It’s 5am and Brisbane’s Valley Entertainment Precinct is full of drunk people. I feel out of place wheeling my loaded MTB between them. The only other sober people seem to be bouncers and dancers who are finishing their shifts. It’s little wonder my only options for breakfast are Pie Face and the Golden Arches. I settle on a mince meat pie from the former and a chocolate thickshake from the latter. It’s very average but I need to eat.
I catch a train to Central Station to get away from the chaos, repack my gear to squeeze in the food and last-minute grabs before boarding the 6:34am train to Nambour. The 2 hour train ride passes quickly because a fellow passenger strikes up a conversation. We chat until he alights three stations before me.
From Nambour I have to ride 30km along the road to the trail network. It would be easy to see this as an annoyance. But I have decided to enjoy the experience as part of the whole adventure. Besides, the scenery is delightful. I stop to take photos and enjoy the views from a lookout I’ve never been to before. Some of the climbs are nasty though, and the sun is beating down on me. Summer is very suddenly here.
After almost 2 hours I reach Cooroy. This little town is the start point of the Cooroy Wanderer, which is trail #8 on the Noosa Trail Network. The trail, like all the trails in the network (with the exception of trail #4), is clearly signed. All you need to do is follow the numbered posts. Trail #4 is abysmally signed but more on that in the next post.
Train #8 traveled along won fire trails under tall forests. It’s 11km long and a fairly easy section, though it does have some short sharp climbs. I was still very much warming up to riding on the trail during this section so didn’t yet feel confident. I was also feeling the change of season so suffered a bit from the heat. Being indoors for the past three weekends didn’t help. It probably also cost me some fitness. But I’ll get used to it.
I arrived in Pomona at about 11:30am. The tiny town’s cafe, bakery and pub were all bursting at the seams. I bought a cold Powerade and the most delicious crispy crusted bread roll before retiring to the park for lunch. After enjoying some salami with the bread roll and downing the electrolyte drink, I lay in the shade and slept for about an hour. It was so good.
From Pomona I followed trail #5 around the base of majestic Mt Cooroora out to Cooran. This 9km trail included some fun fast flowing single track. Partway along the track I met a walker who seemed keen for a yarn. He was a local who couldn’t believe I had camping gear fit into my bike pack kit. We chatted for a bit before going our own ways again. I thoroughly enjoyed trail #5, the Cooroora Trail. It had some fun single track and traveled through lovely tall forests while also providing glimpses of Mt Cooroora (but not good enough for a photo). I had to walk up some of the hills but that just means I need to do some more training.
I stopped in Cooran for a frosty fruit ice block and chocolate brownie. There’s nothing to Cooran, just a small row of shops, pony club and houses. If you blinked you’d miss it. But the cafe does wonderful brownies and had a groovy array of teas (I love teas). I didn’t sample any of the teas though because I wasn’t in the mood.
Trail #3, Cooran to Kin Kin, was unforgiving. It started pleasantly enough with a ride along quiet country roads between hobby farms. but I could see the mountains ahead so could anticipate what was coming. The map also had a section marked ‘steep climb’ with an arrow pointing in my direction of travel. I did a lot of hike-a-bike this afternoon. I even resorted to taking my cycling shoes off and walking barefoot so I would be more comfortable. I really must work on my MTB climbing. But the views! They made the long hike-a-bike worth it. And, besides, there’s going to be a lot of long climbs on the Tasmanian Trail later this year. I better do some more training.
It was 4:15pm by the time I reached Tablelands Lookout. The nearest official campsite was still 8km away with more climbing. That would have taken me another hour, leaving a risk of getting caught out after dark. Besides, after getting up at 3:30am, a 2 hour train ride and about 60km of cycling I was beat. So I pitched my tent, cooked up a feed, wrote my journal and was in bed by 7am.
It was a fantastic challenging day and I fell asleep a happy camper.
Total: 61.5km cycling