Here are three trips you can do to discover some early Queensland history.
Enjoy a taste of the Outback without going too far from the coast. Take the Great Inland Way from Townsville to Brisbane. In less than two hours, you’ll be in the old gold mining town of Charters Towers where the town’s One Square Mile will dazzle with its grand buildings.
From there, head 700 km to Carnarvon Gorge, with its rock art galleries, wonderful walking tracks and swimming holes. From Carnarvon Gorge, drive to Roma, with its Avenue of Honour lined with 100 bottle trees, and then on to Nindigully. The Nindigully pub is one of Queensland’s oldest and well worth a stop for a cold one. From there, it’s another 500km to Brisbane, via Goondiwindi, Toowoomba and Ipswich.
There are plenty of camping grounds along the Great Inland Way, so finding somewhere to stop for the night is easy. Take about a week to drive it, and you’ll discover parts of Queensland you never dreamed existed.
Magpie geese and herons skim the water at Hasties Swamp National Park on the Atherton Tablelands. The Lake Eacham Tourist Park is a good base for exploring the region. As you wind through the valleys and villages that dot the Tablelands, check out the towering Curtain and Cathedral fig trees, the National Trust-listed gold-rush era Hou Wang Temple, the quirky Spy & Camera Museum and the Historic Village Herberton, where restored buildings dating back to the 1870s are crammed with memorabilia.
Join the locals in an early-morning dip in Lake Eacham for an invigorating start to the day. Take time out for a cuppa at the Nerada tea plantation, where the sight of the elusive Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo is sure to excite. At Yungaburra, spend some quiet time at the Avenue of Honour, a memorial to Australia’s fallen soldiers in Afghanistan.
If you’re heading north from Brisbane, take the lesser-known inland route through the Mary Valley. It’s about two hours from Brisbane and runs between Conondale and Gympie. From Maleny, take the back route along the Maleny-Kenilworth Rd and linger in the hamlet of Imbil.
Located on the banks of Yabba Creek, Imbil is the largest village in the lower Mary Valley, and has a great old pub in the main street as well as a few arty shops and galleries. In September, the Mary Valley Scarecrow Festival adds some fun to the valley’s streets and fields. There’s camping at the pet-friendly Borumba Deer Park at Imbil, which is surrounded by bush, right on the creek and offers kayaking, fishing and swimming.