We’ve enjoyed several rides there before, so when my friend, Neil Bang (“Bangers”) asked if I’d like to join him for another adventure to Walloon, how could I refuse?
Walloon is a small town west of Ipswich, on the railway line to Toowoomba. Using as many off-road tracks as possible, the aim was to ride from home; meet everone at Bunyaville; ride westwards over the D’Aguilar Range to Walloon; then catch the train home.
In the crisp morning air we followed bike paths through Albany Creek to Bunyaville.
We met Bangers at Bunyaville then headed westwards through “Ironbark” in Samford State Forest.
The Ferny Grove Rail Trail is a great offroad way to get from Ironbark to the Pony Trails near Samford. We followed it westward.
I remember riding these trails about five years ago and thinking how difficult they were. These days I think they’re a lot of fun. A little bit of practice and fitness can make a big difference.
As the name suggests, they were originally intended for use by horse riders, but these days mountain bikers and walkers also enjoy them.
We eventually reached the Goat Track. This road up to Mount Nebo was damaged by heavy rain a few years ago, which caused land slides and rock falls. When it was damaged, we worked out a rough path through the debris. It has taken a couple of years, but now the road is nice and smooth again. While that’s good for the community, a few of us admitted to feeling a sense of loss that the fun trails through the debris were gone.
Despite it now being a “tame” road, the Goat Track still offers some great views of Moreton Bay to the East.
We slowly made our way up Mount Nebo Road to the Dundas Road fire trail.
There’s a great little camping spot on Dundas Road complete with Picnic Table, water tank and log seats.
Jason got a puncture so we all had a bit of a rest here while he made a few quick repairs.
We followed Dundas Road down hill to the west. As we progressed it slowly grew steeper…
We eventually reached “Whoah Boy” Break – a very steep descent which gets its name from the dozens of water bars or “Whoah Boys” that you have to roll of jump over on the way down.
It’s not the sort of place to ride if you don’t have good brakes
In order to avoid some steep climbs at a hill called “The Wall of Dirt”, we decided instead to cut through a small bush camp complete with caravans, satellite dishes and clothes lines. The people there are very friendly but unfortunately there was no one home today.
The trail eventually dropped us out on Banks Creek Road. The terrain changed abruptly from eucalyptus forest to open cattle country.
A few of us have commented before that if you want to see a number of different Australian landscapes in one day – this is probably the way to do it.
We all rolled westward at an easy pace, enjoying the conversation as we rode over the undulating hills towards Fernvale.
We eventually crossed the Brisbane River at Savages Crossing.
The crystal clear water sparkled under the blue sky. Somewhere east of here this sparkling stream morphs into a wide muddy river slowly winding through a busy city. I much prefer the rural version.
In Fernvale we stopped at the Bakery to refuel, then said “G’day” to a couple of riders from Austria who were cycling around the world. To date they had ridden over 20,000 km. It put our small “epic” into perspective.
From Fernvale we followed the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail southwards, past a couple of disused bridges.
The Fairney View section has been opened since we were last here. It was good to be able to try out a new section of the trail.
At Wanora we left the rail trail and headed west again along some more gravel roads.
We then followed a road reserve called “By Road”. It’s rough, and we had to push the bikes in one or two places, but we agreed we’d rather do this than ride on a paved road.
We then followed Coach Lane southwards. This old track is rutted in places. If you pick a wrong line you can end up in a ditch. I was at the back of the pack and played it safe by picking the line that everyone else took.
We then followed some dirt roads south, and crossed the busy highway to Toowoomba at Haigslea.
For me, part of the fun of planning a mountain bike ride is to try and get from “A” to “B” while avoiding as much paved road as possible. That’s why I love trails like these dirt tracks just outside of Walloon.
We arrived in Walloon with time to spare before the train arrived, so we stopped in at the “Walloon Saloon” for a few drinks.
Then we bundled the bikes into the back of a train for the two hour trip back home.
I always enjoy this ride – it’s a fun way to cover a wide variety of terrain and a reasonably long distance in a single day, without having to work too hard.
All up we rode about 85km in 8 hours including breaks. I burned about 4,000 kcal and we climbed about 1,500 metres in ascent.
This ride rates about 8 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Bangers for inviting me to ride with you today.
Thanks Geoff, Greg, Rick, Paul, Darb, Jason and Bangers for the great company – I really enjoyed it!