Where The Green Meets The Gold, Riding On The Gold Coast | Part 3 Glossy Back Reserve, QLD

The best-known riding spots on the Gold Coast are probably Nergang, and Boomerang Farm, but hidden in among suburbia is the Glossy Black Reserve, home to a 10km loop of rocky singletrack. Named for the rare cockatoo that calls this patch of bush home, in our quest to explore the place where the green meets the gold, we put tyres to dirt on the trails in Reedy Creek.

On the surface, Reedy Creek is a pretty unremarkable suburb on the Gold Coast. It’s dominated by houses, there’s a shopping centre, and just on the other side of the M1, there is a pretty rad brewery — though I’m pretty sure that’s technically classified as Burleigh. But I digress, for what Reedy Creek lacks in vibing nightlife, eateries, and one-of-a-kind landmarks, it does have one thing in spades — hills.

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Reedy Creek has a little pocket park running through Glossy Black Reserve, hidden in among suburbia.

We’ve heard rumours of an old DH trail built by the one and only Remy Morton somewhere in the bushland around Reedy Creek, but that could be yet another Gold Coast urban legend. But in 2019, the council commissioned Trailscapes to put in a fully above-board singletrack loop that was completed about a year later.

Situated in about 100-hectares of bushland, these trails aren’t far off the geographic highpoint of the suburb and take advantage of every inch of the elevation on hand.

I’m not going to pretend that the trails in Glossy Black Reserve are something that they’re not. The 10km loop here isn’t one that you’d specifically drive from Rockhampton or Newcastle to ride; Nerang, Boomerang Farm, and Tambo occupy that space. But, much like the Flame Trees loop in Beechworth, it’s well worth your time, and you be silly to skip it.

Getting to the trailhead

There are a few ways to get into the Glossy Black Reserve, but we’d recommend the approach from Cordyline Drive; it’s basically a straight shot off the M1 and up the hill to the trailhead. If you’re in the car, you can’t miss it because the road literally ends at the trailhead gate.

The loop is divided into seven segments, meaning there are seven places to enter and exit the loop. We recommend starting at Cordyline Drive

Cordyline Drive is a steep paved road that looks pretty intimidating from the bottom, but it’s worth finding somewhere to park at the base and pedalling up the street for two reasons. First, the hill is a great warmup, just wang it into the 52t cog and winch your way up. But more importantly, it also allows you to take the fun way out — more on that later.

Working your way up the street, there are some lovely new houses to gawk at for the real estate and architecture aficionados. Make sure to look over your left shoulder because you can see Burleigh Beach and Nobby Beach off in the distance.

All of the trails in Reedy Creek are one way, and the loop is meant to be ridden in a clockwise direction. These trails are supposed to be MTB only, but some locals do use them for dog walks, hikes and trail running.

All of the trails in Reedy Creek are rated green and blue but are blessed with plenty of jaggy, rocky goodness (aka Nerang Loam) and have become progressively chunky and rough as they’ve bedded in.

Cairn man welcomes you to the Glossy Black Trails.

Jumpin’ up the hill

Once you’ve made it through the gate at the end of Cordyline Drive, the loops start with a micro descent on a trail called Test Run, which transitions into Jumpin’ Ant Hill. Switchback, after switchback, after switchback, after switchback, the trail makes its way to the top of the reserve with an engaging climb. It’s not overly technical or steep, but don’t fall asleep at the wheel either because there are a couple of tricky spots in the hairpin bends.

The top of Jumpin’ Ant links into the Lazy Lizard. Undulating through the contours of the reserve, Lazy Lizard makes its way through sections of spotted gum, blackbutt, she-oak and even a few grass trees. After a little over a kilometre, the trail forks; a left will take you back to the start, while a right is where you can cash in on all the elevation you’ve just earned.

Sharon and Dave working their way up the switchbacks on Jumpin’ Ant Hill. It’s not a difficult climb, but there are a few tricky bits in some of the rocky corners.

The blue-rated Drop Bear begins with a flat roll in; cresting a knoll, the ground drops away, and the berms begin. Big, beautiful, sweeping berms. Small sharp ones, glass smooth ones and rock encrusted ones, these are the types of corners that will make even the most curmudgeonly trail critic crack a smile.

After five minutes of pumping, jumping, and railing corners at warp speed, Drop Bear flows onto a fire road for the final bit of cannonball run, ending in a peaceful creek crossing. With an absolute wall ahead, stop here to catch your breath, shake out your hands, and just listen to the serenity. In this spot, surrounded by suburbia, if you stop a listen, there are no sounds from the highway, no cars driving by or barking dogs — though you may hear some hoots and hollers from riders coming down behind you. It’s a lovely bit of quiet, worthy stopping to enjoy.

Gina getting after it on Drop Bear. Massive, beautifully shaped berms flow down the hill, cashing in all that elevation you have just gained.
Drop Bear makes for a fun game of how long can I stay off the brakes. It’s pretty easy at the start, but it doesn’t take long to pick up speed.

