The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is the best kept secret in Brisbane's west - a bike track that follows the old rail line through scenic countryside, quaint bridges and historic stations.
The Fernvale to Ipswich section makes a great place to start exploring - an easy stretch of approximately 25 kilometres that is off-road and slightly downhill.
The trail leaves Fernvale from near the Information Centre at Fernvale Memorial Park and once you get started the view quickly changes from town to country.
Winding through paddocks and light forest, you will soon come upon remnants of a bygone era of travel. Still intact rail bridge supports rise up out of the grass and overlook a beautiful dam. The trail winds around the bridge remains then down across the creek.
The trail continues, crossing a few rural side roads and rewarding you with many classic rural outlooks – paddocks and fields, forest, scrubby bush and some really lovely country vistas.
Apart from crossing a number of quiet rural roads and also the highway at one point, the track is off road and stress-free – no need to worry about cars and trucks in the vicinity of where you are riding.
After crossing the highway, you’ll continue to enjoy even more variety in the scenery and pass by the old railway station signs marking the localities. The track surface varies: sometimes grassy, sometimes packed dirt, graded dirt and
gravel and some short concrete sections as well.
The trail transitions from rural to suburban as it joins the Brassall Bikeway, which takes you from Brassall through to North Ipswich, passing over some impressive bridges and past some really interesting street sculptures.
Once again, not having to contend with traffic makes riding, especially with young ones, really comfortable and enjoyable.
From North Ipswich you can ride on the footpaths to get to the Ipswich CBD to enjoy a well-earned lunch or afternoon tea. Some recommended cafes include Rafter & Rose, Fourthchild, Urban Pantry, Cactus Espresso and Deann's Coffee House.
Need to know: Mountain bikes are recommended, and you will need to take plenty of water and snacks as there are no facilities until you reach Ipswich.
By Kate Bennie, Sons of Adventure