If you’ve been there, done that, and you’re looking for a change from your coastal holiday, there’s a new destination in Queensland’s south-east corner you should put on your to-visit list, the South Burnett.
Set in the foothills of the ancient Bunya Mountains, the South Burnett region plays home to Queensland’s youngest wine region and a hinterland that begs for a weekend’s worth of discovery.
If you’re headed west for the weekend ahead, get to know what’s in store with this guide.
1. Pay a visit to Lake Boondooma
If your idea of a weekend well spent involves a picnic in a scenic setting, pack your basket and point your bonnet to Lake Boondooma, near Proston in the South Burnett.
The dam sits on the Boyne River, offering up 2500 acres of surface area, guaranteeing ample space to soak in the lake’s serenity.
Aside from day-trippers coming to make use of the picnic facilities, Boondooma Dam is a moth to a water sport lover’s flame – be that angling, swimming, sailing or water skiing.
If Boondooma Dam is already sounding more than a day out destination to you, you’ll be happy to know there are also self-contained cabins, caravan sites and camping available by the lake to turn it into the base for an overnight adventure.
2. Do the South Burnett Wine Trail
If you’ve read this post, Queensland’s oldest wine region will need no introduction. But if you’re wondering what’s so special about the wine scene north-west of Brisbane, you’re in for a treat with a self-guided trail that leads you to the many award winning cellar doors scattered across the region.
With a winemaking knowledge brought to the region by the early German settlers more than 100 years ago and the commercialization that came in the early nineties, the South Burnett region now boasts both size and quality, with the regions trophy cabinets holding a Halliday 5 star rating for Clovely Estate and Moffatdale Ridge recently receiving the trophy for Qld’s best white wine and a huge gold medal haul at the Hong Kong International earlier this year to name a few.
3. Stop by the Kingaroy Peanut Van
If the heritage-listed peanut silos as you enter Kingaroy town weren’t giveaway enough, you’re in peanut country now.
For a sample of Kingaroy’s most famous salty snack, pop by the Peanut Van for a bag of their famous nuts which range in flavours from classic salt-roasted varieties to the sweet and seriously morish salted caramel.
Kingaroy Peanut Van have their peanut production down to a fine art, having packaged the product since 1969, selling them first from their 4610 home base before extending to online for distribution across Australia.
Of course, if you’re more into the history of peanuts than just eating them, it’s worth paying a visit to the Kingaroy Heritage Museum where you can learn about the town’s agricultural history.
4. Ride the rails of the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
This destination’s discovery is well suited to two wheels rather than two feet, with the rail trails of the South Burnett providing the perfect day trip for your peloton.
Choose your trail based on your fitness level as you work your way up to Australia’s longest rail trail, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail which winds its way through the countryside for 161km.
This joins the Link Trail from Yarraman to Kingaroy (55km) and onto the Kingaroy/Kilkivan Rail Trail (89 km) which has 44 km of sealed trail.This creates an exciting bush cycling holiday of 315 km from Ipswich to Kilkivan! Start and finish wherever you like and you will be catered for!
5. Cast off at Bjelke-Petersen Dam
BYOBB is not a Simpsons quote but a way of life at the Bjelke-Petersen Dam, because you’ll want to BYO your own boat and bait.
Holding 1,450,000 megalitres of water, there’s no shortage of space to drop a line. That is, provided you have a permit to fish this freshwater hot spot.
Cast off for the chance to reel in Golden Perch (or Yellowbelly), Australian Bass and Silver Perch. If you’re a fan of Red Claw, you’ll be happy to know, no permit is required for Australia’s native crayfish.
6. Walk on the wild side at the Bunya Mountains
It’s not every day you get to take a walk through the remains of an old volcano, but a visit to the Bunya Mountains will have you traipsing over a landscape etched by molten lava, over 30 million years ago.
The journey to the Bunya Mountains is as much a part of the adventure, as you wind your way on narrow roads until you reach the summit 1100m above sea-level.
Your reward awaits – the second oldest national park in Queensland which is best explored on foot among its 35km of walking trails that meander among it.
Before you set off to explore the oldest stand of Bunya Pines in the world, check out this guide with everything you need to know before you go.
7. Visit Booie Range
For stunning scenery, pay a visit to Booie Range which takes in part of the range to Kingaroy and the other to Nanango.
Standing 600m above sea-level, the range allows for expansive views north towards Gympie, Coolum and Kenilworth.
If you’re wanting to get a lay of the South Burnett land, consider the range your very own topography map with the best views from the Kingaroy/Barkers Creek Road.
8. Bite into the region’s best bakeries
Both establishments draw a crowd now that word has gotten out about their tasty morsels.
If it’s a meat pie on your bakery bucket list, you’ll want to visit the Blackbutt Bakery whose pastry parcels will change the way you think about chunky steak again.
Want to know what’s under the hood of your meaty meal – the Big Mack comes complete with two all-beef patties, special sauce, cheese, onions and pickles, the Roo Ragu is filled with kangaroo fillet in shiraz gravy and Jack’s Ribs are packed with slow cooked pork spare ribs in a Jack Daniel’s-infused sauce.
If you’ve got a hankering for something sweeter more than savoury, you’ll want the Goomeri bakery whose baker gives a nod to France with patisserie-style goodies.
We have some amazing bakeries in our region with each town having their own unique take on the humble meat pie. (Murgon Bakery, Bakers Heaven Kingaroy, Kingaroy Bakery, Windmill Bakery Kingaroy, Nanango Country Bakehouse, Bake My Day Nanango, Nanango Pie Van, Yarraman Bakery, Blackbutt Bakery, Goomeri Bakery.)
For more places to get your hands on baked goodies, we’ve rounded up our favourite Southern Queensland Country bakeries over here.
9. Wander through a lavender farm
Tasmania and Provence might be synonymous with lavender farms, but the South Burnett has its own version, Pottique Lavender Farm.
Not just any lavender farm, Pottique Lavender Farm is one that plays host to the largest lavender shop in Australia, stocking lavender products from across the country.
While it’s free to visit this lavender farm (note: open weekends from 10am), you’ll want to bring your wallet for the gift store and if you plan on sampling their lavender scones, lavender tea or lavender cheese.
10. See stars at the Kingaroy Observatory
Where there’s limited light pollution, there’s a star show to be found, and Kingaroy Observatory connects you with what’s happening in the galaxy.
With the aid of powerful telescopes, capable of magnifying up to 800 times, and your expert host and astronomer, James Barclay, you’ll discover the magic of the night sky.
Across two hours, he’ll take you through a laser-guided tour and interpret what you can see through the telescope whether that be the details of Mars, Jupiter, Rings of Saturn, Moon craters, Binary Stars, Nebula, Galaxies or star clusters.
For the maximum star power, try to time your tip for autumn, winter or spring when the skies have less cloud than summer.