Tucked away in a remote and rugged section of the D’Aguilar Range, Dianas Bath is a difficult place to get to – even on a mountain bike. Today we ventured to this secluded rock pool via a strangely named and ralrely used track named “Butcher Shop Creek Road”.
My friend, Nick, was visiting from interstate, so Darb, Simon and I decided to tke him on a tough tour of some of the local tracks close to home.
A few minutes into the climb, we heard a friendly voice behind us and met Zac who had ridden his road bike up from Chermside and wanted to explore the D’Aguilar Range. With its narrow tyres, Zac’s bike made the rocky climb up Wirth Road much more challenging, but he impressed us as he worked his way up the hill.
We left Zac at the top of Butcher Shop Creek Road. This steep track drops 530 metres over about 10 kilometres. The rocky descent is a lot of fun as it snakes down the range, but it demands a lot of concentration.
At the bottom of the descent we had to ride across rocky creek beds half a dozen times. I was grateful for the dry weather – this track would be hard work if the creek was flowing.
The thick forest ended abruptly as we suddenly emerged on Stirlings Road. If you keep following this dusty track you’d eventually end up at Somerset Dam. But today we weren’t venturing so far afield.
The road has a few wet crossings. We let Simon walk through and check the depth, then we rode through. Thanks Simon!
“Bobs Camp” is a lovely little camping site on the banks of the creek – complete with wooden “bunks”. We took a few minutes to check it out. I wonder how many travelers have boiled a billy and stayed overnight here?
Eventually we had to ditch the bikes and complete the last few hundred metres to the rock pool on foot. On previous visits I had rock-hopped up the creek bed to Dianas Bath, and was about to do the same this time when Darb suggested “Why don’t you just follow the path?”.
I didn’t even realize there was a walking track to the pool. Darb’s way was much easier.
Despite months of dry weather, Diana’s Bath was still full, so we jumped in for a swim. After the hot work of pedalling and hiking, the water felt delicious.
After the swim, we had a bite to eat. While I munched on a humble peanut butter sandwich, Simon produced a massive Cornish pastie. I’m not sure how he managed to fit that in his bag. I don’t know how he managed to eat it all either
A hiker, Richard, appeared from nowhere while we ate. He had been up to Mount Byron and was on his way back. I was impressed. Some of the slopes around here are very steep, and for someone to cover that terrain solo, in such hot weather, is quite a feat.
Our lunch over, we slowly made our way back along the walking path to the bikes.
The road out was steep. It was hard work pushing up the hill on the bikes.
We regrouped at the top of the hill next to the turn-off to infamous “A-Break”. I was glad we weren’t going up that monster of a climb.
After rolling down the other side of Dianas Bath Road we followed Byron Creek.
Byron Creek Road passes through forests thick with Piccabeen Palms, vines, ferns and majestic eucalypts. I was glad we had brought our interstate visitor here.
The final track out of the park was down a perilously steep horse track which pretty much went off the side of the mountain range. In many places it was a controlled skid down: there was no way we could have brought the bikes to a halt on some of those slopes.
I loved it!
We rode a total of 48km in six hours, including breaks. We climbed 1,350m in vertical ascent, and I burned 3,000 kcal.
This is a tough ride with some long climbs – especially in the hotter months. BUT… that’s the best time to visit Dianas Bath – swimming there is a wonderful experience. If you just want to visit the rock pool, it might be easier instead as a 20km out-and-back ride from the end of Mount Brisbane Road. But the rocky creek crossings of Butcher Shop Creek, and “Bob’s Camp” are well worth a visit too.
Take lots of drinking water.
I’ll rate this one 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.
Thanks Darb, Simon, and Nick for another fun adventure!