When it comes to hamlets in Southern Queensland Country, Ravensbourne packs a punch with its own national park and leafy neighbours – think Crows Nest, Hampton and Highfields.
A short 40 kilometres north-east of Queensland’s largest inland city, Toowoomba, it offers a country escape less than 30 minutes’ drive from big-smoke amenities.
With art, culture and history adventures coupled with nature and food experiences, get to know Ravensbourne and its surrounds with this guide.
1. Step it out through its national parks
With a national park located less than five kilometres from the town’s main street, you’ll want to pack a pair of walking shoes for your visit.
Head to Ravensbourne National Park and step-it-out along one of the four walking trails ranging from a 500-metre circuit to 6.2 kilometres return.
Explore the vines, ferns and elkhorns that thrive along the eastern face of the Great Dividing Range.
With over 35 mammals calling this region home, keep your eyes alert for red-neck pademelons and swamp wallabies darting along the forest floor.
Extend your nature adventure and navigate your way to Crows Nest National Park, a short 32 kilometres’ drive away.
In contrast to Ravensbourne’s dense foliage, Crows Nest offers creek beds, granite outcrops and a waterfall to explore – take time to see if you can spot the platypus who reside in these permanent watering holes.
Learn more about these national parks, here.
2. Check out the views
When a region hugs the Great Dividing Range, it’s worth finding an elevated position to take in the surrounding valley and farmland views.
If you’ve put Ravensbourne National Park on your itinerary, you’ll find Gus Beutels Lookout near the Cedar Block day-use area.
Pack snacks or BYO lunch and throw down the picnic blanket to enjoy with your panoramic views towards Brisbane, the Lockyer Valley and the Scenic Rim.
Psst – for more perfect picnic places, get your basket ready and read this post.
3. Stay in boutique accommodation
Swap your standard accommodation for a chalet, cottage or lodge during this Southern Queensland Country stay.
Choose from a mountain retreat bordering Ravensbourne National Park to have bushwalking and walking trails on your doorstep or a lakeside polehouse in a small hidden valley for a secluded escape.
If you prefer to have city-like amenities close by, with a short 50-kilometre commute, overnight in Toowoomba and enjoy Ravensbourne and its surrounds by day.
4. Sample the region’s produce
As one of Queensland’s food bowl regions and major avocado producers, you’ll want to seek out the local produce stalls and markets to sample this popular fruit.
Head to Kate’s Corner – a brightly painted shed on the corner of Esk-Hampton Road and Blanck Road – which transforms into a mini farmer’s market on weekends.
Plan your visit to this roadside stall for breakfast and sample local bread and pastries from the local baker or breakfast treats from the food truck.
While the stalls and farmers markets are great for stocking up on fresh produce to take home with you, to taste the local produce served to you on a plate, book a table at Rosalie House Estate Winery and Restaurant.
This small vineyard and restaurant serve lunch, dinner, tapas and grazing boards on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Located a short 30 minutes’ drive from Ravensbourne in the Lilyvale Valley in Meringandan, plan your visit for late afternoon or early evening to enjoy sundowners on the outdoor deck as the sun sets across the valley.
5. Relax lakeside at Lake Cressbrook
Pack your boat, kayak or rod and reel for a visit to this popular water spot.
Lake Cressbrook may be best known for its water-based activities, but it also offers on-land activities too, including a bushwalking trail that hugs the water line and is frequented by koalas, kangaroos and water birds.
Fill the esky and bring the picnic blanket to relax on the grass under the shade of a grey gum or ironbark tree.
6. Explore the local art and culture
While this small pocket of Southern Queensland Country offers plenty of outdoor nature-based activities, there’s also plenty of art, craft and culture to explore.
Stop by the Crows Nest Community Arts and Crafts, where you’ll find local hand made items – from watercolour bookmarks to paintings and art installations.
With over 40 artisans showcasing and selling their work, pick up a souvenier and support the local community during your trip.
If you’re visiting on a Sunday, be sure to stop by the recently opened High Light Art Gallery run by artist Bruce Rodger whose oil paintings are inspired by his country surroundings.
7. Quench your thirst
Did you know Crows Nest Soft Drinks are one of the oldest boutique soft drink and syrup manufacturers in Australia?
Established in 1903, Crows Nest Soft Drinks pride themselves on producing classic flavours, such as Creaming Soda, Double Sarsaparilla and Lemon Squash.
Stop by the local Crows Nest storefront to sample close to 20 preservative-free sodas, as well as milkshake flavours and ice cream toppings.
If you prefer to wet your whistle with something a little stronger (read: wine), stop by the Cellar Door at Bunnyconnellen.
Pack the picnic blanket and relax on the lawn of this winery and olive grove as you sample their vino and local produce.
Hosting live music regularly, make sure you plan ahead to see what’s on during your visit.
8. Learn about the region’s history
Turn the pages of history with a visit to one of the region’s historical villages.
Visit Highfields Pioneer Village to see a chapel built in 1909, fire brigade memorabilia from 1877 and a restored slab cottage built in 1900.
Plan your visit for the last Sunday of the month to experience the village at locomotive speed, in the 11-metre, three-carriage, miniature steam train named Myrtle May.
For more historic railway history, visit Spring Bluff Historic Railway Station, packing a picnic blanket to enjoy the floral surroundings.
Add a second stop to your itinerary and visit Crows Nest Historical Village to see the birthplace of Ray White Real Estate along with an old school house and 21 buildings showcasing the local district from yesteryear.
9. Go off-road
Calling all four-wheel-drive enthusiasts.
Choose from one of the seven 4WD trails from Hampton through Ravensbourne National Park, Cressbrook Dam, Blackbutt or Gatton (to name a few).
Explore the local roads, including gravel and formed earth sections as you take in the sights along creeks, dams and towering gum trees.
Make sure you stop by the local Visitor Information Centre and grab a drive trail map. With GPS navigation sometimes unreliable, take it from us, it’s best to follow printed directions for your journey.
10. Go birding
With over 100 species of birds calling Ravensbourne National Park home, make sure you pack your binoculars for this trip.
Grab a Bird Trails of the Crows Nest District guide from the Hampton Visitor Information Centre to help identify the local bird calls at the regions top twitching spots.
Let your eyes and ears guide you as you discover pigeons, lorikeets and black cockatoos in the trees and along the forest floor.