3 Must Do Spring Break Getaways near Brisbane

If you’re looking for a mini spring break from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, get ready to pack your bags, fuel your car and sort your playlist! Check out these three options for a weekend getaway to the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, featuring plenty of epic national parks, world class wineries and good ol’ country hospitality, all within 2-3 hours of Brisbane.

1. Killarney Rainforest Retreat

lady admiring Queen MAry Falls

Queen Mary Falls, Image by @emiliebrooke_ via Instagram

Killarney’s rolling hills, secluded valleys and dramatic waterfalls make this the perfect digital detox destination. If you’re driving from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, it will only take about two hours to get to Killarney, with plenty of open roads,  sprawling landscapes and cafe stops along the way.

The waterfall chasing in Killarney is next level, with the popular Queen Mary Falls, part of Main Range National Park, providing ample picnic spots and spectacular views. Spend some time exploring the Queen Mary Falls circuit, a 40 minute walk that takes you from the lookouts at the top of the falls to the creek below. Across the road at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park you’ll be able to hand feed king parrots and crimson rosellas. Chase more waterfalls by heading off on The Falls Drive, which takes in Browns Falls, Daggs Falls, Queen Mary Falls and Carr’s Lookout and provides an alternative route home to Brisbane via Boonah.

Hikers, cyclists, horseriders and respectful 4WDers should head to the stunning 14 River Crossings of the Condamine. Killarney is also gaining a reputation for its annual events including the Killarney Bonfire Night, Waddle, Pedal and Saddle and Rodeo. If you’re travelling during these times, make sure you book your Killarney accommodation well in advance.

TOP TIP: If you’re visiting in late October or November, head to Queen Mary Falls at dusk for a view of fireflies and glow worms. Follow the Southern Downs and Granite Belt Facebook page for updates on when they’re out! 

2. Warwick Country Escape

Couple cycling at Abbey of the Roses

Abbey of the Roses, Warwick

Known as the rose and rodeo capital, Warwick is a charming country town steeped in history. It’s the largest hub of the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, and while it is a popular caffeine stop for road trippers heading south or west, it really is a destination in itself. Travelling from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, you’ll traverse the impressive mountain peaks of Main Range National Park, with Cunningham’s Gap a perfect mid-way stop to stretch the legs before continuing on to Warwick.

Sitting gracefully on the banks of the Condamine River, historic Warwick features some of the state’s finest original sandstone buildings. The town is best explored by embarking on one of the 5 Walks of Warwick, perfect for discovering on two wheels as well. To explore the town’s impressive heritage and historic buildings download this handy guide to the historic trails before you set off. Step even further back in time with a trip on the Southern Downs Steam Railway, which offers rides most weekends, including a Stanthorpe Mystery Wine tour.

Known as the “Horsepower Capital of Australia”, Warwick is home to the Warwick Rodeo – Australia’s most famous, held each October, as well as Morgan Park Raceway – host to world-class motor sport events.

TOP TIP: For a real sneak peek into country life, head to the weekly Pig n Calf Markets where you’ll be able to pick up antiques, bric a brac, and of course, pigs and calves! 

3. Granite Belt Getaway

Play amongst a smorgasbord of cellar doors, breweries, dairies and orchards within Queensland’s premier food and wine region, known as heaven or the Granite Belt. Driving from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, you’ll travel through Warwick.

When you arrive, drive through country roads, stopping for decadent chocolates, homemade apple pie, wine tasting or strawberring picking along the way. There are over 40 cellar doors to explore. Work off all the food and wine with a visit to Girraween National Park, which has a huge variety of walking trails to choose from. Girraween, meaning ‘place of flowers’ lives up to its name in spring and summer as delicate wildflowers emerge beneath the towering granite boulders. For a challenge, lace up your boots and conquer the steep Pyramid climb.

TOP TIP: Let someone else do the driving on an escorted cellar door or brewery tour, or explore the wineries via bike with Granite Belt Bicycle Tours and Hire

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