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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jimna Timber and Gold

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Lassi on Steep Descent

Todays social ride was the culmination of several weeks work exploring some of the wonderful trails around Jimna. The ride was in two halves with the morning loop exploring the Timber history of Jimna, and the afternoon loop exploring the Gold Mining history.

Bronwy & SteveBronwy & Steve

Our first loop followed some single track south-west from Jimna though the forest up to Mile and a Quarter Road.

Mile and a Quarter Road

The road is about a Mile and a Quarter from Jimna, hence the unimaginitive name. But it boasts a wonderfully fast descent down the range towards Ponderosa Station.

Ian on Mile and a Quarter Road

Part way down we had some great views of the endless hoop pine forests stretching to the horizon.

Nick, Mick, Lassi and Adam


We waited at the bottom for everyone to catch up while we said “G’Day” to a couple of friendly horses.


Our course led us from farmland to national park and back into plantation forest several times. The temperature changed abruptly with the various vegetation in one or two spots.

Conondale National Park

The forestry trail twisted through sections of trees all at different stages of their growth cycle from short saplings to towering giants.


We had several very strong riders with us who we afftionatlely dubbed the “Ninjas”. We sent them off on an extra hilly section while the rest of us mortals rode ahead. That way nobody got too far behind or in front.


Conondale National Park

The reset of enjoyed a relaxing ride our track slowly wound back up the range towards Jimna.

Jimna Fire Tower


Back at the top we had a quick break at the fire tower as we waited for the stronger riders to catch up after their additional section.

Lassi the Vegetarian Viking

I was amazed at the strength of the single-speed riders, Lassi and Glen, who rode those hills without the assistance of any gears. Lassi is a vegetarian from Denmark, which (I suppose) makes him a “Vegetarian Viking Ninja” :) Who would have thought radishes contained so much energy?

Donkey Falls Road

From there we enjoyed a scorching descent down Donkey Falls Road. I was amazed at how much speed we picked up, and was secretly relieved there were no vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

Gnarly Descent

Gnarly Descent in Jimna Forest

The forests around Jimna have one or two really fun downhill sections.

We all made our way down this treacherous section at our own pace. Some walked. Some raced. Others performed a half-controlled skid to the bottom.

Everyone had fun.

Lunch at Jimna

Lunch at Jimna

Back at Jimna, Dave Wright from the visitor centre had cooked up some perfect steak burgers.

“Can’t talk, eating” I heard someone say as I wolfed down the delicious meal. I don’t think it touched the sides.

Jimna Weir

After lunch we set off through the forest again past the weir to the gold fields.

Jimna Gold Fields

I was quickly left behind by the stronger riders – perhaps the lunch was too good? Thankfully Darb, Mike and Tony stayed back and rode with me.

Gigher Road Conondale National Park

The roll down Gigher Road was thrilling. The trees closed in on either side, the track dropped, and whe rocketed through the undergrowth, a blur of green on either side.

Gigher RoadGigher Road

Gigher Road

We shot out of forest at the bottom of Gigher Road onto the bleak plains around Yielo Station.

Yielo Road

This old farm has been here for over a century.

Yielo RoadTungi Road

We followed the dirt road past brown fields and the occasional old Bunya back towards Jimna.

Tungi Road

I love feeling of open space I get while riding through Yielo. The horizon seems a million miles away, and open plains make the sky feel like it’s huge.

Tungi Road

Eventually we met up with Tungi Road and made our way back into Jimna about half an hour after everyone else.

I’m really grateful to the guys who hung back and rode with me.

UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of the ride:

Jimna 2014-07-26 from Darb Ryan on Vimeo.

All up we rode almost 65km in seven and a half hours, including breaks. We climbed almost 1,850 metres in vertical ascent, and I burned about 3,800 kcal.

I’ll rate this ride 8.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. You can split it in two if you like. The first loop by itself is about 35km, and rates about 7 out of 10 for toughness. The second loop by itself is about 30km, and rates 8.5 out of 10 for toughness.

