May 2008

May 1 Coffs Harbour to Woolgoolga 38.93 kms, Avg speed 11.9 kph, Cycling time 3.15 hrs; Total kms 1255.30

Woolgoolga (or Woopi to locals) is a delightful seaside town, pop 3500, 26 klms north of Coffs along the Pacific Highway.  To avoid the latter we went inland, riding through lots of banana & avocado plantations via Bruxner Park Flora Reserve & Wedding Bells State Forest via a forest track.  This was much tougher than we though, bumpy gravel rocky road however worth it to avoid the highway.  Woopi has a large Indian community, whose ancestors came here around the time of Federation and there’s an impressive Sikh temple in the town.  The area is also renown for it’s fishing, crabbing and prawning...non of this for us tonight though, we’re having Thai!  Whilst sitting in a cafe in the afternoon we bumped into Robyn & Glenn, a couple we met at Crescent Head & who live locally.  They joined us for coffee & Glenn gave us directions for the ride to Arrawarra tomorrow, always good to get local knowledge. We’re staying in a Caravan Park overlooking Woopi beach, another great spot.  Unfortunately our travel towels & one of Greg’s shirts was stolen off the washing line during the night, they’re obviously not into cycling gear, that was all left behind.

May 2 Coffs Woolgoolga to Glenreagh 44.66 kms, Avg speed 11.3 kph, Cycling time 3.55 hrs; Total kms 1300.00

Rode along a cycle path to Arrawarra headland and ended up on the beach, hoping to be able to get across a creek to continue on our way, ooops, wrong turn and I wasn't’ even navigating!! After riding back along the beach and back tracking we quickly rode along the Pacific Highway for 3-4 klms to reach Sherwood Creek Road which would be our track to Glenreagh, part gravel road again, but not as rough as yesterday. Stunning sub tropical rainforest, quiet, quiet road with only a few cars passing us.  2 cars stopped to chat and ask about our travels & we like to pick their brains for local knowledge too.  We sat on a wonderful old wooden bridge for lunch before and arrived into Glenreagh early afternoon.  “There’s not much at Glenreagh” we were told except 1 pub, 1 store, 1 bakery, we loved it though and after having a relatively good coffee at the store walked around the streets checking our the lovely old houses.  We then called into The Golden Dog Hotel to check on accommodation. Greg had phoned the day before and was told they didn’t have any accommodation so it looked like we’d be camping at the Showground.  Warren, the publican, probably felt pity on us and said we could have a room for $60, pretty expensive, but we got to know the locals that night, with 2 fires lit, a large extensive bistro menu, this pub was bursting at the seams and a good night was had by all.  For the train buffs, Glenreagh is also known for the Glenreagh Mountain Railway & Historical Museum with Steam Train Rides behind “Betty” their 1878 engine or a tram ride on “Rusty” their Melbourne tram.

May 3 Glenreagh to Grafton 58.50 kms, Avg speed 16.8 kph, Cycling time 3.28 hrs; Total kms 1358.50

After picking up supplies for lunch at Glenreagh Markets we had another beautiful ride in the sunshine with only a few rolling hills.  We were joined along the route for a few kilometres by 5 cyclists on a 3 day ride, it’s always good to chat to them as they offer suggested routes for our north trip.  We’re staying at Grafton for 2 nights in the Gateway Village Holiday Park, apparently one of the best in Australia!  Have to say the grounds are beautiful and well maintained.  Grafton, “The Jacaranda City”, pop 18500, is renowned for its trees, graceful old buildings and the mighty Clarence River which is a dominating feature in its landscape & lifestyle.  This city would be spectacular in October when the Jacaranda Festival in held on the last Saturday when the streets are lined with the purple blooms.

