7 adventures you won’t find on any other holiday in QLD

For a truly unique holiday you’ll want to escape the city rush and experience the best of Queenslands’ country hospitality. Guaranteed, you won’t find these 7 experiences anywhere else in the state!

1. Climb the largest granite boulders in the state

Girraween National Park is dramatically speckled with natural rock formations and spectacular boulders balancing precariously on mountaintops, making this park incredibly unique (and very popular for photographs!). There aren’t any rainforests here, only towering granite outcrops and with more than 17km of walking trails, there are plenty of options for exploring.

For those who like their walks short, try the Granite Arch walk (1.6km, 30 mins return), a gentle stroll that takes you through Girraween’s own granite archway. If you want to go high, The Pyramid walk (3.6km, 2 hours return) will take you up a steep climb where the unbelievable ‘Balancing Rock’ teeters right next to you (hiking boots are recommended).  For more trails and tips, check out this How to Guide and get ready for some seriously insta-worthy views!

How to get there: Follow the New England Highway south of Stanthorpe, and continue past Ballandean before turning left on Pyramids Road. There is parking available at the Information Centre of the Bald Rock Creek day-use area.

2. Chase 3 waterfalls in the one drive

World heritage listed Main Range National Park is divided into three main areas: Cunningham’s Gap and Spicer’s Gap, Goomburra and Queen Mary Falls, each offering unique rainforest experiences. Not sure which section is for you?

Cunningham’s Gap and Spicer’s Gap

Travelling from Brisbane to Warwick, you’ll encounter the Cunningham’s Gap and Spicer’s Gap section as you pass over the Great Dividing Range. Here there’s a range of walks from the Moss’s Well track (120m return) suitable for little kids, to the popular Mt Cordeaux track (6.8km return) which provides spectacular mountaintop views back to Brisbane.

Goomburra

The Goomburra section of Main Range National Park is home to rugged mountain ranges, spectacular lookouts, lush subtropical rainforest and some of the region’s most beautiful swimming spots. There are also private and national park campgrounds close by, as well as lodges if you like your creature comforts.

Queen Mary Falls

Visiting Queen Mary Falls is a must do on any Southern Downs and Granite Belt trip. Embark on the easy Queen Mary Falls circuit, a 40-minute walk that takes you from the lookouts at the top of the falls to the creek below. From late October to November, look out for fireflies and glow worms at dusk. 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 from Warwick to Brisbane via Boonah.

3. Stay at Qld’s highest luxury hotel – 1100m above sea level

Spicers Peak Lodge is as far from the pressure of everyday life as it is possible to be. Set on 8,000 acres with a backdrop of World Heritage Listed national park, this exclusive Lodge provides the ultimate location for an all-inclusive luxury getaway. Escape to Spicers Peak Lodge and enjoy an award winning gourmet experience, relax with a treatment at Spa Anise, explore on a self-guided walk or simply take in the view. Here, relaxation and revitalisation comes naturally.

How to get there: 1 Wilkinson Rd, Maryvale. Spicers Peak Lodge is positioned within the Queensland High Country region of South-East Queensland, Australia. Located two hours south-west of Brisbane, the Lodge sits 1,100 metres above sea level, making it Australia’s highest non-alpine lodge. The lodge is easily accessible by private car, allowing two hours from Brisbane Airport or two and a half hours from Gold Coast Airport. To experience the grand scale and beauty of the mountainous ranges, helicopter transfers to and from the lodge are also available.

4. Cycle through Granite Belt vineyards & stop for wine tasting

Combine your favourite pastime with the Granite Belt Bike Trail, a marked 34km trail along country roads that starts at the picturesque creekscape in Stanthorpe and meanders through quaint country back roads towards Ballandean, Queensland’s most rewarded wine region.

Stop along the way with over 20 places to choose from, most no more than a kilometre off the cycle trail. Rest stops, signage, toilets and bike racks are provided en route to ensure your journey is comfortable, safe and memorable.

Good to know: The bike trail is shared use with motor vehicles so we do ask that you take care, be safe and be aware of your surroundings. Granite Belt Bicycle Tours offers tours and bicycle hire packages for adults and children. Call ahead to organise.

5. Take a steam train ride through the region

Southern Downs Steam Railway (SDSR) aims to provide a unique heritage railway experience on the Darling Downs Queensland and Granite Belt through the operation of a tourist railway. The Southern Downs Steam Railway is based at the site of Warwick’s former historic Locomotive Depot in Hamilton Street Warwick Queensland. Now called the Warwick Railway Precinct, it is the home of operations of the C17 steam locomotive, diesel locomotives and heritage carriage fleet.

Good to know: You can ride the train between Warwick and Wallangarra, also travelling to Clifton, Wheatvale, Hendon, Toowoomba, Goondiwindi, Tenterfield and Stanthorpe.
COVID-19 Restrictions NB: TRAINS TO START RUNNING AGAIN SEPTEMBER 2020 

Image by Southern Downs Steam Railway

6. Climb Mt Cordeaux for views from Scenic Rim to Brisbane

Load up your pack and explore the far-flung reaches of the park. Let your spirits soar as you experience the thrill of navigating steep climbs, rocky outcrops, dense forest and rugged cliffs to reach a secluded mountaintop camp site that is all yours. Or relax and unwind from city life by enjoying lunch with family and friends at one of the park’s shaded picnic areas nestled in cool forest beside a clear mountain stream.

Good to know: This park is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, famed for its ongoing geological processes, evolutionary history, and diversity (especially of rare, threatened and endemic species).

7. Be a winemaker for a day and savour the best of the region’s produce

Nestled in the heart of Queensland’s premier wine country, the Queensland College of Wine Tourism incorporates the Varias Restaurant, Conference and Function Centre and the Banca Ridge Winery and Cellar Door. The QCWT is one of the leading industry training partners in Queensland in the areas of Food and Wine Tourism offering courses and programs across a range of industry areas, including the popular “winemaker for a day” course which runs January – March in winemaking season.

Best to book: The Award-winning Varias Restaurant re-opens June 11 for dining. With a focus on the best in local produce, prepared and served by hospitality students to a high industry standard, dine in front of the stunning open fire or on warmer days, enjoy dining on the deck overlooking our spring fed dam, Banca Ridge Vineyard and the township of Stanthorpe.

While You’re Here

Make a weekend of it by checking out these other things to do in the area:

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