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D’Aguilar – Conondale Epic

Booloumba Creek
Today’s adventure was a 4WD bash through the bush with my brother, Kevin, and our sons. I’ve ridden many of these trails through the D’Aguilar and Conondale Ranges, and thought it would be good to share them with family from the comfort of a motor vehicle.

We started from Laceys Creek near Dayboro and slowly made our way up the range to Kluvers Lookout. As we drove up the hill, I muttered to Kev that it was much easier doing this as a 4WD passenger than it was grinding up the road in Granny Gear on a bike.

Kluvers Lookout
Kluvers Lookout
Although the lookout is small, it has some great views eastwards over Moreton Bay and Lake Samsonvale.

From there we cruised along the top of the range towards Jacky Creek Road. This road descends steeply towards the creek. I couldn’t resist lying in front of a water bar to get a view of the car inching over it…
Jacky Creek Rd
In my enthusiasm for a good shot I forgot that Kev couldn’t see me as he crested the hump. I’d only recommend doing this with someone you trust 🙂

Byron Creek
Byron Creek
Jacky Creek is beautiful. We got out, splashed in the water and threw a few stones around. If I didn’t already have a swimming spot planned, I think we would have had a bit of a swim here.

A while ago, Liz and I took the kids on a 12km hike out to the Western Escarpment and back. I’ve also driven the rough and narrow road in a sedan before, althogh I had to take it very slowly. Today in the 4WD it was a comfortable cruise.
Somerset Lookout
Somerset LookoutSomerset Lookout
Somerset lookout is right on an escarpment on the edge of the D’Aguilar Range, looking westward. We enjoyed the views of lakes Somerset and Wivenhoe. Kevin was a bit more adventurous than me and got quite close to the edge. I promised not to tell anyone.

Stoney CreekStoney Creek

After driving out of D’Aguilar National Park via Neurum Creek, our original plan was to have a bite to eat at Woodford before moving up into the Conondale Range. Kevin was one step ahead though, and had packed a couple of roast chickens for us to eat. So we had a break at the Stoney Creek day use area at the foot of the range. The boys cooled their feet in the water for a while after lunch, then we headed up another mountain…

Jimna-Bellthorpe Rd, Conondale NP
Jimna-Bellthorpe Rd, Conondale NPJimna-Bellthorpe Rd, Conondale NP

We followed Bellthorpe – Jimna Road higher and higher, and stopped at a couple of spots to enjoy more views. Harrison was interested in seeing how close he could get to the edge without slipping off.

Jimna-Bellthorpe Rd, Conondale NP
Recent rain had caused several trees to block the narrow road. Thankfully rangers had been through before us to clear the fallen timber out of the way.

Jimna-Bellthorpe Rd, Conondale NP
The vegetation grew lush as we drove higher into the range. At one point we were over 800m above sea level. The breeze was pleasantly cooler, and the rainforest was thick and green.

Booloumba Falls
Booloumba Falls
Booloumba Falls
Booloumba Falls

We eventually reached Booloumba Falls where Harrison and I enjoyed a quick swim. I tried sticking my head under the falls, and enjoyed it so much I talked Harrison into doing it too. After sitting in the car for a long time, the cool water felt delicious.

Conondale Great Walk
It’s a 1,500m walk from the car park to the falls. I decided to get changed at the falls. Harrison toughed it out, walking down and back in bare feet. Maybe teenagers have a higher pain threshold?

Designated Driver
Booloumba Creek

We eventually came out of the forest at the bottom of Booloumba Creek Road near Kenilworth. I had planned for us to drive from there up to Point Glorious at Mapleton. But we were running out of daylight. Mapleton Forest would have to wait for another day.

We travelled about 350km in ten hours. With over 7,200m of vertical ascent, this would have been an impossible day trip on a bike. But I think Kev’s 4WD didn’t even work up a sweat.

Thanks for a great day out, Kevin!

And thank you, Harrison and Jack for being such fun passengers.

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