May 4—5 Grafton

Our 2 nights in Grafton extended to 3 as Greg had problems with our website, not a happy chappy, so I made myself scarce and washed both bikes including his tyres, must be love!  It was now late afternoon so we decided to stay another night to cycle around Grafton the next day, great town too to cycle around as it’s flat.  After posting some unused gear to Greg’s mum we called into Grafton City Cycles and noticed a touring bike with a notice “not for sale”.  It belonged to owner, Sue, who’d done some touring herself and was very helpful in giving us some advice on our planned route over the next few days. We had lunch by the Clarence river sitting on a wharf, a couple of ham and lettuce rolls sitting in the sun. Very peaceful. The next day we had a pretty good feed at the Roches Hotel in Grafton. We’re still trying to replace the travel towels stolen from the clothes line in Woolgoolga as the drying of oneself with a Chux is wearing a bit thin, particularly in the cold mornings. However none of the shops we’ve been to have the light weight, super duper travel towels we’re after.

May 6 Grafton to Casino 98.32 kms, Avg speed 17.4 kph, Cycling time 5.37 hrs; Total kms 1461.70

We were on the road just before 8.30am, early for us, as we wanted to reach Casino and had a long ride ahead of us, 98 klms, our 2nd longest ride.  We rode along the Summerland Way which links the Moreton Bay (Brisbane) area in Qld with the Richmond & Clarence Valleys in NSW and provides a shorter, scenic alternative to the Pacific Highway.  Another great day of cycling through forests and undulating countryside, there is only 1 store along the way, at Whiporie and they made a good coffee too.  Casino, pop 10,000, is set in lush pastures on the banks of the Richmond River and has the laid back ambience of a country town.  We arrived at Browns Caravan Park mid afternoon, a bargain at $17 for a powered site, and felt remarkably refreshed after a shower. Greg commented on the poster in the Men’s toilet advertising a laxative called “Bombs Away”, hopefully neither of us will need this. This Park was really close to the rail line, not that that bothers us as we love trains, what was closer though was the sound of a cockerel at 5.00am in a neighbour’s backyard, and then being joined by his mate.  Something had set him off, whatever it was he sounded really cranky.  The sawmill then started at 7.30am, the joys of country living, too bad if we wanted a sleep in.

May 7 Casino to Kyogle 34.29 kms, Avg speed 15.9 kph, Cycling time 2.09 hrs; Total kms 1496.0

We rode into town for our morning coffee as we only had a short ride today. The Cafe was called Zeebra (yes the spelling is correct) and spoke to the owner about the much advertised Casino Beef Week.  Greg asked if there was a Miss Beef, or Beef Queen competition, but didn’t get an answer.   We continued along the Summerland Way where there was a good shoulder to ride on albeit with a headwind.  Kyogle, pop 4000, is an attractive timber milling town surrounded by rainforest and set on the Richmond River at the base of Fairy Mountain.  After calling into the Tourist Info Centre and speaking to 2 very helpful people we rode to Kyogle Caravan Park, even cheaper than Casino at $16, such a bargain when at the end of a day all you want is a hot shower and to do some washing. The camping park is adjacent to the local Croquet Club, where the ladies were belting each others balls around the paddock.  There was also a huge box offering free sugar bananas, fruit we devour a lot of on this trip.  We chatted to the guy next to our tent, whose 6 month trip was coming to an end (ha ha), and he recommended the local August Moon Chinese Restaurant.  After walking around Kyogle and having drink at the pub that’s where we ate and enjoyed it too. Complete with Chinese lanterns and fluorescent lights.

May 8 Kyogle to Nimbin 33.98 kms, Avg speed 12.5 kph, Cycling time 2.42 hrs; Total kms 1530.00

Sat outside Espresso Edge in Kyogle for our morning coffee fix, was that good we had a 2nd cup, when a partner from a local solicitor’s firm saw our bikes and came to talk to us.  He was interested in our journey and spoke of his 900 klms pilgrim’s trek last year along the Camino de Santiago, across northern Spain, a trek we’d like to do too one day.  Lots of people come up to chat to us which we enjoy, most seem quite envious, only 1 person thought we were mad as he squeezed into his huge 4WD pulling an enormous caravan.

