Silo Art West Day 3 – Stanthorpe to Brisbane

Thursday – 18 November, 2021

Two days down and one to go on my Silo Art West backroads adventure ride.  No Silo Art today but fingers crossed some proper backroad adventure touring.  Gravel roads had been scarce on the first two days.  My plans for Day 3 would take me on several gravel roads that I hadn’t ridden before.

I set off around 8am heading north on the New England Highway.  At Dalveen I turn off the highway, taking Old Stanthorpe Road north east.  The road first narrowed and gravel replaced the tar road when I passed under the railway bridge.  The gravel was firm and provided a good surface for someone with limited off-road skills like me.  As my confidence grew my speed increased. I  negotiated the undulations and gentle curves with ease.  Turning right at Odea Road these favourable conditions continued.

At the intersection with Keogh Road and Gravel Pit Road tar replaced gravel. The roads remained sealed all the way to Killarney.  It was the first time I been that way between Stanthorpe and Killarney.  Given the excellent conditions encountered I’d seek out more gravel roads next time.  Around 9am I passed the Killarney Hotel heading for Legume.

The plan was to take Mount Lindsay Road at Legume followed by White Swamp Road and Carneys Creek Road.  Burnett Creek Road would take me via the eastern side of Lake Maroon to Boonah Rathdowney Road.  Having only read about these roads before today the prospect of riding them excited me.  They might also be beyond my off-road riding skill set.  I’d never before dropped my motorcycle when riding solo.  The prospect of picking it up unassisted was somewhat scary.  Picking up an injury on the way down could make the task impossible.  Best not think of the downside of a solo backroads adventure ride.

Next thing I realise I’ve been on autopilot.  Having ridden to Killarney many time before I’d made the left turn before Legume.  I was on Spring Creek Road and making my way up the range to Queen Mary Falls.  This road I knew well.  It’s great fun.  Before long I rode past the cafe at the caravan park.  Next was Carr’s Lookout (worth a stop for a photo) and the The Head (Condamine River Road).  I didn’t realise that I could have taken the next right onto Head Gate Road to continue on my planned route.  Instead it was Head Road back down the range (some tight turns and cattle so take it easy) to Carneys Creek.

The view west from Head Road at Carneys Creek, South East Queensland

Before long I was on Mount Alford Road and back on the planned route.  Gravel roads bypassed.  Was I on autopilot or did I chicken out with the fear of dropping my bike? Probably a bit of both.  Will definitely to do the White Swamp/Carneys Creek Roads route another time.  Fingers crossed it will come up on a group ride soon.

The planned route to Brisbane from Mt Alford was also familiar to me.  Mount Alford Road becomes Lake Moogerah Road as Moogerah Dam comes into view.  It continues all the way to Boonah Fassifern Road and is an excellent motorcycle road.  Pity it’s not a bit longer.

Then to Kalbar and one of my favourite Cafe’s in that part of the world.  Lovatt at Kalbar is definitely worth checking out.  Breakfast, coffee, lunch or a cool drink.  Everything I’ve ordered there has been good and the staff are super helpful and friendly.  My thirty minute mid-morning coffee break was no exception.

Great cafe Lovatt at Kalbar in Kalbar (Scenic Rim)

There are many ways to get back to Bris Vegas from Kalber. I choose to make my way on Kalbar Connection Road to the Cunningham Highway. After a short highway blast to Warrill View I head for Rosewood on the backroads via Mount Walker.  Nothing exciting but better than the highway.  Then through Marburg to Fernvale (great pies at the bakery) via Glamorgan Vale.

I reckon my motorcycle could get itself back to Brisbane from Fernvale. It’s been out there and back from there so many times I’ve lost count. My planned route had me going the long way today. A little further north west toward Esk and then along the eastern side of Wivenhoe Dam. Right at “The T” onto Northbrook Parkway (another great road) and up the range on Mount Glorious Road.

Short break at White Cedar on Northbrook Parkway

The café at Mount Glorious is a favourite with motorcyclists and quite busy on the weekends.  Seems these roads are popular with the police also, so watch your speed.

There are only two options for getting to Brisbane from Mount Glorious. Via Samford or Mount Nebo. My planned route had me going through Mount Nebo so that’s the way I went today. Plenty of lookouts on Mount Nebo Road if you want to stop for a photo or a self catered snack/drinks break. The road is twisty and in places quite tight and can be daunting for new riders.

Walkabout Creek Discovery Centre marks the end of the D’Aguilar National Park. Brisbane suburbia or The Gap more precisely starts here. The traffic is heavier from here and becomes worse as you get nearer to the city. On Waterworks Road the familiar sights of Ashgrove and Kelvin Grove seem to welcome me home. The city views coming down from Red Hill on Musgrave Road confirm my three day Silo Art West Ride is over.

View of Brisbane City Centre from Red Hill on BMW R1200GS

What a great three days. What a great experience. Such wonderful sights. The Art Silos. Some great roads. Best of all I made it without incident or injury. So get out there and do it.  So you have no excuses you can download the gpx files of my planned routes below.  Be sure to check road conditions before you head out and have fun.  If you need more convincing check out my Relive and GoPro videos.