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Sunday, September 28, 2014


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Riding in places like Cooloola National Park reminds me that we’re just kids in grown-up bodies. Every Saturday we get up early to ride our bikes with friends. But we always try to get home in time for dinner.

Creek Crossing

Noosa River

We started our adventure at Harrys Hut on the Noosa River and followed the river north into the national park through thick forests of paperbarks, cabbage tree palms…

Scribbly Gum

… and scribbly gums.

Cooloola Way

We then followed the smooth clay roads of the Cooloola way northwards alongside vast pine plantations.

Great Sandy National Park

Clare and Anna demonstrated some “Bush Yoga”. Unlike the last time they did this on one of our rides, I didn’t try to copy them.

Cooloola Way

Since our previous visits, the surface of the road has been graded which made some of the downhill sections smooth and fast.

Neebs Waterholes


We stopped at Neebs Waterholes for morning tea.

Neebs Waterholes

This gorgeous chain of freshwater lagoons form part of the upper reaches of the Noosa River.

Neebs Waterholes

Recent rain has raised the water level in the creek. Tanins from leaves make the water look like weak tea – but it’s still beautiful.


The rain has also made the track wetter in places, so we were grateful that the creek crossings had been strengthened with rocks to make them easier to pass.


From there we started our return journey southwards via Wandi Waterhole.

Wandi WaterholeClare

The water looked inviting. It might be cold. Should we have a swim?


Absolutely! What else is a kid supposed to do?

Wandi Waterhole

The water was cold – but it felt delightful.



After this point the track became hilly and rocky in places – perfect terrain for mountain bikes.

Great Sandy National Park

Like hot snow on tropical mountains, the giant sand patches on the beach-side dunes loomed larger as we rode home.


We’d definitely get home in time for dinner!

We rode about 50 kilometres in 5 hours including breaks.

I burned 2,500 kcal as we climbed about 420 metres in vertical ascent.

I’ll rate this ride 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks Clare, Anna, Eric, Darb, Paul and Simon for another memorable adventure.

Let’s not grow-up any time soon!


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

Harry’s Hut Neebs Wandi Waterhole 2014-09-27 from Darb Ryan on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bunya Mountains

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Neil at Westcliff

Our family decided to go to the Bunya Mountains for a short break, so I brought my bike and did some exploring of this beautiful part of the world.

Bunyas at Sunset

The high peaks of this range have the largest remnant forest of Bunya Pines on the planet. The cool rainforests are home to many rare species of animals and plants. It’s the perfect place for a tranquil get-away.

Eagle's Rest

We stayed at a cosy chalet on the side of the range at Dandabah overlooking vast forests of Bunya Pines with views that stretched forever northwards.

Westcliff Track

While everyone was still asleep, I ventured out into the crisp morning in search of new places.

Westcliff Track

Even though it’s late September, temperatures were similar to a cold winters morning in Brisbane. I was glad I’d brought my jacket as I slowly rolled through the forest.

Westcott Camping GroundCherry Plain

The national park walking tracks are off-limits to bikes, so I avoided them and stuck to the quiet road as I made my way north towards Burton’s Well.

1100 metres

Burton’s Well is at the northern end of the national park, at over 1,100 metres elevation. Just over a year ago some friends and I enjoyed a fun ride to Yarraman from here, so I wanted to close up a gap in my map and revisit that spot.

Burtons Well

Pia and Seb

Because of its elevation, temperatures at the camp ground can get quite low. I said “G’day” to Pia and her kids who had braved a freezing night in a tent on the edge of the range. They looked cold but happy to be enjoying the cool serenity.

From Mt Kiangarrow

I took a quick detour from there to the top of Mount Kiangarrow. At 1,135 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point in the Bunya Mountains with great vews of the plains of the Darling Downs to the west.

Tolmie Road,

My friend and riding buddy, Eric, asked me to check out some westward tracks to see if there was a possibility of riding off-road from the mountains towards Dalby. So after returning from Burton’s Well, I headed west off the side of the mountain.

Looking West Towards Dalby

The track follows powerlines westwards through bleak wind-swept grasslands. I didn’t venture too far, but I’m sure if we asked a few of the locals they’d point us in the right direction. What do you think, Eric?

Looking West Towards Dalby

Nothing appeals to a mountain biker more than an unexplored track. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be coming back :)


Crimson RosellaKing Parrot

CurrawongMale Satin Bowerbird

Back at the chalet, the local birdlife decided to introduce themselves. Friendly Magpies, Crimson Rosellas, King Parrots, Currawongs and Satin Bowerbirds dropped in to see if we could spare some bread or seeds. They also performed some amazing acrobatics when we tossed morsels into the air for them to catch.

Riding in a Horse and Cart

Local guide Alan Govan took us for a leisurely horse-drawn tour around Dandabah and pointed out some of the other things we could do during our stay.

Bunya Pine

We decided to go for a walk in the forest and hug a few Bunyas.

Festoon Falls

Festoon FallsFestoon Falls

The scenic loop goes for about 5 km as it twists along a creek through the rainforest under the canopy of majestic Bunya Pines.

Our Chalet

At Pine Gorge we looked back across the valley and could see our Chalet in the distance.

Bunya Mountains Sceninc Walk


The path wound past rock pools past towering tree ferns and stinging trees.

Tim Shea Falls

Raining in the Forest

The trees sheltered us from the gentle rain.

Scenic Walk, Bunya Mountains


MossBunya Pine

A Bunya Forest is a special place.

Strangler Fig

It’s an awe-inspiring experience to feel dwarfed by ancient trees.

Bounya Mountains Sculpture

This sculpture at the visitors centre captured the the struggle for life as plants in the forest reach up for light.


We loved our brief stay in the Bunya Mountains, and will definitely be coming back.

My brief adventure on the bike covered about 30km in three hours as I climbed about 800m in vertical ascent. I’d rate it 6 out og 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Our stroll through the forest covered almost 5km in aboyut two hours. It’s an easy walk.