Photography: 2022 Gladstone & Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail (BBIRT) Trip
Many of you will know that southeast Queensland recently experienced heavy rains & devastating floods, which resulted in many local cycling areas and mountain bike tracks being damaged or destroyed. Thankfully volunteers & trail crews have been working hard to restore them – but myself and two friends though we’d take the opportunity to spend a weekend in another part of Queensland to explore a different mountain bike park, as well as a new (opened late 2021) rail trail – the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail (BBIRT).
We spent Saturday afternoon exploring Gladstone Mountain Bike Reserve – with some great MTB trails of varying skill levels (‘High Voltage‘ was my favourite) and awesome views up by the power lines before venturing south west to Builyan on Sunday morning to do the BBIRT.
This new rail trail is around 28km long (one way) and we rode from Builyan to Kalpower (uphill) before returning back the other way (downhill). There’s 6 awesome rail tunnels up near the Kalpower end, with one retaining the original tracks and sleepers – which you can see in the video below that I filmed on the way up.
The trail is a little rough and even confusing in some spots (especially one of the road crossings on the Builyan end); and while you could do it on a gravel bike, be sure to bring spare tubes, as it’s bumpy, gravelly and there are some larger rocks (tennis ball sized & bigger – from rock falls) in places. We were all on mountain bikes & ran at around 40psi to keep the rolling resistance fairly low. None of us had flats, which was great. There’s toilets at Builyan, Deception Creek Dam (a few km from Builyan) as well as in the QNPWS campground near the Kalpower end (about 2km from the trail entry).
As mentioned, some of the road crossings are confusing – with the trail seemingly disappearing in spots with a lack of signage, but it is a new trail and it’s all run by volunteers, so as donations trickle in and (hopefully) the government gets behind it, then signage and fencing will improve over time.
If anyone has any doubts over whether rail trails are worth it, take note: we drove from Brisbane to Gladstone and then Builyan for a weekend just to do this rail trail. Between our group of 3, we probably spent around $750 on food, supplies and accomodation in the community.
Rail trails are a great way to revive small towns (just look at Blue Derby in Tasmania, or any of the small towns along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail as examples) – and I look forward to seeing this trail grow and improve over time as more people ride it and a community springs up around it with cafes, public facilities, B & B’s and so on.
Here’s my helmet-mounted video of the 6 rail tunnels at the Kalpower end of the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail (BBIRT).
Click to enlarge or read the caption to learn more about where the image was taken.
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