BVRT: Esk to Linville
This is the second story about my 2-day ride along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) from Wulkuraka to Linville. In this post, we ride 56 kilometres from Esk to Linville.
The town of Toogoolawah and a century-old tunnel wait for us on the trail between Esk and Linville. This segment of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) is 56 kilometres in length and winds steadily north-west, mirroring the Brisbane Valley Highway. As a motorist on that highway, you will occasionally see bike riders in the distance pedalling along the BVRT, seemingly in a world of their own. As a bicycle rider on the trail, I can tell them I certainly am. The sounds of the wind rushing past fills my ears. The terrain of the trail focuses my eyes. The scent of eucalypts and earth warmed by the sun, lands me in the country.
An enjoyable downward run into Toogoolawah
Leaving Esk the trail rises a little in elevation (50 metres) which can make the ride feel a little difficult first thing. But that doesn’t last for long and after ten kilometres there’s an enjoyable downward run into Toogoolawah. I’ve ridden the Esk-Toogoolawah section numerous times and this time was the absolute best experience. Why? The trail used to be extremely bumpy and corrugated. It was the type of riding that I didn’t look forward to. Everything jiggled and I was always glad when that section was over. But now, thanks to the significant trail works being done, the Esk to Toogoolawah track is much improved and will get a whole lot better. (At the time of writing, the track works are still underway at the Esk end with graders and trucks working weekdays).
Entry into Toogoolawah is via the Bubble Bridge which was designed to celebrate the condensed milk factory that once operated in the the town. Now, the old factory is home for the Somerset Regional Art Gallery, named “The Condensery’ and worth a look. You can see the statue of Norman the Red Deer and learn about the interesting connection between this region and the royal gift of red deer from Queen Victoria. Having started our ride mid-morning, Toogoolawah was our lunch stop. The Exchange Hotel serves a good counter lunch and very, very cold beer.
A century-old tunnel waits ahead
About ten kilometres on from Toogoolawah, the Yimbun Tunnel quietly sits. Over one hundred years old and one hundred metres long, this historic tunnel is fascinating. Completed in 1910, the tunnel took over a year to build and has an appealing egg-shape design. The tunnel’s dimensions are semi-elliptical, meaning they are based on an elongated circle halved at its axis. Its egg-shape is visually pleasing on approach and also while riding through the tunnel. And as for riding the length of the tunnel… that is a lot of fun!
The small settlement of Harlin is next and this is one of two places where you’ll need to cross the highway to continue onto Moore and Linville. You might also find yourself meeting a few cattle between Esk and Linville. So ride with care and don’t be freaked out like I was on my first ride back in 2016.
Where the bloody hell is Linville?
For our 2-day ride, Linville was our destination. It was also our gathering point where we left our cars and boarded the Out There Cycling shuttle to Wulkuraka to start our ride. So as the Linville Hotel signature t-shirt aptly asks: “where the bloody hell is Linville?”.
Linville sits at the base of the Blackbutt Range, about a two-hour drive from Brisbane and about 120 kilometres along the BVRT from Wulkuraka. A small community with a general store, a war memorial and the historic Linville Hotel, this township marks the beginning of the BVRT’s big elevation. From Linville the BVRT climbs some 300 metres up the Blackbutt Range.
I am attracted to the enjoyment of riding free of cars, through beautiful landscapes and experiencing small vibrant village-type communities.
For us though, arriving at Linville was the end of our 2-day ride. Spending a couple of days pedalling along the BVRT was both relaxing and invigorating. There is the enjoyment of riding free of cars, through beautiful landscapes and experiencing small vibrant village-type communities. And for me, being able to ride the rail trail with two of my brothers made the time especially enjoyable.
Our itinerary for 2-day/ 3-night BVRT ride: Wulkuraka to Linville….
- Day 1 Meet late afternoon at Linville Hotel for overnight accomodation
- Day 2
- Catch Out There Cycling shuttle from Linville(7:30am) to Wulkuraka (9.15am)
- Ride Wulkuraka to Esk – 67kms
- Stay overnight at Esk Caravan Park & Motel
- Day 3
- Ride Esk to Linville – 56kms
- Stay overnight at Linville Hotel
- Day 4 Drive home.