Wednesday 15 April
In January, my 'Must Do Brisbane' e-mail brought to my attention Manchester Lake, near Ipswich. I hadn't previously heard of it, but google informed me that its dam on Cabbage Tree Creek [ tributary of the Brisbane River] was constructed between 1912 - 1916, as a reliable water source for Brisbane until 1988. Now it is only used in times of severe drought.
As it was unknown to all of our group and given the last several kilometres was on dirt road, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a large, green, well kept picnic area at the trail head. A wonderful family friendly area.
The notes described "a track of 18 kms with several steep ridges to ascend and descend making a great hike for people looking for a longer hike. There is a picturesque and easy walk alongside the lake shore."
We briskly set off after a delicious coffee and raspberry muffin, oohing and aahing over the whispering of the small creek we crossed, the lake reflections, colours of the earth of the dam cutting, ducks gliding across the mirror like surface of the water, the soft tinkling of bell birds flitting between the eucalyptus and ironbark trees, black swans, a lone pelican and the lake edged with the lace of waterlily fronds. Hiking down under was just perfect on this another beautiful autumn day.
Initially we were so busy enjoying the views that we took no notice of the rise and fall of the terrain. Unfortunately at 5 kms my feet protested painfully [bursitis issues]. Thankfully at this time, we happened upon another gurgling creek, so it was off with the boots and my feet into its calming, cool waters.
It seemed that the day had also warmed without notice, and I wasn't the only one in the group grateful for a few minutes to listen to the birds and the story of the stream.
Heading off again, we were soon confronted with our 1st steep ridge.
And so the hike continued. At kilometre 12, we stopped for lunch and to release my feet from my boots again. From the hike details we expected that the remaining kilometres would flatten out, but this was not the case. Eventually we neared our starting point and were able to look back across the lake to the ridges we had conquered.
It was with much satisfaction and very tired legs that we descended to the carpark, where we were greeted by the cheerful yellow of a flowering cassia.
We may have found this 'hike down under' a tad taxing on this outing, but now we know what it offers, we will be back.
I hope you have enjoyed a relaxing read of the Lake manchester Trail. I would love to read your comment.