We didn’t know whether to go to Nimbin as we’d have to back track to Kyogle as we wanted to go along what is known as The Lions Road  (after the Lions Club) into Queensland, but we’re glad we did as the ride there was just stunning although very hilly.  Nimbin, pop 1100, is a hippy haven set in beautiful, green valley pierced with limestone spires.  The commune sprouted in the 70s & 80s and today Nimbin wears its hair, tattoos and body piercings with pride thou it’s not for the faint hearted.  There’s more hairy legs here than an araneology convention. Plenty of dreads and braids, but try as Greg did, no free love. As a couple of middle aged silly cyclists, we stuck out like poo in a pool, but it was fun having a walk around. We stayed at the local caravan park and met Marcus, Mia, Missy & Maximum, Missy being the eldest at 5, experienced campers and loved to chat—they were really nice kids and even Greg peeled oranges for them which we’d just picked off the park’s trees. He claims it was just to stop them talking. Greg also threatened to have his hair braided so he could fit in with the locals but he said he thought it would be too uncomfortable to sit down. That night  we had dinner at about 7.30pm and it got so cold we went to bed at just after 8.00. I think it was about 5 degrees over night, which is probably our coldest night yet. Our sleeping bags worked well, but we really need to get north and out of the mountains soon.

May 9 Nimbin to Wadeville 19.44 kms, Avg speed 11.1 kph, Cycling time 1.44 hrs; Total kms 1549.4

As we spiralled down into Nimbin yesterday, speed of 50klms!, at some stage we had to spiral out again and spiral we did making our way to Wadeville via Lillian Rock.  You do feel virtuous thou when you reach the top dripping in sweat and say you didn’t use your lowest doesn’t last long when your cycling partner says “neither did I”.  The Kyogle Tourist office recommended The Border Ranges Centre at Wadeville overlooking the magnificent World Heritage Border Ranges National Park, a campervan & backpacker facility only 6 month’s old  owned by Roger, Kate, Lee, Leone & Lucy the poodle.  The brochure said “live music” and “on-site food and bottle shop” so who needs more?  More we did get from the surrounding scenery, wildlife, facilities & entertainment provided by Lee (guitar), Terry (guitar) and Garry (mouth organ) in a shed called “Burbang Mah”, aboriginal dialect for “Gathering Place”.  Meeting the locals, who gather here regularly for these jam sessions, & staying in this most exquisite setting has been one of our highlights, we like it so much we’re staying another night, possibly 2.  Terry plays the guitar pretty well, in fact he played in Johnny Cash’s band when Johnny came to Australia. The shed is adjacent to the bottle shop cum General Store so it’s not really a pub, but does many of the things most pubs do. It has a telly on top of the fridge that stinks, so you can watch the Friday night footy, a roof to keep the rain and dew off, but no walls to keep the breeze out, an open fire with a bunch of stools around, live music, and a fair bit of noise coming from people having a drink and a chat. I think Nimbin had an effect on me as I cooked Lentils with Tumeric and Bacon for dinner, much to Greg’s delight!  He did ask what meat we were having with it, everybody in Burbang Mah said it smelt great and it was too.  Greg didn’t comment too much, probably scared he’ll get it again.

May 10—11 Wadeville

We ended up staying 2 more nights as Terry had kindly offered to take us to The Channon Craft Markets on Sunday, too good an opportunity to miss.  30 years ago the Markets were established at The Channon, a small village in the hills near Lismore.  It’s strongly held ethic of “Make It, Bake It, Grow It” flourished & this is still nurtured by the 250 stall holders today.  The Markets are held on the 2nd Sunday each month and were a festival of colour.  The drive along the ridge reminded us of the Derbyshire Dales, so green too. We called into The Channon Tavern for lunch and spent the afternoon chatting with Ann-Marie, Bernie and Ella, friends of Terry’s.  Sitting on the lawn in front of the Tavern enjoying the autumn sunshine, what a way to spend an afternoon. Terry was catching up with a few friends as he used to live in The Channon, so we agreed I would drive back to Wadeville in his car, which Wellsy named the Red Peril. Back at Wadeville we enjoyed a couple of Burgers and chips before retiring for an early night.

