Black Weir to Ross Dam

My ongoing exploration of the Ross River bikeways has ameliorated the lockdown for me to some extent, and bike shops report booming sales as others enjoy the same outlet.

I completed the Riverway circuit (introduced here) by riding on the Riverside Gardens side of the river from Black Weir to the motorway bridge and returning past the Riverway Arts Centre (closed since the 2019 floods), sports fields and playgrounds. That side was more interesting and enjoyable than the other, which just runs through a narrow strip of parkland between houses and the river like the rest of the Riverside Gardens section.

motorway bridge
The motorway bridge, with the footbridge slung beneath it

The section of bikeway between the bridge and Loam Island is essentially a shared-use footpath beside a fairly busy road. There are opportunities to get down to the river but it isn’t possible to ride beside it.

Ross River bank with ti-trees
The river bank near the motorway bridge
Ross River landscape
Ross River just below Loam Island

The situation improves at Loam Island, a community recreation facility with a boat ramp, amenities block and picnic tables. From that base, one can ride a few hundred metres downstream along a rough vehicle track, or a kilometre upstream along the Booroona trail through paperbarks and across lagoons to Apex Park, a pleasant but rather generic council park with playgrounds and picnic facilities.

From Apex Park to the Dam the bikeway hardly exists as such.  Footpaths beside the main road are marked for dual use but are fragmented by side streets and driveways, and there’s not much shade; it’s a relief to reach the park at the foot of the dam wall.

Ross Dam
Ross Dam from the dam wall
Ross Dam
Ross Dam wall, with two walkers in the centre of the shot and smoke on the hills in the background

Riding back from the Dam towards Black Weir, I was reminded of just how short Ross River is: from a spot between the motorway bridge and Riverway, I could see Castle Hill on the horizon. Google Maps told me, when I asked nicely, that the Dam is just 25 km from the Port by road, and Black Weir is about half way between the two. Apex Park, in turn, is about half way between the Dam and Black Weir.

Ross Dam is, of course, effectively the head of the river. A pre-dam map would probably show it beginning in the middle of the present Lake Ross although the Wikipedia article reckons, “The river rises in the Hervey Range below Pepper Pot Mountain,” and is 49 km long.

Ross River landscape
Looking downriver from Riverway to Castle Hill

One thought on “Black Weir to Ross Dam”

  1. More on the surge in cycling:

    Bicycles in the $500 to $1,500 range are rolling out of bike shops as fast as the mechanics can build them, adds the General Manager of Bicycle Industries Australia, Peter Bourke. “March and April have had amazingly good sales,” he said. “Many shops are reporting double their average sales.” …
    In Melbourne, a survey by the Bicycle Network conducted a count comparing the number of riders on key bike paths around the city from November last year to April this year and found a 270 per cent increase. In Brisbane, cycle traffic has almost doubled on the Kangaroo Point and Kedron Brook bikeways and increased by 50 per cent on the Bicentennial Bikeway. …
    It’s not just about getting more people exercising — there’s an economic imperative to keep new riders on their bikes as Australia emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown. “There is an enormous tsunami of problems coming out of COVID to rebuild our economy, to reboot and recover,” Stephen Hodge said. “Nobody will wish to catch public transport. So, what are they going to do? They’re going to want to jump in their cars.” … “If everyone gets in their cars, the roads won’t move.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-17/coronavirus-brings-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-for-cycling/12247870

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