I’ve been eyeing off Lake Manchester on various maps and write-ups for a while now so I decided that now was as good a time as any to finally make the journey. As the day’s experience showed me, this isn’t exactly a casual ride (certainly not as casual as I thought) so if you’re thinking about tackling this one, make sure you’re in in reasonable condition, bring plenty of food and water and carry enough spares to get yourself out of a wide range of possible mechanical failures. You will be a long way from help most of the time and unlikely to even see another person in the depths of the Brisbane Forest Park.
Unless otherwise stated, I always ride to my rides and this one was no exception. I rode the 20 or so kilometres to Gap Creek Road and began the day’s adventure on the Highwood Rd Trail entrance. Entering the Brisbane Forest Park, I followed South Boundary Road climbing gradually around the base of Mt Nebo before turning down the Gold Greek Boundary Break and almost immediately down Creek Road. And when I say down, I mean a long way down a steep firetrail which quickly and noticeably changes from sclerophyll to a more rainforest-like environment with ferns, thick undergrowth and the first of many creek crossings.
From there, I started climbing again snaking my way along the edge of a deep, enchanted looking valley covered in rainforest with a few really big trees riding high above the undergrowth. Before long, I was descending again down fire trails, through long rocky creek crossing and up more gradual climbs. All the while, the landscape changed from rainforest to sclerophyll to more open bush filled with grass trees and the soil on the firetrail changed with it – sooty black to red to stony creek bed.
Eventually, as the soil turned red again, I descended to get my first glimpse of Lake Manchester. I was glad to have finally made it but realised by now that I had not packed enough food and water to make it back the way I came which meant that I would need to find a way back along the road where I would hopefully also find a place to stop for food and water.
After a look around, I headed off down Lake Manchester Road and then down Mt Crosby Rd where I found much needed food and drink. After lunch, I continued on down Mt Crosby Rd to Brookfield where I cut through Boscombe Rd to Gap Creek Rd and back to the point where my day had started.
Despite the unexpected change of route (many would argue that such impromptu changes are what cycling is all about), this was a ride well worth doing. I’ll be coming back again to explore the area further another day and if you are planning to do the same, be sure to pack a full day’s cache of food and water which will allow you to backtrack through the Brisbane Forest Park rather than having to resort to going back along the road.
As always, ride safe and see you out there some time.