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.
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.
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.
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.