Curramore is a farming community on the northern edge of the Blackall Range near Maleny, overlooking the scenic valleys formed by the Mary River and Obi Obi Creek. As with any ride which starts on a mountain we expected three things: good views, fun descents, then tough climbs back up the range afterwards.
We started at Obi Lookout, named after Obi Obi Creek which it overlooks. “Obi Obi” is named after the aboriginal warrior “Ubie Ubie”. As the fighting chief of the Dullambara people, he was responsible for protecting what was known as “Bunya Country” – an important cultural centre which stretched from these mountain tops down to the Mary Valley. Aboriginal people from hundreds of kilometres around would travel to this area ever three years to settle important business and celebrate the triennial harvest of Bunya nuts. Bunya pines were sacred, and no one was allowed to damage them on pain of death.
After rolling eastwards down the hill for a few minutes we eventually reached Kondalilla National Park. I hadn’t been here before and was curious to explore tracks in the area to see where they went.
Some of the “pinch” climbs were challenging. Eric and Adam showed us how to ride a bike up these short sharp hills. I tried but quickly decided I’d have more success if I walked up instead.
We followed a track east for a few kilometres. It eventually stopped at a circular camp site overlooking the valley. Through the thick trees we caught glimpses of the valley, but there was no sign of any tracks heading down the mountain from here.
“Old Man’s Beard” grew thickly on most of the trees around here – a sure sign that this place is often enshrouded in clouds and mist.
Adam helpfully explained to me that if you ever need toilet paper in the bush, a nice big clump of Old Man’s Beard will do the trick. I tried not to think about beards and toilet paper, and instead concentrated on how ethereal it looked.
We retraced our tracks along a cliff-edge overlooking the creek. Eucalypts clung tenaciously to the slope.
Good overnight rain had covered the tracks with muddy puddles. We deftly avoided most of them, but still emerged from the forest with muddy tyres.
Short stretches of paved road are useful on muddy rides. Mud flew off our tyres as we rolled over the bitumen. That’s where mud guards come in handy. I didn’t have one, and ended up wearing a lot of the mud as it came away in chunks.
As we headed towards the western side of the range, more views opened up on either side of the road. I wonder how people who live up here manage to concentrate on the road when driving amid such stunning surroundings?
Eventually we reached more friendly muddy trails in Maleny National Park. Adam showed us what his fat bike could do in some of the puddles while I gingerly stepped around them.
Our trail undulated through several shady gullies, with a couple of tough climbs out of the creek crossings…
But after the climbs came some enjoyable downhill sections with water-bars that made excellent ramps from which to get some “air” as we launched from them.
The forest trail clung to the hillside as we rode west. As tracks branched off in other directions we made mental notes for future rides. I’m surprised we haven’t spent more time here – it’s a perfect spot to ride a bike.
Eventually the trees on our left cleared, giving us some impresive views of the valley.
I stood on a tree stump happily surveying the view and taking photos while my friends waited patiently.
One thing that impresses me about my riding buddies is their happy acceptance of challenging obstacles like this nasty steep “Hike A Bike” climb. In the bush we ride up whatever we can, but if it gets too steep – that’s not an issue. We just get off and push. No one ever seems to get upset about the tough bits – it’s all just part of the fun.
The final section of the trail down to Cambroon is very steep. We pushed our weight back over the rear of the bike, grabbed the brakes carefully and hung on.
At one or two spots we skidded to a halt to open gates, then continued our downward plummet.
The track emerged in farmland at Cambroon.
We rolled across the Mary River and started a short stint along the bitumen into Kenilworth.
We had a short refuelling stop at the Kenilworth Bakery then continued our journey north, out of town towards Obi Obi Creek.
We followed the paved road for a short stint along Obi creek until we reached Kidaman Creek and our long climb back up the mountain.
Kidaman Creek Road twisted through lush farmland until it eventually reached the foot of the Blackall Range…
…then began the major climb of the day. We climbed for about 8km gaining about 500 metres in altitude. I clicked down to my lowest gear and spun the pedals laboriously. Adam’s heavy fat bike proved a challenge, but he persevered. At times he had to walk while I pedalled beside him.
Eventually we made it to the top.
The fundamental law of mountain biking is that “What goes down must come up”. We had gone down. We had come back up. Our debt to the gravity gods had been paid.
With the last climb over we slowly made our way back to the cars.
The early clouds had disappeared, leaving a stunning clear afternoon view from the lookout.
Max elevation: 528 m
Min elevation: 114 m
Total climbing: 2058 m
Total descent: -2045 m
Average speed: 16.59 km/h
Total time: 06:59:29
We rode about 65km in seven hours. During that time I burned about 3,500 kcal as we ascended about 1,600 metres.
After a quick poll of everyone about the toughness of the ride, I’ll rate this 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. Calum and Eric found it a bit easier, where as Adam and I had to work a bit harder. Todays temperatures were perfect for a tough ride – with the temperature barely reaching 20C for most of the ride. In summer this would be a much tougher ride.
Thanks Eric, Adam and Calum for another fun adventure!