Southern Queensland Country, Australia
Fresh of a flight from Asia, these two Canadian ventured inland Australia and took a four day road trip through Queensland’s beautiful, southern interior. With no expectations and a loose itinerary, our route consisted of beautiful parks, tasty road-side treats and recommendations from friendly faces we met along the way.
Southern Queensland Country instantly made me appreciate how diverse Queensland is - rolling plains which sharply end at green ranges home to national parks, quiet campgrounds and lush waterways. The cool breeze here and fall colours are in stark contrast the Queensland coast that we had visited prior to coming.
This post is in partnership with Southern Queensland Country Tourism.
We started our trip in Toowoomba where we donned our cozy fall jackets and explored the natural spaces that the city has to offer.
Picnic Point, Toowoomba
Sunrise at Picnic Point was a pretty incredible welcome to the trip. Looking out over the view, we were reminded of how elevated we actually were. Those who like to hike will enjoy the scenic trail systems and those who prefer a warmer vantage point will enjoy a coffee from the Picnic Point Cafe.
Before coming to Southern Queensland Country, I didn’t even realize that the region experienced fall colours. We stopped by the Queens Park Gardens to enjoy some of the season’s finest - brightly coloured maple leaves.
Queens Park, Toowoomba
Botanic-lovers, don’t leave the Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland off your list
Japanese Gardens, USQ Campus
After a morning exploring Toowoomba we headed south via the New England Highway towards Warwick. This is cowboy country, as we drove through quaint towns with friendly faces (and delicious sausage rolls, wow), we saw evidence of harvest of a variety of crops.
MAIN RANGE NATIONAL PARK
Main Range is a long skinny National Park that stretches throughout the interior. We had heard that it was home to some of Queensland’s most under-the-radar and beautiful waterfalls. Sign us up! As we ascended from the crop country up into the evergreen hills of Main Range National Park we were greeted with cool fresh air and quite a list of places we needed to check out. We visited three waterfalls, Queen Mary Falls, Dagg Falls and Brown Falls.
Main Range National Park
We had been enjoying the freedom of our camper van road trip, but spending a night at the Spring Creek Mountain Cafe and Cottages was a treat that we couldn’t say no to. Panoramic views of Condamine Gorge & Wilson’s Peak, heated blankets and wood-burning fire places all contribute to this being probably the coziest place in Queensland. If you're looking for a spot to post up and enjoy a good book, glass of granite belt local wine and watch the seasons change - look no further. The units have kitchenettes, but I would recommend letting Bev and her team cook you up one of their plates.
Spring Creek Cottages Property & Views
Carr's Lookout - Condamine Gorge & Wilson’s Peak
We reluctantly checked out of Spring Creek Cottages and headed towards Stanthorpe. I’m a girl who loved a good culinary road trip and I was excited to see what Stanthorpe had in store.
Our first stop was the Stanthorpe Cheese & Jersey Girls Cafe where our palates were immediately overwhelmed. We tasted a wide array of cheeses before deciding on which we would like to go with a charcuterie board for lunch.
Stanthorpe Cheese & Jersey Girls Cafe
What I expected from Stanthorpe was amazing local food and drink, but perhaps what delighted me most was the small-business owners and staff whom we met along the way. These people are as down to earth and passionate as it gets.
John (one of these aforementioned passionate people) from Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire picked us up and took us around town to show us some great culinary hot spots. Highlights for me were the apple pie at Sutton's and the wine tasting at the Queensland Collage of Wine Tourism.
After our cycling tour with John, we started to make our way out of town. We stopped to pick up some local produce at a farm-stand.
We saw a sign for a Brewery and (of course) thought it would be the perfect spot for dinner. We arrived at the Granite Belt Brewery Retreat and immediately felt at home. A menu full of local fare and a cozy fireplace to sit next to while we watched the State of Origin game.
This spot was so cozy that we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave and go to our campsite. The notion of a wood fire cabin was too appealing and we scrapped our plans and spent the night at their retreat.
Granite Belt Brewery & Retreat
GIRAWEEN NATIONAL PARK
Next on our itinerary was some hiking! We had scheduled a half day to explore Giraween National Park, but ended up spending the entire day wandering the trails. Our favourite trails were the Granite Arch (1.6km return) and The Pyramid (3.6km return, advanced hike). The landscape here was unlike anything we had seen. I definitely need to return to do The Sphynx and Castle Rock. For more information on these trails, visit Southern Queensland Country's site here.
That concluded our time in Southern Queensland Country as we made our way back to the coast towards Byron Bay for some winter surfing.
I have to say a massive thank you to Southern Queensland Country Tourism and their stakeholders for welcoming us into the region.
If you go, let me know! As always, happy to field any questions about my experience visiting this pocket of Australia.