Along the Old North Road (Part 2)

Along the Old North Road (Part 2)

Last week Simon and I rode from Wamuran to Moorina along the historic Old North Road.

This week we wanted to complete the southern section of where we think the road went, between Kurwongbah and Moorina.

Along the Old North Road: Dunlop LaneAlong the Old North Road: Mosquito CreekAn old bridge beam?Along the Old North Road: Mosquito CreekAlong the Old North Road: Smiths Road

We started at Dunlop Lane then headed north along Smiths Road where it crosses Mosquito Creek. I looked around here for any traces of an old bridge but could find nothing except an old beam in one of the banks.

Along the Old North Road: Franz RoadSurvey TreeAlong the Old North Road: Franz Road
Merelyn very kindly let us look around her property which is on the southern end of historic Franz Road where it used to meet Alf Dobson Road. She showed us the remnants of the Old Road, with what I think are survey marks clearly chopped out of a dead tree near the road.

Merelyn has records of the road reserve being re-gazetted from it’s historic route past her front door, to a point along one of the boundaries of her farm.

The ground is heavily compacted showing evidence of frequent traffic at some time in the past.

Merelyn has had conversations with several old-timers who tell her cattle used to be driven southwards along the road prior to the early 20th century.

Along the Old North Road: Franz RoadAlong the Old North Road: Franz RoadAlong the Old North Road: Franz Homestead 1891

Cliff, Owen and Cathy very kindly let us ride through their farm trying to find any remnants of the road.

As Franz Road heads north, we tried to retrace the road by referencing an old survey plan by William Fryar in 1868.

These old trees are close to where Fryar’s plan showed trees that he used as reference markers for his pegs. Unfortunately the original trees are long gone.

I would have made a hopeless surveyor, and found it difficult to differentiate between what I thought were remnants of the old road, and more recent farm tracks.

Cathy showed us this old photo of the old Franz homestead near where we passed.

Along the Old North Road: Haywood RoadAlong the Old North Road: Haywood Road
Judy and Ken kindly showed us the remnants of an old road passing through their property.

Judy tells me that the road was used by Cobb & Co in the 19th century.

It winds up a fairly steep hill, and in some places it’s possible to see evidence of past maintenance, including an old log bridge, and frequent large rocks lining the sides of the road.

Along The Old North Road

Along The Old North Road

Along The Old North RoadOld North Road: Warabah CreekAlong The Old North RoadAlong The Old North Road
Simon and I caught the train up to Caboolture today and cycled back via Wamuran and Dayboro.

The aim was to explore an old historical road in our area and have fun while we were doing it.

“The Old North Road” is a historic road which was established in 1843 by The Archer brothers (David, Thomas and John) and Evan Mackenzie as a quicker way to travel from Brisbane to Durundur Station and Kilcoy.

Parts of it remain to the North West of Brisbane (where it’s known as “Old Northern Road”, and up near Wamuran on the D’Aguilar Highway where it’s still known as “Old North Road”.

Along The Old North Road: Zillman's CrossingAlong The Old North Road: Zillman's Crossing
One of the pleasant surprises we found along the way was Zillman’s Crossing. It’s a causeway where The Old North Road crosses the Caboolture River in Rocksberg. This delightfully picturesque spot belies its history where horses, carts, and later cars would have a terrible time getting over the crossing.

Along The Old North Road: Gregors Creek
We also crossed Gregors Creek, an old dirt track at the southern end of F.Lindsay Road. This was originally part of the Old North Road, but became disused over the years. Click on the video for a superb demonstration of prowess as Simon shows how to cross a creek on a bike.

As this newspaper article from the Moreton Bay Courier (October 24 1846) reports, Gregors Creek was site of a gruesome murder.

Along The Old North Road: Franz MountainMary Anns CottageAncient fig
A little further south, and The Old North Road passed below Franz Mountain in Moorina. It overlooks a secluded valley which follows the banks of Burpengary Creek. Today the road is called “Franz Road” and passes south-east through some private property towards Narangba.

One of the beautiful old properties close to Franz Mountain is “Mary Ann’s Cottage“. This delightful cottage was built around 1880 by the son of one of the Moravian Missionaries, Maurice Schnieder and his wife Mary Ann. An outstanding native fig tree (Ficus Virens) stands proudly on the property, and is believed to be over 500 years old.

Meg Thomas, owner of Mary Ann’s Cottage has a fascinating collection of documents detailing the history of the property:

Mountain View RoadMountain View Road Panorama

We’ll try to complete the northern section of The Old North Road next week, from Moorina to Whiteside.

But to cap this leg of the journey off, we decided to follow an old dirt “short cut” up the side of Mt Mee. Exceeding a grade of 25% over a couple of kilometres, this has to be the steepest road I’ve ever tried cycling up. But the views were spectacular, and the exhilarating journey down the mountain after the summit made it a worthwhile climb.

Mount Ninderry

Mount Ninderry

Mount NinderryMount NinderryMount NinderryMount NinderryMount Ninderry

Mount Ninderry is one of the first monoliths you see when you turn off the Bruce Highway at Yandina and approach Coolum.

It’s about 360m high with a car park about halfway up.

I’ve seen it dozens of times on our many trips to Coolum, and eventually decided to check it out.

I cycled there this morning, and hiked to the top for some great views of the the coast and farmland around Coolum.

Some of the hills were a challenge.

After the hike, I discovered the dirt part of Ninderry Road which is a steep horse trail leading down the north-eastern side of the mountain. It was a lot of fun on the mountain bike – although I took it pretty slowly.

Then it was an easy ride along mostly dirt roads back to the main drag and home.

