|Trip Length: 7 days Total Distance: 894 km Road Conditions: All sealed roads|
Escape on this excursion from the heart of Queensland's capital Brisbane and discover that so close to the city's vibrant heart another world awaits - a place for renewal of body, mind and soul.
Experience the glitz of Australia's one and only Gold Coast with its non stop show and the stunning Scenic Rim. Up in the mountains, surrounded by clouds, give way to romance in an out-of-the-way luxury bed n breakfast within the dense rainforest. See magical sights of waterfalls and dramatic landscapes as roads lead you up and over the beautiful Scenic Rim.
Fall in love with the Granite Belt, home to the largest granite rock formation in the Southern Hemisphere and Queensland's premier wine growing region. It's perfect here for snuggling by a flickering fire sampling the local drop.
The fully sealed road takes you through green valleys, one of Queensland's richest agricultural areas and quaint country towns where shops are often stocked with treasures of antiques and old wares. Hear the stories of authors, saviours and saints or for those that like things a little bit quicker, go abseiling, hang gliding or for a ride in a colourful hot air balloon where you can toast this rich landscape with a glass of champagne.
View art galleries, smell roses, go fishing and stock up on local produce before finishing this drive off with a dip in the sea at stylish Noosa. You'll agree this is truly a special corner of Queensland. Contemplate adding an extra day or two and discovering Lamington National Park, Natural Bridge, O'Reilly's Plateau and the ancient Bunya Mountains- a few more of the regions natural bounties on offer. Don't be alarmed if you're tempted by real estate - you won't be the first that has driven this way and found a new home!
|Brisbane to Mount Tamborine||2 hrs 10 mins||115 kms|
|Mount Tamborine to Boonah||1 hr 10 mins||75 kms|
|Boonah to Stanthorpe||1 hr 45 mins||144 kms|
|Stanthorpe to Warwick||50 mins||62 kms|
|Warwick to Toowoomba||1 hr||83 kms|
|Toowoomba to Noosa||4 hrs 10 mins||280 kms|
|Noosa to Brisbane||2 hrs 10 mins||135 kms|
Fly into Brisbane or direct into the Gold Coast at Coolangatta, less than an hour's drive from the legendary Surfers Paradise - long regarded as Australia's most popular holiday destination. With its healthy, outdoor lifestyle and positive enjoyment of life this is not just a young persons Mecca any more - it's a playground featuring an abundance of experiences for every desire.
Visit the classic sandy beaches adorned with volunteer lifesavers in their legendary attire, while bronzed beauties absorb the last fading rays of sunlight - no it's not a television advertisement, this is the real thing! Stroll National Parks as they sweep around headlands retaining important Aboriginal heritage from a time far past. Gain front seat views to some of the best surf boarding classics held in the world and watch as surf riders try to master the famous Burleigh Barrel - always a high scorer. Savour a few of the cuisines on offer - or play a round or two of golf, or the casino or theme parks or galleries or diving? - it's 24-hours worth of excitement bursting with colour and animation.
Set off for the green behind the gold, less than half an hour away another world awaits. Walk through Queensland's oldest national park; sample some of south-eastern Queensland's finest wines, view waterfalls, glow worms and maybe even reclusive lyrebirds. Quicken the pace and jump off a cliff in a tandem hanglider or float away on the air currents with champagne in hand in a bright hot air balloon. Get a feel for the rainforest as the fire slowly flickers and the masseurs' hands knead your troubles away in an exclusive B&B tucked away in this idyllic setting.
Let the sounds of the rainforest lull you to sleep .. mmmmm this is bliss.
Wake refreshed from your sleepover surrounded by the rainforest to the calling of catbirds and whip birds. Then head down the mountain to charming Canungra and check out the historic hotel. Wander the vineyards, see Killowen homestead, maybe inspect the remnants of the Lahey's Canungra Tramway Tunnel or simply sit in the sun sipping coffee and nibbling cake.
