The Workshop Rail Museum is a local favourite with families, one of the best places to bring the little ones to play in South East Queensland.
It’s is an interactive and authentic heritage and cultural experience and an exciting adventure for kids and rail enthusiasts of all ages.
The museum manages to bring history to life while providing a super exciting play space for kids. There’s train simulators, the indoor adventure playground (including the fantastic Nippers Railway), some fantastic ‘hands on’ exhibits and a huge model railway.
There’s a small scale ‘transporter’ train which takes visitors from area to area - fun in and of itself!
Rail enthusiasts will especially love exploring the centre’s collection of beautifully restored heritage locomotives and carriages. You can also take tours of the Heritage Railway Workshops.
We recommend spending around 3-4 hours here to see everything.
The centre also hosts the wildly popular ‘A Day out With Thomas’ - a surefire hit with any little one who loves Thomas the Tank Engine.
The centre is a winner of the Queensland Tourism Awards for heritage and cultural tourism.
Tickets start from $12 for children (3-15yrs) and adults are $21, however there are a range of great family specials and concessions to take advantage of.
Open from 9.30am to 4pm 7 days a week. Closed Christmas Day, ANZAC Day and Good Friday.
Leading Image: By Dbromage - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24107236
Not quite a castle in the traditional sense of the word, Donnellys Castle was a hideout for the infamous bushranger, Thunderbolt.
The rock formation which makes up the hideout of Donnellys Castle is a great jumble of boulders featuring a lookout and plenty of exciting crevices to explore for the kids. Walk between, around and over these huge boulders to uncover great views of the spectacular Granite Belt.
The story of Captain Thunderbolt is a fascinating one. Frederick Wordsworth Ward was a renowned bushranger, known for his escape from Cockatoo Island reputation as the ‘gentleman bushranger’ and his lengthy survival as an outlaw. His crime spree of more than 6 years was finally put to an end in a dramatic shootout with police immortalised in the Ulla Gallery in NSW.
Located in the Stanthorpe area at the southernmost part of South East Queensland, just put ‘Donnelly’s Castle Road’ into your phone or GPS to find it.
Denmark Hill is a popular spot in Ipswich - a tract of preserved bushland in the heart of Ipswich featuring two huge reservoir towers from which you get brilliant sweeping views to the D’Aguilar Ranges, the RAAF Amberley air base and Ipswich landmarks such as the grand gothic St Mary’s Cathedral.
The climb to the top is five storeys but it’s well worth the effort - some stellar photo opportunities.
You may also like to take the 800m bush track which leads down to the other features of the park, including the old quarry and the Triassic Park.
From there you can take the Quarry St circuit which navigates around the old quarry pond, follows the old mine cart tracks and offers a serene and relaxing walk.
The other track is only 200m and is perfect for the kids with information about the Triassic period of the region including some dinosaur prints. When the mine was first opened a stash of fossil beds containing all kinds of insect fossils were discovered.
Also - that great South East tradition of a picnic or a BBQ is well catered for.
Bushwalking is an ever popular pastime amongst tourists and locals alike in the Scenic Rim. The following are three of the best hikes you can take, set amongst the scenery of the beautiful and serene Lamington National Park of the Great Dividing Range.
You’ll need sturdy hiking boots and a day to do nothing but explore. The trails are well worn and for those that travel them are often rewarded with stunning lookouts and breathtaking rainforest waterfalls.
You’ll also run into a wealth of native wildlife, the ever present calling of a myriad of bird species fill the air with life and noise. Other creatures call the region home and you may be lucky enough to spot one of them on your travels. Maps and detailed information, including trip-critical conditional information are available from the local information centres at Lamington National Park.
This track is somewhat the pick of the region, highlighting the best of Binna Burra’s assets in one 18km trek. It starts at the Binna Burra Tea House and winds down through the dense rainforest of the Beechmont Range. Spectacular Lamington Blue crayfish live in the creeks and provide a flash of brilliant metallic blue to keep an eye out for.
Long but not particularly challenging, first time walkers should go with someone experienced. The Coomera waterfall is best after rain however the track can become hazardous when wet, the track features numerous creek crossings.
Dave’s Creek Circuit
Takes you on a 12km hike through a range of terrain and vegetation from rainforest to beech tree and malley gum woodland to open heath country. This track offers some spectacular views from the Numinbah lookout. You may also want to check out the small Moonlight Cave side track which is sign posted. On the return leg, don’t miss ‘surprise rock’ with it’s amazing 360 degree views.
Ship’s Stern Circuit
This slightly longer 20km walk takes you past excellent lookouts, eucalypt forest, palm groves, rainforest and wildflower fields. While not difficult it’s quite long and you’ll want to leave early to avoid walking in the dark. There are also a range of great side tracks to discover including a track to Lower Ballanjui Falls and Charraboomba Rock.
