Diana's Bath (Almost)

Diana’s Bath (Almost)

I tried to ride to Diana’s Bath today. It’s up in the D’Aguilar Ranges half way between Dayboro and Kilcoy. It’s about a 100km round trip from my place and I would have made it except I ran out of time. But I’m happy with my efforts to get within 5km on my first attempt.

Mt Pleasant
A stand of Hoop Pines and Bunya Pines grow along the upper reaches of the North Pine River in Mount Pleasant.

Surveyor Robert Dixon drew a map of the area in 1842 and noted a “Bunya Scrub Camp” on the upper reaches of the North Pine River (he called it the Eden River). But I think this bunch of trees is even further up the river than Dixon surveyed.

Upper Reaches - North Pine River
This is the source of the North Pine River. It continues for another kilometre upstream from here in the rainforest. This is the same river that passes within 500m of our house on its way to the sea about 50km downstream.

Byron Creek
Byron Creek flows westwards into Reedy Creek and eventually into the Stanley River before it meets the Brisbane River near Esk.

View Diana’s Bath in a larger map
This map gives an idea of how close I got. About 1.5km as the crow flies, but about 5 on the road.

Total distance: 96.55 km
Max elevation: 357 m
Min elevation: -47 m
Total climbing: 1904 m
Total descent: -1868 m
Average speed: 19.34 km/h
Total time: 06:50:03
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Diana's Bath (Almost)

Mountains to Mangroves

Mountains to Mangroves

I did a pretty long ride today. From our place I headed out to Samford, then up into the D’Aguilar Range to Mt Nebo, down some beautiful dirt tracks to The Gap, then along some cycle-ways to the Moreton Bay Bike way through the mangroves in the Boondall Wetlands, and back home. This was a solo ride. I’ve done similar distances with friends before, but this was the first time I did it by myself, which meant I rode a lot more conservatively than if I was in a group.

That’s not to say I didn’t have setbacks. I got a flat near Samford, which wouldn’t have normally been a problem. But I have tubeless tyres. When they go flat on the road, you have to stick a tube in. But my bike has thick rims, and the tube stem didn’t poke out far enough for me to lock the pump on it. Eventually I figured out if I screwed on a presta / schraeder adapter, I could inflate the tyre through that instead. But it took me three-quarters of an hour to figure out how to do it. (Next time it will take 10 minutes).

South Boundary Road
South Boundary Road is a beautiful track which runs from Mount Nebo to The Gap and passes through lush rainforest and open eucalypt bush land. On any weekend it’s a free-way for mountain bikers 🙂

Which way?
Lots of trails branch out from South Boundary Road. Even with a GPS I missed one turn – the same turn I missed last time. Thankfully there are lots of signposts to show the way.

Mt Coot-tha Forest
The southern end of Brisbane Forest Park borders Mt Coot-tha forest, which has been set aside by the Brisbane City Council.

It has miles of trails to ride as well.

I couldn’t resist leaning the bike up against a large spotted gum and taking a picture of this old wrought iron gate in the middle of nowhere.

After leaving the forests of the D’Aguilar Range I headed east towards the coast.

Thankfully most of the way is via bike ways which go through the many parks that line the creeks on their way to the sea.

Kalinga Park is usually full of people enjoying a picnic lunch on a Saturday. Today was no exception

All up, 112km with 1750m of vertical ascent. 5,800 kcal burned. (That’s a lot of Gatorade :)).

Total distance: 114.67 km
Max elevation: 516 m
Min elevation: -50 m
Total climbing: 1960 m
Total descent: -1902 m
Average speed: 18.62 km/h
Total time: 09:14:18
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Camp Mountain Railway

Camp Mountain Railway

As part of my project to explore the site of the old railway line between Ferny Grove and Dayboro I cycled out to Ferny Grove today. Today this is the terminus of the Queensland Railway’s Brisbane to Ferny line.

End of the Line

But before 1955 this line went all the way to Dayboro.

The old railway track rises out of Ferny Grove and winds slowly up Camp Mountain. Even though the gradient is low (less than 5%) the train would have struggled slowly to the crest of the hill, after which it would pick up speed as it rolled down into Camp Mountain Station.
Camp Mountain

In May 1947, disaster struck. After reaching the top of climb at Camp Mountain, one train accelerated too quickly downhill and crashed at this site as the track curved sharply to the left.
Crash SiteCrash Site

16 people were killed as carriages telescoped into each other.

Today it still stands as Queensland’s worst ever rail disaster, and the second most tragic rail disaster in Australia’s history after Granville.
Camp Mountain Railway

Total distance: 78.19 km
Max elevation: 187 m
Min elevation: -9 m
Total climbing: 1326 m
Total descent: -1315 m
Average speed: 18.80 km/h
Total time: 05:38:40
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Point Glorious and Browns Creek

Point Glorious and Browns Creek

I thought I’d explore some of the forest up in the hills to the west of Yandina.

There are some awesome trails in those hills, and the forest is beautiful.

Unfortunately it was raining quite heavily and the clouds blocked out any view from the lookout.

One of the hills on Browns Creek Road was heart braking, and actually beat me. It was a continuous rocky and muddy climb in excess of 20% for about 3km. The gradient was fine, but when I stopped, I was unable to clip into the pedals again, and had to walk a couple of hundred metres up the steepest part.

Browns Creek
Browns Creek. Gorgeous. What more can I say?
Browns Creek Road
Browns Creek Road
Point Glorious
The view from Point Glorious.

