A world away
Trade the hustle and bustle of the city for the natural beauty of the South Burnett.
The South Burnett region is one of south-east Queensland’s hidden gems. Located 250km north-west of Brisbane, the region combines the best of our state’s natural beauty and country hospitality.
The drive from Brisbane to the South Burnett is just over three hours, but it might as well be a world away. Busy highways give way to single-lane roads dotted with cattle grids. Termite mounds and rolling hills flank winding dirt roads that, as you abruptly climb higher into this isolated section of the Great Dividing Range, transforms in to a thick canopy of cool, green, subtropical rainforest.
The Bunya Mountains are the remains of a shield-shaped volcano formed 24 million years ago. Walking through the dense rainforest, it’s not hard to imagine what the region looked like prior to settlement in the 1860s. The mountains are home to more than 215 species of native birds and the largest remaining ‘stand’ of Bunya Pines in the world.
Take advantage of almost 40km of rainforest walking tracks ranging from short 10-minute strolls to all-day hikes. Kids will love hand feeding wild Australian King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas at The Bunyas’ licenced wildlife interaction area. Enjoy a meal overlooking the rainforest edge and watch the hundreds of resident wallabies roam the grassland surrounding the mountains.
Finish your day with a whisky tasting at Shackleton’s Whisky Bar, Australia’s highest whisky bar and home to 116 whiskeys from around the world. Sip a dram of liquid gold by the indoor or outdoor fireplaces.
Take a one-hour scenic drive through the mountains to the town of Kingaroy.
Hire a bike for a leisurely morning ride along a section of the Kingaroy to Kilkivan Rail Trail. The 89km trail follows a disused rail through the farmland and bushland of the South Burnett, showcasing the best scenery the region has to offer. The majority of the trail is sealed and relatively flat, making it suitable for casual and beginner cyclists. From Kingaroy, towns are located about every 5km along the trail providing ample opportunities to stop for a well-deserved coffee or lunch break.
If the nights are clear, visit the Kingaroy Observatory to view the moon, stars and planets through three state-of-the-art 35cm telescopes. Astronomer James Barclay has more than 65 years’ experience in astronomy and a clear passion for the stars. Winter is the best time to visit the observatory and visitors in June to August can expect to see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
With a population of less than 2000, Wondai epitomises small-town country hospitality.
Stop in at the Wondai Country Markets to snap up locally made jewellery, candles, reusable bags and other arts and crafts, plus fresh produce from nearby farms.
Take advantage of the region’s pristine lakes and waterholes with an hour or two of easy kayaking at Fick’s Crossing. Cameron and Charlotte from Barambah Kayak Hire know the river like the back of their hands and can point out the hiding places of local wildlife, including goannas, echidnas, hawks and kingfishers.
If you’re planning on finishing the day with a few drinks, do it early as, in typical country fashion, Wondai’s three historic pubs close at 8pm, even on a Saturday night.