After the spectacular Kooloonbung lookout the track splits with the left hand fork taking the cliff edge and the right hand fork providing views looking back towards Binna Burra, both forks are around equal in length.
Laidley has another hidden gem of an attraction - Das Neumann Haus.
Built by German immigrant Hermann Neumann in 1893, the house is built in 1930’s style and has been refurbished and restored to it’s former condition.
Truly a window into the past - this heritage display is open to the public and houses many antiques and stories from South East Queensland’s past.
You can relax on the deck or under the shade of the 100 year old Jacaranda tree in the park with it’s ‘Queensland Snow’.
Make sure you stop off at Annie’s Place Coffee Shop for delicious cakes, smoothies and of course aromatic coffee and tea. The perfect place to relax and enjoy afternoon tea after a day exploring.
Das Neumann Haus also hosts events during the Heritage Festival in April and the Laidley Spring Festival in September.
Das Neumann Haus is located at Patrick Street, Corner of William Street, Laidley, Queensland 4341.
It’s open from 10:00am to 3:00pm every day.
Queens Park is rated as one of the best local experiences in Ipswich and it’s a good time to see why.
It has a little bit of old world charm, that heritage feeling which you find in Ipswich and in other places of South East Queensland.
Established, shady trees provide a fantastic cool atmosphere even in the warmer months and monuments erected from as early as 1864 provide a sense of history and some great old stories to discover.
One of the main draws of the park is for families with kids who love to play. A fantastic playground is situated in a green expanse and is modelled on the city’s coal mining history.
It has an impressive design featuring lots of fun playground goodies such as flying foxes, a fixed model train, Liberty Swing for those in wheelchairs to enjoy and water pumps to cool off.
Enjoy a light meal at the Queens Park Cafe and then set off to explore the Ipswich Nature Centre where you can view cute furry native animals such as wombats, bilbies and quolls.
The Environmental Education Centre is another great place to explore with the family.
The heritage-listed Incinerator Theatre is home to the Ipswich Little Theatre is also nearby, designed by Walter Burley-Griffin this great attraction hosts a range of community productions.
If you’d just like somewhere to relax and explore, the relaxing Japanese Nerima Gardens provide a tranquil atmosphere whether you want to meditate or explore the lush manicured gardens.
Laidley is a quaint little town just an hour’s scenic drive from Brisbane, just off the highway on the way to Toowoomba.
It’s the perfect place to head to on a day trip - head there on a Friday morning where visitors can enjoy browsing through the local Laidley markets which showcase some of the region’s best produce and local goodies.
Even if you don’t catch the markets, it’s very easy to spend a leisurely and pleasurable few hours just wandering around the main strip. Check out the friendly local businesses selling everything from boutique locally made homewares, gifts and jewellery through to fantastic little cafes.
The iconic Eagle Rock Cafe is a must-stop destination - step back in time to the 1950’s and enjoy a classic breakfast while taking in the retro charm.
Enjoy a famous shake or a good old fashioned meal. Visit on Sundays for a side-serve of live local entertainment.
Next door to the 50’s diner is the Laidley Florist and Rustic Rose Tea Rooms - a hidden treasure as you’d expect. Gorgeous and decorated with exquisite care, it’s the perfect place to enjoy high tea, coffee, or just to sample some of their fabulous handmade chocolates and cakes.
Or maybe you’d just like to enjoy a cold crisp XXXX Gold and bump shoulders with the friendly locals at the Exchange Hotel.
Whatever your persuasion, Laidley is the quintessential Lockyer Valley town and a great day trip destination in South East Queensland.
You can do everything in South East Queensland, from scenic biplane flights, to hot-air ballooning, to adventure flights and helicopter tours through to jumping out of aircraft on a tandem skydive so get your head in the clouds and take advantage of the clear blue skies over the region, it’s one of the best things to do in South East Queensland.
Experience the majesty and beauty that is only available from the high vantage point of flying.
While relatively pricey, it’s not as much as you would think, flights range from between $150 dollars to $299 - $399 or more for some of the extreme activities like skydiving, so you will have to weigh up whether the unparalleled views and the rare experience is worth it. We think it totally is!
Maybe you’d just like to enjoy the ride with a smooth and fast helicopter, the service is professional and the experienced tour guides are full of local knowledge. They’ll take you directly to the best spots, places that are usually only easily accessible from the air. Check out Pterodactyl Helicopters website for more information. http://www.pterodactylhelicopters.com.au/
Take a soaring journey out over Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley and see where the wind takes you. An aerial tour in a hot air balloon offers an experience like no other. See the local landmarks from on high and tick an item off your bucket list while you’re at it! Check out Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights website for more information. http://www.floatingimages.com.au/
For Skydiving be sure to check out Ramblers website - their Toogoolawah dropzone and experienced operation is perfect for first time jumpers looking for the thrill of their lives! http://www.ramblers.com.au/
The sky really is the limit on an adventure or scenic flight in South East Queensland, don’t hold back!
