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The Lions Road Scenic Link

Lions Club logo

The Lions Road booklet and photos are © copyright 2001 Kyogle Lions Club. Reproduced here with the kind permission of the late Jack Hurley.  Additional photography provided by Jack Hurley.

Current Information

*Booklet information was current at time of publication (2001) and may have changed. 

Contact details such as names and telephone numbers only, have been updated by Big Volcano.  Please confirm current details with providers.

Caravans and Trailers

NB Editor: The Lions Road route is generally NOT SUITABLE for trailers, as it is quite narrow in some spots, fords 6 splash crossings in New South Wales, and is gravel on some parts.  Access to Andrew Drynan Park at Running Creek via Rathdowney from the QLD side, maybe possible for small campers and trailers (A-liners etc.), depending on the weather.  You are advised to check with Rathdowney Visitor Information Centre on (07) 5544 1222 or Kyogle Visitor Information Centre on (02) 6632 2700 for latest details prior to travel.

A Brief History

Lions Road sign at road access

In 1969, when the NSW government rejected the building of a connection road between NSW and QLD north of Kyogle, the local community, under the auspice of the local Lions Club, decided to do it themeselves. A world class scenic drive is the result.

Since 1932, people of the Northern Rivers of NSW had been endeavouring to have the direct route to Brisbane via the Richmond Gap in the McPherson Range constructed.

It is 30km shorter than the Summerland Way - Mount Lindsay Highway route.

When it was finally rejected by the NSW Government in 1969, the Lions Club of Kyogle became involved in promoting the building of the road, as a community development project.

After two years of investigating options for the route, a decision was made in 1971 to build the road across the McPherson Range connecting with the existing Shire Roads on Gradys Creek in NSW and Running Creek in QLD.

The Beaudesert Lions Club became partners in the project at this point.

The project captured in the imagination of the local community which contributed massive support in money, man hours and equipment time plus companies such as Shell Oil Co. (fuel), Hume & Hardies (pipes), McPherson Range Timber Co (timber) and Mel Hogan (timber & machinery).

The Lions committee Lion [member] Murphy Standfield donated his D8 Caterpillar tractor for 80 hours and supervised the actual construction of the road.

Finally, the road was opened on 15th December, 1970.

Contributions by travellers, Beaudesert and Kyogle Shires, the Queensland, New South Wales [and] Federal Governments, the NSW Forestry Commission, the 2/3 Field Eng. Rgt RAE and the XX Division Engineer Support Squadron of the Australian Army, the National Parks & Wildlife Service, the NSW Dept. of Agriculture, the Moreton Rabbit Board, and the property owners both sides of the border, have enabled The Lions Club to steadily improve the road.

In 1995 the last section of the road constructed by the Lions Club was sealed.  In the second half of 1995 only 4 km of gravel remained on the Shire roads.

Ode to The Lions Road

Before and after photos

On McPherson's Range at Richmond Gap, Near Lynch's Creek on the council map, A road has been built by Kyogle's Lions, That countrymen's spirit and courage defines.

The twists and turns of the tortured tracks, Have been straightened out by unstraightened backs, Officialdom said "It couldn't be done". But the people knew better and finally won.

This road through Wiangaree offers so much, With staghorns and elkhorns, too lovely to touch, The scene at The Loop is grand and unique, As is the wild country approaching the peak.

Strong people must always be ready to fight, When Governments deny them a basic right, Kyogle's great effort, it's people's concern, Provides an example for all who would learn.

When the future provides its paved link, I hope there'll be some who will stop and think, Of the boldness, faith and vision of men, Who built the Road by the glow worm's Glen.

- Haffy Jensen
Ex-Lord Mayor, Sydney,
NSW Minister for Local Government and Roads when this was written.


Crosses the McPherson Range at the Richmond Gap. Was built by the Kyogle Lions Club with massive community support in 1971 to connect existing roads on Gradys Creek in N.S.W. and Running Creek in Queensland. Since 1972 it has been a joint project with the Beaudesert Lions Club.

Clickable map

We acknowledge and thank the Shires of Kyogle and Beaudesert, The Main Roads Departments in N.S.W. and Queensland, The N.S.W. Forestry Commission and National Parks Service, The Dept. of Agriculture and the Moreton Rabbit Board. Their co-operation was essential to complete the project.


Click on the map to enlarge image (2008) © Lions Road C'tee

Points of Interest

Tourist Information Centres at Beaudesert, Rathdowney and Kyogle.

Spiral Loop Railway

1,4,5) on map.  Views of Gradys Creek Valley and surrounding ranges, barbecues and toilets. Overlooks the unique Spiral Loop in the Railway.

Trains can be seen to come up one valley pass through the mountain twice to cross the original track thereby gaining 20 metres in height. The purpose was to reduce the length of the tunnel under the main range.

Sorry we cannot print train times* on the brochure. Problem is the timetables are being changed continually.

Spiral Loop railway

Mostly there is a goods train at 12.35 p.m. N.S.W. time. The XPT travels South mid morning. Goods trains run at irregular times throughout the day.

If planning a trip for that day, information maybe obtainable from Kyogle Visitor Information Centre on ph. (02) 6632 2700.

Photo right - Spiral Loop Railway Lookout view

2) on map Rain Forest: South of the border. An excellent walking track from the Spiral Loop Lookout area, with all different species of trees named.

Border Ranges National Park

Photo below right - Border Ranges National Park 2) on map

3,4,7) on map First class tourist facilities including walking tracks are provided by National Parks Service in this area.

An excellent picnic and camping area is provided by the N.P.S. at Sheepstation Creek at the entrance to the National Park. Extensive walking tracks are also provided from this point.

From the [former] metal quarry the McPhersons Ranges towards the east can be seen. In the foreground lies the Gradys Creek basin, then the McPherson Range (Border). Near the highest point on the second range is the spot at which the Stinson crashed in 1937.  The walk to the Stinson crash should only be undertaken by experienced bushwalkers.

Sign for Border Ranges National Park

8) on map.  Magnificent Hoop Pines have been left on the roadside, a particularly nice picnic spot is located at the Brindle Creek crossing.

4) on map.  From the Tweed Valley Lookout an outstanding view of the valley down to the sea is obtained. Dominating the scene is Mt. Warning which is the core of an extinct volcano, the escarpment on which you are standing is the edge of the crater.  Nearby is a stand of Antarctic Beech trees, estimated to be 10,000 years old. A relic of the last Ice Age, these trees no longer reproduce.

Picnic and Swimming areas

3,4 and 7 on map.  Picnic, camping and swimming spots on Running and Gradys Creek and over Simes Road in the exquisite Border Ranges National Park.

4 ) on map Cattle Camp: Midway between Lookout turn and Cougal (1.8 km), barbecues, shady with good views. Ideal on a hot day.

3,4 ) on map Grady's Creek Lower Road: Swimming hole, two splash crossings down (4 up from N.S.W.), deep creek pool with springboard, 4 barbecues and toilet. Ideal picnic spot at crossings. Dressing sheds.

Flood route: Turn left at Sime's Road (National Park Sign), travel to Kyogle via Lynches Creek.

Useful Local Information*

Rainforest Gateway Caravan Park, Gradys Creek: Cabins, Kiosk. (02) 6636 6441
Motel Kyogle, Kyogle: Air Conditioned, Home Cooked Meals (02) 6632 1070
Commercial Hotel, Kyogle: Accommodation, Bed and Breakfast (02) 6632 1017
Wiangaree Store: Groceries, PO, Tourist Information, Takeaways, Liquor,
& Drinks
(02) 6636 2125
Kyogle Caravan Park, Kyogle: Camping and Caravans. (02) 6632 1204
0 & H Holden Dealers, Kyogle: N.R.M.A. Service Centre (02) 6632 1700
Watson Ford & Mitsubishi, Kyogle: Ford & Mitsubishi products & Service (02) 6632 2100
Toonumbar Dam, Toonambar: Cabins, Conference and Accommodation Facilities (02) 6633 9135
Exchange Hotel, Kyogle: Accommodation, Bed and Breakfast. (02) 6632 1026
Kyogle Golf Club (02) 6632 1130
Kyogle Bowls Club (02) 6632 1108
N.P.W.S. Alstonville (02) 6628 1177
Beaudesert Historical Society Brisbane Street, Beaudesert. (07) 5541 3740
Rathdowney Redevelopment & Historical Society (07) 5544 1222
Rathdowney Info Centre Rathdowney (07) 5544 1222

* Current Information


Many thanks to travellers who have supported us; in 1995 figures were showing 65,000 cars a year.

Volunteer workerPhoto right - Volunteer working on a bridge refurbisment

Our continued involvement with the project and the improvements which have been carried out have been made possible by the donations of travellers at the border gates. In the future, money will be used to widen and seal more sections of the road.

As most work is done on a voluntary basis, your cooperation in keeping the area clean would be appreciated. Some camping is allowed along the creek by the property owners.  In order to maintain their cooperation, we request that campers refrain from using firearms or interfering with stock.  [And please remember take your rubbish with you.]

Some of the major items of expenditure from money collected at the border gate & Lions Club funds:

Sealing the road in QLD & NSW - $129,500.00
Gravelling, grading & widening corners - $12,500.00
Running Creek bridges - $6,500.00
Dedication, fencing and surveying - $6,000.00
Tourist facilities - $4,000.00
Property compensation - $4,600.00

bridge crossingPhoto right - Low level bridge (causeway) at a creek crossing 3,4 on map

Other Contributions:
NSW Government & Kyogle Shire, QLD Government & Beaudesert Shire - $205,000.00
Machinery & Material Donations - $194,000.00
Federal Government Grant - $92,000.00
Man hours by volunteers & Lions Club Members (1969-1995) - 222,800 hrs [9283.3 days, 25.4 years]

Thank you for travelling the Lions Road.
Have a good trip! - JD Hurley OAM

The Booklet

Photo right - Spiral Loop railway and bridge 6) on map

The Lions RoadScenic Loop across bridge

An initiative of the Kyogle Lions Club, The Lions Road forms a scenic link between Queensland & NSW, passing through the exquisite Border Ranges National Park, and skirting the historic Spiral Loop railway line.

For further information;

Telephone Kyogle Council on (02) 6632 1611, Facsimile: (02) 6632 2228 or write: PO Box 11 Kyogle, New South Wales 2474.

Brochure hard copies can be obtained at the Kyogle Visitor Centre and other local outlets.

References and Readings

Photos © by Kyogle Lions Club and Jack Hurley, graphics courtesy of Kyogle Lions Club

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