As the proud owner of a new hybrid bike, it was time to go off road and try a different sort of cycling to the road riding I am used to. The Beerburrum State Forest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland seemed a good place to try.
In keeping with my plan to minimise my car use, I took the train to Elimbah Station, then rode the few kilometres to the southern edge of the forest. On the road out of Elimbah, I saw some llamas in a roadside paddock.
The forest is a commercial plantation, not a native forest. The land is owned by the Queensland Government, and is leased to a company that manages the cultivation, harvesting and re-growing of plantation timber. A note to our northern hemisphere friends – the pine trees you see do not naturally occur in Australia. The dominant trees in native bushland are mostly eucalypts. But much of the scenery here is like a Nordic pine forest.
For part of the ride, Mount Coonowrin was visible in the distance. Coonowrin is one of the GlassHouse Mountains, and I’ve always referred to it by its unofficial name, Mount Crookneck.
The air wasn’t quite as pine-scented fresh as I expected. There had been some fires in the forest recently and some areas were still smouldering. A light smoky haze was drifting about over much of the ride. But this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the ride. I’m guessing that these fires were part of a controlled burning exercise that’s carried out from time to time. These fires reduce the amount of dry fuel on the forest floor and help prevent larger, uncontrollable fires from breaking out.
This ride was a 20km circuit, which is just a small portion of the entire forest area. There are many more tracks to explore so I’ll definitely go back again.