Five great south-east Queensland motorcycle rides, with a twist

Take these routes if you are looking for a ride sure to get your motor running.

The oft-quoted motto among riders is “it’s about the journey not the destination”. But you better make sure the journey has plenty of winding roads and lots of great scenery.


There are many great motorcycle routes around south-east Queensland with which most riders are familiar.

So, we have put together a list of five motorcycle routes with a bit of a twist to the norm and we hope they encourage you to head out on the highways and byways.

Lions Road border crossing

Lions Road

There is currently a big concrete barrier across the Queensland/NSW border on the Lions Rd but that should not stop you from exploring the Queensland side which has a better road surface and some spectacular scenery.

The road crosses the creek on several occasions with picturesque bridges and a camping ground where there are toilet facilities.

You can grab a drink and lunch at Rathdowney and then do a loop to the south-west.

Head down the Mount Lindesay Highway which also goes to the NSW border where you will have to turn around.

On the way back, turn left on to the little-used Barney View Road which affords sensational views of Mt Barney.

The tarmac has been upgraded recently, but there can still be broken patches and gravel brought on to the road by farm machinery, so take it easy.

There are a couple of alternate routes you can explore and the road changes its name to the Upper Logan Road which eventually comes out at the Boonah–Rathdowney Road.

Esk–Crows Nest

Esk is a favourite cafe stop for Sunday riders with plenty of great coffee shops, pubs and a service station.

You can also spend a bit of time browsing through the Blacktop Motorcycles Works museum. It’s free and a great trip down memory lane.

Most riders then head out on the Esk–Hampton Road which ascends the Great Dividing Range in a long twisting line of tarmac.

It’s worth a short detour to the left at Ravensbourne Recreation Reserve on to National Park Road and one of the most impressive views of the Lockyer Valley.

If you’re on an adventure bike, head down Seventeen Mile Road which snakes back down the range into the back of Murphys Creek.

Otherwise, continue up to Hampton where there is a toilet stop at the tourist information centre and a cafe across the road.

Turn right along the New England Highway to the motorcycle-friendly town of Crows Nest where there are more facilities including a service station to top up your tank.

Instead of backtracking to Esk, take the Perseverance Dam Road past the dam of the same name and a short detour to stunning Cressbrook Dam, if it’s open (last time it was closed because of algae).
The road eventually rejoins the Esk–Hampton Road which feels different on the descent, anyway.

Rod Beasely at Panorama Motorcycle Museum.

Museum ride

Many riders head south to Boonah in the Fassifern Valley which is a great place for breakfast or lunch with its many artisan cafes, plus it’s a great staging post for regional rides.

You can loop out through Mt Stanley to Moogerah Dam, head down to Rathdowney or go south to the spectacular and very challenging Spring Creek–The Head Road which takes you up the escarpment to Queen Mary Falls.

On the way down to Boonah, we suggest getting off the busy Ipswich–Boonah Road and turning right at Peak Crossing onto Flinders Street.

This becomes the much quieter and more interesting Munbilla Road that takes you down the middle between the main route and the Cunningham Highway.

It continues to the charming little town of Kalbar, or turn left at Milora onto Warrill View–Peak Crossing Road.

At the end of the road as you enter Roadvale, you will see the family-owned Panorama Motorcycle Museum on the right.

You will have to book first, but they will give you a personalised tour of the museum which not only includes mainly pre-American and British bikes, but also a great stock of memorabilia.

Booboondah Tunnel

Boolboonda Tunnel

About 35km west of Gin Gin lies the Boolboonda Tunnel, an historic disused railway tunnel that you can ride through.

From the east, the Tunnel Road is bitumen until the last 2km of very flat and easy gravel. It’s a worthwhile visit for those touring the coastal region. 

However, you can also access the road from the west, but you may need an adventure bike or some gravel-road experience.

Just near Gayndah, take the Gayndah–Mt Perry Road north east. This winds through majestic cattle farmland and into national forest. Some long sections are gravel and the condition can vary with the weather and 4WD traffic.

Where it crosses the Burnett River there is the Mingo Crossing caravan park which has toilet facilities. A little further on, after more intermittent gravel and tarmac sections, it winds into the historic Mt Perry with another toilet, fuel and lunch stop.

About 15 minutes north, look for the Tunnel Road sign which points to a farm gate and a dirt track.

Make sure you close the gate behind you and be prepared for a rough farm track. Keep the speed down and don’t rev your bike to ensure you don’t scare the cattle.

Either end of Tunnel Rd will bring you to the tunnel which, at 192m, is the longest unsupported man-made tunnel in Queensland.

This engineering marvel was built from 1881 to 1884 to service the Mt Perry copper mines and has been idle since the tracks were removed in 1961.

The dark, heritage-listed tunnel is also home to a bat colony.

It’s best to walk it first to check the condition of the surface with your phone’s torch. It can be wet and potholed, but if it’s OK, you can slowly ride through for a unique experience.

Make sure to put your lights on high beam and remove your sunglasses.

Gravel Road near Kin Kin

Kin Kin

If you’re in the Noosa or Gympie area, it is worth exploring the back roads that lead through Kin Kin and Pomona.

Kin Kin has a great artisan coffee shop and a pub for traditional lunches.

From the Gympie end, head toward Tin Can Bay and take the right turn on to Cedar Pocket Road if you are riding a road bike.

If you are on an adventure bike, go a little further to Kin Kin Road which affords amazing views of the lumpy farm terrain as the smooth tarmac twists and turns in an entertaining way.

However, the road does eventually turn to gravel for a short section though a forestry where trucks can sometimes churn up the surface. They both meet up just north west of Kin Kin.

When you leave the town, head south on the Pomona–Kin Kin Road which has a short section through very tight and twisty tarmac that is as smooth as a billiard table.

It is such fun you may want to turn around and do it all over again.

Similarly, Pomona has some great coffee shops as well as a couple of service stations to refuel.