Riding high

I hadn’t planned to ride in the Bunya Mountains. An invitation arrived to share a cabin there over the long weekend with friends. It’d been the late 90s since I’d visited the Bunyas so I was looking forward to going there again. Bicycle riding, though, was unlikely to be in the equation.

The Bunya Mountains sit like an elevated island of rainforest habitat surrounded by dry flat plains that stretch to the horizon. Sitting at about 1000 metres above sea level, this cluster of peaks has a distinctive climate that draws sea and city dwellers to its cooler temperatures. You’d think that attraction would be to get some relief from the sub-tropical heat. But in fact winter is the most popular season. The elevated climes of the Bunya Mountains means that coats bought for travelling to Europe can be pulled out of wardrobes, fireplaces can be lit, red wine sipped and the heat of summer forgotten.

This hasn’t always been the norm. Prior to European settlement, the Bunya Mountains was a gathering place for the First Australians during summer. Every few years during the summer months, the Bunya Pines produce cones containing edible seeds known as the Bunya Nut. So every few years, a gathering took place with people travelling hundreds of kilometres to meet “for ceremonies, law-making and resolving disputes, renewing friendships, passing on lore, sharing ideas and revitalising spirituality” (1).

Our weekend at the Bunyas was going to be about nourishing friendships and revitalising the spirit among some beautiful hiking trails. But, knowing that the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail begins on the nearby plains, we decided to pack the bikes onto the car with an idea to cycle a small section of the rail trail on Sunday.

Not so. Once we arrived at our cabin, heard the blissful quiet, soaked in the sunshine and drew in crisp clean air, any plans to leave the mountain for a day trip to the plains, was thrown out the window and flew away on the wings of a crimson rosella.

Come Sunday though, my cycling legs became a little curious. We hatched a plan to ride out to where one of the hiking trails begins. It would be about 6kms riding, an 8km hike and then a 6km ride back to the cabin. All very reasonable. In theory.

Setting off enthusiastically, with the thrill of a downhill run, the hills hit soon after. You see we’d arrived on the Bunyas at night time and had no idea what the terrain was like.

We didn’t make it to our destination. Only halfway. We didn’t do the hike we’d planned. A different trail saw our boots that day. Do I feel disappointed? Not at all. After meeting those challenging hill climbs and feeling the exhilarating descents, I was riding high.

20160424 Gail Bike IMG_2050

Ready to roll. The tree behind me is a Bunya Pine.

20160423 hiking IMG_198720160424 grass tree IMG_198220160425 skips IMG_2089 - Version 2

201604 strava elevation Bunyas


14 Comments on “Riding high

  1. what a great weekend. lovely photos, Does it really matter if we complete our goals all the time. what matters is enjoying the journey. Looks like that hill was a killer

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true, it was a great morning despite the planned ride being aborted. Compared to my coastal plain neighbourhood, this series of hills was a stretch 🙂


    • You’re welcome 🙂 I hadn’t been there for years Wendy and fell in love with it again – planning another trip there before too long. The hiking was really enjoyable. We went out early each morning and there were next to no people on the trails and plenty of birds.


  2. A lovely post Gail. What a nice detour from your original plans! The elevation graph was very daunting. I’ll bet your legs were more than a little shaky. I love the Bunya Mountains

    Liked by 1 person

    • My curious cycling legs were a little shaky after the hill climbs but I think there was a good dose of endorphins in play too 😀 Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Bunya Mountains sound marvelous. What a setting for a book! I love settings as muses! So this was the start of your wonderful idea? See, it was your muse. The photos of those kangaroos made me chuckle and the others are quite lovely, too. I’m really getting to know about your part of the world. It’s very far away and I’ll probably never see it in person, but I do have your descriptions and your photos. Thank you. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Clare. Yes the Bunya Mountains are quite beautiful and so interesting. They are an unusual landmark in the landscape. Those kangaroos were sometimes lazing, sometimes grazing, sometimes bounding around. There were dozens of them around our cabin.
      It’s lovely to share our backyards with each other in words and pictures 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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