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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Black Duck Creek Adventure

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Paul at Lookout

We’ve explored the spectacular Black Duck Creek valley several times. On this ANZAC Day holiday, we thought we’d invite a few more friends to explore it with us. So I was delighted when 46 eager Mountain Bikers turned up.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We met at a picnic ground at Junction View, south of Gatton.

Riding Off

It’s called “Junction View” because the area is at the junction of two long, narrow valleys: East Haldon Valley and Black Duck Creek Valley.

Black Duck Creek Causeway

Today we took the “road less travelled” and followed Black Duck Creek as far as we could in a day.

Chalk Mine Road

But first we took a short detour up Chalk Mine Road to a special place…


Towards the top of the hill, near the Chalk Mine, there’s a rocky ledge by the side of the road…


It contains some rare Aboriginal Rock Art carved into the soft chalky walls.


There were carvings of animal footprints, trees, hills, rivers… this seemed to be a very old “map” which showed travellers where to find water and food.

There are numerous paths through these mountains. Aborigines used these pathways to cover large distances.

I was happy that today’s tyre-prints up the valley were probably following anicent footprints made thousands of years ago.

Blackhawks at Black Duck Creek

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

As we rolled back down this ancient hill, our minds were pulled back to the present by the deep throb of helicopters as they glided overhead.

It looked like these Blackhawks over Black Duck Creek were returning to Amberley Airbase after an early morning service at Warwick. We were just lucky enough to be in the middle.

Slippery Causeway

The causeways were covered with a thin film of water. This made them dangerously slippery. A couple of riders fell and skidded across the road. Everyone else took it very slowly as they tried to make it over the slimy surface without falling over.

Black Duck Creek

Black Duck Creek

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Cheerful signs and odd looking metal ducks on letterboxes reminded us of where we were headed, as we made our way up the valley.

Mountain Bikers

Black Duck Creek

There was no rush today. We enjoyed an easy climb for about 20 kilometres up the valley, soaking up the landscape.

Black Duck Creek

Black Duck Creek

We had to open several gates as the road passed through a number of different properties. I think one or two farmers were surprised to see so many people on bikes riding through their properties.

Black Duck Creek

As we rode further up the valley the hills grew steeper and closed in on either side of the road…

Black Duck Creek

… and the road devolved into a dusty farm track – perfect for mountain bike tyres.

Black Duck Creek

We neared the top of the valley as we splashed over the last couple of rocky creek crossings.

Slab Hut, Black Duck Creek

An old Slab Hut marked the start of Glen Rock National Park. While some of us stopped here for a break, the rest of us pressed on a little further so that we could catch some views from a lookout on the top of the range.


The track grew steep.


It grew even steeper, and most of us started walking.


Surely it wouldn’t get steeper than this?


It did.

Mountain Top

But, as with most climbs, the summit was worth it. We were rewarded with great views back down the valley.


A few of us did the obligatory “Bike over the head” pose.

“Come on! Take the photo! I can’t hold this bike over my head for much longer!”

Mountain Top

Mountain Top

Everyone made sure they had photographic proof they’d made it to the top :)

Fat Bikes

The leisurely ride down the valley was more spread out as we rolled back down the gentle descent.


We all rode back at our own pace, chatting as we enjoyed the long coast down the hill.

Jason and Tony

As usually happens, fortune had favoured us with a glorious clear day. We soaked it up.


Tony showed off a new-fangled paper GPS that didn’t require batteries :) What will they think of next?

Jason on Causeway

Our return leg was much quicker than the original climb up.


Because of the remote location, we decided to have a barbecue afterwards rather than trying to find a cafe.

HowardChilling OutMum and Daughter

Ben & JulieChilling OutChilling Out

Some of us just sat on the grass and enjoyed relaxing together.

Eric and JustinMikePaul & Troy

Some contemplated future adventures. (Some riders were camping that night, and riding further).

Fat BikeAdmiring the Fat BikeValve Caps

Others admired the great looking “Fat Bikes” that seem to be able to go anywhere.

We rode about 48 km in about 5 hours including breaks.

We climbed about 760 metres in ascent. I burned about 2,500 kcal.

Excluding the climb to the lookout I’d rate this ride 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

8 out of 10 if you’re keen enough to push your bike to the top of the range.

Slab Hut, Black Duck Creek

Thanks everyone for making this a wonderful day out on the bikes.

Thanks especially to Suzanne for being our support driver and making this a much easier day for everyone.

Let’s do another ride like this soon!