When Life gets Stressful, go Camping!

Main Beach, Minjeeribah Stradbroke Island, QLD, Australia.

I think it’s important for our individual health, to sometimes take a break from the fast paced, rat race of city life.

Last week, my stress level indicators were reaching out. Of course, my intuition was onto something, I was getting agitated easily and something needed to be done.

I am fortunate to reside just across the ditch from a beautiful sand island named by the traditional owners, Minjeeribah. Copied from Wikipedia, “Archaeological evidence suggests the Quandamooka, an Aboriginal Australian people, lived on the island for at least 21,000 years prior to European settlement. It was also a traditional meeting place of Quandamooka peoples such as the Nunukul and Goenpul.

Upon reviewing the tides and winds, I had an exciting plan. Low tide on the Eastern side was in the late afternoon with Northerly winds of 20 odd klms/hr. So when I reach the Western side of the island, the plan was to ride a clockwise loop around the Northern end of the island to Point Lookout and then roll down onto the beach taking advantage of the winds.

I awoke with eagerness and spent the morning packing the bike. This is a quick get away that the BikePacking community calls, Sub24hr, meaning sub, 24 hour adventure.

All packed ready to leave home.

I had recently purchased a cheap ultralight hiking chair from Aldi. It weighs 900 grams and it can support up to 120kgs. It is not normally something I would include in a BikePacking setup, but for a short comfortable overnighter and a cost of $30, why not try it out.

As you may see in the photo, I also have a 2 litre ‘MSR’ water bladder. I plan to fill this up at Point Lookout before heading down the beach into off-grid territory.

$30 from Aldi, 900 grams and can support 120kgs.

It was a beautiful and peaceful sunny day with perfect temperatures. I followed a route I designed that links up bike paths from home to the Cleveland water taxi. This includes a tunnel under a busy road so to avoid as many motor vehicles as possible.

On arrival to the water taxi, I felt grateful for the free water dispensor

Filtered cold water for free!

As usual, Moreton Bay is magical.

When I hit the Island, I turned to the North and headed along E-coast Rd, before turning off the tarmac onto an old unsealed road that runs along the Western side of the Island towards Amity Point. The sealed road always has a nice shoulder and the motor vehicle drivers are more relaxed and safe over here.

E coast Rd.
The adventure begins.

Back at Dunwich I picked up a Lamington for later enjoyment.

Enjoying some health food after the road sprint.

This is one of my favourite tracks on Minjeeribah. It runs along side a swamp rich with ferns and life. I have never seen a person on this track before, the serenity is real. Having said that, recent activity of grading the track was evident.

After popping out from this track, you are now close to Amity Point. I continued on my way towards Point Lookout using another incredibly quiet and peaceful off-road track called ‘Point Lookout rd’. I believe this Road is the old Road used some time ago to get from Amity to Point lookout before they built the sealed Road. The un-sealed Road, is closed to motor vehicles, so it’s perfect for cyclists or walkers!

The old Point Lookout unsealed Road.

I was travelling good for time and was feeling hungry so decided to have a break and test out this hiking chair. There is something special about just sitting quiet in the bush, practising mindfulness and listening to nature sing. My stress from the city life was fading away.

Testing out the $30 chair.

I soon got on my way and climbed up to Point Lookout. This viewing platform was included in the recent upgrades to the facilities on the Island, so I couldn’t help but grab some tourist photos of the view!

I was carrying just 2 litres of water from home with the capacity to fill up another 2 litre bladder before heading off South down the beach into off-grid terrain. I stopped at the local park and topped up my water capacity to 4 litres. This will be ample water for cooking and washing. Once I stop to camp, I like to squirt fresh water carefully over my drivetrain before applying a bit of chain lube. This ensures the rust doesn’t set in over night and keeps my drivetrain running smooth considering the harsh environment.

From there you roll steeply downhill literally straight onto the beach. The conditions were great, I didn’t bother dropping my tyre pressures but was still able to cross the soft sand.

Point Lookout Headland.

My booked camp spot was roughly 22 kilometres South down the beach. If I had strong Southernly winds, it would be slog fest, but fortunately the forecast was spot on. With little effort, I sat up and enjoyed the free wind assistance as I soaked in the natural beauty.

Heading South on the East Coast of Minjeeribah Stradbroke Island.

There wasn’t much 4wd traffic, but with the weather turning a bit dark, I decided to activate the handle bar riding light. It has a feature where it flashes a strobe. This is a good way to be seen by oncoming 4wd’s. I also have a flashing red light facing backwards.

Powering up the flashing headlight for safety.

It took about 1 hour to ride the 22 odd kilometres South down the beach. After 60 kilometres of riding a heavy bike for the day, my legs were tired. The wind had now picked up to 25 odd klms/hr and I was keen to find a camp spot. Upon checking my maps to ensure I was camping legally, I found this small hole protected from the wind to setup for the night.

The sunlight was fading, so before preparing for dinner, I made a hot chocolate and enjoyed the view. In the earlier winter months, you will often see whales migrating past.

Looking East out to sea.

Dinner was pork sausages on fresh wholemeal bread with grated cheese, spinich and kale. I love iced coffee in the morning so I froze some into a vacuum sealed flask the night before. It was looking good at this stage.

I retired to the tent at about 7:45pm just as the heavens started to open up. Perfect timing. I laid in my bed listening to the pitter and patter with the ocean in the background. It was so pleasant as I drifted off to sleep.

I also planned to get up super early, taking advantage of the early low tide as the sun rises.

Ready to set off for the day.

The forecast was more Northerly winds but at this time in the morning, the breeze was very gentle and I cruised 12 kilometers with ease before turning off the beach to head West. The main sealed road that crosses the Island back towards Dunwich is called Alfred Martin Way.

Everyone still asleep, had the beach to myself.
The start of Alfred Martin Way, heading West back across the island.

Still with no one else around, I enjoyed the beautiful temperatures and took a few more photos.

I dropped into Blue Lake for morning tea before proceeding West back towards Dunwich. Grabbed a coffee and relaxed on the water taxi back to the mainland.

In case, you’re wandering about the hiking chair. I like it! It’s great not having to sit on the ground and it’s quite comfy for my smallish 80kg frame. Not sure I would want the weight penalty for a longer multi-day adventure.

The soul had been soothed and the heart exercised. Life is good!

For the statisticians…

Day 1 – 60.1klms, 4hrs 48 minutes moving time, 316m elevation gain, 2000Kj energy output.

Day 2 – 44.15klms, 3hrs 51 minutes moving time, 503m elevation gain, 1744Kj energy output.

I would rate this ride in context of self-sufficient BikePacking as a 6.5 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter, mainly due to the 22klms of a strong tail winds on the beach and no ball busting climbs.


4 thoughts on “When Life gets Stressful, go Camping!

  1. We all need to get away from the noise of life and replace it with nature, whenever possible. Sun, soil and water – we thrive on that connection, isolated from it and we wither. Microadventures in the back yard is a cool way to do it! We also have similar chairs and use them for bikepacking trips – well proven over many trips on the BVRT and in Tassie.

    Liked by 1 person

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