Trip Photographer: Eddie Carleton
Trip Reporter: Miles Brennan
It’s the annual Brisbane EKKA festival, the second week in August, it excites the city and rewards us all with a public holiday on midweek Wednesday. For many it’s a chance to catch up with a sleep in and get some jobs done around the house, some people and families do actually take the time and go to EKKA on people’s day… Then there’s MDORC, up early and getting ready for another 4WD social outing; the plan, Duck Creek Road through the Lamington National Park.
It’s a 9:00am club meeting at Beaudesert McDonalds, for a 9:30am start, the crew assemble early and Marcel commences the administration, ticking names and taking cash… Time to allocate duties, Sergeant at Arms, Tail End Charlie, Trip Reporter… Trip Report… Miles and Lachlan finally rock into McDonalds in the bright green Jeep Wrangler… last ones into the car park, Trip Reporter role allocated. Marcel finishes off the admin and club briefings, radios are set to 27, a quick radio check and we’re away.
The first leg of today’s trip is from Beaudesert, up Duck Creek Road through the Lamington National Park and on to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. We depart Beaudesert heading south on Kerry Road for approximately 18 km, then turn left onto Duck Creek Road, pulling the convoy off the road to air down tires. After a quick vehicle preparation, we head back off again until we reach the ‘starting gate’ and we all pull over and provide a gold coin donation in order to help the local track maintenance program.
Once moving again, it’s not long before the dirt road starts zig-zagging backwards and forwards as it starts tracking up the side of MacPherson Range, and as the convoys reach some of the vantage points, the views are spectacular as we slowly proceed passed the numerous look outs.
The dirt road is in good repair and there are really no obstacles or locations where you are forced into low range, however some choose to select low range as we’re going slow enough, and it takes a little pressure off the engine while climbing the steadily inclining track.
It’s a lovely drive with breath taking views and many opportunities to take a ton of great outlook photos across the ranges. After about an hour’s drive, we reach the intersection with Lamington National Park Road, the sealed bitumen road most touristy traffic uses to reach O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, we turn right and pull into the car park about 2 km up the road.
Marcel gets us organised, we’re having lunch up at the cafeteria area and moving on to Canungra in an hours’ time. The views at the top of O’Reilly’s are just as good as the ones we saw earlier during the morning drive. After finally getting out of the vehicles, we notice the temperate in the national park has dropped considerably and is quite a bit colder, which sees many rummaging through their vehicles and storage containers to find the ‘reserve jumper’.
With lunch over, there’s still enough time that we decide to take the canopy walk through the top of the forest trees. It’s a rickety old suspension bridge that has seen better days, but it’s still in good repairs and safe to use, as long as you stick to 6 people per suspended section – and don’t jump up and down like a baboon.
Halfway along and about 40 meters off the ground, we reach a tree which has a ladder and safety cage, which allows you to climb all the way up and above the canopy, so you can see the forest landscape as it rolls back down MacPherson range. Unfortunately there are quite a few people already crowded up and waiting to climb the ladder, so many of us decide to pass on the experience this time and continue down the other side of the suspended walkway.
We slowly meander back to O’Reilly’s and are in awe of the wonderful wildlife we’re witnessing in the state forest, the birds, the insects and even some of the small animals jittering around the bush, it truly is a unique environment and completely different ecosystem to backyard suburbia… The joys of getting outdoors with a great bunch of like minded people says it all.
We’re back in the car park, spend a little time airing up the tires, we’re hitting the bitumen Lamington National Park Road back down the range and into Canungra. Convoy’s rolling, some more radio checks and we’re heading down the road and back towards civilisation. Similar to Duck Creek Road, the bitumen road is in good repair, but narrow in many parts, with many one lane designated sections quite often, to warn drivers to give way in these difficult areas. The roads, pull-in zones and give way signs are marked very well, so it is a merit to the local councils for maintaining a safe traffic environment while travelling between Canungra and O’Reilly’s.
The views and photo opportunities on the way down the range are just as good as the ones on the way up, it’s a splendid day and the weather has been grand – which is hard to comprehend as EKKA day is traditionally quite the opposite, the 4WD gods have been good to us today.
After about 45 mins, we reach the bustling town of Canungra and we pull over for a quick break before moving on again to… This is where Lachlan and I had to drop out early due to his Karate training still
being on. The trip ended 15 minutes later