Wednesday, 31 October 2012


This very scenic ride takes us on the eastern side of Clifton, along the New England highway for a short spurt before turning right onto Heifer Creek Road to Pilton. It is advisable to take plenty of water and refreshments as there are no facilities to purchase even a cup of coffee prior to Nobby.

There is one decent hill to climb on this section but our crew seemed to manage it without too much drama and the panoramic western views at the summit make it all worth it anyway. Apart from the views, the bonus is the glide down from the summit and due to limited traffic and good bitumen surface, a reasonable speed can be attained and I think it makes for a great heart starter when it is early on in the ride and all riders are fresh.

We took a break at the Pilton Hall which has a nice shady veranda on one side which was a welcome respite due to the temperature. I feel sure that the owners of the hall wouldn't object as long as you respect their property and don't leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

After our break, we travelled along Manapouri Road, west towards the New England Highway, where once again the rural vistas are plentiful and afford many opportunities to stop and take photos.

Care has to be taken on entering the New England Highway where fast moving rather large transports appear at regular intervals and can be quiet daunting for novices when you feel their slipstream as they pass. However, you need only endure this inconvenience for 1km before a sharp right turn into Nobby Connection Road brings you back onto a quiet country road once more.

Sorry guys, I neglected to tell you about this hill but I figured that all the muscles had loosened sufficiently by this time  and that it wouldn't phase you at all. What a great opportunity for another photo stop. From here it was all downhill to Nobby.

Nobby is a small village with a pub and general store where we had a choice of sandwiches and hamburgers and a well earned coffee or a counter lunch and an equally well earned beer. The girls had an added pleasure of browsing through the jewellery etc. in Berkana Crystals.
As there was a steady north easterly breeze on our rear flank for the final 10 km back into Clifton, it was no time at all until we were packing up for the return journey to Cleveland.

Distance: 43km
Surface: Sealed road all but the last 11km
Traffic: Light
Difficulty: Easy/medium. You do need a suitable level of fitness to ride some of the hills.
Bicycle suited: All types.

I'm sure that  everyone enjoyed our 2 day tour of the Darling Downs and although this was the first short tour undertaken (we do a 5 day + tour once a year, this year was East Gippsland Rail Trail in Victoria, Australia and next year we are off to Hawkes Bay in the Napier region of the North Island of New Zealand). With the positive feedback I received on this short tour, I feel sure that others will be just as successful.
Having the night away enables the group to interact and get to know each other further and in turn will help strengthen the group.

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee

Monday, 29 October 2012


As throats were parched, we relaxed over a couple of cold beers and discussed the ride prior to heading to the Club Hotel (The Pink Pub) for dinner. The menu was varied and imaginative enough to satisfy all riders, the wine, although only a small selection, was of good quality and the 'crack' just flowed on. It's always a good sign when the group laughter outdoes the public bar and it indicates that everyone is relaxed and enjoying themselves.

Would I recommend the Pink Pub as a venue for a good meal? Without hesitation, we had good service and I didn't hear one complaint. They also offer good quality pub accommodation.
 We stayed at the Clifton Arms Hotel which have 5 independant cabins set behind the hotel. Each cabin has a double bed and a double bunk with ensuite. The hotel itself also has 5 bedrooms upstairs. Not exactly the Dorchester but certainly catered for our needs and once again I didn't hear any complaints. Mine host Chris Carey was most obliging in catering for our needs and making sure that everyone was comfortable.

The next morning we were up bright and early with some of our female riders taking in a history walk prior to breakfast. The troops were mustered at 7am and  headed to The Jam Factory for
breakfast. Once again everybody was happy and the pancakes, the largest I have seen, certainly drew some comments. .

The old town normally is a little more sedate then this but it was the beginning of Country Week and there was a carnival atmosphere in the air.

The gardens around Clifton always look nice in Spring. This particular photograph was taken behind the Cenotaph in King Street and was a colourful tribute to those that lost their lives for their country in times of war.

Approximately once a month a steam train travels from Warwick to Clifton and return and is a great way to catch up and reminisce with other people of the steam age or to take the children to give them a glance into the era of steam.

If you intend visiting this part of the Darling Downs don't forget to pack your esky and sample the meat from Gillies Meats at the top end of King Street. Every time we come to Clifton which is quite frequently, we take home meat from Gillies and the quality is only matched by the pleasant service afforded locals and visitors alike from this family operated butcher shop.


This beautifullly crafted old gypsy wagon was on display in King Street at the start of Country Week
and drew an admiring crowd who couldn't help but admire the craftmanship and paint work that was employed in reproducing such an impressive working model.

 Believe it or not, the above photograph was taken within the township of Clifton on the perimeter of the showground but, within this colourful carpet of grass can lurk something sinister and very deadly for the unwary.

The above photograph of an Eastern Brown snake was taken probably 50 metres from where the "carpet of colour" was taken. The Eastern Brown is considered  to be the second most venamous land based snake (Wikipedia).