Stock up with fresh fruit and veg from road side stalls as you continue your way to quaint Boonah set in the heart of the scenic rim. Discover the delights of this most picturesque area surrounded by seven National Parks tendering unsurpassed views across superb scenery of rugged mountains and peaceful lakes.
See the sights along one of the many scenic drives and walks or mount up on horseback and discover some real hidden treasures. Up the tempo sky diving, gliding, mountaineering or abseiling down one of the impressive peaks.
Get right into life in the great outdoors at Lake Moogerah and Lake Maroon with a spot of fishing, parasailing - there's an abundance of water sports to choose.
For your nights lodging tonight bunk down with the wildlife when you put up the tent or check into one of the exceptional B&B's that dot the countryside. Sit back and sip as the sun works its way down spattering the landscape in golden hues. As the stars pop out to take over the sky enjoy dinner served with a special brand of country hospitality at no extra cost. This is indulging in the good life!
Make your way past farms, through the forest, over rivers and gently sloping hills to Queen Mary Falls. Here pretty Spring Creek flows swirling in pools before plunging over the spectacular 40 metre cliff plummeting to the rocks below. Take a moment to reflect - this is the head of the longest river system in Australia - the Murray Darling - it'll finish in the Southern Ocean off South Australia.
After your walk enjoy your morning tea to the sounds of bird song in a pocket of rainforest. King Parrots, Rainbow Lorikeets and Crimson Rosellas all call this patch home. Photographers may get a little carried away - there are plenty of opportunities to keep clicking. Then back in the car for next is Warwick - the Rose and Rodeo capital and the birth place of the legendary shearer Jackie Howe. If you're in town around late October see some action at the Warwick Rodeo - it's a huge event with plenty of dust, thrills and spills.
The streets of Warwick are lined with some of Queensland's finest sandstone buildings - well deserving of some time - check out the Roman Catholic Church, schools, cottages and railway station. In Leslie Park sniff the beautiful red City of Warwick rose along with many other floral beauties.
Follow the road passing vineyards and orchards yielding stonefruit, peaches, apricots, apples and berries, south to Stanthorpe, the heart of The Granite Belt region. Boasting more than 45 wineries it has earned the right to be acknowledged as Queensland's wine capital.
Check in at a gorgeous Bed & Breakfast tucked away from the rest of the world. Dine on produce grown locally at one of the restaurants -absolutely mouth watering! Then sit back as the temperature falls and the flames of the fire dance in the grate - this is a place for cuddling.
If your visit coincides with Stanthorpe's Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, you can kick off the shoes and crush some grapes for next year's drop and sample free apples as you stroll streets alive with multi-cultural entertainment. Spend some time discovering the National Parks surrounding Stanthorpe. See enormous spectacular granite rock formations, wildflowers during spring, deserted huts and awesome views along the many walking and driving tracks.
For the afternoon, explore the local wineries and cellar doors enjoying the taste of award winning beverages and local produce. Clink your glass as you converse with resident wine makers and their families who have for years dedicated their time to creating these flavoursome cool climate wines.
Visit a bushranger hideout - Donnelly's Castle - near Pozieres. Climb amongst the rock formations that made Captain Thunderbolt's imaginary castle during his colourful career across the New England Tableland. Take in the great views from the lookout and picnic facilities - no wonder he was at large for the longest of all bushrangers.
If you like escaping the madding crowd and heading into the wilderness, Sundown National Park - four wheel drive only - with its rugged peaks and picturesque Severn River is a top spot for camping, fishing and walking. Make sure you have a map before you head out there.
Either overnight in Stanhope or head on up to Warwick - it's only 58kms north. Tomorrow it's across the pretty black soil plains of the Darling Downs tapestried an array of colours from ripening crops.
Pull over for morning tea in Allora, a delightful little town set on the banks of Dalrymple Creek and once the home for author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers. Walk off the cake along the heritage trail following the creek and learn about the Allora story from the 33 sites on the way.
