Southeast Queensland and the NSW border ranges

Looking back to Lamington and Border ranges national parks

Ten years after learning to fly in Canungra and I’ve come back to the nest. Lately I’ve been spoilt by mountain flying and exploring new places, and I’ve turned my nose up at flying the same tired old sites over a rather flat country. But having a fresh look at the map, I’ve realised there is some interesting country around, and living in Sydney it is very accessible for me to nip up for a few days here and there between shifts. See the 8 minute video, triangle flight on xcontest, doarama

After a great three day visit less than a fortnight earlier, I decided to try my luck again, booking flights the evening before. The next morning I was among a dozen or so paraglider pilots on Mt Tambourine launch, but only the hangies were flying – winds were stronger than expected. In my mind the logical thing to do was to change the plan to a hike and fly of the Fort, but the others needed some convincing! In the end five of us made the trek.

It glassed off beautifully and we watched the smoky sunset (see more photos here). Then I hitched a ride to Beechmont to try my luck with the southerly change the next morning. It was windy alright – but I could fly – and later the day changed. Making it up as I went, I started to attempt a triangle but got flushed half way. Landing on a remote road a surprised couple stopped for me. They were very interested in having a chat, which was nice. In Woodenbong I spared myself some time for fish and chips and a beer.

Fish and chips in Woodenbong

Standing in the setting sun outside Woodenbong I realised there wasn’t a lot of traffic, and wondered if I’d been a bit brash with my relaxed hitching style. But within half an hour a 63 year old local fella said he was going to Nerang – perfect! Lee had an in depth knowledge of the surrounding countryside and it was another interesting chat. Andrew my friend who has recently set up The Odd Gecko bed and breakfast put me up for the night in Canungra, and dropped me at Beechmont the next morning.

Beechmont and the Numinbah valley – no friends on days like this

The night before I’d planned out the most inspirational flight I could think of – an early morning run down the Numinbah valley along the Mt Warning caldera, then cutting west to make a 100km triangle – with Andy my lift back to Brisbane saying I’d need to be back at the car by 4:15pm at the absolute latest. He was still driving down so I took off first – and nearly bombed – but just hung in there, and things got much better.

A long story short and I made it back, Andy had a great flight as well (see our doarama tracks in 3d here), and we were both able to get home, just in time!

Tracks for the weekend – click for 100km triangle (xcontest)

An old airspace map, handy for navigation

less than 24 hours ahead of time I’ve
booked flights up from Sydney for a long

weekend of flying in between shifts
I learned here in the Canungra area

ten years ago, and talk of great flying
over winter and early spring plus some

good flights I had just over a week before
had enticed me to make another visit

originally we went to Mount Tamborine
but it was too windy so I talked the

guys into going for a hike and fly
This site is amazing and doesn’t get flown enough

the locals are friendly, the
takeoff is perfect, and it’s gorgeous country

what a spot

what were we worried about?

oh mate, how good is it

do you reckon this is better than Tambo?

afternoon James

that evening I got a lift back to Beechmont
where I spent the night on launch

I hope this guy is on his own
(doesn’t have any friends)

this wedgie was getting chased by a couple of magpies this morning

there’s two here

it was blowing 20 knots
so not ideal, I had to keep the

speed bar handy on launch and I cruised
around for over an hour just waiting to

get high enough to zip down over the back

the idea is to get off here early, and then get to Hinchcliff where it’s not so windy

this is the highest I’ve got so far 850 meters

and a lot of time I’ve been sitting around with nil ground speed on trim

sometimes going forwards, sometimes going backwards

I’m finally going on glide I got 60km/h

slightly crosswind

probably going to be some rotor on the other side of this
but I don’t think it will be too bad

can’t see myself making it to Hinchcliff
but I’ll possibly make it to the bombout

here we are at the Hinchcliff bombout

I’m on my way up Hinchies now
the sky is starting to look really good

yeah look, I thought there’s probably
some convergence going on, but

you’re so low you only get one chance really

so I was reluctant – no sun

most of the time since launching I’ve
been in a very light climb

and after I’ve taken off, launch has actually come into sun

so that’s Gordo’s
Matt is sort of, I saw him

roughly in front of me at a similar
height on glide down that way before and

still got a fair way to go to base and I
guess this is a second climb really, like

Hinchcliff is dead ahead there, it’s fully in sun now

in hindsight I’m glad I got off when I did because it worked

you would be able to see Mt Warning,
you can pretty much

see it but it’s very murky today

this is fantastic, we’ve got Lamington National Park

and it’s pretty lifty through here as you might imagine

you can see how much lower the
cloud is on the east of the caldera and

and you can see the Fort
where we had a gorgeous flight last night

I’m getting 54km/h ground speed on trim, believe it or not

it’s supposed to be southerly

could try and do “around the world”
but which way around do I go

or I could just go along the border ranges

pretty nice scenery

Mat is with me now

oh it’s just awesome this view, I took a few selfies before

yeah I’m pretty busy with
the camera today, and just had a muesli bar

went down well, yeah looking good

you can just make out Mt Barney over there

Mt Lindesay, I think I’m going to follow these clouds
and then shoot back into NSW, towards Kyogle

great day

I was going to go for these ones some nice terrain and
some clouds that way but

this cloud looks even better and Wow look at this…
so yeah let’s go

feeling a bit hard done by

had some great clouds here when I left Lindesay

they all just dissipated as I was on my way over

Numinbah [valley].. pretty cool, I have never been this far

I just executed an inflight pee, it all went very smoothly

it could possibly be on the chase cam, because I was peeing for quite a while

the damage is just a few drops they’re almost gone

well the birds singing, and
so am I if I can get up here and get over

to the Fort. What an awesome day of flying so far
it’s not even midday!

getting a little stuck here, northern side of the Fort,
but gradually getting up

it’s coming up the face, but,
just in between cycles I guess

yeah I just had a bit of a scratch around on the northern side of the Fort

I’m feeling a bit confident now, that I
might make it back to Beechmont

Oh struggle to end / I’ve landed down the
bottom but I got down first go

without any mucking around / Phil’s got one of his students out here

went all the way down there

Oh super happy awesome stuff

before 3pm and I’m
already on the road in Andy’s car

to give him a retrieve,
going to Beaudesert going to meet him there

we’re running pretty good for time
Andy should be here in about 15 minutes

I ordered burgers for us, now into this classy establishment

to see if I can get a beer

so where we going Andy? /
Oh, just going

back to Brisbane to pick up my daughter
from kindy and we’re going to make it

with about half an hour /
fifteen minutes to spare but

two hours ago I was in the woods near Kyogle
and Nick was still in the air

on his third leg of the triangle to get
back to the car

Andy gave me a call and said, are you going to fly back
to the car and drive over to pick me up?

and I’m like, well I’m going to have to
because I’ve got to get back to the airport tonight

it’s just another one of those
ideas and I regret saying (out loud)

just cruising home and we see Phil Hystek on the highway – look at him go!

About sharemyjoys

Nick Neynens
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4 Responses to Southeast Queensland and the NSW border ranges

  1. Great story, and you managed to rescue Andy! there are a few technical valleys at the back of Byron that await your exploration… the invite stands.

  2. Stephen Pronk says:

    Hi nick

    You’re inspirational. Cheers

    Stephen Pronk +61 (0)408 721103 (From iPhone. Apologies for brevity)


  3. Jeff says:

    Nice work mate! Really inspiring!

    I’m a new pilot who just finished PG2 with Phil a few months ago. What trail did you take for that hike and fly? Definitely keen to break out of the box a little (with proper supervision of course ;))

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