Our favourite MTB haunt, the Atherton Forest Mountain Bike Park, has been closed for riding since the heavy rains early in March… and looks like it won’t be reopened until Easter ☹. We’ve been simply itching to get out for a ride on the dirt and discovered that the local Wongabel State Forest provides some great rough and ready forestry roads to do just that!
Wongabel has an interesting blend of flora… part of it is plantations with stands of hoop, impressive kauri and Caribbean pine and part of it is native Mabi forest. Mabi forest is incredibly special as less than 4% of the original distribution of this rainforest remains. Mabi forest is habitat of the rare Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo and Mabi is the Aboriginal name for this mammal. You can find the Mabi forest type in only four places in the world: at Tolga Scrub; Haloran’s Hill; Curtain Fig Tree; and, Wongabel State Forest. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services provide plenty of interesting background reading on the area here: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/wongabel/culture.html.
There’s about 10+km of good riding to be done in Wongabel. While the forestry tracks weren’t single track, they certainly hadn’t been recently graded which made them a lot of fun. They sometimes felt like single track because of the encroaching grass or weeds and while riding a circuit around the hoop pines it became a little technical as there was heaps of basalt boulders to navigate around (which seem to be the reason that this area wasn’t cleared and put under farmland way back when).
There’s fauna to see there too. This time around we spotted a pademelon and heard plenty of birds as we flew down the track… and given that the mosquitoes were out in force following the recent rain, we didn’t stop anywhere for long or they would carry you away! This is a great hour ride that we definitely recommend if you need to get your fix.
Words by Liliana Williamson (March 2018)