Driving Duck Creek Road to O’Reilly’s

Duck Creek Road is a great track to try if you are new to four wheel driving, or only have a soft roader or SUV. With the drought-breaking rain in recent years, Duck Creek Road has become sufficiently rough to warrant carefully thinking about where you plant your wheels, but not so challenging that you are likely to get stuck or seriously damage your vehicle.

I recently took the family on a four wheel drive day trip up Duck Creek Road to O’Reilly’s. After reading many reviews on the internet – from, “the road is very rough”, through to, “it is a doddle, a two wheel drive could do it” – I was a little unsure what to expect. I suspect that the high rainfall in recent years has deteriorated the track, which is not a bad thing when you are going four wheel driving!

The bitumen ends and there is a short length of dirt road — probably less than 1 km — before reaching the gate at the start of Duck Creek Road proper.

Where the bitumen ends and the dirt road begins

On arriving at the gate to Duck Creek Road, I decided to deflate my tyres to around 24 psi. I did this, not so much because I thought I needed to, but more for passenger comfort and to play with my 4WD toys – a Bushranger tyre deflator and TJM air compressor.

The gate at the start of Duck Creek Road

Sign at the start of Duck Creek Road

Sign at the start of Duck Creek Road

After donating our $2, we set off up Duck Creek Road. By four wheel driving standards, this road was relatively easy. I saw a Suzuki Vitara heading up the track while we were stopped at the gate. We did not see them again until the picnic lookout, so they were doing okay. The other vehicles on the road were mostly Nissan Patrols, Toyota Landcruisers and various brands of 4WD utes.

There are many signs along the road naming various locations, most likely acknowledging the contributions of many people over the years. There are also several signs advising people to stick to the track — the road runs through privately held land.

John Shephard Lookout

Plaque at the John Shephard Lookout

I was very pleased at how easily my Toyota Prado went up the hill. Apart from some Cooper Tires ATRs in the standard rubber size, the Prado is totally standard. I needed to be thoughtful choosing lines through washouts several times, but throughout there was no hint of wheel spin. I was quite surprised that I did not drag the under body or tow bar over a few of the creek crossings, washouts or berms directing water runoff off the road. As usual, the photos do not do justice to the size of some of the washouts.

One of the smaller washouts — the photos do not do them justice

Near the top of Duck Creek Road, before you get to O’Reilly’s, the road enters a rainforest. Despite not having rained for several days, the road was still mushy. My Cooper Tires ATRs did not slip at all, but that is not to say that a road oriented tyre running high road pressures would not have done a little slipping and sliding through this section.

Road was mushy through the rainforest section

We rolled up the hill at about 30 or 40 km/h, taking it very easy. Even so, we were only overtaken by one vehicle – a Toyota FJ Cruiser. The occupants were no doubt being bounced around, but they were not going crazy fast.

Overall this was a very enjoyable drive. If you are not particularly experienced four wheel driving, this is a good track to get you started. And if you are in a soft roader, again it is a good choice. As always, make sure that you take along a good dose of common sense too.

Note that the signs state that the road is impassable in the wet, and I believe that they lock the gate. However, there does not appear to be anywhere on the internet that advises whether the track is open or closed. Perhaps the Beaudesert Chamber of Commerce could put an advisory notice on their web site?

On arriving at O’Reilly’s, we were disappointed at the small car park and small picnic area — this is a very popular spot on a busy weekend. If I were to do the trip again, I would pack a BBQ picnic to have along Duck Creek Road to avoid the chaos at O’Reilly’s.

10 thoughts on “Driving Duck Creek Road to O’Reilly’s

  1. Pingback: Coleman Powerhouse 414 dual fuel stove review | Rant, Rex

  2. Neil

    Took my triton up there a couple of weeks ago after some rain. The main track was ok but we decided to spend some time on the side tracks, mud pits, hill climbs and berms . Had a ball and will be going back with another couple of 4wd’s so I can try out the boggy bits!

  3. Ken

    As an old Local of the Beaudesert area i was present at the very first opening of this road in 79, back then it was traversable by car.
    Did the track weekend just gone , in a 2011 Nissan Xtrail, Climb up the hill’s was bit rough but mostly all good . As this is private land and is actually a gazetted road they have installed CCTV camera’s and thankfully fenced off all the areas that the morons decided to chew up.
    Take note of the sign at the 1st gate ” this is not a 4WD play park – this is private land, keep to the track”
    The COPS do patrol this road. Yes you can be booked if you are driving off the track.
    Looks like works are in progress to redo the signs of the old spots that were a focal point

    1. Colin Van Der Heide

      I was stationed at Land Warfare Centre Canungra in the late 70’s, any chance I had I would jump in the trusty HQ Waggon and go explore the areas around the mountains. I used to make the drive to O’Riely via the main road, well they called it a road. It was a windy, narrow, rough track to the top where O’Riely was just one small guest house. I could not count how many times I would head up the mountain I loved the drive or challenge and loved the mountain. Never once did I ever know of Duck Creek Road, was not until I returned to Queensland to set up house in Logan and got involved with the 4WD world. I discovered Duck Creek Road in 2011 and O’Rielly to what it is now – Wow it had grown so big since the late 70’s. Duck Creek Road and O’Rily is still on my top list I return. Having now introduced my Son and Grandkids to this wonderful area. Yes, it is disgusting to see the big tire tracks from those that ventured of the road and left big wheel ruts on private property …

    1. Colin Van Der Heide

      G’Day Ali … not sure if you are still seeking an answer. I have done Duck Creek Road at Night at least 6 times. I love the night runs, no other vehicles on the track, so peaceful, better opportunity to see the wildlife and the whole area takes on a new perspective. Plus I stop off at the areas people have had picnics and BBQ’s but were too lazy to remove their rubbish so I do a rubbish clean up. I stop at a couple areas, turn the Patrol off, lights off and sit with a coffee it is breathtaking the quiet with total darkness, a breeze picks up and you hear the sound as the breeze makes its way through the trees. Or you hear the rustle of the scrub as a critter scuttles through.

  4. Aron

    Is this track doable if you’re on your own? I don’t know anyone here in GC and I don’t want to get stuck and have no way out of it… Thanks..


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