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

0:00:07.010,0:00:11.639
less than 24 hours ahead of time I’ve
booked flights up from Sydney for a long

0:00:11.639,0:00:15.929
weekend of flying in between shifts
I learned here in the Canungra area

0:00:15.929,0:00:20.550
ten years ago, and talk of great flying
over winter and early spring plus some

0:00:20.550,0:00:25.700
good flights I had just over a week before
had enticed me to make another visit

0:00:25.700,0:00:29.600
originally we went to Mount Tamborine
but it was too windy so I talked the

0:00:29.600,0:00:34.160
guys into going for a hike and fly
This site is amazing and doesn’t get flown enough

0:00:34.160,0:00:38.540
the locals are friendly, the
takeoff is perfect, and it’s gorgeous country

0:00:42.800,0:00:44.180
what a spot

0:00:56.080,0:00:57.900
what were we worried about?

0:01:00.280,0:01:01.720
oh mate, how good is it

0:01:03.460,0:01:06.660
do you reckon this is better than Tambo?

0:01:08.380,0:01:09.500
afternoon James

0:01:11.480,0:01:15.280
that evening I got a lift back to Beechmont
where I spent the night on launch

0:01:18.920,0:01:21.660
I hope this guy is on his own
(doesn’t have any friends)

0:01:27.140,0:01:31.540
this wedgie was getting chased by a couple of magpies this morning

0:01:31.580,0:01:32.700
there’s two here

0:01:42.080,0:01:44.899
it was blowing 20 knots
so not ideal, I had to keep the

0:01:44.899,0:01:49.850
speed bar handy on launch and I cruised
around for over an hour just waiting to

0:01:49.860,0:01:53.720
get high enough to zip down over the back

0:02:01.140,0:02:06.880
the idea is to get off here early, and then get to Hinchcliff where it’s not so windy

0:02:08.980,0:02:11.940
this is the highest I’ve got so far 850 meters

0:02:13.180,0:02:17.040
and a lot of time I’ve been sitting around with nil ground speed on trim

0:02:17.600,0:02:21.280
sometimes going forwards, sometimes going backwards

0:02:23.060,0:02:25.940
I’m finally going on glide I got 60km/h

0:02:28.000,0:02:29.360
slightly crosswind

0:02:30.860,0:02:35.280
probably going to be some rotor on the other side of this
but I don’t think it will be too bad

0:02:39.800,0:02:44.240
can’t see myself making it to Hinchcliff
but I’ll possibly make it to the bombout

0:02:47.780,0:02:50.860
here we are at the Hinchcliff bombout

0:02:51.580,0:02:55.880
I’m on my way up Hinchies now
the sky is starting to look really good

0:03:09.100,0:03:12.900
yeah look, I thought there’s probably
some convergence going on, but

0:03:12.900,0:03:15.780
you’re so low you only get one chance really

0:03:15.780,0:03:18.440
so I was reluctant – no sun

0:03:18.440,0:03:21.720
most of the time since launching I’ve
been in a very light climb

0:03:21.720,0:03:25.160
and after I’ve taken off, launch has actually come into sun

0:03:25.160,0:03:30.100
so that’s Gordo’s
Matt is sort of, I saw him

0:03:30.100,0:03:37.190
roughly in front of me at a similar
height on glide down that way before and

0:03:37.190,0:03:45.970
still got a fair way to go to base and I
guess this is a second climb really, like

0:03:45.970,0:03:49.220
Hinchcliff is dead ahead there, it’s fully in sun now

0:03:49.560,0:03:53.320
in hindsight I’m glad I got off when I did because it worked

0:03:53.340,0:03:56.900
you would be able to see Mt Warning,
you can pretty much

0:03:56.900,0:04:00.260
see it but it’s very murky today

0:04:01.780,0:04:04.480
this is fantastic, we’ve got Lamington National Park

0:04:05.220,0:04:09.120
and it’s pretty lifty through here as you might imagine

0:04:09.960,0:04:14.380
you can see how much lower the
cloud is on the east of the caldera and

0:04:16.000,0:04:20.680
and you can see the Fort
where we had a gorgeous flight last night

