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It was all planned and motel booked weeks ago and then the October long weekend came along with forecasts of a heatwave: 33 - 37 degrees each day!

We began the weekend by staying at the Kingaroy Showgrounds on Friday night. They were very accommodating and allowed us to leave our car there until our return on Monday.

Day 1


Bicycles loaded and we began our ride out of Kingaroy at 8am Saturday.


The first 15kms was easy going along the bitumen with very little traffic and we cycled down some shaded country backroads.


Then we were onto the dirt.


We passed what appeared to be feedlots....


....before making our way into Wondai State Forest. The roads are relatively flat and easy to cycle along.


We checked out some old cattle yards.



I had planned a route through the state forest following what I assumed to be a fairly major road/track. We found there were a lot more tracks than on the map and whilst it all began rather pleasantly...


...we soon found our major road was no longer major!  It turned out to be:

 overgrown,


washed out,


and blocked with fallen trees.


We eventually found our way out to better roads...


...and emerged from Wondai State Forest for the short cycle into Cherbourg.


We decided to have lunch at the cemetery as I had read cemeteries always have water available and being so hot we were in need. This turned out to be correct and we were also very happy to find shaded seating.


After a longish break, we headed back out into the heat. A small amount of bitumen cycling and some more backcountry dirt roads saw us reach the Bunya Hwy which we crossed, then we were onto the Kilkivan - Kingaroy Rail Trail, just north of Murgon.

55kms done, 14kms to go and it was HOT!  I wasn't feeling very good by this time - obviously dehydrated and all I had to drink was hot water.

We had another rest stop beside a beautiful flowering tree and drank some hot water - yummy!


We continued slowly on our way passing an old station site and through gullies where there were once rail bridges.



Eventually, we reached our bed for the next 2 nights, where a cold shower (my choice) and some air-conditioned comfort was very much appreciated.



Day 2

A cool crisp morning dawned, but with a forecast 33 degrees we set off at 7am to take advantage of some cooler cycling time.

We began today's rail trail journey to Kilkivan and return, at the old Goomeri Rail Station.



This section of the rail trail is rough in parts and is best suited to mountain bikes.


Old railway signage abounds.


There's plenty of gates to open and close along this section.


Past railway stations with informative signage


Railway cuttings to cycle through.


The surrounding grasses were very dry, but the early morning light gave them brilliant colours.


There were old bridges to pass under...



...and an old railway crossing.


We came upon the largest bridge still intact...


 ...and of course, Alex just had to check out the view from atop.


The platform at Cinnabar was succumbing to nature.


Today we had brought sandals along for the Wide Bay Creek crossing. I had seen photos of other cyclists crossing thigh-deep water.


So we were surprised to find we could actually ride across, without even going in the water. A poignant reminder of the harshness of drought times.


Although it's extremely dry the thistles seem to be thriving.



We rolled into Kilkivan...


...where our first stop was Julie's Cafe for coffee, cake and some cold water. It was only 10am but already hot.


Then it was down to the old station to check out Kilkivan's Sunday morning markets. Here we refueled again with a 'Works Burger' - absolutely delicious. I would rate this a 'must do/eat' if in Kilkivan before noon on a Sunday!


It was time to head back to Goomeri and as we rolled out of town into the midday heat the countryside looked calm and peaceful.


BUT beware, there are some very persistent magpies lurking in those trees. I had been swooped on the way towards Kilkivan and in fact as I was getting off my bike to open a gate a magpie had swooped causing me to jump, ending up with me somersaulting down an embankment. It was now on again on our return trip and all Alex could say was "don't put your hand up to shoe them away. I want video footage".



For more hilarious (according to Alex) footage see our full trip video below.

Now onto a more peaceful animal encounter. Alex having previously owned horses enjoyed a moment with this beautiful horse.



The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful with us backtracking over this morning's route.

We did have several short, shady, rest stops where we enjoyed the cold water we had brought in a cooler bag with us today. This prevented a repeat of yesterday's overheating and dehydration.


Our day finished back at our Goomeri motel for another refreshing cold shower, air-conditioning and a cold drink or two!

Day 3

Our hottest day dawns as a clear cool morning, but it's forecast for 37 degrees, so we set off cycling at 6.30am.

We are met with yet another brilliant thistle flower at the gate leading onto the Rail Trail.


We cycle past old rail signage...



and old cars...


as we make our way to Murgon.


In Murgon we found an amazing mural...


... and a train carriage from yesteryear in the process of being restored.


From Murgon the rail trail is sealed all the way to Kingaroy, but there is still plenty to see.



We passed the old Wondai Dairy factory,


and an old weighbridge,


before arriving at Wondai station.



We were hoping to treat ourselves to morning tea at the bakery, but as it was closed we visited IGA. They had frozen cheesecakes so we decided this was the next best thing. Lots of calories, but we are cycling 190+ km over the 3 days!



We continued on our journey passing more old station sites.







We could see haze swirling in the sky ahead and wondered if there was a fire nearby (as there have been a lot around with the extremely dry, windy weather at the moment) but eventually we found this to be the cause.


A little further on, but not at an old train station we saw this old carriage in the middle of a paddock.


There's certainly plenty to see along this section of the rail trail and we enjoyed cycling from one old station to the next and reading their history.



They also served as great rest stops on this very hot day!


Finally we rolled into Kingaroy station - the end of the line (cycle for us).



This had been a fantastic 3 days both from a cycling perspective and learning the history of the old railway and its towns.

We are already planning to come back one day and ride from Kilkivan to Ipswich connecting this rail trail to the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.  Always more adventures to be had!

Check out our video for some more action (especially from the magpies!).



Length of Ride
  193km circuit approx.

Time
  3 days 

Best Time to do

    Anytime but best to avoid summer as it would be very hot.

Difficulty

    Easy - Medium, mountain bike required.


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2 comments:

  1. Great blog, nicely illustrated with photos

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fantastic story, inspirational, thanks for the effort to put this together.

    ReplyDelete

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