All up about 43km with maybe 520m of ascending (according to

Mt Nebo and Beyond

Mt Nebo and Beyond

Our ride to Mt Nebo was a big one. We thought the climb up the mountain would be difficult, but it wasn’t. We thought the ride back down via Bellbird Grove and Camp Mountain would be easy, but it wasn’t. All up we travelled about 55km. I burned over 4,200 calories and drank copious quantities of sports drinks, and had a large “lunch” at about 10am at the Mt Nebo cafe.

Our total ascent for the ride was 1,437 metres (about 4,500 feet).

I just want to say how much I admire my mate Simon. This was the hardest ride he’s ever done, and he just kept going – even when he was hurting and didn’t really want to go on at one stage. Even when we should have given him a break and taken a quicker route back to Samford from Camp Mountain. Simon – you’re amazing, mate. This ride brought home to me the important lesson that we do this because it’s fun. We don’t do it to set world records, or to be heroes, or to win races. And when riding in a team everyone in the team needs to look out for each other. So that’s going to be my #2 rule in future, after riding safely.

Here’s some pictures:
Samford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove CircuitSamford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove CircuitSamford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove CircuitSamford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove Circuit

The Goat Track is a dirt road “short cut” from Samford to Mt Nebo. It’s one way – you’re only allowed to go UP the road, not down it. It’s pretty steep – but we overestimed the grade, and got up quite easily. The total climb up the track is just under 440m in about 5km.

Samford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove CircuitSamford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove CircuitSamford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove Circuit

Some of the route along South Boundary Road once we got to the top of the range

South Boundary Road was pretty difficult. The descents were rocky and the final ascent before rejoining the bitumen road is a killer. I had to walk part of the way because it was too steep.

Samford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove Circuit

Bellbird Grove was deserted – which was unusual for a Saturday lunch time. There’s no drinkable water there, but lots of picnic tables, BBQ’s and shade. We rested here before trying to attack the fire road up Camp Mountain, which leans down into the Samford Valley.

Samford / Mt Nebo / Bellbird Grove Circuit

One of the many pony trails in the Samford Valley. One way to avoid the cars, but at the end of a 55km ride, the trails were hard work!

Here’s the map:

Mt Nebo and Beyond

A five hour Trek

A five hour Trek

Simon, Steve and I decided to combine two great off-road rides into one today.

First we rode along Browns Creek Road where my bike sunk in muddy water up to my axels and my feet got soaked. I’ve got into the habit of taking spare socks with me now, so the water isn’t so much of a hassle.

We came back along Smith’s Road and decided to detour down Dunlop Lane which appears to run through a horse riding ranch.

And finally we crossed the main road and ventured along some SEQ Water tracks near Lake Samsonvale, coming out at the McGavin View picnic area.

All up about 55km of MTB goodness, most of it off-road.

Young eucalypts close to the shoreline of Lake Samsonvale have been flooded by recent welcome rain….
Flooded Eucalypts by the Lake

An angry looking Brahman Bull looks at us as he protects his “girls”….
An angry Brahman Bull protects his "girls"

Me, my bike, and the Glasshouse Mountains….
Me, My Bike, and the Glass House Mountains

Simon and his new bike….
Simon and his new bike

Look carefully and you can see Moreton Island in the distance….
Looking East to Moreton Island

If you look carefully you can see some sailboats on the lake….
Sailboats on the Lake

Beerburrum State Forest

Beerburrum State Forest

The Glass House Mountains
Pumicestone Passage
Beerburrum State ForestHitting the WallBeerburrum State Forest

Between Donnybrrok / Toorbul and the Glass House Mountains, there are hundreds of square kilometres of pine forest and dirt tracks.

Some of the tracks are beautiful smooth gravel.

Others are diabolical sand and deep ruts, that stretch on for ages and have you groaning “Are we there yet?”

All in all – a fantastic time on the mountain bikes.

But as Steve and I found out – riding for a few kilometres on sand and through deep tyre ruts is exhausting work!

Up and Down the Mountain

Up and Down the Mountain

Moore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail TrailMoore to Benarkin Rail Trail

Here’s some pictures of our ride on the Moore-Linville-Benarkin section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail yesterday.

It took us a couple of hours to get up the mountain on the old railway line, and about 30 minutes to ride down the highway, racing off the cars and trucks.

The salad roll I had in the Benarkin Store was the best I’ve ever had. I can’t beleive how hungry I got after two hours riding.

Benarkin is the highest point on the ride. We had the option of riding another 5km down into Blackbutt and back, but decided against it.

Steve B did really well on the ride. His seat wasn’t adjusted properly, so partway through the ride he was pretty sore and ended up having to stand on his pedals quite frequently to get some relief. To his credit he persevered. Harrison did well too. Even though the climb was gradual, it was unrelenting. After a couple of hours, looking up the line at another kilometre of long slow hill climb can be quite depressing. He kept riding which is what counts.

The other thing that made the ride hard work is that we came across lots of locked gates. So we had to lift the bikes over the gates, and climb over.

And then there’s the ravines. When Qld Rail ripped up the rails, they also took out the bridges. So instead of rolling over bridges, we had to ride down steep gullies and up the other side. It’s fun – what Mountain Bikes are made for. We had to be careful riding down and push like crazy to pedal out of the ravine. If we didn’t keep our momentum up we’d end up having to walk the bike out of the gully which is harder than pedalling out.

At the top, we decided we didn’t want to battle the deep gullies and locked gates again, so we rode the hghway down. In some places the highway is pretty steep and we found ourselves keeping pace with the cars. It’s exciting, but there’s no room for mistakes. Luckily we made it without any incidents.

As usual on long rides, the battery on my N95 mobile phone / gps ran out. So I’m very thankful to Steve G for giving me a copy of the GPS data from his Garmin so I could share the map below.