your blog and following the blue dots!! Quite happy with that I am! AND got Troy to follow again too in 2017, [even with a late write up]
    Neil great to read after following your spot. Good route Eric. What a trip, what a herd.
    PS i sure is human two

  • That is a great adventure with lot of people. How I would love to join you guys!
    100km a day is a lot! Good job everyone.

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