This is the second of three posts on this Darling Down's ride..... so keep tuned.

Jimmy Bee

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


This sunflower was photographed at Back Plains.

You can always rely on a warm welcome when you visit the Clifton District but on this particular occasion it was warmer than normal with unseasonably hot weather accompanied by a smoke haze brought in on a north easterly breeze.
Although our group, U3A Peddling for Pleasure, have ventured to more distant parts including Victoria and New Zealand for extended tours, this was the first of what we hope to be many enjoyable 2 day rides in close proximity to our home base of Cleveland on the bay side of Brisbane.
Clifton in the smoke haze
When you live on a bay as pretty as ours, it could well be difficult to come to grips with the fact that there might be other nice areas to live and ride. No, we're not as parochial as all that as the majority of our group are well travelled both in Australia and overseas and we know that the world is full of exciting and beautiful areas to explore. Interestingly enough, that is the sole reason why we have formed another smaller group called the Peddling Pathfinders tasked with finding new paths and trails closer to home and suitable to the main group.
Having settled into our accommodation, we decided on the Black Cat cafe for lunch. Being fuelled up, we were ready to head off on our first ride which was on the western side of Clifton.
We headed out of town in a northerly direction towards Nobby before taking a turn to our left which took us in a westerly direction towards Mt. Moler, where the views will enable the taking of some spectacular photographs to show the family and friends.
Photo taken at the base of Mt. Molar

Photos taken at the base of Mt. Moler

Photo taken from the summit of Mt. Molar

The slope on the southern side of Mt. Moler allows a descent which will quickly have the adrenaline pumping through your system.
Not too far down this road we come to a junction where we turn right past the airfield on the left and another right heading towards Back Plains. Bange's airfield is quite well known to amateur aviators as they hold a fly-in once a year for both historical as well as new light aircraft and draws a crowd both aeronautical as well as interested spectators. It is this type of country event that breathes life into small country towns.



Back Plains and Felton are typical of the Darling Downs mixed farms and is an area which was settled in the mid 19th century by predominantly Irish Catholic and Lutheran German immigrants, the descendants, although fewer, still farm the land to-day. Unfortunately, the families have dwindled with the evolving of higher education and the prospect of better paying jobs, enticing the younger generations to leave and seek their fortunes in other parts. One thing they couldn't take with them however, is the outstanding beauty of the country and rural areas and the laid back lifestyle of the locals, some of whom would never dream of ever leaving unless forced to do so.
The above two photos were taken in the Back Plains/Felton area
We covered the rest of the 44km without too much stress and arrived at our accommodation at the Clifton Arms Hotel in time for a refreshing shower. As throats were parched.............stay tuned.
Jimmy Bee

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


This ride takes you through the Gold Coast beach suburbs of Tallebudgera, Pacific, Palm, Currumbin, Tugan, Bilinga, Kirra, Coolangatta including Greenmount and Rainbow Bay.

Worshipping the Sun God, is almost a religion on the Gold Coast and people from all over the world flock here to partake in exposing the body beautiful to the sun. If you get your timing right you will end up with the perfect tan but if you don't, you're more likely to end up looking like a well cooked rock lobster more suited to a seafood dish and it can be very painful and may spoil a greater part of your vacation. So be warned, take care and ensure the liberal use of suntan lotion.

We start our ride at Burleigh Heads and cycle south towards Point Danger. Every facet of this ride will reveal something new and exciting. As we head south, we cross the bridge spanning Tallebudgera Creek turning  left  and following the path past Tallebudgera Recreation Camp, alongside Tallebudgera Beach until reaching 23rd Avenue at Palm Beach. It is then a matter of using the footpath on the side of the Gold Coast Highway until reaching 17th Avenue. Turn right into Jefferson Avenue and continue south along the dedicated cycleway which turns into a pathway at Lacy's Lane. Continue on the path beside Currumbin Creek across a boardwalk where you will have to dismount and wheel your bike a short distance to Beree Badalla Mangrove Tree Haven Wetlands Reserve.

Currumbin Creek

Some of the wildlife you may see on this ride

Here are three species of birdlife, all unique and totally content to live with each other in harmony. It is a great pity that humans can't do the same.


Pathway following Currumbin Creek

Cross the creek at Thrower Drive and continue along the path until you reach Currumbin Beach.

Koala with attitude

It was along the Currumbin Beach section that the sculpture exhibition "SWELL" was recently held. I have already recently posted on this exhibition but I didn't include the following photograph depicting a Koala with attitude. There is something about this sculpture that really grabs me. I hope you like it as well.

Some of the best beaches in the world

As we move on, we enter Coolangatta which hosts some other famous surfing beaches, in particular Kirra and Greenmount. Cooloongatta is also a great holiday destination. Not only does it have great beaches but also a number of clubs with good entertainment, restaurants and coffee spots.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia-Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike

There is no doubt that by using a bike as our transport instead of a car enables us to see and take in so much more of the space surrounding us.When using a car, I always try to take the shortest possible route between two points, however, when I'm on my bike, all my senses appear to heighten and not only do I see more but my hearing and sense of smell are enhanced as well. As an example, take the sense of smell. When driving past a bakery, I may well see the sign "BAKERY" but it fails to arouse any emotion, however, when riding past a "BAKERY" and getting a whiff of freshly baked bread or pastries, my taste buds become aroused and if it is some time since I have eaten I may suddenly feel hungry.