Total distance: 71.5 km
Max elevation: 339 m
Min elevation: -26 m
Total climbing: 813 m
Total descent: -619 m
Average speed: 17.45 km/h
Total time: 05:02:04
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Weyba and Noosa

Weyba and Noosa

I spent a couple of hours exploring some dirt roads north west of Coolum this morning.

I didn’t really have a plan – just wanted to stay off the main roads and discover some places I’d never been before.

Even thought it was raining when I left, I wasn’t disappointed. There are plenty of dirt roads, fire trails, and bush tracks around here and I had a great time finding some new places.

Lake WeybaLake Weyba
Lake Weyba is a large salt-water lake north-west of Coolum. There aren’t many roads that allow access to the lake because it’s bounded on the east by national park and mostly on the west by private property.

After riding down a dirt track for a kilometre or so, I eventually found the lake shore. It’s quiet and picturesque – well worth the effort to find it.

Noosa National ParkNoosa National Park
Noosa National Park – Emu Swamp Section is low-lying swamp land containing lots of paper-bark / Tea Trees, Banksias and Tree Ferns.

Total distance: 39.58 km
Max elevation: 61 m
Min elevation: 12 m
Total climbing: 356 m
Total descent: -356 m
Average speed: 18.17 km/h
Total time: 02:44:00
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Brisbane Forest Park

Brisbane Forest Park

Simon and I had an awesome ride today through Brisbane Forest Park.

We rode from Lawnton to Samford, up the Goat Track to Mt Nebo, down South Boundary Road fire road to The Gap, up Highvale Road to Mt Cooth-Tha, and then along the Coronation Drive Bikeway into the City.

All up, just over 70km, and 1,500m of climbing.

We rocketed down some amazingly fast dirt roads, climbed some mountainous steep hills, saw some beautiful sights, and met some great people.

I really must do that ride again!

Neil: “It’s down that road somewhere I think….”
Neil isn't sure

Simon: “Should I believe this bloke?”
Neither is Simon

Total distance: 70.75 km
Max elevation: 519 m
Min elevation: 13 m
Total climbing: 1642 m
Total descent: -1647 m
Average speed: 18.02 km/h
Total time: 07:28:11
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Blue Tiers

Blue Tiers

I cycled through the Blue Tiers in North Eastern Tasmania today. The day started beautifully at the small town of Weldborough, but the weather quickly deteriorated and I ended up doing most of the 35km in cold rain.  I’ve never ridden in such cold conditions (3 – 4 C) before, and it was satisfying to know I could do a tough ride in such difficult conditions.

The route was east out of Weldborough, up the mountain, then down a dirt road to Lottah, up to the Blue Tier camping ground at Poimena, and then down the “Descent” trail back into Weldborough.

Lottah Caravan
As I rode into Lottah, it was pouring with rain and freezing, so I waited a while at this little caravan and shelter. No one was there, and the door was unlocked. I went in, and there was a guest book on the table, so I signed it.

What a welcome sight to a cold, wet traveler! I celebrated by eating Snickers bar. I was amazed at how quickly the chocolate and nuts warmed me up.
Which way to go? I had a pretty basic map and I tried to follow all the signs. Even so, there were still a few times I thought I had gone the wrong way.

I got sick of battling to climb all the rock gardens on foot, so I stopped and did a quick video 🙂

Weldborough Hotel
This is where I started and ended my ride. I was so glad to arrive there 90 minutes late at the end of the ride.

It was built in the 1880’s and is pretty spartan inside. So I had a Ham Pot Roast and a cup of tea as I sat by the warm fireplace.

That meal was better than any I have had at a fancy restaurant. It warmed me to my core.

All up, it was a total ascent of about 1,000m. The climb up was steep and I worked hard, but it was much more difficult coming down the mountain. There were some very rocky descents, and quite a few freezing flooded creeks that I had to cross.

I couldn’t take many photos because it rained so much, so I couldn’t get the phone out to take photos because it would get wet.

I’d say this was the hardest ride I’ve done todate because I did it alone, so I had to be extra careful, and because of the unfamiliar conditions – very cold and very tricky downhills.

Because my phone conked out I don’t have a complete log, so I’m basing the profile and map on the manual route I worked out before the ride. I actually rode an extra 5km in the middle of the ride at Poimena because I made a mistake and got onto the descent trail the “long” way instead of the short way.
Blue Tiers

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/magictyger/4871487906/” title=”Lottah Caravan by Neil Ennis, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4136/4871487906_e2c5b838d3.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Lottah Caravan” /></a>

Blue Tiers, Tasmania

I plan to ride a mountain bike through the Blue Tiers in Tasmania this Sunday. It’s a picturesque, remote alpine area of north-eastern Tasmania that is supposed to be well worth the effort.

The only problem is that I’ll probably be riding it alone, and I’ve never been there before.

So to be on the safe side, I’m publishing my proposed route here, with some checkpoints along the way, and I’ll update my twitter feed with a photo from those checkpoints so that (if you’re interested) you can keep an eye on where I’m up to. If I fall off the bike, or get abducted by aliens, at least you’ll know how far I got and where I plan to go.

I’ll be leaving the Weldborough Hotel at about 10.30am and aim to be back by about 3pm.

The checkpoints are:

  1. Weldborough Hotel. 0km. 10:30am
  2. Lotta Rd Turnoff. 6.4km. 11:00am
  3. Town of Lotta. 14.2km.  11:45am
  4. Poimena School Site. 17.8km. 12:30pm
  5. Emu Road. 22.4km. 1:30pm
  6. Weldborough Hotel. 30km. 2:30pm

Here’s the map

I’m really looking forward to it, and hope to share some great photos.