Back o' Beaudesert
It's always pleasantly surprised me how quickly you leave the city behind once you're past those daggy, American-style strip malls facing all the major arterials out of Brisbane. Yesterday, less than 60 kilometres south of the city, we were in nowhere land on a beautiful afternoon.
I studied the Brisbane and Region map and spotted a track going through the middle of a square of nothing with Beaudesert, Coulson (near Boonah), Loamside (near Ipswich) and Browns Plains at its corners. We took Route 13 (Mt Lindesay Highway) off the Ipswich Road and turned right about 5 km south of Jimboomba on to Cedar Grove Road. This joined Undullah Road which crossed the Logan River just before Kagaru. Almost immediately there was a problem.
It's not uncommon to come across closures of out-of-the-way tracks, often because of flooding. We didn't know the reason on this occasion, but we weren't going to risk a rickety-rackety bridge. Our detour along Kilmoylar Road soon gave us a great view towards the Teviot Range and then a few photo ops by the Edward O'Neil Bridge over the Teviot Brook, which drains into the Logan. Despite little if no rain since mid-July, the brook was full-flowing.
Back on track on Undullah Road, we passed through cattle country. White humped Brahmans and the occasional cactus indicated this could be harsh country in the hot and dry. I half expected to see some evidence of coal seam gas exploration on the plains, but the only threat of development seemed to be this.
As we headed deeper into the bush there were few folk abroad but more and more private property notices and prosecution warnings for trespassers. A trackside pond with pink duckweed and lilies hosted several ducks and waders, including the striking Comb-crested Jacana – with brilliant red crests and waterski feet.
A few kilometres further on, we turned off on to Mt Elliot Road in an attempt to reach the twin peaks ahead of us. The track wound round to right and left and up and down, but was ultimately a private-propertied dead end – not for the first time in this part of the world. I had envisaged being able to drive along a ridge towards the peaks and view an impressive Scenic Rim to the south. But no. Lovely, ever-changing bush, on the other hand.
Eventually we were back in civilisation, a land of fences, power pylons, speeding utes and the sounds of shooters. North of Bundamba Lagoon we joined Ripley Road and eventually the Centenary Highway and Ipswich Road back into the city. It had been a jolly jaunt to Jimboomba and beyond, for just a few hours of peace and quiet and away-from-it-all before the challenge of the Bridge to Brisbane the following day.