Ipswich to Gympie. Day 1 to Esk

Day one of our ride: Ipswich to Esk

I should have known that it would not be a nice easy ride, just because Ray said it would. Even before we started things had gone wrong. I forgot to bring my debit card, so we had to borrow from our cashed up kids. Just as well we have a few of them lying around.

Alex drove us to Ipswich for the start of the journey. We left Ray to assemble the bikes as we went in search of bottled water. I had purchased water bottles for the bikes previously, but they wouldn't fit in the holders. Do you know how many shops are close to Wulkuraka station? Exactly none. By the time we had returned from our shopping expedition to Outer Mongolia Ray had the bikes ready to go and it had started to rain.

The first two kilometres was beautiful concrete path, but it rapidly declined into mud after that. We slugged our way through 23 kilometres of mud, rain, slight incline and head winds to reach Fernvale where we stopped for lunch. As luck would have it, the 2020 number one pie shop in Australia happens to be situated directly opposite the path. The pies were massive, but not content with that, Ray had to have a brownie as well, confirming my suspicion that he only does bike rides to consume as much food as possible without putting on weight.

It was only another 44 kilometres to Esk, but with our slow progress we estimated an arrival in the dark. However, the mud disappeared, but the headwind and showers did not and that eternal incline only stopped 5 kilometres from Esk. I also felt that my bike had its brakes on. We stopped in Coominya so that Ray could adjust them. Pity we didn't do that 40 kilometres earlier.

It was all downhill into Esk in more ways than the obvious. We went to dinner in the only place that was open and recommended. The place was jumping but the fish hadn't been for a very long time. Ray ordered seafood. Big mistake. I had to share my ok steak with him. After dinner we walked home to compare our aches and pains. I won.

Can't wait for tomorrow's adventure. Especially where to have breakfast and will it be edible?


The first of many cattle grids at Fairney Crossing. Note the rain jacket, although thankfully none of the showers were too heavy and we only got 4 or 5 showers.


The aforementioned Fairney Crossing - obviously the site of a station once in its past life. There were about a dozen stations, including the small towns, along the way but most, like Fairney Crossing, showed no glimpse of what they might once have been.

Storm Brewing

It looks like we are going to get wet! As it turns out, the worst of it passed in front of us.

Good Pie Shop

Not sure if you can make out the round signs right at the top. The Old Fernvale Bakery won no fewer than 37 awards in 2019 alone! The word had obviously got out as you can see by the queue outside. This was due to strict social distancing inside the shop I might add. They were right on top of things including their bread and pie baking. They had plenty of what looked like delicious treats as well, so if you are passing through Fernvale, plan on a stop here.

Brisbane  River

They don't call it the Brisbane Valley for nothing. Here you can see the Brisbane River as it meanders its way down the valley.

Chair Comfort

All of the comforts of the trail.


What you cannot see here opposite these two bulls, on the opposite side of the trail, were two cows, one of which decided to mount the other for a short time. Not sure if that was just a tease but it certainly got the bulls going who were in full moo mode. Brenda unfortunately was not able to capture the mounting moment, so you will just have to take my word for it.

Historic Bridge

Thankfully this was one creek crossing that we did not have to naviagted downward/upward. They have done a great job of restoring this heritage listed bridge over Lockyer Creek to its former glory. The creek bed was a long way down, but there was little or no water flowing. It was pretty much the same story in 8 or 10 other creeks we crossed, but generally only those near towns had bridges that were functional.

Needs Repair

Here is one of the bridges that still exist, but are not in use. it looks like that it is fundamentally sound, but would still need quite a lot of work to make it suitable for a safe pedestrian crossing.

Sunset on Esk

Is was a pretty good end to a reasonably hard day with some nice sunset views and an almost continous 10 kilometre downhill ride into Esk.

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