I'm not sure how many readers are au fait with the term 'bundu bashing' but 'bundu' literally means a wilderness region. Or, according to the Urban Dictionary 'taking one's car, motorbike, bicycle or to walk or run off road through bushes'. An expression I love to pepper my speech with - we went bundu bashing - off-road walking through the bushes.
Welcome to the Dularcha National Park - Image: Elaine de Wet
Our destination was the heritage-listed Tunnel Track in the Dularcha National Park commencing at Beech Road, Landsborough. Dularcha National Park's historic railway tunnel was built in 1891 and is one of only two tunnels built along the old narrow-gauge North Coast Line between Brisbane and Gympie. Building this tunnel was very labour-intensive with the workers of the time building the concrete lined tunnel using basic machinery and horses to cart the heavy loads.
When this line was officially opened in 1891, it was possible to travel from Brisbane to Gympie and back in a twelve hour trip - a major achievement for that time! Travel through this tunnel stopped in 1932 when the railway line was moved east to its present day location.
This 93.5 metre long curved tunnel provides a dark (and believe me, it's very dark) and protected site for seasonal roosting by a variety of small bats, including the large-footed myotis. Trust me, I am very happy to declare that our visit must have been off-season as we luckily weren't exposed to any of these furry little mammals.
This bush walk runs from Beech Road, close to the Landsborough Railway Station all the way to Dorson Drive, Mooloolah and is a six kilometre (two hour) return journey. I must be honest and tell you that if you walk from the Mooloolah side it's a far shorter distance to reach the tunnel, should that be your objective and yes, of course, I didn't realise this before.
Light at the end of the tunnel - Image: Elaine de Wet
Arriving early, we parked our car in Beech Road at the start of the walk, which has off-street parking for all the bundu-bashers like us. One can explore the recreational trails that pass through open eucalypt forest and riparian areas where flooded gum, cabbage tree palm, piccabeen palm and rainforest plants grow.
There are three shared trails in the Dularcha National Park - the Tunnel Track, Tunnel Bypass Track and Roses Circuit - which enables walkers, mountain bike riders and even horse riders to explore the park's natural and historic features. All other trails marked on the map are for mountain bike riders and walkers only.
Say hi to 'Clancy' who was out for some much-needed exercise - Image: Elaine de Wet
The Dularcha National Park is home to koalas, goannas, echidnas, grey kangaroos and a multitude of bird species. Our day of choice was a real steamer and even though we commenced our trek early in the morning, we never got to see any of the wildlife, though we could hear the birds. I could well understand the local fauna seeking refuge in a sheltered hideaway...it was that hot!
Park your car at Beech Road, Landsborough - Image: Elaine de Wet
2. Take a torch, it does make it easier to go through the tunnel with a bit of light on the subject;
3. Slip, slap and slop - one passes through quite large sections of the trail that have no shade protection; and
4. For safety a give-way code applies:
Cyclists and walkers give way to horses; and
When using trails, cyclists must alert others when approaching.