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Published June 7th 2012
One of the many places to stop along the Mount Mee Tourist Drive
There's nothing quite like the scent of eucalypt trees. In terms of natural aromas, it's up there with the smell of the earth after a springtime downpour or the fresh breeze of the seaside. On a recent day trip, I quickly learned that nothing compares to immersing one self in an entire Eucalyptus forest and just breathing. Maybe aromatherapy isn't a complete waste of time after all and after stepping out of the car after a 50 minute drive northwest of Brisbane I was instantly calmer.
We had arrived at Mount Mee, part of the D'Aguilar Range which stretches around 45 kilometres between Caboolture and Brisbane. The name Mount Mee is a strange one and I had been repeatedly chanting it in the car in anticipation of arrival, much to the irritation of my fellow passengers. The name is believed to have been derived from the Aboriginal word mia-mia meaning 'lookout.' This couldn't have been more apt since views from certain vantage points throughout the state forest offered panoramic views of the lush green valleys below.
The starting point, known as the Gantry, featured the remains of a large saw-mill which served as a reminder of the bygone local timber industry which contributed much to the area until operations ceased in 1981. Nearby the old saw mill is a large rest area with a map of the forest showing the surrounding roads and trails. From the Gantry, visitors can choose to go many ways and there is a number of different walks depending on your energy levels and whether or not you have a four wheel drive (we didn't and it was fine but if you are nervous about your car would not recommend it)
Since we were foolish enough to not wear proper footwear, we decided on one of the easiest walks that began about 1.5 km down the road on a relatively well maintained unsealed road. Known as the Falls Lookout, it offered a fantastic view of the forest and the D'Aguilar Valley from a viewing platform above. After taking a few snaps we walked further down the trail into the forest. Feeling adventurous, we ventured off the trail into the eucalypt forest and discovered a mainly shallow creek and excitedly dipped our toes into it. From here we explored upstream and we came across a huge log which served well as a bridge or a place to stop and smell the roses – and by that I mean eucalyptus trees.
After Falls Lookout we opted to return to the sealed road of Mount Mee Tourist Drive. You can follow the unsealed roads further into the huge state forest but it is recommended only if you have a four wheel drive. If however, off-road driving is a favourite pastime of yours, Mount Mee is the ideal playground. Nature enthusiasts should also take note since Mount Mee is a great place for birdwatching and to have the chance to see a koala enjoying the eucalyptus forest as much as I was. For the camper, Mount Mee is also a fantastic overnight spot with camping facilities and toilets located at the campgrounds at Archer and Nerum creek.
Whether it be a day trip or a longer camping or four-wheel driving expedition Mount Mee is an enjoyable city escape. The journey there is part of the fun with plenty of places to stop and take pictures along the way. We left feeling relaxed and after our off road and trail exploring, I felt I had exercised my sense of adventure somewhat. However Mount Mee had not left my mind just yet, because on the drive home I still had eucalyptus on the nose. I was also happily chanting 'Mount Mee' in the confines of the car again – no longer in anticipation, but definitely a solid clue how much of a good time I had had.