The purpose of our ride today was to explore some trails around the headwaters of the Noosa River near Neebs Waterhole in Great Sandy National Park
We started the day riding north along the riverbank from Harry’s Hut.
Our trail meandered through a strange looking forest of twisted eucalypts growing slowly in the sandy soil.
We eventually reached the boundary of the national park, with pine plantations on our left, and vast plains of native forest on our right.
“The Cooloola Way” is a rough dirt road heading north-east from here all the way to Tin Can Bay. It has some bumpy downhill sections which are a lot of fun to ride on a bike…
…We followed it back into the national park for a while.
We left the road and followed a narrow track through some spectacular open plains.
And then into some dense paperbark forests.
It was impressive to see such a variety of vegetaion and terrain in such a small distance.
Then disaster struck. A stick got caught in my derailleur, twisting and breaking it.
The derailleur is the mecahnism which changes the gears. The only way to repair this sort of damage while you’re on the trail is to remove the derailleur and convert the bike into a single-speed.
I’ve done this before, but the chain ended up being too tight, damaging my rear cassette, so I let Darb and Eric help me out and fix the bike.
With a single-speed, I didn’t have the luxury of changing gears when the terrain got rougher. Plus the slightly loose chain kept dropping down a cog or two. To fix this we attached a green stick to the chain-stay, inside the chain, to push it out and keep the chain on the right cog. It was a bit noisy, but it did the trick.
Not long after that we reached the waterhole.
Although the water is stained brown by tannin from leaves, it’s pure and fresh. On a warmer day we would have had a swim, but today it was too cold.
We had planned to return via Wandi Waterhole, but with my mechanical problems we decided to play it safe and return via the Cooloola Way.
There are many trails around here that we are yet to explore. I’d like to come back again (with a properly working bike) and see what we can find.
We made our way back through the paperbark forest near the river to our starting point.
There were still a few hours left in the day, so we decided to have a look at nearby Doggrell Tree Conservation Area.
Doggrell forest contains some majestic Gympie Messmate trees.
They tower upto 60 metres above the forest floor.
These huge trees are prized for their excellent wood, which explains why it’s difficult to find many mature trees still alive in the wild…
You can still see the cut marks in the old stumps where loggers placed boards so they could climb up and fell the tree.
You don’t often see Kauri Pines growing in the wild, so when I spotted this one I decided to hug it 🙂
Everything is big here, including the Cabbage Tree Palms which grow 15 to 20 metres high.
All up we rode 51km in 5 hours including about 90 minutes in breaks.
This is an easy and pleasant ride in the cooler months – I’m rating it 5.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. Take plenty of water in warmer months.
Thanks Darb and Eric for another spectacular ride.
Thanks too for an excellent temporary repair job on my bike!
UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of our ride:
Max elevation: 132 m
Min elevation: 16 m
Total climbing: 789 m
Total descent: -763 m
Average speed: 15.19 km/h
Total Time: 05:15:18