History abounds in this region - this is where the Talgai Skull was unearthed - you can see a replica in the Allora Museum. Allow old buildings along this stretch of road to charm you - Glengallan Homestead, a two-storey sandstone mansion was described as the 'finest and best finished in the Colony', when its first wing was completed in 1867; Cockatoo Cottage, ruins of a shepherd's sandstone cottage, or maybe visit Ghost Gate Road, where a farm gate mysteriously opens and closes without human help!
Journey through fields of giant sunflowers, golden wheat and other crops as you make your way into Nobby. At Rudd's Pub have a meal and hear the tales of Steele Rudd - Arthur Hoey Davis - author of the popular Dad 'n' Dave stories. He lived in the area and drew much inspiration from the characters for his 'On our selection' series. Relax as you wander around this old pub taking in the memorabilia collected since it first opened in 1893. Just down the road is the log cabin Rudd called home - it's open and free for all to go and see.
Take a short stroll from the pub and learn about Sister Elizabeth Kenny known for her revolutionary treatment for the victims of polio. Sister Kenny and her mother are buried in the Nobby Cemetery.
Then into Toowoomba, on top of the Great Divide to book into one of the fine accommodation houses in the capital of the Darling Downs only 38kms from Nobby.
Toowoomba, with its four distinct seasons, is affectionately dubbed the Garden City. In spring the city is clothed in a kaleidoscope of colours as flowers bloom and the annual Carnival of Flowers gets under way. Hundreds of private gardens are open - a great chance to gain some excellent gardening tips.
Take the drive tour of the city past magnificently restored buildings and see Australia's largest collection of horse-drawn vehicles at the Cobb & Co Museum. Stop at Picnic Point lookout for a terrific view. Antique hunters may wish to stay a while longer as there are many bargains to be found.
When it's time to hit the road, point the car towards Noosa. Travel through little country towns with wide streets lined with shady trees, bric-a-brac shops, grand old hotels and colonial style shops. Steer to Mt Mee summit for a spectacular view across burgeoning wineries to Caboolture and Moreton Bay.
Take the back road through picture postcard dairy country, interspersed with rainforests into Maleny, Montville and Mapleton and include a few of the myriad of sightseeing attractions on offer. There's galleries and craft shops, Mary Cairncross National Park attractive Mapleton and Kondalilla Falls and the Obi Obi Gorge for starters. If it's a Saturday or Wednesday join in the fun at the vibrant Eumundi markets. Local musicians' harmonies escort you around an amazing quantity of quality market wares.
You are assured a holiday Noosa style when you park the car on arriving in this premier destination. There's an air of sophistication yet a laid back carefree mood as you wander the streets in this beautiful seaside town where every visitor is made important. No matter what your budget, there is something here for you - spend the night in a luxury five star villa or in a tent under the stars.
Breakfast on Hastings Street under tall shady trees as shop keepers open up boutiques in ready for trading. Smell the aroma of fine coffee wafting up through the air while the waters of Laguna Bay gently break on the sand right next door. Stretch the legs on a stroll along the seaside boardwalk or take the track to the National Park just at the end of the street with some remarkable views. There's a hoard of sandy sheltered beaches within the park to enjoy including Alexandria Bay, Noosa's nudist beach and the site each year for the Nude Olympics. Drive up to Laguna Lookout on Noosa Hill for an unspoiled view over rainforest, lakes, secluded bays and coves and the Noosa River before bidding Noosa farewell.
See the sights of the Sunshine Coast beaches as you venture towards Brisbane or alternatively you can catch a plane from the coast if you prefer. Just an hour before Brisbane is Bribie Island - Queensland's only offshore island linked by a bridge. As you cross over the Pumicestone Passage check out the hundreds of birds that call it home and notice the fishing boats bobbing along - there's some excellent fishing to be done around here. Perhaps another night's stay?
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