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Ipswich to Byron, and back!

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by demuire, Feb 1, 2007.

  1. Going off inspiration from Rosie's thread of her adventures, I thought I'd post up mine too. Nowhere near as big, or as exciting, but a trip to remember nonetheless! This was our first time touring, and also our first time carrying quite so much weight, so we didn't want to do anything too over adventurous. Also, we only had 3 days...

    (note: this has been adapted from the thread on my webpage)

    Anyway, a bit of an overview - the idea was to do Ipswich to Byron Bay, and back. Avoiding the highway as much as possible, and traveling over roads we'd heard were good scenic roads. And after pouring over maps (thank you, RACQ!), and talking to several people, and some input from members of SV Downunder, this is what we came up with:

    The trip there:

    The trip back (slightly incorrect, missing Mullumbimby I think):

    Ipswich, Boonah, Moogerah Dam, Rathdowney, The Lions Road, Kyogle, Lismore, Bangalow, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Mooball, Murwillumbah, Crystal Creek, Natural Bridge, Beechmont, Canungra, Beaudesert, Boonah, Ipswich.

  2. We initially had a fair bit of interest from other non-riding friends to meet us there (driving their cars), but as the day came forth the things came up, and people pulled out. So slowly the numbers dwindled, and we ended up with 4 people on 3 bikes going down. Along the way, were were to meet up with several SV Downunder members.

    As the big day crept up, the weather forecast was looking rather bad, and we were all worried that we would have to call the whole trip off. Riding in the rain is no fun, and riding in the rain with lots of luggage and a pillion is even less fun. Add narrow mountain roads into the equation and it all becomes a bit of a bad idea I think.

    Fortunately, Friday morning dawned bright and early, and we finished off our packing of the bikes. By 8am, we were all packed and ready to go, so off we went! The weather was a bit hot and muggy, but at least it was dry...


    It was an Australia Day ride, so we both had Australian flags :)
  3. First stop was the McDonalds at Yamanto, where we met 2 of the SV Downunder members. Had a bit of a chat, before we headed on down towards Boonah. The bike, with all the luggage and pillion on the back, was feeling pretty heavy and I was having to row through the gears a bit more than usual, but it was still not too difficult to ride. I was rather glad I had bumped the preload up on the rear suspension before we left...

    At about 9am, we arrived at Boonah where we met 2 other bikers. Then, we headed on towards Lake Moogerah. We stopped at the Moogerah Dam for a bit of a look, and wow there wasn't much water left in it... Not too long later, we started back on our way towards Rathdowney, where we were shown some absolutely amazing roads. The rest of the crew were a fair bit quicker than us, but fortunately PJ from SV Downunder (our fearless leader!) was very diligent at marking the corners, and we never once felt remotely lost. Thanks PJ!


    When we got to Rathdowney, I tried to call our 3rd "biker-camper" to tell her that we had arrived (we were meant to meet her there), but discovered that I had no mobile reception. Bummer! We sat around for a bit, before I decided to mosey down to the servo to get some fuel. Just after getting fuel, I saw a few bikes pull into town, and lo and behold, we found her! Regrouped with the rest of the crew, and then headed down to The Lions Road.


    The first third or so of the Lions Road was nice and scenic, but nothing could prepare me for the rest of it as we approached the border. From open flowing roads, it started going over dips and crests, 1 lane bridges, tight narrow sections, and just generally, awesome roads through awesome scenery. AMAZING! PJ's bike started to develop a strange sound, so we pulled over to have a look. Luckily it wasn't too serious, so we pushed on to Kyogle.
  4. We stopped at the lookout just past the border, but unfortunately didn't catch a train going through the border loop. By this stage we were running a fair bit behind schedule, so PJ and a few others went on ahead to Kyogle to tell the others that we were on the way. By this stage my pillion was feeling rather hungry and sleepy, so we were both pretty glad when we finally pulled into Kyogle for a feed at Pete's Food Hall. Here, we were also greeted by several other SVDU members.

    After a much needed lunch, one of the local SV Downunder members took the rest of us through some rather pleasant roads through Lismore, Bangalow and onwards toward Byron Bay. We stopped along the Bangalow-Byron Bay road, from which we could see the whole bay stretched out before us. What a sight... Here, I discovered that the e-clip that holds my gear lever on had fallen off (again), and fortunately for me, Frozzie came to the rescue with some "magic plastic" :)


    Frozzie left us here to head home, and we went on to Belongil Fields Caravan Park while the rest of the crew went to the pub at Byron Bay for a much needed drink...

    We checked in, and found a place to pitch the tents. My pillion was really tired, and half jumped off the bike, causing me to almost drop it, but luckily will power intervened and the bike stayed upright. Shiny side up! Set the tents up, had a quick shower and back into town we went. We ate at the Earth and Sea restaurant, which I remembered to be quite good, but unfortunately was disappointed with the pizza that we got. Luckily we managed to offset the relatively crummy pizza with some GREAT gelati from In The Pink. It started to rain, and we headed back to the caravan park in the rain...

  5. Saturday morning came before we knew it, bright and sunny! We had a bit of breakfast, and then walked down to the beach. The sand was great, the sea even better, and we all went for a bit of a dip. Lunch time came before we knew it, and we walked into Byron Bay for some fish and chips, and a look around the shops. All of us were a little exhausted from the day before, so we took it all rather slow, and we later even found ourselves at a rest and relaxation place having massages (unfortunately, by chairs and not real people...)!


    We strolled back down to the beach, but by then the wind had picked up heaps, so both the beach and the water had become rather unpleasant. We walked back to the caravan park, washed up (how good it felt not to be sticky and salty anymore...) and then rode back into Byron Bay for dinner at Asia Joe's.

    Sunday morning soon arrived, we packed up the tents and headed on our way back home. We turned off to Mullumbimby for some fuel, and I must say - the road from Mullumbimby to Ocean Shores was just amazing.

    Mooball was our next stop, at no less than the Moo Moo Cafe for brunch. I had the famous Moo Moo Burger, which is 2 beef patties, 3 pieces of bun, and a whole lot of salad. Superb food :) Even under different management from the last time we were there a few years ago, the food was just as good as I remembered it to be. The coffee was also very good.


    We headed on to Murwillumbah over some great roads, where we bumped into some familiar faces. Small world! They then pointed us on to the right direction, and we were off through the mountains, through Crystal Creek, and onwards to Mt Merino. The views were spectacular, and the roads were really good too. It was very overcast, and we were all wondering if the skies were going to open up on us...

    Thankfully, it held up, and soon we were at the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

  6. Onward we pressed, past Natural Bridge, until we got close to the Hinze Dam, where we turned off towards Beechmont. Just when we thought the scenery and roads couldn't get any better! The views on the way to Lower Beechmont were just amazing! And then when we got to Beechmont, there were these people with hang gliders standing by the side of the road waiting to jump off the cliff, cool!


    Down to Canungra we went, then across to Beaudesert where we said farewell to Cindy. The trip from Beaudesert to Ipswich was rather long and monotonous, and I was very glad to finally pull into our driveway...

    All in all, a superb trip, I can't wait to do another one (hopefully in cooler weather next time though!)

    More photos here: