Samford is a rural area nestled in the rolling hills northwest of Brisbane. The area has a vibrant cafe scene, a welcoming atmosphere and old fashioned country hospitality.
Samford's natural beauty and convenient location between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast make it a great choice for a day trip, with plenty of activities to explore.
Samford Link & the rail trail
The Samford Link (also known as the Samford Rail Trail) is a relatively flat walking, cycling and scooter route between Samford Village and Ferny Grove Train Station.
The trail is made from several quiet back roads, and a few off-road paved cycling paths to connect the route up, and a small amount of on-road cycling.
The rail trail takes you off-road from Ferny Grove along a 1.5 km bushland trail that follows the gently sloped route of the old railway line. The trail meets up with the mostly quiet rural back-streets of Camp Mountain and takes you onward to Samford.
Once in Samford there's plenty of options for food, water taps, and a bike repair station at the southern end of John Scott Park.
While the rail trail slopes upward to Samford, the trip back is a treat, as it's largely downhill. Check out the video:
Riding from Brisbane to Samford
It's possible to ride directly from Brisbane to Samford on mostly bike paths. Take the Northern Bikeway, then turn left onto the Kedron Brook Bikeway, then ride the remainder of the way to Ferny Grove station where you meet up with the Samford Link. The trip is a little under 40 km depending on your route, and while it's mostly uphill it's a very gentle grade.
If you're looking for an easier day trip, take your bike on the train. The Samford Link follows the route of the old railway line that now terminates at Ferny Grove station. So you can take your bike on the train and end up directly at the foot of the bike route.
The ride back from Samford to Brisbane is largely downhill, and even if you're not an especially strong cyclist I recommend giving it a go. The Kedron Brook bikeway follows pretty close to the Ferny Grove line, so if you change your mind you can jump on a train at stations like Keperra, Mitchelton, or Toombul.
What to do on a day trip to Samford
After riding up the path to Clear Mountain, you'll probably be in the mood for food. There's plenty of options to choose from, whether you're after pizza, seafood, pub food, or a stop at a cafe.
Head down Main Street from the roundabout and you'll find plenty of cafes and pubs. Or for a cheap option grab something from the IGA and use the free barbecues at the park.
Once you've recharged, check out the rest of the heritage of the town. The Samford Historical Museum ($5 adult entry) is a great place to wander around and explore the history of the region. Check out the blacksmith at work (on the first Sunday of each month).
The Slab Hut Art and Craft gallery is nearby and worth a peek. There's also a free heritage walk around the town to discover the secrets, history, and architecture of the village.
So you won't be short of something to do. For more info, the Moreton Bay Council also has a travel guide for Samford you might want to check out.
What to expect
The cycle link was built in 2 stages from late 2015 to early 2018, at a total cost of $3.2 million.
At the Samford end of the link, the railway line was lost to private development so the route stops abruptly a short distance from Samford. When I did this trip I found it to be some of the most unexpectedly steep uphill-downhill stretches of on-road riding I've ever had the misfortune of pushing my single-speed bike up. Oops!
Coming into Samford Village there is a stretch of on-road riding along Camp Mountain Road with a 60 km/h speed limit and no shoulder. Again, I ran out of steam and had to push my single-speed up the ditch next to the road to avoid cars.
This was largely my own fault for taking a single speed bike, and you'll probably be okay with a bit of gearing. But I mention it because if you aren't confident or were thinking of taking your kids I'd advise caution.
Once in Samford you can just lock your bike to the fence and go exploring! Whether that's finding a good cafe, checking out the heritage, or just chilling in the park.