Climbing to Cascades

From here, you’ll winch your way up to Cascades, another rolling XC trail that contours its way through the terrain towards the namesake of the trail, a babbling waterfall running down a 4-metre rock. On a hot day, when the water fall is running it feels like somebody has cranked the AC as you approach the boardwalk running over the creek.

Finishing off with a high-speed descent, it’s back up Cocky’s Climb which meanders its way back to the top of Drop Bear. This is the decision point, if you’re keen to keep riding, head back down Drop Bear to get your gravity-fueled thrills, or if you’re already late for an appointment at the theme parks, make your way towards Rabbits Run.

While Drop Bear is only about 1km long, it’s the type of descent you’ll want to lap a few times.
Reedy Creek is blessed with the same loamy goodness as Nerang (aka rocks), and a few of the berms are pretty rough, requiring precise line choice to maximise grip.

This short green rated decently is surprisingly tricky, with tight corners, and after all the rain South East Queensland has had over the last six months has made the rockiness extra prominent. Rabbits Run is just long enough to make you start breathing heavy and takes you to the finish of the loop as it was originally designed. The trail spits you out right next to the start of Jumpin’ Ants hill, and it’s a 100m climb back to the gate on Cordyline Drive, where you can aim to set a land speed record on your way down.

But remember what we said about the fun way out at the top? Make your way back up Jumpin’ Ants Hill to the start of Lazy Lizard and hang a right. This is the Callicarpa Trail, an old fire road that has been left to nature. It’s steep, loose, and a ball of fun — heals down, hang on tight and don’t forget to smile.

At the bottom, you’ll be abruptly ejected onto a neighbourhood street. Choose the middle exit of the roundabout in front of you and take your first left and then a quick right, and you’ll be back at the bottom of Cordyline Drive.

The namesake of Cascades is the lovely little waterfall. On a hot day, it feels like someone has flipped on the AC through here.
Gina carrying speed through the final corners of Drop Bear

Hit the water

One lap of Glossy Black Reserve comes in about 10km of riding, and it’s an ideal spot to make the most of your day. Whether that be right before a flight, or just after you’ve landed or if you’re planning a day packed full of off-the-bike activities, it means you can fit some riding in too before it gets dark.

And there is SOOOOO much to do on the Gold Coast. Of course, people come here for the beaches, and basically anywhere you roll out your towel will be spectacular. If you’re planning to head out for a surf, we like the southern end of the coast towards Kirra, Cooly, Rainbow and Snapper. These breaks are anything but a secret, so don’t expect to have it all to yourself.

The world-famous Snapper Rocks. This break has hosted WSL events for years, for a good reason.
We also popped over to Currumbin Beach. There are some great swimming spots, and The Alley is a surf break ideal for those lacking paddle fitness.

A bit further up the coast, 100m from Currumbin Beach, is the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary. Be sure to check out the wild lorikeet feeding, which happens every morning and evening, and there’s also bird shows, and tonnes of animal and exhibits to check out.

We also love the Currumbin Rock Pools for a swim. About a 20min drive in from the beach along a popular road cycling route, the rock pools are filled with lovely clear water, small rapids, and there is a rock jump whose excitement is determined by your level of bravery. A bit further up the road is the Cougal Cascade, a sizable waterfall with swimming holes and an old logging mill.

If you’re in for the full Gold Coast Hinterland experience, Lamington National Park and Springbrook National Park have spectacular hikes through ancient rainforests.

The wild lorikeet feeding is so much fun. It’s absolute chaos when the birds smell their breakfast and a pretty cool opportunity to get up close with these kooky little creatures.
The beaches are lovely, but we will always have a soft spot for a hinterland swimmin’ hole like the Currumbin Rock Pools.
There are so many amazing hikes within an hour of the Gold Coast.

Are you getting hungry?

The Goldie has a thriving foodie scene with spectacular eats dotted up and down the coast. If you’re coming from Reedy Creek and looking for a feed and a beer, you can see Burleigh Brewing Co from the trails. Just on the other side of the M1, the brewhouse has seven core range taps and eight that rotate on a weekly basis. Plus, there is a permanent food truck and a massive pet and family-friendly outdoor seating area complete with lawn games. There’s also a new gin distillery just up the street called Wild Flower.

We also stopped through The Jolly Roger, an unassuming little seafood and burger joint hidden in a petrol station strip mall in the back of Miami. It’s not the easiest place to find, but it’s well worth the journey.

If you’re not sure what you want, Burleigh and Palm Beach are foodie hot spots, and there are no less than three breweries in this stretch too.

We started our day at Stabe Coffee Kitchen, just across the road from the Currumbin Bird Sanctuary, they do a mean bacon and egg roll, and the baked goods are primo.
We love a nautical-themed burger joint. The Jolly Roger is well hidden in the back of Miami, but it’s worth the trip.
We’re pretty sure you can see Burleigh Brewing Co from the Glossy Black Reserve. There is a massive outdoor area, some of which is even under cover, ideal for when it rains.

This is the third in our four-part series exploring the Gold Coast. If you missed the other three join us for a ride through Nerang, shuttles laps at Boomerang Farm, and a trip through history on the Old Tambo DH.

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