I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published May 31st 2021
A walk in history
I recently had the opportunity to walk part of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. The 161 kilometre trail runs from Wulkuraka near Ipswich to Yarraman. It follows the old Brisbane Valley rail line, which progressively opened between 1884 and 1913, and is the longest recreational rail trail in Australia.
The original rail line was built in the 1880s to transport timber, milk and beef to Brisbane and supply farmers and towns along the railway line. The trail is only for walkers, bike riders and horse riders. Dogs on leads are also able to walk the trail.
Eleven of us drove to Linville from Brisbane on a recent weekday morning. Some of us had booked into the Linville hotel to spend the night. The rest of our group planned to camp in the free campsite across the road from the pub. We all met up at 10am and set out to walk to Moore seven kilometres away. We were booked into The Old Church Gallery café for lunch before walking back to Linville to spend the night.
The drive from Brisbane took about 2 hours. It was an interesting drive against the peak hour traffic heading into the city. We drove through the small rural towns of Woodford and Kilcoy on the D'Aguilar Highway.
After lunch, we walked back to Linville, settled into the hotel and campground, had a shower and met up for pre-dinner drinks. The hotel was great. It had the feel of a real country pub. You do need to book in a fair way ahead as it is very popular.
The campsite was free and the campers could have a hot shower at the hotel by having dinner there. There were some interesting old railway carriages in Linville. When we returned after our walk there were lots of caravans parked at the campsite.
The walk was very interesting. It was mainly rough gravel with a few rocky sections and some steep bits on concrete pathways. There were signs at these areas warning bike riders to dismount for safety reasons. We saw some bike riders and they did push their bikes down the steep section.
There was a toilet along the track, seats and some old buildings such as horse stables. There were beautiful views of the Brisbane River and areas with lots of large grass trees. We even had cows sharing the track from nearby farms.
We took a short detour to visit a historic culvert. This Blackbutt Range culvert built around 1910 is 27m long, 3.7m high, 3.7m wide with a concrete wall 60cm thick and 'wings' 3.4m wide on both sides. This culvert was constructed entirely by day labour without the benefit of heavy machinery and is still in very good condition today.
You need to walk about 50 metres from the sign and turn right down to the culvert. Don't keep going straight. We were lucky some people we met at the shelter told us where to go. Some people miss the right turn and keep heading straight along the wide road.
We could hear lots of bellbirds as we walked through the Bernarkin State Forest. These bell miners colonized the Blackbutt Range after the railway was extended to Blackbutt in 1910. There was a sign explaining the Bellbird or Bell Miner (Manorina melanophrys) is a small green bird with orange eye patches and a loud persistent bell-like call. The Bellbird was immortalized in Henry Kendall's (1869) poem and has more recently been implicated in the die-back of Eucalypt forests.
We saw some interesting "dogs" which I learnt represented long-dead fettlers returning out of the ground to work again with their 'Inca god' style boss ganger – which is the very railway carriage drawbar for which the dogs were made.
After we arrived back in Linville, one person drove the drivers back to Benarkin to pick up their cars, and the rest of us drove to a café in Moore. After having coffee and snacks we all drove back to Brisbane.
It was a great couple of days. We are planning to go back and do some other sections of the rail train in August. On that trip, we will walk from Blackbutt to Bernakin and back, a distance of 10 km return. We will stay overnight at Blackbutt, then the next morning, do a car shuttle to Yarraman then walk from Yarraman to Blackbutt which is 19 km.