We had some friends do this ride a couple of weeks before us and it sounded like fun. It is detailed in the “Where to Mountain Bike in South East Queensland” book which is a great guide for anyone living in Southeast Queensland. Apart from a little blurb on what to expect – we really had no idea though, so here it is, Kate and John’s take on Spring Creek – Redbank Gully and Wallers Road in the Lockyer Valley Mountain Bike Ride.
The book has a suggested route which was 43km long and to park at the end of Millers Rd, down next to the Gatton Correctional Facility. We parked across the road from the Prison sign on a nice little grassy verge at about 9am. It doesn’t really matter, but if you drive up a bit further on the dirt road you can also park at where the entry to the National Park is. It’s a circuit, so park where you like really!
After getting ourselves ready we took off at 9:30am and immediately negotiated the first of many muddy puddles. (Hence why we left the car where we did).
The whole ride is on dirt roads which are also used by 4WD’s and dirt bikes enthusiasts so it is pretty easy just to follow your nose and you shouldn’t get too lost. We followed the road around to the right to the back of the prison and came to the entrance to the National Park. Here there is a track going off to either side and I’m sure it also goes to somewhere nice but we continued on straight ahead. Straight up from 150m to 250meters in elevation. Fairly gradual climb and easily achievable.
Nice views off in the distance through the trees to the east. Continued on enjoying some flat riding and carefully avoiding the occasional deep sand pit. We then lost all that lovely elevation and coasted down to Redbank Gully and to the creek crossings. Apparently there are 9 in all, but that probably changes as to how much rain there has been had lately. I forgot to count how many we crossed as initially I wasn’t sure where we were! This was at about 7km from where we parked.
Riding through the Gully was very scenic – lots of grass trees and Aussie bush to see. Sandstone cliffs too and the road follows the creek, rising up above it in parts so you look down to a pretty vista.
Creeks easy to ride across even after the huge dump of rain it got 9 days ago.
After the creeks the road started to slowly go up in elevation. Nice and easy at first and then it was just up, lots of up, around every bend there was more of it and it seemed steeper still. Nice low gear and plod away at it. We only walked up one bit, which was like part 5 of a big steep bit. Around the bend from that bit, was yet more up but at a more likable gradient. Eventually we reached the flattish plateau and coasted along enjoying ourselves, stopping every now and again to try to see a view through the trees. Lovely view too.
Couldn’t stop for too long as my sweat was starting to freeze on me, so on we went and eventually reached the National Park sign again. Time for a stop, we haven’t seen another soul all day how nice is this. Time for a “pit stop” too….. not so satisfying when 2 trail bike riders speed past us and after we wait for the dust to settle, it’s John’s turn for a pit stop and unbelievably a 4WD comes along. Top tip for others……find a tree to stand behind next time, you never have the place solely to yourself!!
The book then said….it’s all down hill from here…..oh yeah, let’s go, hold onto your helmets. The highest we reached was almost 500 meters, so we had 350m of wonderful down hill to look forward to. Was it good, oh yes, lots of fun. Couldn’t get too cocky though as the pits of soft sand could stop you dead and tip you over in no time. I had two close calls in the sand so after that I was much more careful. We were finally making good time too as it took as nearly 2 hours to get to the National Park sign with only 15km done. The ride to the turn off to Wallers rd was done fairly quickly. Here I think you could ride up further to the real start of Wallers Rd, but we took the little dirt short cut to the left. Down a track that serious 4WD’s would love (and we didn’t mind too much either).
It was incredibly rutted out and muddy. This bit of the mountain didn’t appear to see much sun and once again after the huge dump of rain 9 days ago, there was a lot of muddy pools. Not too much riding on this little short cut to Wallers Rd.
Reached Wallers Rd after about a km and then had more fun coasting slowly down hill avoiding the soft thick sand.
Came across another 4WD which had stopped to ask us where the road went. We gave them some directions and off they drove yelling out as they left “stay safe”. I don’t know much (anything) about 4WD’ing but I do know that it is easier to stay safe if you’re buckled up and are not sitting on the windows. Three big blokes sitting on each window and a kid standing up looking through the sun roof…..I yelled back, “you stay safe too!” We coasted down some more, enjoying the gentle gradient and the serenity. Found another nice place to stop with a little clearing and a view. John found some burnt out cars and went down to inspect them while I snacked on an energy bar and wondered how it had taken us 3 hours to go just 24km?
We got on the bike again for approximately 4 meters before we found a cliff! It wasn’t really a cliff, it was just a really really steep rocky downhill type track that went for about a km and dropped from 340meters to 150meters. John did some riding of his bike, I preferred to walk mine.
Found more mad 4WD’ers with about 8 people hanging out the back of their ute – lordy, I was glad I was on my bike and in control of my own destiny.
We finally reached the flat bit again and road on happily eventually finding signs of civilization- a house with a sign indicating what they thought of people coming up their driveway!
We now just had some road riding ahead of us to get back to the car. Up and down some rolling hills on outback roads. Wallers Rd, which became Alvisio Rd then a slight right turn onto Ranger Road and eventually a right turn onto Adare Rd.
Up a hill to turn left on Redbank Creek Rd, down hill and past the Pohlmans Nursery, up another hill and left to a dip and onwards to Gatton-Esk Rd.
I wasn’t too keen on riding Gatton-Esk Rd as it was the only bit of scary road riding we had to do but the cars gave us a wide berth so it wasn’t too bad after all. We were riding along and all of a sudden we hear all this beeping from a car coming towards us. It’s our mates in the 4WD who told us to “stay safe”! We were pretty chuffed they’d said hi to us, I was equally chuffed to see they had survived.
Finally reached Millers Rd and made our final left turn for 3km back to the car. It looked like it was down hill….I stopped pedaling…..I nearly came to a stop. HEAD WIND!!!! All my energy had been used up, those final 3 kms hurt lots. Just when you think the finish line will never appear, it does and the hurt is forgotten in the euphoria of finishing. Time to high-tail it into Gatton and see what it has on offer at 2pm on a Sunday – I could eat a horse right now.
The ride was 43.3km and Garmin said it took us 3.32.54 hours of ride time, 4.5 hours all up with stops.