By Staff Writer Mozza
Driving past Caboolture towards Wamuran and Daguilar on to Woodford is the hidden valley called Stony Creek in the Bellthorpe National Park. Stony Creek Road is exactly 6 kilometres past Woodford on the right and a further right turn after local dairy farms leads to the Stony Creek Day Area.
Stony Creek flows out of Belthorpe Forest Reserve at the southern end of the Conondale Ranges, then feeds into Somerset Dam via the Stanley River. Vine forests shade this section of Stony Creek and open eucalypt forests grow on the more exposed ridges around the swimming hole at Branch Creek.
Belthorpe’s forests are beautiful and forest tracks can be used for walking but be well prepared by planning your walk and letting the Ranger know where you are going as mobile phones do not work in this area.
The forests were selectively logged for over a hundred years but this has now ceased and they are managed for conservation and recreation. Timbers removed from the area included flooded gums, tallowwoods and grey gums used to build furniture, houses, wharves and rail lines.
After a refreshing swim in the deep rock pool the 4WD enthusiast can engage four wheels and travel Branch Creed Road which requires high clearance under the vehicle and is accessible only in dry conditions.
Travel several kilometres past forest and ridges until you reach the ford at Branch Creek then turn back unless you are a very serious 4WD enthusiast with recovery gear on board to attempt the summit past that point.
A lunch stop at Woodford is worth trying on the way home as the town has prospered from the popularity of the annual folk festival. An information centre about all the other local trials and attractions can also be found in town next to pubs, restaurants, eateries and coffee shops.
Woodford was a stop on the now-closed Kilcoy railway line for timber and dairy products. The line reached Woodford in 1909 and connected the town to the small regional centre of Caboolture. Most of the railway infrastructure was removed after the line closed in the mid-1960s, and much of the land has been sold. There is a small rail museum in the town which operates a steam train on the first and third Sunday of each month.
This trip is 45 minutes from Bribie and surrounds and is sure to become a favourite after your first visit.