The Coomera River starts its eighty kilometre journey high in the pristine rainforests of the Lamington Plateau. Today we explored some of its remote valleys.
We started at Ferny Glen, south of the military town of Canungra, and followed the road southwards into the mountains.
Before riding up the valley, we took a short detour up a steep hill.
Tabletop Road is a steep climb which rises 500 metres in elevation over about six kilometres.
We clicked down a few gears and spun the pedals.
Although it was hard work, we were grateful for the clouds and cool temperatures. There was no rush – it’s easier to climb long steep hills if you ride at a gentle pace.
We stopped a couple of times to regroup.
As we mashed our pedals and climbed, the valley floor slowly spread out below us, an endless vista of rolling green hills stretching to the cloudy horizon.
Eventually we reached a locked gate. I had spoken to the land owner earlier in the week, who had kindly agreed to let us jump the gate and ride the last few kilometres to the summit.
As we neared the top, the gradient eased. It wasn’t so difficult to push the pedals any more. We were able to relax and enjoy the view.
The summit is known as Lahey’s Tabletop. It adjoins Lamington National Park and has some great views.
We took a few minutes to sit in the grass, catch our breath and enjoy the fruit of our labour.
The journey down the hill was much quicker than the trip up.
We accelerated downwards, keeping a careful watch on the bumpy road, while trying to check out the view at the same time.
At the bottom of the hill we resumed our leisurely trip up the Coomera River Valley.
Rain fell almost imperceptibly as we rode upstream. This was perfect weather for cycling – not too hot, not too cold.
The paved road ended at a farm gate. We went through and followed the track.
“Gee I love this!”
I grinned stupidly as we waded through the water.
We crossed the river several times.
My shoes were saturated but I didn’t care.
It’s tricky carrying a bike through rocky knee-deep water.
We took it easy, and no one fell in.
Eventually the track ran out.
Eric pushed his bike up a hill in an attempt to see if he could re-discover the track.
Further south, I could make out the Coomera River Valley as it twisted through dense rainforest, and under the cliffs below O’Reillys.
We retraced our tracks a few hundred metres and found The Illinbah Track at the boundary with the national park, the sign barely visible behind the trees.
Yes – this was a track, but it was not suitable for bikes.
We explored on foot for a while.
The dense forest closed in around us.
What a magical place.
On our way out we said “G’day” to the local farmer and his boys.
Apparently there’s an artist in the neighborhood with a great sense of humor.
We coasted effortlessly back over idyllic causeways.
The scenery from earlier in the day replayed in reverse as we made our way back to the start.
Max elevation: 649 m
Min elevation: 144 m
Total climbing: 1119 m
Total descent: -1105 m
Average speed: 17.31 km/h
Total time: 03:44:20
We rode 36km in just under four hours.
During that time we climbed about 860 metres in elevation, and I burned about 1,700 kcal.
I’ll rate this one 7 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. The climb at the start was challenging, but the cool weather helped. It would be much harder on a hot day.
Thanks Darb, Eric, Adam, Calum and Jason for another fun day in a beautiful place.