Motorcycles have come a long wait over the past century or so, and we’re not just talking about road miles.
There isn’t any better place to explore the history of mankind’s most exciting machine than the Australian Motorcycle Museum at Haigslea, Queensland.
With an ever expanding catalogue of old and historic bikes, the museum makes for a perfect day or for a casual family excursion or a serious enthusiast’s expedition.
Featuring over 200 motorcycles which range from the late 1880's up to current models, the museum is best place to see bikes youcan't see anywhere else, or maybe bikes which you grew up with.
There is a range of marques and models from all over the world.
Museum staff are constantly on the lookout for new exhibits and they already have an impressive array on display, from 2010 Ducatis to 1930s Triumphs and everything in between.
And best of all it’s cheap. Just $15 for an adult and $10 for kids means it doesn’t have to cost the world to delve back into the intriguing and enthralling world of motorcycling.
Sit back and relax as we rumble back in time behind one of the vintage steam or diesel locomotives of the Pioneer Railway.
Located just 30 minutes from either Ipswich or Brisbane, the old and well preserved railway snakes through idyllic Australian bushland and is steeped in industrial heritage and full of stories.
It's the friendly and charming tour volunteers that make the trip a true gem of an experience. You can tell how proud they are of the train and the tour, just ask them! Dressed in their period attire you only need to smile to see a twinkle in their eye and be brought into a conversation about their world of steam, trains and days gone by. Between them there's a wealth of knowledge about the local area and a whole host of stories and jokes aside. Their passion for the project and their determination to help you enjoy your day is astounding and welcomed. You might even be lucky enough to enjoy a jaunty ditty on the piano as you wait for the steam engine to pull into the station.
Unlike modern trains, these locomotives chug along at a steady pace, and while capable of going faster, the speed is perfect for taking in the stunning scenery as it slides past, and, incidentally, is also great for taking photos.
The windows remain open if the weather is amenable, and the breeze and atmosphere on the train is a fantastic experience as you traverse through the tranquil countryside and forests of South East Queensland.
A legacy from the vast amounts of coal that was mined in the region in the late 19th and early 20th century, these lines are the oldest in Queensland and are remnants of a much larger network.
The train itself is a sight to behold and there are some great photo opportunities as it pulls into the old style station or stops off during one of the breaks.
Be greeted and charmed by the proud and experienced operators as they take you on a journey through history.
There is a fantastic self-guided walking tour of Toowoomba's Russell Street which will lead you by landmarks of the fine historic architecture of Toowoomba, many of which date back to the 1860s.
The walk commences at the Railway Station on Railway Street, continues west on to Kensington Street and then turns east to pass the beautiful shop fronts of the city centre.
At the beginning of the walk, a WWII air-raid shelter rests in the car park and beyond it lies the beautiful cream and maroon railway station. There’s also a recently opened Inbound Brasserie with a delicious menu and breakfast served until 11am.
Explore the station with it’s historical photos, decor and history, before moving on to the historic Russell Street, renamed after politician Henry Russell in 1854, the street is dotted with buildings full of character and history.
Buildings of note include the Hotel Norville, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and City Hall and the Whitehorse Building (1912).
You can grab an information brochure at the Toowoomba Visitor Information Centre on the corner of James and Kitchener Street before you take the walk.
Allow a minimum of one hour for a brisk walk and longer for a leisurely stroll.
First Image: By TravellerQLD - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27182979
Mt Barney National Park is located in the Scenic Rim region of Queensland. Towering as the second highest peak in south-east Queensland, Mt Barney like all mountains in the region are the remains of an ancient Focal Shield Volcano thought to have erupted 24-million years ago.
The national park is filled with unique locations and a diverse variety of delightful regional food and wine experiences.
The national park is also of great significance to the aboriginal people of the region who have legends which explain their connection to the mountains.
Accommodation is easy to come by, romantic cottages and beautiful farm-stay bed and breakfasts make for great options. At Mt Barney camping is also a popular option, Bigriggen Park near Rathdowney is a popular camping spot. Mt Barney Lodge Camping is the closest to Mt Barney itself and is another popular option.
Mt Barney is a natural playground with plenty of bushwalking and hiking options for intrepid adventurers. Abseiling, rock climbing ascents rogaining, guided eco walks and much more are all available through the fantastic tour companies which provide adventuring opportunities in the area.
There are also three well-maintained trails through around the base of the mountain. The rest of the mountain is considered wilderness and is only recommended for experienced walkers with navigational skills.
