There is nothing dead about the amazing ‘dead-end” ride to O’Reilly’s and back on the Lamington National Park Rd in South East Queensland.
Despite the Gold Coast hinterland being ravaged by bushfires in September 2019, the scenery along this road is as spectacular and pristine as ever. You wouldn’t even know a bushfire had been through the region!
That is not the case with the nearby Binna Burra Lodge which was sadly decimated in the bushfires and has closed the dead-end Binna Burra Rd south of Timbarra Drive.
However, Lamington National Park Rd is still open and is as challenging, varied and spectacular as any of the Alpine roads in NSW and Victoria.
In fact, massive roadworks over the past couple of years have made it even better.
Roadworks and retaining walls make the road safer
However, the last few kilometres to O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat are fairly bumpy.
It’s a virtual paradise for riders, yet it is relatively unknown by riders outside SEQ and little used compared with some of the other “motorcycle routes” in the region.
Plenty of hairpins and twisties!
However, it feels substantially different going up to going down and you take different corner lines each way.
You also don’t look back over your shoulder when you ride, so the scenery is different each way.
And it’s such a great ride, that you will probably want to do it again and again!
Mountain road not dead
Lamington National Park Rd on the Gold Coast hinterland (Image: Google Maps)
The 35km dead-end road starts in Canungra which is a popular cafe stop for riders. Click here for the Google Map.
Riding south out of town into the beautiful valley you will notice O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyard which is a great place to stop for lunch and wine tasting (pillions only!).
About 2km down the road, it crosses one of several metal cattle grids before ascending the mountain.
The cattle grids are often on blind corners and need to be taken at right angles to avoid slipping, especially in the wet.
They are among many other hazards such as narrow one-lane sections, blind corners, rock falls, dangling vines, foreign tourists in clapped-out vans, bumps, potholes, leaf litter, oblivious bushwalkers, occasional cyclists, and moss on the road edge and even in the centre!
Watch out for slippery hazards
Despite all those hazards, it is a great road for motorcyclists of all types, so long as you take it easy and/or do an exploratory run.
The speed limit is posted at 40km/h with some 10km/h advisory corner speeds.
Plenty of hairpins
We have yet to see police on the road, but being caught for speeding is not the only reason to take care.
Weekdays are a lot less busy than weekends.
The old alpaca farm with its jaw-dropping valley views has now moved to the O’Reilly’s vineyard.
Old alpaca farm is now closed
However, just down the road is a short detour to the postcard-perfect Kamarun Lookout. It’s well worth a photo stop!
It’s not a complete dead end for adventure riders as they can turn right just before O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and descend into the next valley via the very rough and challenging Duck Creek Rd.
However, that road has been closed for several years due to flooding and is still closed, awaiting funding from the Scenic Rim Council. Let’s hope it opens again soon.
Duck Creek Rd
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat at the end of the road has a coffee shop, restaurant, clean toilets, paved parking, a bird feeding show and gift shop.
Feed the birds at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
Once you’ve rested up and refilled your tank (with food, not fuel), it’s time to head back down and enjoy the view from the other direction.