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CAPITAL CHOICE: SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND | Rides

Some rides are about the journey, others the destination; this is the perfect mix

Gayndah is actually Queensland’s oldest town and was once even considered as an option as the state capital. These days it is a pleasant rural centre that sits on the edge of the Queensland outback region, a fun ride to the north west of Brisbane via a range of roads that vary from highway to dirt tracks, and every option in between.

We headed out of Brisbane through the D’Aguilar National Park, which includes the fun strip of tar across Mt Mee, and that is an excellent way to start any trip. Great views of the magnificent Glasshouse Mountains materialise as you make your way north towards the Kenilworth Brooloo Road, en route to Gympie. This road is a pleasure on a motorcycle with good bitumen and several nice switchback corners to test your nerve. It intersects the Bruce Highway just south of Gympie, which is a good place to refuel and grab some tucker.

We headed west from Gympie on the Wide Bay Highway to Woolooga, where the map showed what might be a more interesting back road to Biggenden. Although this route turned out to be sealed except for a short six-kilometre section of gravel, the single lane unfenced bitumen strip for much of the ride was a lot more appealing than the highway option. This road would be fine on any type of bike and we would certainly recommend it as a detour. Just be aware of the big rigs that expect you to give way as they steam towards you.

After a quick beer in Biggenden it is a relatively short blast west to Ban Ban Springs, where you join the Burnett Highway for the final leg. Gayndah is a great spot for an overnight stop with a good pub, friendly locals, and some interesting old architecture. The publican describes the town as “the final frontier” before you get into the more remote outback Queensland towns.

We took a slightly different route heading back towards Brisbane, which included some excellent dirt tracks south of the town to get us to Goomeri, where a bit of a navigational dog leg directed us across the Burnett Highway and onto the 80km of unsealed road that runs through the Jimna State Forest. This is an easy gravel and dirt road which also rewards you with some really good corners on a narrow strip of bitumen before it terminates at Kilcoy, on the D’Aguilar Highway.

We took a different route from here to return to Brisbane, skirting around Lake Wivenhoe to put us onto the Mt Glorious road, where we could enjoy a final fling through the Brisbane hinterland before returning to the mundane city suburbs. Gayndah is a great riding destination and is well worth visiting if you have a few days to go exploring, or if you want to include it as part of your itinery for a longer tour through south east Queensland.

Essentials

There are plenty of fuel and refreshment stops along this route, even if you take the longer detours that we did. Gayndah has all you need at the other end but there are other accommodation options available along the way,
if you prefer.

Fix it

There are a few bike shops in the larger towns along this route, but much of the riding is through areas that offer no immediate support. So make sure you carry spares, tools and plenty of water if you are going to follow the detours that we took on this ride.

Sleep

There is no shortage of accommodation options along this route but we stayed at the Golden Orange Hotel in Gayndah. It is run by very friendly locals who are more than happy to share their knowledge of the region, as well as providing great value food, and rooms for the night. Golden Orange Hotel, 3-5 Maltby Place, Gayndah, Qld (07) 4161 1107

Fuel up

Coles Express in Gympie is open 24 hours for fuel:
102 River Road, Gympie, Qld
(07) 5481 2549

Ban Ban Springs Roadhouse Burnett Highway, Ban Ban Springs, Qld
(07) 4161 6139

Eat

The Exchange Hotel in Kilcoy is a good stop for a cold beer and a solid pub-style feed: 13 William St, Kilcoy, Qld
(07) 5497 1331

Things to do

Gayndah has a rich history and there are several landmarks around the town, as well as in some of the smaller surrounding towns in the area. The region is known for its fertile red soil, which gives rise to healthy citrus crops and other agriculture throughout the area. Gayndah sits on the Burnett River, which is also an important part of the natural infrastructure. Its shallow riverbed cost the town a chance at being the state capital, as larger cargo ships would have been unable to gain safe passage to the town, making it a less viable option than Brisbane.

Words & Photography TIM MUNRO