Today’s adventure happened accidentally. We had planned to just ride up and down the beach, but the weather forced us to change our plans.
We started at Sunrise Beach, just south of Noosa, and followed a few short sandy tracks through the national park.
We eventually reached a bike path which we followed to the beach.
“Gee that looks inviting,” I thought as I gazed out from a hilltop down to the ocean.
A stiff breeze blew. A few clouds scattered across the sky. The tide was falling. It seemed like a perfect day to get out on the beach.
“This wind is too strong,” Jason said.
The southerly wind was blowing up the beach. If we stuck to our plan we’d be pushing into it for the next couple of hours.
That didn’t sound like fun.
We decided to change our plans.
The day before I had checked out some maps of inland tracks in the area, so I suggested we ride inland for a while to avoid the strong wind. Once we had traveled as far south as we wanted, we could then roll onto the beach and let the wind blow us home.
We followed a few steep tracks up a hill to a vantage point overlooking Lake Weyba.
I didn’t even know this spot was here.
It’s amazing what you discover when you deviate from the original plan.
The inland tracks are mostly made of soft sand….
They’re hard work, even on a fat bike.
But they offer impressive views over the dunes towards the ocean.
We were now just “making it up as we went along”, so when an interesting track appeared on the GPS leading towards the shoreline of the lake, we followed it.
The track narrowed when we reached some scrub near the shoreline, and eventually petered out. There was nothing much to see, so we just turned around and retraced our steps.
Near Marcus Beach, the soft sandy tracks gave way to grass. The firmer surface made it easier to pedal. Grunts and groans gave way to smiles.
Botanists would probably call this terrain a coastal heath.
It’s mostly flat with lots of ferns boggy ground, and vast open views to the distant horizon.
Huge open spaces like this are good for the soul.
Near Peregian we headed west across the plain, following the power lines.
“Gee I’m glad we didn’t step on any bombs,” I muttered under my breath as I read the warning sign.
As an ex-military man, Calum assured me we were never in any danger.
We followed more tracks through the swamp towards Emu Mountain.
It’s not even seventy metres high, so Emu Mountain isn’t really a mountain, but the track to the top is quite steep in parts.
Some of us dug deep and pedaled powerfully upwards.
Some of us took it easy and enjoyed the view.
We all took a break at the top to survey the land below us.
The views are impressive in whichever direction you look.
After our short rest, we jumped back on the bikes and enjoyed a rough descent back down the hill.
From there we followed Stumers Creek towards Coolum.
It wasn’t the most direct route to the beach, but it avoided busy roads, which is the way Mountain Bikers like it.
We smiled involuntarily as soon as we rolled on to the beach.
With the strong wind at our backs, this was effortless.
I didn’t even need to pedal.
A few people were out for a leisurely stroll along the beach. We weaved around them, and the rocks as we headed north.
I was grateful for Jason’s suggestion earlier in the day to avoid riding on the beach into the wind.
Coming back this way was much more enjoyable.
Even Peter, on his skinny tyres, had no problems coasting downwind.
Noosa Heads poked above the sea-mist on the distant northern horizon. We were almost back to our starting point.
Rather than end the ride there, we took a short detour at Peregian for lunch. There was still an hour or two left before the incoming tide reclaimed the beach, so we were in no rush.
We returned to the beach after lunch for the last few kilometres towards Sunrise Beach.
“That was fun!”
Total climbing: 680 m
Average temperature: 20.2
Total time: 05:01:23
We rode about fifty kilometres in five hours. During that time we climbed about 650 metres in vertical elevation, and I burned about 2,500 kcal.
This was a pleasant and easy ride, except for one or two steep bits. I’ll rate it 7 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Calum, Jason, Kaye, Simon, Adam, Peter, Clare and Mike for a fun day out!