Urban Oases

Sometimes what you’re craving is right under your nose. On a sunny, inviting day it may be tempting to make grandiose plans, spend up big and make things as epic as possible. But spare a thought for your local stomping ground. Look closely for the shards of habitat spared and now interwoven amongst the bullying sprawl of suburbia. Look for the wetlands, the reserves, the bushlands. Cobble them together, add a bicycle and a rambling disposition and you might just have yourself a day to remember.

I did just that on not one but two occasions recently at two such localities and I reckon I could find more if I looked again. Grange forest Park on the Kedron Brook Bikeway and the Deagon Wetlands are the two feathers in my cap. These rides aren’t the kind that will get you to this or that fitness goal or test the mettle of your physical condition. They’re more of an opportunity to ride as you watch life’s moving parts up close and then maybe just sit and stare for a while without being busy and without feeling a single shred of guilt about doing so.

Using some of Brisbane’s newest infrastructure at Fitzgibbon and Bracken Ridge to link up to old but really awesome infrastructure at the Deagon cycle overpass off Barrett Street, I was able to cut past the Deagon Racecourse and steer my Trek CrossRip into the Deagon Wetlands via Kempster Street. This was my first visit here and I wasn’t disappointed by the well maintained fire trails, bush surrounds and rubbish free state of the place. Especially given that there is an industrial area right along side.

New cycle underpass Bracken Ridge
The brand new bikeway and underpass at Lemke Road, Bracken Ridge opens up a world of safe access for cyclists to Sandgate, Redcliffe and the Deagon Wetlands.
Deagon bikeway overpass
The refurbished bikeway along the Gateway Arterial heading North towards Redcliffe. The overpass in the distance joins up more bikeway past the Deagon Racecourse and on to the Deagon Wetlands.
Deagon spiral cycle bridge
The spiral ramp to the Gateway Arterial overpass linking the entrance to the Deagon Wetlands. The overpass predates the latest infrastructure by quite a few years – it’s an oldie but a goodie made even better by the surrounding upgrades.
Deagon Wetlands trail
The Deagon Wetlands includes a mixture of fire trails, single tracks and a few sections of boardwalk.
Deagon Wetlands observation tower
Observation tower at the Deagon Wetlands decorated with Aboriginal art.
View from observation towerat Deagon Wetlands
View from the Deagon Wetlands observation tower. With this vista before you, you’d think civilization was a world away.
Deagon Wetlands trail
Trails in the Deagon Wetlands are all great quality. Mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes and hybrids are all fine.
Deagon Wetlands Aboriginal art
These little posts adorned with Aboriginal art in the Deagon Wetlands are pretty intersting and add to the ambience.
Sandgate foreshore Brisbane
Once you’ve finished exploring the Deagon Wetlands, the Sandgate foreshore is a short roll away for an extra little deviation.

My other journey of respite along the spaces between the chaos of life took place at the Grange Forest Park which you can access from several angles along the Kedron Brook Bikeway at Stafford or off Raymont Rd via the giant park that backs onto Grange Forest Park and then joins up to the Kedron Brook Bikeway. If you play your cards right, you can cobble together a loop that takes in the best offroad bits of Grange Forest and ends up at Stafford City for lunch or coffee.

Grange Forest Park entrance
Entrance to the Grange Forest Park via Blandford St, The Grange.
Bridge at Grange Forest Park
A nice new bridge at the Grange Forest Park. Don’t tear through here too fast though – it’s a down tempo kinda place that people like to enjoy on foot as well.
Rough section of trail at Grange Forest Park
Grange Forest Park also includes a few rough sections.
Open trail at Grange Forest Park
The enchanted forest….
Clearing at Grange Forest Park
Minutes from the CBD but a million miles away.
Lunch at a deserted playground
Formal dining is overrated. A deserted playground is as good a place as any for lunch.

And so when the urge to get lost somewhere is high, before you look to somewhere distant and expensive, consider what you have right beside you first. All too often we imagine solace and freedom at some far off destination reserved for the lucky few but sometimes if you scratch the surface of your immediate reality, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Keep on rambling and see you out there some time.

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