May 12 Wadeville to Lions Road 47.90 kms, Avg speed 16.00 kph, Cycling time 2.58 hrs; Total kms 1597.75

Enough lazing around, we were ready to get on the bikes again.  We’ve decided to approach the Queensland border via The Lions Road  which forms a scenic link between Queensland and the Richmond Valley passing through the picturesque Border Ranges National Park.  So back down to Kyogle again, coffee stop at Espresso Edge and we picked up supplies for our favourite lunch of hummous, tabouli and tomatoes.   The history of The Lions Road is interesting, when the government walked away from its commitment to work on the construction of the road in 1969 the Kyogle Lions Club undertook promotion of the road as a community project.  With many offers of assistance from companies and the community a dirt road, suitable for cars, was opened in Dec 1971.  When the Qld border was reached, the Beaudesert Lions Club came on board and injected new life into the project.  Over 100,000 vehicles per year use the road and donation boxes at the border gates are well supported and resealing of the road was completed in 2002 with contributions from government bodies.  We were saving the hilliest part of the ride until tomorrow so camped at Rainforest Gateway Caravan Park, about 9 klms into Lions Road.  Even though the Park said it was “Closed”, Ron and Una let us camp there overnight, we had to leave by 8.30am though as they were heading to the Gold Coast. Ron was an interesting bloke and had an opinion on most things. He also did most of the talking for himself, his wife, and anyone else within earshot. We did a lot of nodding and mmmming.

May 13 The Lions Road to Rathdowney 41.16 kms, Avg speed 11.1 kph, Cycling time 3.42 hrs; Total kms 1638.6

On the road by 8.15am, very early for us.  We tend to leave a bit later to let the outside of the tent dry, it’s always wet because of the dew so extra heavy this morning for Greg.  Phew, it certainly was a tough, hilly ride.  Looking back it was worth it as the scenery was fantastic although you don’t think so at the time panting up a hill!  Along the Lions Road is a lookout which overlooks the unique Spiral Loop in the main Sydney to Brisbane railway line.  Trains can be seen to come up one valley, pass through the mountain twice to cross the original track thereby gaining 20 metres in height, the purpose to reduce the length of the tunnel under the main range. The lookout has spectacular views of Grady’s Creek valley & is a great picnic spot, unfortunately a train had passed about 10 mins before so we missed seeing this spectacle. We did see a service vehicle with rail wheels do the loop while we enjoyed our morning tea, sesame bars and water.

We passed through the Queensland border after 8 weeks and cycling 1614 klms, don't’ think either of us could believe we’d reached this far!!  The roads across the border were like riding a big dipper for a while, so steep down and then very steep up.  The landscape changed dramatically too as we’d been warned, lush rainforest one side and now grazing land with all the rainforest having been logged.  We rode into Rathdowney which lies in the Logan River Valley nestled at the base of the Great Dividing Range and checked into the Caravan Park—$7 for a powered site, felt embarrassed paying so little.  Besides some long term residents we were the only campers there, a great Park with wonderful mountain views.  As we rode into town Greg realised he’d been to Rathdowney before, he stopped for a sandwich last year on his way back from Noosa, after visiting his brother.  We were now only 96 klms south from Brisbane so needed to make up our minds whether to visit Brisbane or bypass it.  As we don’t know the city at all, we decided to have a break and stay for a week plus we had some friends we wanted to catch up with.  A call to Craig and another call to Jenny confirmed our plans to arrive in Brisbane on Friday, a couple of days away.

May 14 Rathdowney to Beaudesert 34.32 kms, Avg speed 14.8 kph, Cycling time 2.18 hrs; Total kms 1672.9

Short ride to Beaudesert, a pretty town nestled in the hinterland behind the Gold Coast, a popular day trip from Brisbane with visitors travelling through Beaudesert, up Tamborine Mountain and across to the Gold Coast.  There is only one Caravan Park at Beaudesert, owned by the Showground and overlooking it, a good spot to be.  The weather forecast had predicted storms and as Greg was checking in the thunder and lightening started and then the rain.    Luckily there was a covered camp kitchen (not all kitchen’s are covered or even exist) next to our tent spot so we sheltered there for an hour as the storm passed and the heavy rain and hail finally stopped.  Luckily our tent spot had good drainage so we set up camp and rode into town to pick up supplies for a BBQ dinner.  There was lots of activity at the Showground with many horse floats arriving, even quite late into the night, the previous week there had been a rodeo, we always miss these events, we arrive either too early in the week or too late.

