Freelance copywriter and blogger. Avid dog owner, living in Brisbane's bayside. If you like my articles please hit subscribe or 'like' at the end of the post!
Published July 8th 2013
An abandoned saw mill and walking trails galore
Sometimes you need a day trip where you can escape with limited fuss and return in the afternoon without hours of driving and feeling completely wiped out.
I've written about Mount Mee before on WeekendNotes as the perfect city escape for Brisbanites, and since I had such a great time then, I was compelled to return once more.
I was glad I did because I realised last time there is so much more that I had not discovered here on my first journey.
The drive takes just over one hour from Brisbane City making it closer and more accessible than both the Gold and Sunshine Coast hinterlands.
As you approach the D'Aguilar range you'll be tempted to pull over and start taking roadside snaps.
Be sure to pull over for good photo opportunities along the Mount Mee tourist drive
Make sure someone is keeping their eyes on the road though as the ascent up the range is stunning, albeit slightly treacherous. Once you start entering the forested area and begin to smell the eucalypt trees and damp forest smell, you definitely know you've arrived in a national park.
So much to see in this huge national park.
The Gantry Day Area
As you approach the Mount Mee section of the D'Aguilar National Park turnoff there are many different trails and signposts which can seem slightly overwhelming. We decided to explore the Gantry Day area for a quick stretch of the legs and a bite to eat first up. (We had stopped at the supermarket in Dayboro on the drive and picked up some picnic supplies)
The Gantry Day area is the perfect place for a picnic and the BBQ areas and amenities make having a cooked lunch easy. There were quite a few kids who were noisily enjoying the outdoors but luckily for us the area was huge and the number of tables plentiful. This means the chances of other people impacting on your personal space and serenity is small in this area. I don't know about you but when I want to escape the city, I also want to escape other people too.
The Gantry itself is a somewhat bizarre looking structure. A shed like building, it was used to house a massive crane used to hoist timber up from the forest floor. Apparently it operated until 1981 and the saw mill produced timber which was used in structures around Brisbane including Saint Stephens Cathedral in Brisbane CBD and bridge connecting Redcliffe to Brisbane. The sheer size and height of the structure makes it definitely photo worthy and something you definitely don't see every day.
Timber from the Old Saw Mill at Mount Mee was used in St Stephens Cathedral in Brisbane CBD.
Piccabeen Circuit Walk
There are several tracks and walking trails that you can explore while in the National park,however many of them are several kilometres long and some require 4WD vehicles to access. Fortunately adjacent to the Gantry Day area the Picabeen walk is level with a well maintained asphalt path. It's also wheelchair friendly and despite being relatively short, gives you a real sense of being a million miles from anywhere.
One of the highlights is the boardwalk area which crossed over creeks and actually reminded me of being in the Daintree rainforest. The numerous flat fronds of palm trees which towered over us also gave it this feel. The track is a circuit and around a 30 minute walk. It's also easy on the feet, which was just as well as the three of us still didn't think to bring proper walking shoes – just like on my last visit.( I tend to live in thongs on weekends…)
It's not the Daintree Rainforest, but it sure reminded me of it
Best of all we felt like we'd had a authentic city escape without spending half the day in the car. Since weekends are so precious, Mount Mee is a sensible and achievable day trip awaiting your discovery the next weekend you feel like you need to escape but are not sure exactly where to.