The Sprint Route

137km via Allan, Cunningham, Pratten, Leyburn, Karara and Thane

Travelling west from Warwick along the Cunningham Highway, the Sprint Route begins at Sandy Creek Road, 8km on the right from Warwick CBD. This was once the main road to Goondiwindi and used by the bullock drivers. The route passes through the districts of Allan, Leslie and Cunningham (named after the explorers) and then through the once thriving gold rush townships of Pratten and Leyburn and finally onto Karara.

Top Tip

The Leyburn Sports Grounds provide free camping for 48 hours. Hot showers are available for a small fee by visiting the general store. The Royal Hotel in Leyburn is the oldest continually licensed premises in Queensland and offers a tasty country-style menu.

Route highlights

  • Sandy Creek (located 3km after turning right) is home to the Sandy Creek Raceway, the venue for a thriving go-karting community.
  • Next door is the historical Darling Downs Hotel, known to the locals as the Sandy Creek Pub (c.1913). The pub was licensed in 1865 before the hotel was built, to provide meals and refreshments to the bullock drivers. A courtesy bus can be organised to pick up small groups from Warwick. Phone 07 4661 3413 for more information.
  • Leslie Reserve at Leslie, provides a quiet fishing spot on the banks of Sandy Creek. This creek can flood without warning as it is downstream from the gates of Leslie Dam. Water from the dam is often released for irrigation purposes. No camping is permitted on this reserve.
  • The only village in this region that was named to describe the area is Wheatvale, 5km on from Leslie.
  • Memorial Park in Cunningham has two cairns which honour the fallen soldiers of both World Wars and Patrick Leslie, one of the first settlers to the area.
  • The bottle tree on the right hand side, 4km on from Cunningham, has an interesting story. In 1878 a young boy was walking home to Pratten from Warwick. On the way he met a swaggie who asked him for money. The boy gave him a two shilling piece. In return the swaggie gave him five bottle tree seeds, which the boy planted near his home. Only the one tree remains and its girth measures over 8.5 metres.
  • The once-thriving township of Pratten is a further 10km on the Sandy Creek Road. Gold was first discovered in the Pratten area in 1863, followed by the Thanes Creek Goldfield in 1869. The Department of Natural Resources and Mines supports recreational mining and has a designated fossicking area at Thanes Creek. Fossicking licences are required and are available from here.
  • Old Talgai Station is situated 10km on from Pratten. The Talgai Run was once 84,000 acres, later divided into three stations: Old Talgai, East Talgai and West Talgai Stations. All stations had magnificent homesteads however East Talgai is the only homestead left standing today. Both Old Talgai and West Talgai Stations were destroyed by fire.
  • At Leyburn, 16km on from Pratten, Liberator Park on the left hand side commemorates the 21st and 22nd Liberator Bomber Squadrons that were stationed here during the Second World War. More information on this and other historical points of interest can be viewed at the Leyburn RSL, 9 Warwick Street. Phone 07 4695 0033.
  • In 1949 Leyburn hosted the first Australian Grand Prix. The Historic Leyburn Sprints are now one of the most significant motoring events in Queensland and one of the State’s biggest annual regional events.
  • Continuing on the Sprint Route for 26km the village of Karara ends this tourist route.
  • Turn left onto the Cunningham Highway for the 50km trip to Warwick.
  • Glendon Camping Grounds (12km from Karara) is a favourite stopover for fishing, gold panning, bush golf and four wheel driving.
  • The turn off to Leslie Dam is located a further 28km on the right.