coincidence that they produce a delightful cup of Di Bella coffee? What started as a group
of about five had suddenly grown to 14 vehicles so Marcel created smaller groups of
seven. This made for a more efficient trip as the groups could travel a little quicker. Visitors
performed the mandatory vehicle, hill start and driving checks then were placed near an
experienced driver, reflecting the professional manner in which this club runs. Out on the
tracks we started with very dry tracks. It looked like it was going to be a slow dusty day but
then some beautiful rainforest and open forest. The morning saw some bumpy terrain with
particularly steep down hills. Convoy procedure was good, keeping everybody in touch
which is especially helpful for the beginner as you get good advice about when to be in low
range and what gear to be in.
The groups travelled separately until after lunch when we combined for the hardest section
of the day.
West along the D’Aguilar Highway from Woodford we turned north along Stony Creek Road
to Fletcher Road and after a gentle climb we aired down at the Stony Creek - Branch Creek
confluence. Some undulating climbing and a swing to the west saw us over 650m as we
shadowed Montford Road to join Brandon Road on the way to lunch at Brandon’s Mill.
The Old Brandon’s Mill Site is in Bellthorpe Conservation Park. Apart from being a great
lunch venue it holds some great history in its relics. The Crane Pivot, Gantry, Band Saw and
foundations are rusting and in ruins. They reflect the intense logging in this and adjacent
areas. Think of the Ekka woodchop and that might give some idea of how the trees were
logged. Imagine however how pristine the Bellthorpe State Forest might be if all those trees
The dust certainly slowed us at times, especially when the sun was being scattered. It was
a relief to hit the few slightly less dry sections where we could see the track clearly, close
up and gain a bit of speed. Some steep sections necessitated a mandatory “wait” until the
vehicle ahead was safely through.
West Bellthorpe Road from the mill let us backtrack to the Cedar Creek Road turnoff.
This leads to an ever steepening ridge line where we dropped about 300m in a very short
distance. After a quick recce experienced drivers descended along the black section then
performed a short loop by returning up a slightly easier but still challenging blue track. We
were lucky the rains skirted us to the south.
Retracing the ridge let us turn south along Montford Road across Montford Creek to Stony
Creek Road and back to the highway and home.
How lucky are we to have this place so close to home? If you missed it, make sure you get
on it next time, Marcel runs an awesome trip.
By Kerry Look