Across the border

Lions Road - a scenic drive across the Queensland and News South Wales border.

Brisbane, Rathdowney, Richmond Gap, Border Loop Lookout, Kyogle

Distance 170 kilometres  
Travel time   2 hours 40 minutes 
Time of year to go   Any
 Vehicle type 2WD or SUV
 Best cafe Bean to?
 Highlights Scenic Rim, Queensland and New South Wales border, The Spiral Loop, Border Loop Lookout, Border Ranges National Park
 RACQ safety tip Drive to conditions and watch for cyclists and motorcyclists, especially on hilly, winding sections.


Need a good weekend road trip? Look no further than Lions Road, a scenic tourist drive connecting Queensland and News South Wales. The tourist drive was built as a community development project by the Lions Club, after the News South Wales government rejected the project to build a connection road between the states in 1969. Drivers can expect spectacular scenery, windy corners and more than 25 creek crossings. It’s a great road trip for not only motorcycle enthusiasts, but for sports car and classic car enthusiasts. 

Brisbane to Rathdowney, 101km

(Via Mount Lindsay Highway)
Prepare to witness a change of scenery as you drive out of the hustle and bustle of Brisbane city to the small town of Rathdowney. The drive is about an hour-and-a-half long and offers 360-degree views of rural landscape, farming and mountains. Rathdowney is in the Scenic Rim and is known for its great walking and hiking tracks. Visit the local Rathdowney Museum or the Rathy pub for lunch.

Rathdowney to Richmond Gap, 24km

(Via Running Creek Road)
From Rathdowney, take Running Creek Road where you will crisscross alongside Running Creek. This scenic stretch offers fun winding turns through forest and passes a number of great camping sites if you want to pre-book an overnight stay. Running Creek Road eventually becomes Lions Road when you pass the giant Lions Road sign with the Lions Club logo on it, just before you reach Richmond Gap. Richmond Gap marks the border between Queensland and New South Wales. 

Richmond Gap to Border Loop Lookout, 3km

(Via Lions Road)
Border Loop Lookout is a wonderful place to stop for a picnic and enjoy the scenic views of Gradys Creek Valley within the Border Ranges National Park. The area offers parking, picnic tables and hiking tracks. It also has a slice of history with the renowned Border Loop Railway about 400 metres below the lookout – the first standard gauge railway running interstate. This was a major engineering project which involved building the railway line over the McPherson Range on the Queensland border with a series of tunnels forming a “spiral loop”.

Border Loop Lookout to Kyogle, 43km

(Via Lions Road, Gradys Creek Road and Summerland Way)
Continue further along Lions Road and experience more windy roads, creek crossings, amazing scenery and hear the song of the Bell birds. After travelling along Gradys Creek Road turn left onto Summerland Way and head towards the small town called Kyogle. Kyogle is a country town in New South Wales. The town has a history of timber cutters to extract red cedar and hoop pine. Many the major buildings were constructed in the early 1930s.


  • Not suitable for caravans or trailers.
  • The road is narrow in most parts so expect to put your left-side wheels onto the verge when meeting an oncoming vehicle.
  • There is some risk of windscreen and bodywork damage.
  • If travelling less than the speed limit, be courteous and pull over when safe to do so to let following vehicles pass.
  • Drive to the conditions.
  • If there’s been any recent heavy rain or known flooding, check online as to whether the road is open.


For more great road trips check out RACQ’s top 10 road trips in Queensland.

Images by Tourism Events Queensland and Jason Charles Hill.