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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mount Binga

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Wide Open Spaces

With few days remaining till I had to undergo major surgery, I decided to take the day off work and go for a big ride through wide-open spaces while I was still able.


Early on a Friday morning we parked the car outside the pub in the quiet South Burnett town of Cooyar and headed for the hills.

Cooyar - Mt Binga Road

We followed the road out of town as it gently climbed the range until we reached the end of the bitumen.

Mt Binga State Forest

Mount Binga State Forest / National Park is a two to three hour drive from Brisbane, about halfway between Toowoomba and Kingaroy.

We think that the quiet trails through this area might give us an off-road route from the Bunya Mountains to Brisbane via Esk that could be completed on a bike in about two days. Eric has previously ridden from the Bunya Mountains in about four days via Nanango and Jimna and thinks this new route could be done in half that time.

Outdoor Education Centre - Mt Binga

Regardless of new routes, Paul and I were just grateful to be out in the bush on a weekday rather than at work :)

Outdoor Education Centre - Mt Binga

Outdoor Education Centre - Mt Binga

We passed through the Mount Binga Outdoor Education Centre and said “G’day” to some contented ponies grazing on the green grass. Moss-covered signs pointed off at strange angles to barely visible destinations. Sitting ontop of the Blackbutt Range, this looked like the perfect place to “get away” from it all.

Hills in the Forest

We rolled down the range into some plantation forests.

Hills in the ForestHills in the Forest

The terrain through here undulates constantly, so we spent most of our time either grinding up hills or rolling down the other side…

Paul and Ants Nest

Bustling ants nests cluttered the dirt tracks. I squatted down to have a closer look at this miniature metropolis and ended up with an angry ant trying to bite the end of my finger.

Paul had the right idea and kept on pedalling.

Mt Binga Fire TowerMt Binga Fire Tower

We eventually reached the summit of the ride at the Mount Binga Fire Tower. We’ve visited a few fire towers in our time, including one that had disappeared. We didn’t try climbing this one because the stairs were missing and large warning signs warned us that it wasn’t safe.

Prickly Pear

The road past the fire tower was mostly downhill. I was surprised at the number of prickly pear bushes we encountered on the way out. These plants are noxious weeds which I thought had been brought under control by the introduction of the cactoblastis beetle, but it looks as though tree-sized infestations still persist in some places.

Wide Open Spaces

We dropped out of the forest under towering skies onto endless plains and bushland rolling westward – a patchwork quilt of green.

Wide Open Spaces

As I soaked up the panorama I remembered that this would be one of my last big rides for quite a few months. It takes a long time to recover from knee surgery. Today I was sure we had come to the right place for a ride. We hadn’t wasted the opportunity, we had made the most of it.

East Cooyar Road

The hilly tracks flattened into rural gravel roads – an archetypal Aussie backroad that could have been anywhere on this vast continent.

Neil on East Cooyar Road

“Bloody beautiful” I blurted out while grinning like an idiot. Where else would you want to be?

East Cooyar Road

The last couple of kilometres were a blisteringly fast descent down the paved road back into town.

I tucked in and got the bike up over 70km/h as I followed Eric down the hill. What a fun way to finish a ride!


We rode a total of 44km in three and a half hours including breaks. During that time I burned 1800 kcal as we climbed about 1,200m.

I’ll rate this one 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. It’s an easy pleasant ride with one or two hills in it to keep you honest.

The bakery in Yarraman does tasty pies and has a great looking mountain bike hanging on the wall.

Thanks Eric and Paul for a memorable ride!

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