Members Trips

Newcastle to Brisbane via the back roads

touring the back roads
from newcastle to brisbane
by Rob

We stopped at the Border Loop on the Lions Road for morning tea in the hope we would see a train go through the tunnels. The Border Loop is a feature of the North Coast Railway connecting New South Wales with Queensland through the Richmond Gap. The railway climbs at a steady gradient from Kyogle to the summit at a tunnel at the border between the two states. A convenient hill allows the line to circle back on itself so that it climbs 30 metres without having to make any forward progress. The spiral has two short tunnels, one where it passes under itself, plus another through a small spur in the hillside.

the border rail loop
line into a tunnel sign plan of the loop over the border

Not far from the Boarder Loop along the Lions Road we cross the NSW border into Queensland & set up for a couple of days at Andrew Drynan Park on Running Creek, one of our favourite camps. This also gives us time to dry the canvas out. Ian & Colette returned to join us after attending doctors appointments.

Since 1932 people of the NSW Northern Rivers had been campaigning to have a direct route to Brisbane via the Richmond Gap in the McPherson Range constructed. When the NSW government rejected the building of a connection road between NSW and QLD north of Kyogle in 1969, the local community under the auspice of the Lions Club, decided to do it themselves. A world class scenic drive is the result. It is 30 kilometres shorter than the Summerland Way to Mount Lindsay Highway route.

morning light at Andrew Drynan Park
the Lions Road Running Creek moons crescent

Off we head again driving to Rathdowny, then take the road to Boonah with Mount Barney dominating the landscape. The tar doesn't last long before we take a dirt side road winding through farmland around Ben Lomond with views westward towards the Great Dividing Range & the Main Range National Park.

views of the Great Divide & Main Range National Park
we pause to take in the view

From Boonah it is a short run up the Cunningham Highway before we turn off at Warrill View & drive to the top of Cunninghams Lookout for a 360 degree view of the surroundings.

looking east towards Lamington National Park from Cunninghams Lookout

We drive to Laidley intending to camp at Lake Dyer, however the non-powered sites were closed due to lawn grub spraying. They were most helpful suggesting a couple of other local campsites nearby, so we drove to Thornton Centenary Park about twenty kilometres south of town for the night.

Centenary Park Thornton

Next morning is spent in Laidley sightseeing around town & having a cup of coffee for morning tea, a pie for lunch in the bakery & a bit of grocery shopping, before heading to Atkinsons Dam & continuing on to Wivenhoe Dam.

Laidley post holes for sale Laidley
  Atkinsons Dam day use park