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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Blackbutt Revisited

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Radnor Hotel

I’ve ridden the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) a few times, but this time I did it with Josh and 11 year old Harrison. We wanted it to be a bit of of an adventure, so we decided to take a change of clothes with us, and stay overnight at Blackbutt before riding back down the next day.

We left the car at Linville and headed up the Rail Trail in the early afternoon.

Missing BridgeMissing BridgeMissing Bridge

For the most part, the trail is really easy, with a gentle climb that would have been flat enough for a heavily laden locomotive to go up. But the bridges have been removed, so when we came to creek crossings, there were a few fun descents into the creek bed, followed by a wild scramble up the other side.

BVRT Gates

The trail runs through several cattle properties, which means there are many gates to open and close. We worked out a system where one of us would ride ahead, and open the gate so the others could roll through without having to hop off the bikes.

Grass Trees

Grass Trees

The hillsides around Linville are covered with Grass Trees (Xanthorrhoea). These slow growing plants only grow about 1cm per year. Some of them are 3 or 4 metres high, so we guessed they were probably hundreds of years old.

Benarkin Bora Ring

Towards the top of the range, the rolling cattle properties give way to state forest, thick with Hoop Pines and Eucalytpus. In the middle of the Hoop Pine plantation we found this old Aboriginal Bora Ring. It’s still possible to make out the raised mound of earth encircling the ring. Areas like this were an important part of indigenous ceremonies.


After a hard ride up the hill, we stopped at the Radnor Hotel – the Blackbutt Pub for a game of pool and a great dinner. The pub was built in 1912, and is probably the only pub in Queensland that still has rings on the posts outside so you can tie your horses up. (That’s the pub in the photo at the top of this article).

Back Roads

We stayed the night at the Edelweiss bed and breakfast. It’s 4km out of town, but we were able to get from the B&B back to the trail by following mostly gravel roads, which is much nicer than bitumen.

Hanes Kite Millar Road

On the way back, rather than just retrace our steps down the hill, we followed some forestry roads out the back of Blackbutt. One of these, Haynes Kite Millar Road, has some long descents which are a lot of fun to ride down on the bikes.

All up this was about 60km with 600m vertical ascent. I thought it was a pleasant, easy ride suitable for beginner – intermediate riders. It’s a great location for a social ride. I’m giving this one 5.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

P.S. One bit of advice about overnight rides: Travel light, take it easy, and if you don’t feel like carrying a tent, food, cooking gear and a sleeping bag, stay at a pub or B&B :)

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