May 15 Beaudesert to Greenslopes 63.56 kms, Avg speed 14.5 kph, Cycling time 4.23 hrs; Total kms 1739.1

We decided to arrive into Brisbane Thursday evening and our most direct route was unfortunately along the Mt Lindsay Highway.  This wasn’t a pleasant ride, a busy road with lots of logging trucks coupled with major roadworks along some of the route.  For the first time we got some angry blasts from trucks telling us to get out of the way!  We were relieved to arrive in one piece at the Greenslopes Motor Inn, 3 klms from the city and we arrived again just  before another storm erupted with more heavy rain.  We were greeted by the cheerful and very helpful owner, Peter and his wife, Opal, who couldn’t believe we’d cycled from Sydney. We had a pre dinner drink at the local pub and then went across the road to the Fasta Pasta restaurant. Not a late night.

May 16 Greenslopes to Indoorapilly 28.21 klms, Avg speed 12.3 kph, Cycling time 2.17 hrs; Total kms 1767.3

A friend, Jenny, had generously offer us her unit for the week whilst in Brisbane so we picked up the keys from Jenny’s office just around the corner.  Before that we went out for breakfast, our first outing for breakfast since being on the road and a delicious change from having Muesli most mornings for the past 2 months!  Greg lashed out and had an $11 hair cut. He had bought some hair cutting stuff before we left Sydney but it really made him look quite moth eaten at best, and a chemo patient at worst. For the next 2 days we’re staying with Mary and Craig at Indooroopilly.  Brisbane has some great cycle paths and we rode along Southbank by the Brisbane River and over to Indoorapilly on these paths.  This trip should have taken around 15 klms however we ended up cycling 28 klms looking for their house, we now know most of the hilly streets in Indoorapi!ly!  We had last caught up with Craig and Mary when they were in Sydney a couple of years ago. Greg has not seen their kids for over 15 years. Their eldest, Maddie greeted us at their front door, Craig and Mary came a few minutes later as they’d been out for the day. Their youngest, Charlie is still at school, but is in his final year. Jack, in the middle was working. In summary, these kids are just your basic bloody over achievers. Maddie is too bloody smart by half and delightful with it, Jack we didn’t speak with a lot with as he is busy establishing a career in the radio programming and hopefully  broadcast industry and enjoys a hair style that would make Marg Simpson proud. Charlie is obviously a kleptomaniac as the shelves in his bedroom, where we slept, are littered with sporting trophies and awards. Far too many for one kid to have earned. There’s something a little strange going on here as these guys are really nice. Mary and Craig have done a great job. Craig had band practice that night so we went into the city and listened to a very good jazz singer accompanied by a bass player. Craig’s band practice finished earlier than expected and he kindly picked us up from the city. As we walked along the city streets, we were reminded of home in Sydney. Same noise, same boofy blokes, same scantily clad girls, same duff duff music, same same same. We’re not missing much there.

May 17—Indoorapilly

Went to fruit and veg markets with Craig and Mary and they drove us around some of the streets of riverside Brisbane. Queensland has an architectural style of house appropriately named Queenslanders. Basically they are timber houses with wide veranda's around all sides, usually tin roofs and built up on stilts about 12 feet, to catch the breeze. They’re in high demand, and with good reason. They’re beautiful. We dried the tent on the back lawn just in the nick of time as the afternoon bought a huge storm with buckets of rain very badly needed on Brisbane’s gardens. Mary cooked up a huge piece of baked pork for dinner while Craig and Greg went to the wine shop. We dined very well that night.

May 18—Indoorapilly to Morningside  20.12 klms, Avg speed 14.00 kph, Cycling time 1.25 hrs; Total 1787.4

After having a delicious cooked breakfast we bade farewell to Craig, Mary, Maddie, Charlie, Jack & Holly the dog.....Indoorapilly isn’t that hilly if you get on the right cycle path (Greg!!).  What a fantastic way to get into the city riding along these well planned cycle/walks.  We’re going to enjoy discovering Brisbane from the seat of our cycles minus panniers, another plus.  We arrived a Jenny’s apartment and immediately became the guests you don’t want. Within 2 minutes of the front door closing behind us Greg had broken a glass (sorry Jen). We’re now settled at Jenny’s extremely comfortable unit, it’s going to be a very relaxing week catching up with friends, checking out the markets, cafes and restaurants and Brisbane and it’s surrounds.

