LOOKING FOR A COUNTRY ESCAPE THAT YOU CAN DO IN A DAY FROM YOUR GOLD COAST BASE? TOOWOOMBA RESIDENTS ARE IN NO DOUBT THAT THEY LIVE IN ONE OF THE MOST PICTURESQUE PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY. GET OUT AND EXPLORE IT WITH THEM THIS WINTER.
There’s no better time of the year than winter to hit the Warrego Highway and explore Southern Queensland Country. With the days so mild, it’s actually worth ditching the car and pulling on your sneakers for an up-close-and-personal experience, on foot, with this area’s natural wonderment.
We spoke to Southern Queensland Country Tourism to find out the best short walks in and around the greater Toowoomba area this winter. Stretch your body, your mind and most of all, your soul with these Top 7 short walks.
1. QUEEN MARY FALLS
Move over Meghan, you’ll feel a little like royalty yourself meandering along the Queen Mary Falls Circuit in this section of Main Range National Park, 64km south-west of Boonah. This Class 3 walk is 2km long and takes about 40 minutes. In that time, you’ll encounter changing flora from eucalypt to rainforest. The Queen Mary Falls lookout affords views of the 40m plunging Spring Creek which eventually joins the Condamine River and is the perfect place from to snatch some travel snaps.
2. SCENIC CIRCUIT, BUNYA MOUNTAINS
There’s good reason they call this route the Scenic Circuit. This 4km trek, which takes about 80 minutes, is one of the most popular on the Bunya Mountains due to the diversity and views it offers. The start is conveniently situated at the Dandabah picnic area from where you’ll walk through a forest of Bunya pines. Make sure you stop for a photograph as you pass through the giant strangler fig, before continuing on to some pretty rock pools and Tim Shea falls. Pause at Pine Gorge lookout you’ll be over to survey the South Burnett below.
3. THE PYRAMID, GIRRAWEEN NATIONAL PARK
There are 11 different walks from which to choose in Girraween National Park, but one of the most popular (if you have the stamina) is The Pyramid, a 3.6km, two-hour trek incorporating eucalypt forests, rocky outcrops and grassy flats. In the end, it’s all about the view from the top – of Balancing Rock, the Second Pyramid and over the national park itself.
4. GOVERNOR’S CHAIR LOOKOUT, SPICERS GAP
It all sounds a bit posh really and, in fact, if you track back through the history, it is. Situated in Main Range National Park, this is not a long walk, just 300m return, but it’s one of importance. There’s a huge rock called Governor’s Chair, which affords views over the Fassifern Valley, and is reportedly where early governors themselves would take a rest when travelling throughout Queensland.
5. TOOWOOMBA’S GARDENS
There are three gardens and parks worth a short walk in Toowoomba, after all, you are in Queensland’s flower capital. While Queen’s Park is considered the city’s centerpiece, there are 3km of paths and 230 species of Japanese and Australian native trees in the Japanese Garden, and the Newton Park State Rose Garden boasts more than 1500 roses, which are well worth wandering around.
6. RUSSELL ST SELF-GUIDED WALK, TOOWOOMBA
Not a nature trek in any sense but one of history, you’ll find plenty of ancient landmarks and architecture along Toowoomba’s Russell Street. It will take you a lazy hour to wander past the Railway Station, through Kensington Street and on to the shop fronts in the city centre that hark back to yesteryear.
7. BALD ROCK CREEK CIRCUIT
Situated within Girraween National Park, this 2km trek takes one hour and is considered a snapshot of this park’s finest features. You’ll see plenty of feathered, furry and the odd scaly animal or two along the way, but don’t be scared, we can assure you they’re more frightened of you. Girraween itself means “place of flowers”, so you’ll see plenty of them as well.