March 20, 2013
Seriously off road
Before I describe my adventures there last Sunday, I have to explain that I am not a petrolhead with a fat-tyred, massively-high-clearance, dust-doused, mud-spattered sport ute or pickup with a blue-heeler in the tray, fishing-rod array, Sahara bars and snorkel, side rails and roof-mounted intensity lighting. I don't plan to rock-crawl or desert race – although I've always had a secret yearning to rally drive. I don't own anything like this...
So, off we went. Up the Bruce Highway to Caboolture, along the D'Aguilar Highway to Kilcoy, and then north up the Kilcoy-Murgon Road for 60 kilometres (16 km beyond Jimna). The landscape both along the D'Aguilar and up to Jimna was beautiful on a warm blue-sky day.
For your $25 daily entrance fee you get a map showing green, orange (rough tracks) and red (extreme), although not to scale. Zigzaggy lines along any of these routes means steep: so a zigzaggy red was probably an almost vertical, seriously rocky route. We had to keep turning back on the greens because slopes had been eroded into deep ruts and fissures, or they were muddy and rock-strewn and looked highly unstable. We had no two-way radio with us and had been told there was nobody to help if we got stuck. Someone had got bogged the previous day: the excessive rain has made creek floors unstable and/or rockier. You're advised to get out and assess a creek, even wade it, before attempting to cross, so you have some idea what lies beneath. We were never going to chance any crossings other than relative shallows.
In any case, we couldn't get to the point where we could even start to look for it. We were increasingly thwarted in our plans: we couldn't continue along the 'main road' through the Park, Diaper Road, because of track damage; and we couldn't find the Cowah Falls. So we gave up. There were clouds gathering, and there had been mention of a storm later in the day. This was certainly not the place to be caught in a heavy downpour. We had tested the car over difficult terrain, although I doubt we'll be back for 4WD events.
The lanscape was lovely, the weather perfect, the grass trees magnificent and the Monitor Lizards well smart.