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Peak Range and Coal Mining Area Tour Peak Range and Coal Mining Area Tour

Capella › Scotts Peak, Mt Roper, Malvern Hill › Bundoora Dam › Tieri › Capella.

Leave Capella headed north on the Gregory Highway and 0.5km from the Centenary Bridge, turn right down the Cotherstone Road. 11.2km along you come to the Langton-Magenta Road on your left. This road can take you through to the Gregory Highway again.

As you travel a further 5.1 km along the Cotherstone Road, you pass through the rich black clay soils of broadacre farming country and you can almost see from one end of the Peak Range to the other.

Take the Lowestoff Road turn to the right 17.1km from Capella. There is 10km of sealed road, then you travel on gravel road until you reach the Dysart/Middlemount Road.

You can see how most of the cultivated paddocks have had contour banks built on them to try to control the heavy storm rains that sometimes fall in this region, by slowing the run-off down and directing it on a gently sloping path rather than into a soil eroding gully running straight down the hill. All the Peaks you can see on your left are on private property and are not open to the Public.

Travel 5.9km down Lowestoff Road and you have Scotts Peak, Mt Roper and Malvern Hill directly in front of you, with Mt Lowe, Mt Macarthur and Calvert Peak on your left. Scotts Peak is made up of a flat section with an escarpment in front of the peak behind.

10.6km along Lowestoff Road brings you to the property Claroy and you are now entering the light sandy soil country used primarily for grazing. You have a good view of Scotts Peak, Mt Roper and Malvern Hill as you travel the next 3.6km.

1km on, and you drive through 6.5km of black soil country before you hit the sandy soils again and pass over a natural stone gully crossing.

From Claroy the road is not fenced. You are travelling through large grazing paddocks, so please be careful of cattle and wildlife. Please be careful with cigarettes and matches at all times, but especially in this country as a spark can wipe out years of grazier's income and scores of wildlife.

Notice the river gums as you come out of the bed of Roper Creek. The creek is dry most of the time.

Seashells and fossilised Permian coral beds can be found in this country and you get an idea of the isolation the families who live here had before the coal mining companies arrived and built the electrified railway lines that you cross over just before you hit the bitumen Dysart/ Middlemount Road, also constructed by the local mining companies.

The railway line takes coal from the nearby German Creek and Oaky Creek mines to Hay Point near Mackay, but it also links up with the system connecting to Gladstone so coal can go that way too if shipping dictates it.

25km from Roper Creek, right turn onto the bitumen and you soon pass under some of the large power lines that feed electricity into all the coal mines that lie in a line along the Bowen Basin.

11.4 km from the turning you come to the T-Junction with the Middlemount/Tieri Road. Turn right again and you can see the giant overburden heaps made by the huge draglines as they remove the topsoil from the coal seam in the open cut mining operations.

2km from the T-Junction brings you past the Capricorn Coal (Capcoal) wash plant and rail loading centre of the German Creek Mine.

A further 3.3km is the right turn taking you to the Bundoora Dam that Capcoal built to supply water to the mine and to provide a recreation area for their workforce in the town of Middlemount. Right next to the turn is the bywash that is cut out of sandstone rock and you can see huge sandstone blocks in the dam wall itself and in the railway culverts.

Back on the Middlemount – Tieri road, you first pass the underground Capcoal Collieries and then the Oaky Creek Mine access road on your left, 16km from the dam. The Oaky Creek operation includes two underground mines, Oaky Creek No.1 and Oaky North, utilising longwall retreat extraction methods. Open cut mining ceased there in December 2006. Oaky Creek is owned by Glencore and its workforce live in Tieri, a further 11km along the road you are on now. Tieri was constructed by M.I.M. in 1983 for the sole purpose of housing the Oaky Creek Mine workers and their families. It is now a thriving community with many good sporting facilities, parks and gardens.

As you turn right into Tieri, Crinum Park is on your left with Tieri locality signage. You will notice street names such as Anncrouye St., Grasstree St., Malvern St., Maywin Dve., Talagai Ave. and Crinum Park. These were named after the original properties in the area.

After taking a break in Tieri, you return to the main road and 4.2km along you are back in the black soil country where the properties average around 5,000 acres with an average rainfall of 22 inches.

Another 10.5km along on top of Humberstone hill and you can see the Peaks again on your right. 1.5km further on is the Yan Yan Road turn to the left, which takes you to the Gregory, Crinum and Kestrel mine sites.

Another 7.7km and welcome back to Capella! Have a BBQ at the Capella Aquatic Centre to relax and finish off your day.

Total length of the drive is 146km, of which 105km is sealed.