Kroombit Tops National Park, Australia
Well after riding around on my trusty $10 bike a lot more out here and it taking 2 days each time for my numb bum to wake up, I decided it was time for an upgrade. Following locals advice I checked out Jim’s Cycles in Biloela and soon purchased a snazzy Mongoose mountain bike. It was after this I wanted to try it out on some scenic bike tracks and so packed up the bike in the back and planned my next road trip.
9 am this morning (10/6) I headed off and had decided I would go to Cania Gorge National Park for a look as it was an hour closer than Kroombit Tops National Park.
Safety in mind, I left a note in the nurses quarters saying when I left and where I was headed, and shot through.
Good plan except an hour into the journey I decided, No, stuff it I’ll go to Kroombit Tops!
(Yea good one bright spark, if you did get into trouble you’d really be stuffed wouldn’t you?)
Ah well, as you can see I survived to type another blog so all is well, ha ha.
So I headed to Biloela, stopped at the info centre and got the low down on Kroombit Tops National Park. Full of various walking tracks and supposedly good bike tracks, with 3 ways to access the Park. The short high clearance 4×4 track (not recommended), the northern Tableland Road way (only advisable in dry conditions) and the southern access from Monto (4×4 only). Well I chose the safe way and headed in the direction of a town called Calliope. After 2 hours I stopped here, grabbed some lunch, refueled and back tracked just out of town in the direction of Kroombit Tops.
The road wasn’t too bad but easy to see it would be a no goer after rain with a lot of creek beds that, as per the Australian rural way, have the road dip down into them instead of the idea of a bridge. (I’m guessing due to the cost). It was mainly an unsealed road and there was a fair bit of road work going on also, so I would suggest a 4×4 through here too.
After an hour of winding through, onward and upward on a single lane sealed road past the rangers hut and back onto dirt track, I arrived at the Lookout, and it was definitely worth it! Looking out across the vast National Park and beyond it sure puts life into perspective. It reminds you how small you really are on the scale of things. You can certainly breathe easy in a place like that.
Now from here I planned to head down the 4×4 track to check out “Beautiful Betsty” the WW2 Bomber aircraft that still lay resting where she was found in 1994. As the pictures will indicate she apparently crashed here in 1945 on returning from a food delivery trip to servicemen in Darwin.
Well the lady at the information centre seemed to think I would have no problems getting to the site in the Rav4 but I think perhaps she hadn’t seen the track for awhile..
Only 10 mins into this trip I passed a woman coming up the track in another SUV and waived out only to be given a stern expression in reply. I wondered what she was doing out here on her own in such a grumpy mood, and after reflecting that I’m out here alone, I quashed my imaginations wild thoughts of her dumping a body or the likes and carried on..
The advice did say 4×4 and that is fine but it perhaps should have said high clearance as well. It wasn’t that the track was slippery at all but the placement of certain rocks, trees and rain gutted sandstone, did make it a slow trip and a bit of a challenge for Rizzo.
The map stated in order to see Betsy and carry on round the loop track it was a 2 hr trip, usually it takes a lot less time than stated but they were bang on with this one..
After meandering my way down the track for an hour I reached the start of the short walking track to Betsy’s final resting place, parked up Rizzo and headed off.
Quite an eerie but peaceful feeling around the site, with a memorial to the 6 servicemen who lost their lives here and the fact that everything lay as it landed all those years ago. A good place for contemplation, remembrance and to be thankful for the lives we all still have.
After chilling out here for a bit it was back in Rizzo and back up the track where I could either double back where I came from or continue round the loop. Well yup I chose to carry on, something annoying about doubling back…
Quite a few more hairy spots and there was a bit of a crunch, thankfully on investigating, no serious damage but the rock had a good go… Onward I drove, dodging obstacles, creeping through rocky spots and stopping to take the odd picture and finally I made it back to the main track. Well, now do I head back the way I came in or carry on and out the south side of the park?
So at this stage it was about 3.30pm and heading towards Monto was when I saw a flock of Black cockatoos fly overheard. They are a bit larger than the white cockatoos and seem more majestic for some reason. They just cruise in the air and their call doesn’t seem as harsh. Neat sight to see.
Just round the corner was some more cattle and a newborn calf staggering to its feet and then the wild budgies flew through. So each turn had something to entertain me..
Another hour went by before I reached a closed gate and what appeared to be the exit point of the Park. Through the gate and onward thinking it wouldn’t be far until sealed road again then the road decided to split into two, with no sign of which direction to go..
Hmm. No phone reception to check on google or call for directions and no indication on the map in front of me. Well one way looks like a farmers race and the other looks well worn so after consulting my compass I headed north on the worn track, hoping it would swing back to the south.
5 mins along I reached the edge of the range with a sign saying north to Calliope Shire and an arrow back saying south to Monto Shire. Right. South it is then.
Back down the road, along the farmers race and I’m confronted with a closed gate next to a house. Can’t be this way..
So after ping ponging between directions I finally headed north again and made my way slowly down another rocky track, which then turned into an overgrown race, only to find ANOTHER closed gate! Oh *****!
It was now just after 5 and a teeny bit of concern came over me that I may be camping here soon.. No way I was gunna get back up the track I just came down so onward it must be and hope that I don’t run out of gas. Eeek.
Through the gate I go with some local roos popping their heads out of the long grass wondering who the heck this human is all the way out here. Through some paddocks with grass half way up the side of the Rav and only a light track to follow, through more rocky creek bed and finally I spot a house in the distance. Ok direction asking time.
Just as I was about to risk meeting and humiliating myself in front of the locals (who could have been like something out of deliverance) I spot a faint sign saying Ubobo. Aha I’ve seen that on the map. Hallelujah!
I quickly glance back to the wilderness I’ve come through and notice another sign saying No through road. Umm sorry bout that, but too late, cos I just came through..
Well made it to Ubobo (small country town) just on dark and from there it was a 3 hour drive home, watching out for roos, cattle, trains and road trains most the way.
Not that I’m complaining. It was still worth the drawn out trip but I had to have another stern chat with myself and I think this time it sunk in.
No more 4x4ing in the middle of nowhere, on my own, in a vehicle that isn’t quite built for that sort of terrain!
Soooo, from now on I will try and stay ON the beaten track (to an extent) or consider upgrading to a more adventurous steed.. =)
Ok enough blurb, hope you enjoy the pics.
Sorry I was so slow to post this one, but my laptop decided it was time to pack it in. So now with a fancy new computer I have no excuse.
Hope you are all happy and well.