On Wyaralong's Shore We Did Roam
Lucky for me, Emma waits at the top of the hills.
I'm just back from a fine mountain bike overnight micro-adventure in Queensland, Australia: Boonah to Mount Joyce base camp, and back again (a slightly different way). I’m doing these overnighters both because I like doing them and to gain experience for The Big Expedition later in the year. This one was in all respects an excellent success. The ride, which I thought had the possibility of being slightly too easy, turned out to be quite challenging when riding mountain bikes, each loaded up with about 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of gear, food, and water.
My good friend BikeBestie agreed to join me for an afternoon on Easter Sunday, and a morning on Easter Monday. So within that time frame we planned the following route.
- Sunday: Boonah to Mt Joyce base camp
- Monday: Back again, but including the including the Lilybrook-Boonah section of the still-nascent Boonah-Ipswich Trail.
We cruised out from Boonah at around 2 p.m. on Sunday, and followed some back roads to the start of the Shoreline Trail, alongside Wyaralong Dam, towards Mount Joyce base camp, a former homestead that is now a campsite. The Shoreline Trail, although it’s not even ‘blue square’ level in terms of mountain-bike singletrack difficulty, nevertheless provided sufficient challenge for both of us riding our loaded MTB tourers, especially when the trail surface became sandy over the last 10 kilometers to camp.
We made it to our destination with about an hour of daylight left, enough for a scoot down to the dam for some photos, and back to set up our sleeping quarters ...
A man and his bike.
... and then to experiments in camp cooking: mac ‘n cheese on Em’s tiny Trangia, and cous cous with added salmon on my aptly named Jetboil. Both were deemed delicious. I’m expecting to eat plenty of mac ‘n cheese when buying supplies from small town IGAs on the Munda Biddi Trail.
A woman and her hammock.
For those who have yet to visit Mt. Joyce base camp: Yes, there’s a toilet. Yes, there’s a rainwater tank. Both Emma and I drank the water from the tank and had no ill effects. It’s very spacious; there are rooms with sleeping platforms, acres of verandah, plenty of room to camp on the grass outside as well, and two large picnic tables under cover on a verandah (the official brochure linked above says it’s a "simple shelter shed," when in fact the buildings are two substantial weatherboard houses joined by a covered breezeway). There are mosquitoes, but they seemed to lose interest in us after a couple of hours.
After a reasonably uneventful night’s sleep and more fueling up in the morning, we set off back towards Boonah.
Boonah is one terminus, not surprisingly, of the Boonah-Ipswich Trail (BIT), parts of which exist and parts of which do not. One part that does exist, according to local Boonah news reports and potentially obsolete maps on the website of the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, is the Lilybrook to Boonah section.
Once we left the Shoreline Trail and slogged over the hill on Knehr Road, we were able, with only occasional confusion, to follow the signs that pointed us towards Boonah on the BIT. That’s not to say the ride was easy. It was hard and steep in some sections, easy and flowing in others, but always with magnificent views of the scenic Boonah countryside to compensate. Eventually, in the fullness of time, I crested the last big climb to the top of Schneider Road, where Emma was waiting patiently for me.
We rolled into Boonah less than thirty minutes later, having completed an entertaining and memorable S24O bike overnight. Thanks for your company, Emma!
Next one is … not sure where, but it will be sometime on the other side of Bike Week!
Tip for this adventure: Take a mosquito net!
Favorite local bike shop: Epic Cycles in Paddington, Queensland.