Head to the Scenic Rim for an incredible outdoor experience. Mt Barney National Park is brimming with opportunities to relax, recuperate and reconnect with nature.
Tamborine Mountain is a fantastic location in South East Queensland, just an hour’s drive from Brisbane it’s a beautiful, secluded misty rainforest covered mountain in the Gold Coast hinterlands with a wealth of things to do, from market shopping to natural experiences to wineries and breweries and attractions.
Go on an outdoor adventure. Take to the skies in a Hot Air Balloon or get the wheels dirty on a 4WD adventure through some fantastic rainforest tracks.
Explore the beautiful rainforest of Tamborine Mountain on a walk to Cedar Creek Falls with views of waterfalls, cascades and rock pools in the lush green surrounds. You could explore the Witches falls Circuit which zig zags down the steep mountainside with great views out to Flinders Peak and Brisbane where you’ll come upon the fantastic Witches Falls.
Visit the Mount Tamborine Brewery, a fantastic architectural structure set on the mountainside. Experience decadent fresh meats and seafood and enjoy fantastic local wines and the freshly brewed craft beer.
Experience a romantic interlude at one of the fantastic cosy and secluded mountainside accommodation. There are log cabins, cottages and modern cabins tucked away to retreat to after catching a sunset at one of the great picnic spots or lookouts.
You could also visit one of the unique attractions, like the Rainforest Skywalk with it’s awe inspiring cable suspended walkway through the lush rainforest canopy, or Thunderbird Park where you can try your hand at Thunder Egg hunting, mini golf, laser tag and more. The Glow worm caves are a living spectacle that need to be seen to be believed, take a tour and discover the wonder of this natural phenomenon.
Shop to your hearts content along Gallery Walk. It’s a main street at the top of the mountain that’s super popular. Vibrantly coloured shops, art galleries, wineries, restaurants, cafes and stall of all shapes and sizes selling everything from local artwork, glass works, jewellery, antiques, cuckoo clocks, clothing and toy just to name a few. Indulge in homemade chocolates and sweets and taste some of the region’s local produce while you’re at it.
You have to visit the wonderful Botanic Gardens with it’s glorious 11 hectares of exotic gardens including a tranquil japanese garden, avenues of cherry blossom trees and abundant wildlife. You could also explore a private garden on the mountain, many of the properties have several acres of lush, fertile mountainside to their name and these magnificent gardens are often open to the public on weekends.
Crows Nest Falls National Park
Crows Nest Falls is a tranquil outback destination. Experience cascading gorges and a 20 metre waterfall surrounded by towering granite cliffs.
Crows Nest Falls National Park is a perfect place to getaway from the hustle and bustle.
It’s eucalypt forest and creekland environment attract a variety of wildlife, if you’re lucky you’ll see the rare and iconic platypus or the shy and cute bandicoot or the endangered rock wallaby.
Take to the many walking tracks of Crows nest Falls and enjoy the scenic views - head to Koonin Lookout for unparalleled vistas and perfect photo opportunities.You can also explore the deep gorge known as the Valley of Diamonds.
Just 56 kilometres north of Toowoomba, take the turnoff at the police station at Crows Nest on the New England Highway and continue on the sealed road for 6kms t0 reach the park.
Camp beneath the eucalypts in the small bush campground. It’s unpowered but there are pit toilets, wood barbecues and light amenities. Camping permits are required and fees apply.
Alternatively, you could simply plan a day trip and base yourself in some of the accommodation available around Crows Nest, Toowoomba or the Hampton or Ravensbourne areas.
The Koonin Lookout is an hour and a half walk, 4.5 km return. Head there for a bird’s eye view of the gorge (this is the Valley of Diamonds) and out over Ravensbourne.
Take the track to Crows Nest Falls itself via the Kauyoo Loop. This track includes The Cascades, the Kauyoo Pool and the Bottlebrush Pool and will take around one hour (2.7 km return). The Bottlebrush Pool is the ideal place to enjoy an swim and relax amongst the river she-oaks. The Kauyoo Pool offers shallow water and a small sandy beach.
Note - access to the Crows Nest Falls waterhole has been closed due to the dange posed by falling rocks.
It’s a remote outback location, so some things to remember. Bring your own water, or boil water collected in the park if used for consumption. Sunscreen and wet weather gear is advised, Queensland weather can turn sour fast. Sturdy walking shoes are needed, additionally, some parts of the walking tracks become very slippery when wet, as there are lichen covered stepping stones. Never dive or jump into the water holes as there may be submerged rocks and obey all signs - some areas are restricted for safety reasons.
"Crows Nest National Park Waterfall" by Tatters ❀, licensed under CC BY 2.0, sourced from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tgerus/2586421123
"Crows Nest National park Koonin Lookout" byTatters ❀, licensed under CC BY 2.0, sourced from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/tgerus/2587255010