Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Published March 2nd 2020
Take your family on a cycling adventure this weekend
The 161Km Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is the longest rail trail in Australia. Stretching from Wulkuraka near Ipswich in the south to Yarraman in the north, the distance sounds overwhelming. However, the rail trail is broken up into sections from one town to the next.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail at Lowood with signs back to Fernvale or on to Coominya
The stops at both Fernville and Lowood have playgrounds, shade, and water. Fernville has a bakery and other shops directly across the road, as well as a tourist information centre, while at Lowood there is an IGA just across the road.
The track on this section is all well-maintained, and some of it is paved. One of the attractions of rail trails today is that they were designed with a minimum of hills to reduce the work needed by trains to traverse them in the past. This is definitely a huge advantage when cycling with children!
Along the way, it is worth stopping to look at the heritage left by people who called this area home in the past. Some of it continues to be used today, such as this wall that protects the rail trail from rock falls.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is shared by cyclists with horses and pedestrians. The rule of thumb is that everyone gives way to horses, and cyclists give way to everyone. Also, when approaching horse riders from behind, give plenty of warning (preferably by voice rather than bicycle bell).
Approach horse riders cautiously on the rail trail
The Fernvale to Lowood section of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is 8.5Km. Younger children may benefit from a tag-along bike, and very young children from a bike-seat on their parent's bike, but we found that from the age of about 7 a drink and an ice cream at Lowood provided the energy needed for an energetic ride back to Fernvale. Another option is for one adult to drop the rest of the family at one end and then drive to the other and wait.
View of the Brisbane River while cycling from Lowood back to Fernvale