Old railways make great places to ride bikes, they are flat, have lots of small towns and often have interesting histories. The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is a new trail being developed in Northern NSW, the first section of about 26km from Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek has recently opened and was begging to be explored. SE Qld and Northern NSW often have perfect weather for outdoor activities in winter, the forecast showed this weekend to be exactly that, every reason to pack up the bikes and hit the road. A little under 2 hours from Brisbane and we were at Murwillumbah, getting ready to start.
I have always liked Murwillumbah, along with it’s primary reason for existing as an agricultural centre it has the Northern NSW slightly hippy culture and some of the Byron Bay tourism all mixed togther; it makes a very vibrant town. Being the centre of a huge ancient volcano it is surrounded by mountains. Mt Warning, particularly, towers in the distance. With the soil being volcanic and with lots of rain, it is the perfect country for sugar cane and everything else is green and lush.
Before heading off there was time for a delicious second breakfast in a cafe to warm up, then off to the old Murwillumbah train station. The rail had closed down about 20 years ago but the station was still in perfect condition; except now there were bike shops where the waiting seats and offices used to be.
The trail runs from Murwillumbah through Sokers Sidings, Burringbar, Mooball and through to Crabbes Creek (delicious lunch!). It is extremely well made, the surface varied between feeling like a brand new bitumen road and smooth hard packed gravel; pretty much as good as you could ask for to ride on. There was plenty of people making the most of it.
I had bike toured through here a few years ago, the small towns were there but without much life. It was now a completely different story, lots of people around, plenty of options for lunch, galleries, bike shops, accomodation and activities. Great not to see towns just have a ‘historic society’ but being alive.
Can’t wait for the whole 130km or so to be complete.