I love trains, bridges and country drives and Lions Road from Rathdowney through to Kyogle in New South Wales is an overload on all three. Rejected government funding, Lions Road is so named as it was built by the Lions club using community funding and donations. Lions road links the Beaudesert Shire in Queensland with the Kyogle shire in New South Wales via Richmond Gap in the McPherson Range and Border Ranges National Park.
The drive takes you over lots of creek crossings and under impressive railway bridges. To make the road even more unique it has a vantage point overlooking the Spiral loop. Due to its engineering rarity, this part of the rail track is heritage listed. To gain height to cut through the mountain, the track loops back over itself using two tunnels.
A few weeks ago we went camping at Sheep Station Creek in the border ranges national park. Before relaxing in the forest with a glass of wine and a magazine we popped into the Kyogle farmers markets for a look.
I visited the Kyogle farmers markets a few years ago and while small, the number of stalls has grown. There was local produce but also a few other regional vendors such as Illuka prawns and Stanthorpe apples.
I should add Kyogle and Lions road are prone to flooding. I remember driving down Lions road at Easter in 2008, a few months after severe flooding. Gradys creek was calmly babbling along but you could see massive chunks of debris half way up pine trees and stuck in poles.
Kyogle coped a bit of flooding again in January. At the market I had a chat to the lady from High view organics. High view organics is just out of Kyogle along Newtons Road at Eden Creek. They had a lot of water but not serious flooding. All the rain and dampness caused problems with drying out the garlic.
High View Organics supply their organic product to the commercial Rocklea Markets for distribution throughout Brisbane. If you have bought organic Australian purple garlic from a fruit shop in Brisbane it may have come from Kyogle.
If you haven’t gone down Lions road, it makes a perfect day trip from Brisbane. There is plenty of road side stalls selling fresh produce (corn and pumpkin are a favourite at the moment). There is a salvage wares shop on Lions Road, you can’t miss it. The yard is full of salvage items and inside the shop we have found some pretty odd things over the years. The Kyogle information centre is a great place to stop, the facilities are spotless, the staff are friendly and they stock a collection of local produce.
Get up early for the drive. Sunrise in the scenic rim is beautiful and the hot air balloons coming in to land dot the sky with cuteness.