Today’s adventure took us for a long climb up a rough dirt road, culminating in some amazing views from the Lamington Plateau.
We started at the quiet farming community of Kerry and rode east along Duck Creek Road.
Duck Creek Road is privately owned and maintained, relying on community donations for its upkeep.
It’s also very steep.
The road is currently closed to vehicular traffic, which makes it perfect for a peaceful day out on the bike.
After fifteen minutes of very hard work we reached the first lookout – a perfect excuse to stop briefly and recover.
Steep tracks are a test of will power. You just drop into a low gear, move forward on the seat, pick an easy line and mash the pedals…
… or you can walk. That works well too.
The challenging gradient stretched us out over a few hundred metres as we followed the twisty track upwards.
John Shephard Lookout provided a great excuse for another rest.
From here we could see all the way to Cunninghams Gap.
The views were even better from atop the rocky embankment behind the lookout.
I’ve never seen a road project described as “Do it yourself” before 🙂
Russel said “We don’t normally do group photos. Why don’t we get one now?”
The climb grew easier as we gained elevation.
Eventually there was a break in the trees and we were able look out across Luke O’Reilly’s farm.
Russel is always handy to have around in these situations – he has an amazing memory when it comes to remembering the names of some of the mountains.
But you don’t need to know the names of the mountains to appreciate the stunning views.
At the top of Duck Creek Road we turned right and pedaled up the paved road.
Russel had arranged permission from the owners for us to ride through Luke O’Reilly’s farm.
The long tree-covered driveway ended at a gate…
Beyond the gate were some stunning views of the valley below us.
Jason sat on a rocky outcrop to soak up the panorama for half an hour.
The rest of us continued towards the edge of the plateau on our bikes.
At “Pat’s Bluff” we got off the bikes and eased tentatively towards the cliff face on foot.
What amazing views!
We followed the cliff around to a rocky outcrop.
“Don’t get too close, guys.”
My knees felt weak.
Blair had the right idea and parked himself safely on a rock.
“So do you guys do this sort of thing every week, Dad?”
“Yeah mate. Why do you think I smile so much?”
It sure beats watching TV, doesn’t it?
Rather than follow the car track back up the hill, we walked the bikes along a rough track.
The track eventually emerged at the road, which we followed up to the cafe.
After a leisurely lunch, we rolled back down to the Duck Creek Road intersection.
I put my jacket on. The descent would be much faster than the climb, and the temperatures were much lower.
I paused my frantic descent at Wangerriburra Place – a memorial to the original inhabitants of the area. I smiled in agreement at the words. This is truly a land of beauty and plenty. I felt privileged as one of the “New People” to be able to enjoy it.
Hungry cattle wandered through dusty brown paddocks at the bottom of the hill. This area is usually lush with thick green grass. I’ve never seen it so dry. Hopefully the rain will come soon.
Total climbing: 1352 m
Average temperature: 15.1
Total time: 05:11:54
We rode about forty kilometres in just over five hours.
During that time we climbed about 1,250 metres and I burned about 2,500 kcal.
This is a challenging climb, definitely worth the effort for the views.
I’ll rate it 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
NOTE: Luke O’Reilly’s farm is privately owned. You must get permission before entering.
Thanks Eric, Calum, Russel, Jason G, Adam, Blair, Harrison and Jason R for being part of this memorable ride.