The plan today was for a scenic downhill ride from the Great Dividing Range near Toowoomba down to Esk in the Brisbane Valley. That all changed because of heavy overnight rain. At 5.00 am I messaged Eric and Becca saying “You don’t REALLY want to go out in this weather do you?” to which they both agreed. And I promptly went back to sleep for another few hours.
Later that morning, with the rain still pouring down, Eric phoned asking if I had an idea for a wet-weather ride. I muttered something about Peak’s Crossing near Boonah, and within the hour we were on our way.
But a funny thing happened…. The closer we got to our destination, the lighter the rain fell. I repeated my Woody Allen epithet to Eric “99% of success is just turning up”. By the time we got out of the car at Peaks Crossing, there was hardly any rain, so we set off optimistically in our rain jackets, with me proudly wearing a shower cap on my helmet to keep any future precipitation out.
The plan was to head east up into the Teviott Range near Flinders Peak. I wanted to join up with a previous ride on my Ride Network Map, and possibly finish by looping down through Boonah.
So we started by riding out of town on some quiet back roads.
Ivory’s Rock and Flinders Peak loomed larger as we headed up the Teviott Range towards the Flinders Peak Picnic Ground. The gravel road became narrower, twistier and steeper as we got closer.
When we arrived, I intended to turn around and complete the ride by doing a large loop down to Boonah and back. Eric had other plans.
“Why don’t we walk up to the lookout” he suggested.
So we started riding at first, then walking up the lookout track. I had no idea where we were going, or how long it would take. Neither did Eric. But on two feet, as on two wheels, Eric led the way, and I (breathing heavily) struggled to keep up.
As the track got steeper and rockier, and the views more spectacular, I resigned myself to the idea that this wasn’t going to be a leisurely ten minute detour.
As we walked, I checked my GPS and was surprised to discover we were actually walking up the side of Flinders Peak. This was no lookout we were going to, but the highest point in the Teviott Range – 679 metres above sea level.
In fact, Flinders Peak is so high it was spotted from sea by Matthew Flinders in 1799 as he sailed up the Queensland Coast.
No, he didn’t name it after himself. He actually called it “High Peak”. 25 years later, when John Oxley passed by the same point in his ship, he saw it as well. Probably using charts drawn by Flinders, he renamed it “Flinders Peak” in honor of Matthew Flinders.
Long before Flinders and Oxley passed by in their ships, the Ugarapul Aboriginal people spent some of their time living in the Teviott Range. What we call “Flinders Peak” was a sacred site to them. They called it “Yurrangpul” after their totem – the green tree frog named Yurang.
In the late 1820’s, a penal colony was established in nearby Moreton Bay. It was run by a cruel despot named Patrick Logan. As well as punishing errant convicts in cruel new ways, Logan also enjoyed exploration, venturing far inland south-west of the prison settlement. He was the first European to cross the Teviott Range in 1827, near where Eric and I were climbing. The Logan River, which has one of its sources in this area is named in his honor.
As Eric and I climbed, the landscape slowly changed. I didn’t see any Green Tree Frogs that were so special to the Ugarapul people, but I did spot this brightly colored caterpillar fattening itself up, and getting ready to pupate during the colder months.
And as we got higher, a funny thing happened. The clouds parted, we could see blue sky, and the sun broke through. We’d climbed up to about the 500 metre level and were able to enjoy some amazing views out to the west across the farming plains of the Fassifern Valley.
We both agred 500 metres was about as far as we were prepared to climb this day. We both had cycling shoes on. They have hard stiff soles. It’s dangerous to walk on slippery rocks with them. Perhaps I should have thought of that before climbing this mountain 🙂
On the way down we enjoyed some great views of Brisbane off in the distance to the north-east.
And we took a few minutes to enjoy the view of the “Peak” we’d almost conquered in our cycling shoes.
As we made our way back to Peaks Crossing, we decided a short 20 km ride, and a two hour climb up a mountain was enough for one day. Our loop into Boonah can wait for another rainy day.
We rode / hiked almost 23km in about three and a half hours, climbing a total of about 570 metres. I burned about 1,400 kcal.
This is an enjoable ride and offers stunning views for such a short distance. I’d rate the ride 6 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
The climb is a bit more difficult. We didn’t have the right gear and didn’t get to the summit. If you plan to do the climb, it would be wise to bring some good climbing shoes. I’d rate that part of the adventure 8.5 out of 10.
Thanks, Eric, for another surprising adventure!
Max elevation: 515 m
Min elevation: 56 m
Total climbing: 1132 m
Total descent: -1124 m
Average speed: 16.64 km/h
Total time: 03:17:59