Day 1 – Lawnton to Maleny

McCarthys Shute Road
I love the idea of setting forth from my front door on a multi-day trip. How far will I get? Where will I end up? Who will I meet? What will I see?

While it’s not in the same league as those epic adventures that last for weeks at a time, I thought a micro-adventure would be a fun way to test myself out, and to explore the amazing country near my home.

Ride-offRiding North
Rather than set the alarm early, I just got out of bed when I woke up, got ready, and left home when I was ready.

I intended to take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Riding NorthRiding North
I followed paved roads northwards for the first hour or so as I headed towards Caboolture. The route was almost in a straight line and followed the historic “Old Gympie Road” – a track used by miners during the 1850’s and 1860’s to get from Brisbane to the gold fields near Gympie. Prior to that it was an aboriginal pathway used by tribes as a quick and relatively easy way to get from Brisbane to the Blackall Range.

Although it’s a busy road today, I felt a connection with travellers from many different centuries who had travelled this way for one reason or another.

Pineapple Field
Old Gympie Rd

Eventually the paved roads gave way to gravel as I passed pineapple farms to the south of the Glasshouse Mountains.

Old Gympie Rd
As a mountain biker I tolerate roads, and feel a sense of relief and elation when the tarmac ends, and “the bush” begins.

Old Gympie Rd
There are trails heading off in all directions through the Glasshouse Mountains. I love the sense of freedom that comes from realizing you can go wherever you want, in whatever direction you want.


Trail bike riders love it too. I’m usually glad to meet them on the trails. It’s handy to know that if you ever get into trouble in this part of the world, someone on a motorcycle will be close by to help out.

They’re all very friendly, although I think these guys thought I was a bit mad when I told them where I was from, and where I was headed.

I was glad to come across them as it gave me a chance to stop taking “selfies” and photograph other people for a change 🙂

Old Gympe Rd
It might have looked muddy and rough – but this was still “Old Gympie Road”, and I was still heading northwards in a straight line.

Glasshouse Lookout
When I arrived at the turn-off to the lookout, I decided to break my northward monotony and turn left for a while. The views at the top are always worth the climb. Today they didn’t disappoint.

Pine Plantation Forest
Pine Plantation Forest

From there I pointed my front wheel northwards once more and rode towards majestic Mount Beerwah.

Mount Beerwah
“Hello Mother” I yelled out insanely as I rode past. You do crazy things when you’re on your own – that’s all part of the fun of a solo ride.

I love Mount Beerwah because of the Kabi / Gubbi-Gubbi legends of her as an expectant mother taking eons to bring forth her child, and I like to think she keeps a watchful eye on me as I pass through.

She looked gorgeous today and I told her so.

It wasn’t long before I arrived in Peachester for a quick lunch and top-up with water.

I was three-quarters of the way through today’s ride, but the hard work was yet to begin.

Crohamhurst Forest
Crohamhurst Forest

Crohamhurst State Forest covers the rolling hills north of Peachester. I rode up and down several large hills as I made my way to the base of the Blackall Range.

McCarthy Shute Rd

I had ridden down McCarthy Shute Road before, with Eric and Becca
. It was a fast and exhillarating descent. But today I was going to ride UP it. My progress would be much slower.

McCarthy Shute Rd
McCarthy Shute Rd

A creek crossing marked the start of the climb. I just dropped down into “Granny Gear”, spun the pedals and enjoyed the view while I gasped for air.

McCarthy Shute Rd

The climb was relentess. It was slippery in parts. Although I had to stop pedalling and put a foot down to keep my balance, I felt a sense of achievement in being able to ride up McCarthys Shute without pushing the bike.

McCarthy Shute Rd
McCarthy Shute Rd

The forest eventually gave way to open fields, the track became a gravel road, but the climb was still intense. I kept turning the cranks and soaked up the scenery as I climbed.

McCarthy Lookout
McCarthy Lookout

At last I reached the top. As I stood at McCarthy’s lookout I felt grateful for this amazing experience. What a spectacular place we live in. How fortunate we’re able to roam it at leisure.

All up I travelled 76km in just under 7 hours including breaks.

I burned about 3,000 kcal and climbed about 1,500m in vertical ascent.

I’ll rate this ride 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Stay tuned for Day 2!

Total distance: 76.84 km
Max elevation: 506 m
Min elevation: 23 m
Total climbing: 1858 m
Total descent: -1429 m
Average speed: 17.35 km/h
Total time: 06:54:20
More data

6 Replies to “Day 1 – Lawnton to Maleny”

      1. Thanks Neil. I live near Caboolture so could head to the showgrounds and go from there. Alternatively do you know if there is a route (Off road of course) from Woodford/D’aguilar up to Peachester?

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