Content and Images by Wayne Mahoney The grand plan was to ride from home (Brisbane) to mums house (Hervery Bay) by as much off road as possible and catch the train back. Distance was approximately 375 km (about 233 miles) which takes a car about 4 hours to drive via the highway. I have ridden some sections before but wanted to explore new forest and national park areas that could be linked into one continuous trail. The weather in Queensland was not good in the lead up to my trip, we had a cyclone deposit a lot of rain over the entire area but the south east corner of Queensland has just come out of summer so temperatures should be about 25 – 30 degrees (77 -86 F)  through the day. As you can see by the gear list below nothing fancy was required, I was aiming at three days on the tracks.   Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 7.22.08 PM


I set off at about 5am, as I had a bit of road to start and wanted to avoid the traffic. First stop was Lake Kurwongbah, just as the sun and the ducks were rising. I linked up a bit of bike path and some quiet streets again to get me to the first real bush tracks. When I did reach the dirt, I bent down and rubbed my hands into the dirt and smiled . It was a work day so the only vehicles I should come across for the next 70 km would be loggers and the rangers. Some of the creeks were up higher than normal, about knee deep, so I had to carry the bike over and had a re route or two due to the logging that cost me about an hour in time as well. Time wise, I was pretty much on cue. Lunch and a restock of supplies at Wild Horse Mountain, my family and  friends were keeping an eye on my ‘spot tracker’. Safety first as they say. Had no real issues for the rest of day one, find a rhythm , follow the GPS, and enjoy the space. I had plans to make camp in Maroochydore, may even find a place to get a shower. I ticked all the right boxes and got grass, trees, shower and a bakery. DAY 1 STATISTICS 6 litres of water , 1 salad sandwich, 2 gatorade, 2 muesli bars , 1 cup of dried fruit/nuts , 1 bowl of mixed vegetables, 2 hot cross buns, 1 apple 135 km   Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 7.25.11 PM

DAY 2 

I was up and packed and on the road by 6am and at the bakery by 6.30. Fishermen and other sunshine coast residence were up and exercising already, made me look lazy. I went over the Maroochy Bridge via the bike paths which kept me clear of all vehicles while enjoying the sunrise. Best part of the day. From here I was to link up with a friend’s (Neil) route to the next national park and tracks. WOW, was that a mistake. Neil has a bit of a reputation for, lets say going off track. I had to put my gators on for snakes/spiders and spray for mosquitoes because the grass was chest to head high and the water dark, murky, and was sometimes knee deep. No we don’t have crocodiles in these parts so no big issue really. From here all should go well. I knew the trails, and the sunshine was great. I am basically heading due north with the ocean about 400 meters to my right. Very pleasant. Everything was going well until I hit Tewantin. I hit a ‘hike A bike’ section which had 30 / 40 % gradients, man that hurt. From here I joined up to the Noosa trail network, which is just beautiful and full of such diverse plant life and colors. Some sections would be better ridden on a fat bike. I arrived at Lake Cootherabah a bit after lunch , NO water is available here, it was all carted in. The local corner store makes a few quid during school holidays because of this. I resupplied and headed back to the tracks. I was behind time by an hour or two by now and was heading into the most remote section. This wide open area is called Cooloola National Park. It has a walking track and a 4×4 track inter woven through it that can take you right up to Rainbow Beach. Rainbow Beach is an access point for those traveling to Fraser Island. I stopped for dinner at about 5pm and sorted my gear out for a bit of night riding. My aim for camp was Tin Can Bay or their about, which required me to get some more dirt under the wheels. The night ride was slow and very cautious due to severe erosion of the track but I had lights and a near full moon to guide me. DAY 2 STATISTICS 8 litres of water , 1 egg pie, 2 fruit scones, 2 coffees, 2 gatorades, 1 hamburger, 2 apples, 1 tin of tuna , 1 packet of noodles, 1 gel, 2 muesli bars , 1 cup of dried fruit/nuts 120 km   Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 7.23.50 PM


I was up real early. Like 4 am, still dark, it got cold through the night and there was no point in staying in bed. I made myself a cup of tea and breakfast as I wanted to catch the sunrise. I was packed and ready to roll just as the sun came through the scrub. I had arrived in the dark and wanted to assess my true location by the light of the sun. Have I said it before? Well this is a great time of the day. I rolled out of the bush and onto the ‘black stuff’ within 10 minutes of starting. I chose to ride the next 10/20 km section on the road to get the legs spinning and warmed up for the last day. All was good, next town was some 70/80 km away through Tuan State Forest. The forest tracks were great, sometimes a bit corrugated and sometimes a bit wet. Same system as yesterday, follow the GPS and keep heading north, recalculate how far to next water point but keep going. No major problems arose, hands were getting sore by now but all good. I arrived in Maryborough for lunch where I found a big shady tree and relaxed for about an hour. Restock supplies for the last 50/60 km sprint for mums place. An old disused rail line was my next point of call, this line has now been put a side for future development as a horse and mountain bike trail. I arrived at the trail head at about 3pm , the GPS was flat and my lights were near flat as well. Hmm… do I risk heading back into the bush with limited resources? The grass was easily head high and slow to navigate so I quickly became frustrated and I turned back to the asphalt. Back on the road the vehicle traffic was fast and plentiful, lucky for a wide shoulder on the sides. Hervey Bay is a tourist town and is the gateway to Fraser Island. It is a very popular town for whale watching, so it can be very busy during the holiday season. I arrived at mums, my final destination  at about 4pm with numb hands but I had no flats or mechanical problems all trip. DAY 3 STATISTICS 8 litres of water, 1 cup of tea, 1 can of rice cream , 2 hot cross buns, 1 coffee, 3 biscuits, 1 apple, 2 salad sandwiches, 1 chocolate bar, 1 cup  fruit/nuts 135 km   The following day mum washed everything, while I went for a casual ride up to the local coffee shop “the little blue tandem cafe” up near the jetty. This place is owned and run by bike riders, so they are great to catch up with if you are looking for information and a real coffee. That night the family all got together over fish, chips and beers while I spun them a yarn or two. Cleaning my bike and getting to the train before 8 am was next on the agenda. The train trip was brilliant, $75 per person and $15 for the bike. I spent most of the 5 hour train trip in the food carriage talking to some backpackers, very relaxing. Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 6.38.37 PM 


Bike: 2010 Merida 29er  hard tail , with a few personal modifications here and there. Nearly all the bike bag gear came from “bike bag dude”, well thought out products. Garmin Etrex GPS, spot tracker, camera, light, cache battery, phone, hand pump, chain lube, basic tool kit , ‘bushmans’ spray, 1 spare tube, first aid kit, 1 pair of ‘crocs’, 1 spare shirt and trousers, quick drying chamois towel, sleeping bag liner, sleeping bag, tarp and 4 pegs with extra line, Exped sleeping mat, Exped hammock, 2 extra tie downs, 1×4 litre bladder, 1 litre bottle, plastic plate and cup, spork, 1 day of food rations, hexy stove solid fuel burner, rain jacket, gators and the usual riding gear.  

What would I take or do different?

Gear wise it went near perfect , I lost my rain jacket on 1 day but it was returned by a nice family driving past. Nothing else was required really, maybe a small flask of a good Shiraz. I had no mechanical problems arise and no physical issues either. I would have taken a bit more chain lube because of the wet tracks and the build of mud. Research, research, research, if possible well before the trip. Know your limits and test these limits well before you head out. Nearly every ride I do is an experiment on some sort of product or on me personally.

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