Thanks everyone for a great day!

Hoop Pine PlantationNickBronwyn at Jimna Fire Tower

RemkeDonkey Falls RoadStumpy Greens Hut

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Neebs Waterhole

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Eric and Cooloolah Sand Patch

The purpose of our ride today was to explore some trails around the headwaters of the Noosa River near Neebs Waterhole in Great Sandy National Park

Noosa River

We started the day riding north along the riverbank from Harry’s Hut.

Noosa River

Noosa River

Several of our more memorable adventures have included the beautiful Noosa River. It was good to be back on a cool winters day and soak in the serenity.


Our trail meandered through a strange looking forest of twisted eucalypts growing slowly in the sandy soil.

Toolara State Forest

We eventually reached the boundary of the national park, with pine plantations on our left, and vast plains of native forest on our right.

Cooloola Way

Extreme Caution

“The Cooloola Way” is a rough dirt road heading north-east from here all the way to Tin Can Bay. It has some bumpy downhill sections which are a lot of fun to ride on a bike…

Cooloola Way

…We followed it back into the national park for a while.

Neebs Waterhole

We left the road and followed a narrow track through some spectacular open plains.

Neebs Waterhole

And then into some dense paperbark forests.

It was impressive to see such a variety of vegetaion and terrain in such a small distance.

Broken Derailleur

Then disaster struck. A stick got caught in my derailleur, twisting and breaking it.

Broken DerailleurBroken Derailleur

The derailleur is the mecahnism which changes the gears. The only way to repair this sort of damage while you’re on the trail is to remove the derailleur and convert the bike into a single-speed.

I’ve done this before, but the chain ended up being too tight, damaging my rear cassette, so I let Darb and Eric help me out and fix the bike.

Broken DerailleurBroken Derailleur

With a single-speed, I didn’t have the luxury of changing gears when the terrain got rougher. Plus the slightly loose chain kept dropping down a cog or two. To fix this we attached a green stick to the chain-stay, inside the chain, to push it out and keep the chain on the right cog. It was a bit noisy, but it did the trick.

Neebs Waterhole

Neebs Waterhole

Not long after that we reached the waterhole.

Although the water is stained brown by tannin from leaves, it’s pure and fresh. On a warmer day we would have had a swim, but today it was too cold.

Neebs Waterhole

We had planned to return via Wandi Waterhole, but with my mechanical problems we decided to play it safe and return via the Cooloola Way.

Toolara State Forest


There are many trails around here that we are yet to explore. I’d like to come back again (with a properly working bike) and see what we can find.

Noosa River

Noosa River

We made our way back through the paperbark forest near the river to our starting point.

There were still a few hours left in the day, so we decided to have a look at nearby Doggrell Tree Conservation Area.

Gympie Messmate

Doggrell forest contains some majestic Gympie Messmate trees.

Gympie Messmate

They tower upto 60 metres above the forest floor.

Gympie Messmate

Gympie Messmate

These huge trees are prized for their excellent wood, which explains why it’s difficult to find many mature trees still alive in the wild…

Gympie Messmate

You can still see the cut marks in the old stumps where loggers placed boards so they could climb up and fell the tree.

Gympie Messmate

You don’t often see Kauri Pines growing in the wild, so when I spotted this one I decided to hug it :)

Cabbage Tree Palm

Everything is big here, including the Cabbage Tree Palms which grow 15 to 20 metres high.

Canoe On The Noosa River

All up we rode 51km in 5 hours including about 90 minutes in breaks.

This is an easy and pleasant ride in the cooler months – I’m rating it 5.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter. Take plenty of water in warmer months.

Thanks Darb and Eric for another spectacular ride.

Thanks too for an excellent temporary repair job on my bike!

UPDATE: Here’s Darb’s video of our ride:

Harry’s Hut Neebs Waterhole 2014-07-19 from Darb Ryan on Vimeo.