Even though it was summer and very hot, this was a great ride
Exploring the Lower Flinders Ranges Paul
It was late January 2017 and even though cycling in the heat of summer is not ideal, I really needed to escape for a few days and recharge the batteries. With the Lower Flinders Ranges only two hours from home, I arranged to leave my car in Gladstone so that I could spend three days exploring the small towns and cycle trails of the region.
Unlike most of my other overnight rides, this was not so much about getting from one place to another; instead I was more interested in documenting the various bicycle trails in the area.
Being too far from home to ride in day trips, I took the opportunity to spend a few days riding and photographing them.
As always, there were some minor challenges, but overall, this was a wonderful three days and if you have the time, you won’t be disappointed if you come and explore this area yourself.
This is a personal first, finding a rail trail that may not even yet be (officially at least) a rail trail doesn't happen very often, but from I can find, I think I may have found one. To be honest, the track was more than a little rough; it was overgrown and desperately in need of attention, but it was a fun, uncomplicated ride with only a few minor obstacles. I have graded it as "moderate" not for any complexities or challenges, but rather that it can be rough and will require some "staying on bike" skills. It is probably not for the first-timers.
This was one of several trails I had been looking to ride while cycling the Lower Flinders Ranges in early 2017 and on arriving at the trailhead on the northern outskirts of Laura, it was looking like an easy ride. Following an old railway route that ran north from Gladstone, the trail is well constructed with a layer of fine compacted gravel providing a firm surface for the entire 7km length. The trail has a slight incline from Laura that is barely noticeable and I was able to maintain a good speed for the full length.
On the very outskirts of Melrose in the Lower Flinders Ranges, this is a short easy trail meandering through quiet horse paddocks. Commencing on the corner of Dorrington Street and Horrocks Highway, this trail leads gently down and away from the road, quickly leaving this distraction behind. Even though the trail officially ends on the southern edge of the Melrose Oval, you could follow the blue posts and extend your ride up behind the oval to ride the Melrose to Wilmington Rail Trail starting on Cordon Road.
Located in the mid-north of South Australia, this is a 12 kilometre section of the partially open rail-trail that will (when finished) link Melrose and Wilmington, a distance of 24 kilometres along a disused rail corridor. At the time of writing (Jan 2017) only the section from Melrose to where the trail crosses Horrocks Highway was open. Remember also that the trail is reasonably remote, so make sure you have sufficient food and water for the return trip of about 20 kilometres as there are no facilities along the trail.