The Mary River Valley was almost deleted from our favourite list of places to ride when politicians threatened to flood it for a dam!
It’s a long and stupid political story, but thankfully sanity prevailed and the massive Traveston Dam was never built.
So a pretty little valley north of Brisbane remains a haven for riders.
Many Brisbane riders visit the area, but turn around after a lunch stop at Kenilworth.
I’ve been guilty of the same offence.
On the few occasions I’ve strayed further north, it’s been on the way to somewhere else for an overnight trip.
So I’ve often ridden through the valley on the Mary Valley Rd and haven’t explored some of the interesting offshoots.
On this occasion I took a Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special to visit the new location for the Bellbird Creek Cafe which is no longer at Bellbird Creek.
The cafe had been ideal situated on the twisting hot mix just south of Kenilworth, but the property owner wouldn’t extend the lease.
So leasee and bike fan Peter Cusack moved to Carters Ridge, just off Skyring Rd.
His cafe sells great coffee, wholesome food, fruit and veg and has a stack of bike magazines for the patrons.
On the Mary Valley Country tourist map, it’s almost dead centre in the region, so it’s an even better spot to base yourself to explore.
And there’s plenty of great roads to ride, no matter whether you like fast, open bends, tight hairpins, hot mix, scenic back roads, formed gravel or Conondale National Park forestry trails. The area simply has everything to suit every rider’s taste and bike style.
Peter shoved the tourist map in front of me and began introducing me to roads I’d passed, but never ventured down.
On the Harley, they were a barrel of fun, challenging, bumpy, twisting and scenic.
Two great roads I’d never tried before are Moy Pocket Rd and Cooroy Belli Rd. I’ll certainly be back to do them again, although Peter warns that Moy Pocket Rd is busy with cement trucks on weekdays.
He recently did a big trip with his wife on their Triumph Tiger 1050 which suits 99% of the region’s roads.
Today, I’m on the Street Glide Special, which looks commanding and handles the winding roads surprisingly well, but would be a handful on the gravel.
Here is a list of some of the lesser-known, but superb tarmac roads in the region which the Harley handled well so they should suit just about any motorcycle: Moy Pocket Rd, Skyring Rd, Blad Knob Rd, Hovard Rd, Obi Obi Rd (up only, down section is still gravel), Reesville Rd, Postmans Track/Aherns Rd, Bellthorpe Range Rd, Eastern Mary River Rd and Lawnville Rd.
Road conditions: phone 131940 or visit traffic and travel information website.