TRED Trips | Gordon Country
We couldn’t have picked a better time to embark on our first trip of 2021. After weeks of much-needed rain, the country around the Great Dividing Range was looking greener than ever and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in!
Three days, four mates, two Land Cruisers and a Patrol – what could go wrong?
Getting to Gordon Country – Condamine River Road
The first stop on our trip saw the crew pull into historic Boonah for a quick bite at the 104 year-old Flavours Café. It’s a good thing we did because ahead of us lay the 14 river crossings along the Condamine River Road.
While we’d recommend Condamine River Road to anyone, always confirm that the road is open by checking updates from the Southern Downs Regional Council.
It was an amazing start to the trip, as the convoy meandered its way through beautiful green rolling hills and crossed over running rivers and creeks.
After a slight issue with Barney’s sway bar and some serious commitment from the camera crew, the convoy finally passed through the town of Killarney and arrived at the majestic Queen Mary Falls.
The torrent of water pouring over the falls was a truly spectacular sight and was a stark contrast to a few months ago, when the falls were virtually bone dry. Chris wasted no opportunity to be the modern tourist and took countless snaps on his phone.
Arriving in Gordon Country
After completing the 14 river crossings along the Condamine River Road and seeing Queen Mary Falls, we arrived in Gordon Country.
Gordon Country is a sprawling family-owned eco retreat in the Goomburra Valley and sits on 4,000 acres of pristine bushland. About a 2 and a half hour drive west of Brisbane, Gordon Country is famous for its wildlife, untouched beauty and of course – its 4x4 tracks.
There are plenty of accommodation options in the park, from basic campsites to glamping, all the way up to luxurious cottages.
The recent rains had left the campgrounds buzzing with wildlife and we couldn’t wait to set up camp! We were given a lush spot, complete with inquisitive horses and buffalo.
Plus, we got the all-clear to burn as much firewood as we wanted – music to Barney’s ears!
After setting up camp, we decided to make the most of the rest of the day’s light by heading to the famous ‘playpen’.
The playpen sits right in the middle of Gordon Country and is a great place to test yourself and your 4x4 - and test ourselves we did!
It should come as no shock that, before long, it became a competition; Chris challenging Barney to the age-old duel of who can reverse the furthest up a steep hill.
Barney won but somehow in all the fun at the play-pen, managed to damage his diff-lock, so we were treated to a glimpse of his pineapple underpants as he tried to fix it.
Chris's Close Call
The crew woke up the next day and our addiction to caffeine was immediately apparent. After securing our fix of coffee, and seeing some Gordon Ramsay-esque egg flipping skills, the two Land Cruisers and the Patrol made their way to the first hill.
The omens came early, as Chris confidently claimed that the tracks in Gordon Country are mostly nice drives with “a lot of rubbernecking going on” and that he should be able to “walk up” the first hill.
Let’s just say things didn’t go as smoothly as Chris planned.
Nearly hitting a tree and rolling over the cliff face, it wasn’t long before Barney was helping Chris connect his winch to a tree. This was, according to Barney, the worst position he’d ever seen Chris in.
Frankie and Barney went next and did everything Chris didn’t do, making it up the track drama-free. Land Cruisers 1; Patrol nil.
Don’t let Chris’s antics put you off Gordon Country; there truly are tracks for all skill levels. Just as there are plenty of opportunities to challenge those more experienced explorers, there are just as many smoother tracks for those still learning.
The Downhill Doozy
You know what they say, ‘what goes up must come down’.
Greeted by ominous hand-drawn signs warning inexperienced drivers about the descent, the convoy found themselves approaching the precipice of the ridge they had just climbed. This was one of the more challenging tracks in Gordon Country, so it is only recommended for those explorers with a bit more experience.
Chris tried to calm everyone's fears by assuring it wasn’t as bad as they thought – but who would believe the guy that nearly rolled off a cliff?
We all ended up making it to the bottom in one piece by trusting in our equipment and taking it slowly.
The Cook Off
In an effort to get one back for Team Patrol, Chris challenged the crew to a cook off.
Paying homage to his hometown of Bundaberg, Chris cooked up some beautiful ginger beer damper. If you’re interested, we recommend giving it a go at home.
The damper was a hit and was accompanied by a one-pot lamb roast, complete with rosemary and vegetables. Land Cruisers 1; Patrol 1.
Barney added to the feast by whipping up some fajitas on his Weber, which also went down a storm. After a fantastic feed and a few beers by the campfire, we all headed off to get a good night’s sleep.
Wanting to make the most of our last day in Gordon Country, we drove to the tracks on the south side of the park.
Our progress was stopped by a fallen tree that covered the track. Unfortunately, none of us had the gear or the strength to move the tree. Not only would it be dangerous for us to try and move it, but we also didn’t want to waste the rest of the day.
Luckily, there are so many different tracks in the park that, if one’s closed, you simply move onto the next one.
The Final Hill
We arrived at our final descent in Gordon Country. After coming up with a plan to tackle the hill (Chris still a bit frightened from his close call the day before) the crew slowly made it down the track one-by-one.
While it wasn’t too bad of a drive, the shaley surface added an extra element of challenge. Barney, with his busted diff-locks, managed to surf down some of the shale while avoiding the wombat holes. Once we were all at the bottom, we started making tracks back to camp.
Gordon Country is a beautiful spot that has something for everyone. If you’re an explorer, this place has it all – 4x4 tracks for every skill level. Even if you’re just looking for a spot to camp, hike, and share a few drinks with mates over a fire, we can’t recommend it enough.
The first trip of 2021 is done and dusted, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!