We decided to try another mountain this weekend, and hit the road to Mt Tamborine on a balmy Queensland morning – already 32° by 11am! Naturally, the Gold Coast-bound traffic on the M1 kept us at about at 40km/h until we hit Upper Coomera and peeled off towards the hinterland. Unfortunately, about a million other people had the same idea, so we didn’t have the clear road we had hoped for.
The hill climb up to Eagle Heights through Wongawallan on Tamborine-Oxenford Rd was a nice piece of road as it was in impressive condition. All corners were positively cambered – a rarity on QLD roads, a fact Adam will no doubt bring up again – and barriers where required. Overall, he’d rate this section of road as Easy-Intermediate given the exceptional condition of the tarmac and clear corners. Sadly we didn’t get to test this stretch of road to the best of our ability as we were unfortunate enough to be stuck behind a line of traffic that seemed to interpret “Steep Ascent” signs as “you must drive 40km/h under the speed limit at all times”.
After making it to Eagle Heights (the main tourist drag), with the bike near overheating and a million tourists everywhere, we decided to check out the food options nearby.
We took a short detour down to North Tamborine before heading back to Eagle Heights and settling on eating at the Mt Tamborine Brewery.
As you can probably see in the above photo – Adam was served the largest burger either of us have ever seen. And it defeated him… a very rare occurence indeed! Sarah had a pork belly salad with rocket, apple, celery, walnuts and a beautiful aioli… and the crackling, oh jeez, the crackling! We’ll definitely be making another trek to this place soon.
After getting back on the road we headed for Tamborine proper down the hill from Eagle Heights. Much to our delight, the traffic cleared up and we finally got some clear road on Tamborine Mountain Rd (North) for the descent. This stretch of road looks to have been repaired in sections, so we had some sections of really average, poorly patched surface, and some exceptional parts, mostly through the twisties, where the whole road had been resurfaced. Intermediate.
This part of the trip was very interesting and mainly dense bush, with little touristy things like the Skywalk and Adventure Park available for visitors. But the strangest things we saw were some odd lone rocks… Some precariously standing upright, and others looked alien in the landscape. One nearly had us in a panic, thinking someone had dumped a piano on the side of a slope – that looked like it was going to fall down onto the road at any moment!
Turning onto Beaudesert-Beenleigh Rd at Tamborine then onto Mundoolun Connection Rd soon after, we were headed for Wonglepong and Canungra. Down on the flat in the valley with some open road, looking at the surrounding mountains made for a nice relaxing cruise, albeit a bit short.
There was some pretty impressive property frontage gardens too. Seemed like this area had a bit of money and had no trouble showing it in parts, mixed in with the cattle grazing land.
After going through the small township of Canungra, we were Riding The Twisities again, back on Tamborine Mountain Rd this time climbing from the south. This road was at times quite narrow and had some really sharp drop offs on the side of the road, demanding our attention. The surface was in good condition but at some parts got a bit average. This part of Tamborine Mountain Rd had about a 900m stretch that was down to a one lane road, as there just was not any room to paste a second lane on the side of this part of the mountain. Although it was traffic light controlled, so it was reassuring that we had full use of the road and confidence there wasn’t a truck coming at us just around the corner.
We took our time up this steep ascent – though surprisingly there were no signs warning of the “Steep Ascent” even though this too was plainly obvious – making sure to stop and pull over whenever we saw a nice scenic view – and there was no shortage of these.
Upon reaching the peak of this road, we took the opportunity to go and check out Lahey’s Lookout Park. Now a word for those considering doing this trip, the lookouts often posted around the Scenic Rim may have once been wonderful lookouts, but most of the lookouts we came across were not so scenic due to the natural regeneration of the surrounding bush with no grazing animals coming through. Lahey’s was one of these.
We continued on a slow cruise around the Mount Tamborine township, admiring beautifully landscaped gardens, all in bloom this time of year, and dreaming of which house we should buy. After a wrong turn here and there, and a few “whoa, look at that!”s, we found ourselves in need of a drink and another stretch of the legs.
On our rounds of the township, we passed a sign for St Bernard’s Hotel and turned back to check it out.
It doesn’t look like much from the front… but WHAT A VIEW from the balcony!
Hitting the road again headed for Mount Nathan on Henri Robert Dr, we found some open road and enjoyed the ride down the mountain on very easy cruising, well groomed roads, catching breathtaking views of the Gold Coast skyline and water beyond along the way.
These last few sections of road (Henri Robert Dr/Beaudesert-Nerang Rd/Maudsland Rd) were a great way to complete the loop back to Oxenford before hitting the motorway for Brisbane. Enjoying it so much, upon reaching road works at the Coomera River crossing, we took a wrong turn and started the loop all over again. It wasn’t until Sarah pointed out a scenic view that we’d passed earlier that day, located halfway up the climb to Eagle Heights, did Adam’s internal navigation unit kick in. This however wasn’t all that bad, as we got to traverse a piece of road that was previously travelled at 20km/h in traffic. This time however, we had some fairly traffic free road to enjoy. Not a bad finish to a ride of the Scenic Rim district.
The loop of the Scenic Rim/Tamborine area was a fantastic ride, however the motorway travel at either end of the round trip damped the overall enjoyment of the ride. Next time we might look at coming down through Jimboomba and turning south-east towards Tamborine to cut down on the motorway kms or through Logan or Luscome.
Catch ya round the next bend!
S & A