It was -6 degrees as we headed off from Clifton on the Darling Downs for a 54k ride to the Goomburra State Forest. This is most unusual for me at this time of year, as daytime temperatures in Brisbane rarely go below 15 degrees . Once I settled down and warmed up, it was no time until I was discarding excess clothing and ski gloves. It turned into a beautiful day and although winter, the scenery was just magnificent. For the recreational cyclist and photographer alike, this part of the country is ideal to cycle in during the seasonal changes as the colour of the landscapes can vary dramatically, not only on a seasonal basis but also daily and in some cases hourly.
The road to Goomburra is sealed right to the entrance of the National Park where it turns to compacted dirt for the next 5km. Even then it appears to be kept in good condition. There is only light traffic to contend with and the terrain could be described as undulating but necessitating reasonable fitness none the less.
We had made arrangements with our wives and family to meet us at the picnic and camping ground within the state forest for lunch. The picnic they produced was superb and a nice way to relax after completing the ride. This arrangement served other purposes than meeting up for a family picnic including having back-up in the case of a major mechanical failure and transport back to Clifton.
After lunch we all went for a 5 km walk along the creek where the highlight was a family of young Wallabies playing in the sunlight filtering through the trees. There were also a couple of small creek crossings to ford where the crystal clear water was running with an urgency, pushing reeds aside and effortlessly running between the rocks and over pebbles to wherever it was heading.
I just love the feeling of meandering along a bush track following a creek line where nature accepts you as one of it's own, listening to a cacophony of sounds and taking in the slithers of light as it passes through the leaves and ricochets off the rocks beneath the water and the silvery bark of the tree trunks. Unfortunately, I neglected to take my camera with me on the walk and therefore unable to capture this magic moment in time.
By the time we arrived back at the picnic grounds the sun had started to recede below the hills and tree line and the air was beginning to chill, warning us of another cool night ahead. We didn't care though as we knew that there was food, a fire and a couple of bottles of red just begging to be partaken of when we arrived home. The cars being packed, we headed back to Clifton for a relaxing night in front of the fire.
The area is perfect for camping and just outside the forest, there are cabins for hire but I would suggest contacting them first to avoid disappointment. If you are aiming to spend a couple of days, there is always Clifton and Allora where there are a number of hotels offering accommodation. A quick search through Google will help you in this matter.