May 19 to 26—Morningside, Brisbane

Brisbane’s pop is 1.6 million and is Australia’s third largest city behind Sydney and Melbourne.  It’s a youthful city with the average age being 33 so we fitted in well...or would have about 15 years ago. Its warm climate and endless sunny days create a great outdoor lifestyle and all the bike paths and river walkways made walking and cycling around a delight.  Greg was recovering from a (life threatening !) Cold for about three days, so our discovery of Brisbane was curtailed somewhat. A purchase of the local Food & Wine Guide for Queensland, Northern Territory & Northern NSW didn’t disappoint and we discovered some delights in New Farm, Paddington & Fortitude Valley with our favourite area being Bulimba, right on the Brisbane River, where we wined and dined with Jen one night at a riverside restaurant called Tonic.

Jen also kindly drove us to the Gold Coast on Sunday. This was a first for both of us as we’d had no desire to specifically make a trip there before. Given our previous couple of weeks touring the picturesque country side of both northern NSW and south eastern Qld, this was a Kulture Shock. Wet and Wild, Sea World, Movie World, Disney World, Pretend World, Real World, Awesome World and lastly Consumption World cramped the road side. Clearly Greg and I are not the target audience and these entertainment treasures will, tragically, be forever foreign to us. Having said that the beach is truly beautiful. Fine white sand stretches for miles, along what appears to be a great surf beach. It’s a pity the beach is in shade for most of the afternoon because of the high rise apartments built directly across the road. The three of us had very pleasant lunch at Moo Moo sitting in the afternoon sun before Jen, again kindly, drove us back to her place.

On our final day in Brisbane we hopped on a Citycat ferry for a 2 hour cruise up and down the Brisbane River and saw the city from a different perspective, what an enjoyable way to spend a morning.

Being in Brisbane also gave me the opportunity to catch up with Stacky, an ex work colleague who’d relocated from Sydney & also to speak to my family in the UK especially to Dad who’s 91, he’s also being kept informed of our adventure by my 3 sisters as well.  We also stocked up on travel towels, cycling shirt, cycle shorts, tubes, tyres, stronger tent taup etc as well as ordering Ortlieb pannier spares & bike accessory gear via the UK.  As crazy as it sounds its cheaper and quicker to do it this way than go via the Australian distributor.  Thanks to Jim (brother in law in UK) and Stu (Greg’s brother in Aus) for helping with this. The loss of our travel towels concerned many people and we received many offers to help replace which were greatly appreciated.  Our week in Brisbane passed too quickly, Greg’s terrible cold during the week prevented him venturing outside for a few days however by the end of the week we certainly had enjoyed exploring this delightful “River City”.    

May 27—Morningside to Dayboro 56.63 klms, Avg speed 16.2 kph, Cycling time 3.28 hrs; Total 1864.3

We were happy to be on our bikes again and our route over the next week will take us via the Sunshine Coast Hinterland making our way to Noosaville where we’ll stay with Greg’s brother Stu and family.  Greg’s Mum, Robin, is also flying up from Sydney so it will be great to see her as well.

We rode relatively easy out of Brisbane along the Samford Road over the Samford Range and into Samford, had our morning coffee at the local patisserie and made our way to Dayboro.  We camped at the Showground surrounded by lush green hills and lots of beautiful, brown Brahman cattle in the neighbouring field.  This Showground was home to one caravan owner who’d been there for 3 months, he was quite content with his lifestyle and you could understand why. 

May 28—Dayboro to Woodford 44.66 klms, Avg speed 13.6 kph, Cycling time 3.16 hrs; Total 1913.7