0:04:22.280,0:04:25.620
I’m getting 54km/h ground speed on trim, believe it or not

0:04:26.400,0:04:28.080
it’s supposed to be southerly

0:04:29.880,0:04:33.300
could try and do “around the world”
but which way around do I go

0:04:34.480,0:04:37.200
or I could just go along the border ranges

0:04:41.000,0:04:42.360
pretty nice scenery

0:04:42.920,0:04:44.260
Mat is with me now

0:04:45.600,0:04:49.120
oh it’s just awesome this view, I took a few selfies before

0:04:49.120,0:04:53.330
yeah I’m pretty busy with
the camera today, and just had a muesli bar

0:04:53.330,0:04:57.940
went down well, yeah looking good

0:05:00.620,0:05:03.340
you can just make out Mt Barney over there

0:05:03.540,0:05:09.980
Mt Lindesay, I think I’m going to follow these clouds
and then shoot back into NSW, towards Kyogle

0:05:11.000,0:05:11.820
great day

0:05:13.300,0:05:17.320
I was going to go for these ones some nice terrain and
some clouds that way but

0:05:17.320,0:05:21.800
this cloud looks even better and Wow look at this…
so yeah let’s go

0:05:22.860,0:05:24.540
feeling a bit hard done by

0:05:25.200,0:05:28.280
had some great clouds here when I left Lindesay

0:05:28.280,0:05:33.660
they all just dissipated as I was on my way over

0:05:48.460,0:05:52.460
Numinbah [valley].. pretty cool, I have never been this far

0:05:54.140,0:05:57.980
I just executed an inflight pee, it all went very smoothly

0:05:58.320,0:06:03.280
it could possibly be on the chase cam, because I was peeing for quite a while

0:06:04.120,0:06:07.260
the damage is just a few drops they’re almost gone

0:06:09.200,0:06:13.440
well the birds singing, and
so am I if I can get up here and get over

0:06:14.420,0:06:18.980
to the Fort. What an awesome day of flying so far
it’s not even midday!

0:06:19.940,0:06:25.300
getting a little stuck here, northern side of the Fort,
but gradually getting up

0:06:27.360,0:06:31.280
it’s coming up the face, but,
just in between cycles I guess

0:06:33.300,0:06:37.940
yeah I just had a bit of a scratch around on the northern side of the Fort

0:06:38.020,0:06:41.920
I’m feeling a bit confident now, that I
might make it back to Beechmont

0:06:49.220,0:06:53.480
Oh struggle to end / I’ve landed down the
bottom but I got down first go

0:06:53.820,0:06:57.920
without any mucking around / Phil’s got one of his students out here

0:06:58.720,0:07:00.480
went all the way down there

0:07:01.180,0:07:03.180
Oh super happy awesome stuff

0:07:03.600,0:07:06.060
before 3pm and I’m
already on the road in Andy’s car

0:07:06.060,0:07:10.360
to give him a retrieve,
going to Beaudesert going to meet him there

0:07:11.240,0:07:16.120
we’re running pretty good for time
Andy should be here in about 15 minutes

0:07:16.320,0:07:19.760
I ordered burgers for us, now into this classy establishment

0:07:19.880,0:07:21.560
to see if I can get a beer

0:07:21.900,0:07:24.780
so where we going Andy? /
Oh, just going

0:07:24.780,0:07:29.020
back to Brisbane to pick up my daughter
from kindy and we’re going to make it

0:07:29.260,0:07:34.280
with about half an hour /
fifteen minutes to spare but

0:07:34.280,0:07:38.780
two hours ago I was in the woods near Kyogle
and Nick was still in the air

0:07:39.960,0:07:44.340
on his third leg of the triangle to get
back to the car

0:07:44.900,0:07:49.440
Andy gave me a call and said, are you going to fly back
to the car and drive over to pick me up?

0:07:49.440,0:07:53.600
and I’m like, well I’m going to have to
because I’ve got to get back to the airport tonight

0:07:53.600,0:07:57.520
it’s just another one of those
ideas and I regret saying (out loud)

0:07:58.760,0:08:03.160
just cruising home and we see Phil Hystek on the highway – look at him go!

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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 stephen.pronk@gmail.com (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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