I get a lot of emails asking about the test routes I use
here in South-East Queensland.
We are fortunate to live in one of the most
interesting volcanic areas from Australia’s ancient history.
|View from the Scenic Rim to Byron Bay, most easterly point of Australia|
The result is
a wide range of topographical conditions formed when the Tweed Volcano, a shield volcano, erupted around 23 million years ago in the Miocene period, after Australia broke away from the supercontinent of Gondwana.
|Volcanic plug in the Numinbah Valley|
|Valley of the Tweed Volcano caldera|
This makes for great test roads up and over the Barrier
Ranges, created after the series of eruptions which then formed the rim of a
vast caldera. Now called the ‘Scenic Rim’, it is populated mostly by
small towns and villages, and both large and small farms.
Twisting between the landmarks over the valley floor of
the caldera, are a range of beautiful, challenging roads, which provide a wide
variety of driving conditions.
|Mazda 2 in the Numinbah Valley|
My crude map shows the remaining higher elevations with
the red line, and the major towns are circled in green. My favourite test routes
are marked in blue and black, but there are many more which criss-cross the
|Mount Warning, originally named by Captain James Cook in 1770|
Most visible remaining volcanic plug, which has
resisted erosion, is Mount Warning (1156 metres/3793 ft). The elements of the
base of the old volcano which remain and form ‘The Scenic Rim’ and are made up
mostly of basalt.
The original volcano was more than 100 km in diameter,
and nearly twice the height of Mount Warning today. The resulting erosion caldera is listed as the largest in the southern hemisphere.
The basaltic soil in the caldera is excellent for
agriculture, and supports a range of micro climates, and at the mid altitudes
there are a number of rainforest areas, boasting many very important
|Rainforest on O'Reilly's plateau|
|Western rim of the caldera|
Interestingly, the western side of the scenic rim
protects large areas of the plains inside caldera from the violent rain and thunderstorms which often sweep into south
east Queensland from the south west. It is not unusual to witness major storms
hitting the western side of the rim, and moving north, then north-east to
strike the city of Brisbane, leaving the cities and towns of the Gold Coast
The area west of the Gold Coast to the Scenic Rim is
known as the Hinterland and adds huge variety in both topography and
attractions to complement the beachside community, which stretches 35km south from
Southport to the state border of Queensland/New South Wales at Coolangatta.
|The beach at Burleigh Heads, the eastern extremity of the Tweed volcano caldera|
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