This was a hilly ride and we both suffered as we’d lost some fitness after our week in Brisbane.  The scenery made up for it though and after a 6 klm steady ride up Mt. Mee we had a coffee at Birches Restaurant where we spoke to a couple of “Ladies who Lunch”. One of them said we should phone Macca, a national radio host, and tell him of our adventures. Greg mentioned that his mother had made the same suggestion at least a dozen times, all of which he had acknowledged and done nothing about. He said it must be an old women “thing” to suggest phoning  a radio show host. The coffee was very welcome and the newly lit fire looked very tempting, but we got back on our mounts and kept riding. We lunched at Dahmongah Park at Mt. Mee Lookout with stunning views of the imposing Glasshouse Mountains. Arriving in Woodford, we were resigned to paying $100 for the night at the local motel as we couldn’t locate any campsite on the web however a quick call into the local real estate agent sent us to the Showground where we camped for $11 surrounded by chickens, turkeys and a lonely calf in the Show Ring...hopefully he wasn’t waiting to be sent to market!  Rain was being forecast for the next 3 days so our plan was to find accommodation at Maleny & stay for the 3 nights and by good fortune the Maleny Show happened to be on on the Friday and Saturday ....this was also our downfall as accommodation was scarce so we went to bed discussing alternative routes.  As predicted the rain fell during the night.

May 29—Woodford to Maleny 38.18 klms, Avg speed 13.1 kph, Cycling time 2.54 hrs; Total 1951.9

With grey skies overhead we packed quickly and we on our bikes before 8.30am, it’s usually 9.30am.  We decided to ride to Maleny, see if any accommodation was available, and if not, consider our options.  Another tough ride, very steep hills (and lots of them) through rain and mist and with cold mountain air too!  At the top of our climb the visibility was less than 100 metres through the cloud. However, when we descended the hills and cleared the mist we were in Blackall Range & Glass House Country, a landscape of rolling green hills laced with sparkling lakes, creeks and waterfalls.  Maleny itself, pop 5000, is home to creative minds with an endless array of boutiques, cosy cafes, bookshops, fine food shops and a great cheese shop in the main street where we parked our bikes while I went to talk to the local Tourist Office.  During this short time Greg was surrounded by several locals interested in our trip with one offering accommodation for the night near Kenilworth, our next stop after Maleny.  We called into the Maleny Hotel to see if they had accommodation and luckily had a room for 2 nights, with a possibility of a further night to be confirmed.  After an Italian meal served by a lass, who Greg is convinced had two large Aubergines stuffed into her very revealing bra, we’re now fed, watered, warm and dry and settled into our room with our bikes outside our room on the upper veranda.  It’s still raining heavily so we’re hoping it will ease for the Show organisers and attendees over the next couple of days.

May 30—31 Maleny

“There is a severe weather warning for the Sunshine Coast with flash flooding and heavy rain” a message we heard on the radio early Friday morning and the rain was heavier outside than yesterday.  We still made our way to the Showground eager to support The Maleny Agriculture Show, our money was happily taken and walking around realised all the ring events had been cancelled.  We managed to see the judging of the “best milking cow”, and checked out the winners of the cakes, jams, preserves, vegs etc.  The wood chop and dog jumping events were also cancelled and the Side Show Alley owners looked miserable so it was quite depressing for everybody.  Our accommodation for a 3rd night at the Maleny Hotel didn’t come through, they were still heavily booked so we moved Saturday morning into a B&B just up the road for a whopping $148, you’d think you’d get dancing girls for that, all you got was twin beds with no breakfast, we declined that for an additional $30!  The forecast wasn’t improving and accommodation was tight due to the Show so our options were limited.  We hopped on the local Hinterland bus shuttle heading to Montville for lunch at a pub we visited about 12 years ago and really enjoyed.  Doug the bus driver was a jolly person and advised us the pub we were looking for was at Mapleton, not Montville, so he dropped us there and said he’d pick us up on the last run going back.  The Mapleton Tavern has fantastic hinterland views, not on this day though, it was covered in cloud as was the journey there on the bus.  When you see house names such as “Cloudlands” and “Misty Hideaway” it gives you an idea of the weather patterns in this area.  Still our lunch was enjoyable and the afternoon was spent reading by the fire while we waited for Doug and our return journey back to Maleny.  That night we went to a local institution, The Upfront Club, a successful Co-Op since 1994 that serves great food and coffee and also offers evening entertainment.  That night we listened to Rob Longstaff whose acoustic guitar style features jazz influenced blues and “Loren” another young folk/regee/acoustic singer/songwriter, both incredibly talented, the sort of people who can play about 3 different instruments and have a fantastic voice too!