Because the signage is so good, it would be possible to complete the route without referring to a map but I think it is always wise to have one for reference just in case


Point Danger

Point Danger is the most easterly aspect on Queensland's mainland and affords spectacular views. We spent a good hour just watching the whales passing and catching up with some of our maritime history as told in a series of plaques.


Trust Scotty to source out the best smoothie joint in all of Queensland.

Even more than I like a good flat white coffee I absolutely love an Espresso Smoothie and I have to let you in on a little secret, the best espresso smoothie is made at Hopscotch, Shop 29a, 70 Marine Parade, Coolangatta, Qld, 4225

Google Map depicting the route from Burleigh Heads to Point Danger

Distance:    34k                                                       Surface: Minimum amount of unsealed track
Difficulty:    Easy                                                    Fitness: Moderate
Type of bike:   Any bike in good condition            Family friendly:  Yes

Enjoy the ride and keep it safe.

Jimmy Bee

Saturday, 6 October 2012


This Gold Coast ride takes us through the beach suburbs of Burleigh Heads, Miami, Nobby Beach, Mermaid Beach, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, Main Beach, The Spit at Southport.

Scotty on vacation on the Gold Coast

As part of our vacation at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, a number of rides were planned.The Gold Coast can be a very busy spot at times and neither of us like riding on busy roads, so our aim was to complete the journey in the safest possible way.

Burleigh Heads

We were lucky enough to have my brother in law's apartment in Park Towers on Goodwin Terrace, adjacent to one of the best surf breaks in the world..... For more information hit the following link  Although neither of us board surf, it was a delight to rise early in the morning, sit on our balcony consuming our first cup of coffee whilst watching some very talented surfers negotiate the perfect breaks. From the large front balcony, one can see as far north as Surfers Paradise and the apartment is only a couple hundred metres from the entrance to Burleigh Heads National Park with a number of walking tracks, lined with pandanus palms on one side and coastal scrub on the other. Oh! and the views are really spectacular.

Burleigh Heads is my favourite spot on the Gold Coast as it is pretty much central and is a lot quieter than Surfers Paradise.

From Nobby Beach to Surfers Paradise

It's just a matter of following the paths and signs

We discovered to our amazement that by riding our bikes instead of driving, we saw hidden parts of the Gold Coast such as board walks, parks and small beaches that we didn't know existed. It also gave us the opportunity to divert from the main track and follow some of the creeks which were very pretty in their own right.

Dedicated cycle lane in Hedges Avenue

It is a very pleasant ride from Burleigh Heads to The Spit at Southport and return. Most of the ride is on shared paths which are wide  and when you do have to take to the road, it is on a marked cycle lane with light traffic.

A view of Surfers Paradise

Surfers Paradise Beach

The beaches on Queensland's Gold Coast are world renowned and make for some exquisite seascapes, particularly if you have fine hot days. They are also free of charge. I just love riding by the seaside listening to the waves breaking onto the sandy beaches, the squawks of seagulls forever searching for food and the odd white pointer, not the shark variety but a female sun worshipper tanning topless, striving for perfection and totally ignoring the dangers of skin cancer from too much exposure to the sun.

The laid back fashions on the Coast don't seem to have changed much over the years.
 A view of a marina on the The Broadwater at The Spit

In this part of the world around Southport, Main Beach and The spit, seafood is supreme. Fresh prawns (shrimps) can be purchased direct from the trawler. There is a very good seafood market as well, where the nights catch can be purchased the next fresh is that? To top it off there are a number of outlets selling cooked fish and chips which can be devoured with pleasure either sitting at a table in the park, sitting on the rocks watching the boats pass by or sitting by the sea watching the waves roll in.

Dirt trail just to break the monotony

Just to break the monotony, the council has thrown in a dirt and sandy surface on the way to The Spit, near the end of your destination. It pays to keep your wits about you and be prepared foranything.Just as I was rounding the corner at the top of the photo, a deadly 100cm + Eastern Brown snake was crossing the path just in front of me.

Can you spot the snake in the photo above.

The Gold Coast is becoming very cycle friendly.

A view of Burleigh Heads taken on the return trip

Burleigh Heads to The Spit, Southport, Qld.

To find out more about the Gold Coast hit this

Distance:      40k                                                 Surface: Mainly sealed....some dirt (sand)
Difficulty:     Easy                                               Type of bike required: All types
Fitness:         Fair to moderate                             Family friendly: Yes

I'll cover the southern stretch from Burleigh Heads to Cooloongatta in my next post.

Cheers and safe riding,

Jimmy Bee