Day 6: Kilkivan To Gympie

Who would have thought I would opt out of a 37 km bitumen ride to Widgee and choose instead a ride up a mountain on a dirt track? After sitting in the sun enjoying breakfast in a cafe on the main road at Kilkivan, I was becoming concerned about our highway ride as many huge semi-trailers passed by.

When talking to our neighbour at the cafe, we discovered that there was a backroad that avoids the main highway. It should have worried us that the road was called Black Snake Road. It would avoid all the traffic and was only 5 kms longer and had great views from the top of the mountain and wound its way around a forest. What was not to like?

Probably the steep climb up the mountain, but the ride down would make up for that.  The first twenty kms were great if not a little steep. We went up 450 metres in 5 kms, but the road was good and bitumen in places. Only one car passed us. And then...

We just followed the road until it disappeared into somebody’s property. We back tracked 3 kms but could only find a track with a horse sign on it. You guessed it, it was the national trail and it was only fit for horses. By the time we realised this we were too far into the forest to backtrack.

It was a total nightmare. We had to push our bikes up rocky ravines and when it came time to go downhill, it was too slippery and steep to ride. It took 3 hours to get out of there. When we finally made it down the mountain and onto a flattish bit of land, we looked back to see a sign ‘Widgee Mountain Wilderness’. It certainly was a wilderness and professional mountain bikers would love it, but I am not one of them. The track in front of us turned into a bitumen road in no time and we were on our way again, much to the relief of both of us.

Astonishing ourselves, we managed to arrive at Liz’s place by 5pm. The road through Widgee and Glastonbury had many quite steep hills, but the downside was the upside. We managed to speed down one hill at 57.8 kms and others at more than 50. Woo hoo!

Ipswich to Gympie is not much of a substitute for Croatia and Albania, but it was an adventure not to be forgotten in a hurry.

Cows across road

It started out so well. A quiet bitumen road with the only danger being the odd herd of cattle stampeding across the road.

Big horned bull

Now that bull has personality! It is just the sort of bull I would expect to see in Madrid in a bull ring, not in a paddock in the backblocks of Kilkivan. I wonder if there are bull impressarios out there ready to sign up unseen bovine talent and set them on a path to superstardom (or superbulldom)

Road goes up

That road is going seriously UP. Nevertheless, so far so good.

Wilderness Zone

Sorry, you missed all the drama. In between the start of the hill photo (previous) and this one we were in a world of pain going up and down ravines at 20% gradient with decomposed  granite road surfaces which were like walking up/down skating rinks. (the bit in the background we were able to ride down quite easily being one of the flatter sections) It appeared for a while we were decending into the depths of hell, but step by step, slip by slip (there was not a lot of riding happening) we arrived at something that bore a reasonable facsimile to a real road. After almost 3 hours, it was very good to have the Widgee Mountain Wilderness at our backs.

Bitumen Road

Back on the very pleasant bitumen again.

distant mountains

It was with some sense of satisfaction, that we were able to ride out of our mountain hell in one piece and enjoy the tranquility of the Widgee countryside, just before taking our chances for the last 29 klms of our journey on the busy road from Widgee to Gympie. We live to ride another day!

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