If warm hospitality, country landscapes, quirky landmarks and fresh air sound like your ideal escape, pop Goondiwindi on your radar.
Located on the banks of the Macintyre River, this well-established border region is home to great fishing spots, lakes and camping reserves, plus there’s history to soak in, pubs to visit and street art to explore.
If you’ve got a weekend up your holiday sleave, here’s how to spend 48 hours in the Goondiwindi region.
9AM: Visit the Yelarbon Silos
The scale and beauty of the giant Yelarbon silo art mural (part of Australia’s mural trail) needs to be seen up close to be believed.
But don’t just take our word for it – ‘When the Rain Comes’ by Brightsiders took out gold for Best Rural Art at the 2020 Australian Street Art Awards.
Depicted is a young boy crouched at the edge of Yelarbon’s freshwater lagoon, releasing a paper boat constructed from historical newspaper clippings.
The artwork was designed to convey a sense of hope for the future, while taking cues from the area’s rich history. The artists say they were inspired by the local community’s resilience, strength and optimism.
11AM: Turn back time at the Texas Rabbit Works
Once upon a time rabbits overran these parts in plague-like proportions, causing havoc and ruining crops.
The Texas Rabbit Works was built in 1928 and quickly became a major business in the area, processing 6000 rabbits a day between 1930 and 1960, giving locals profitable work during the great depression.
Now the building is the last remaining feral rabbit works in Australia and the largely intact space will teach you everything you didn’t know about Australia’s struggle to control the rabbit plague and the rabbit export industry.
If it’s a Tuesday or Thursday, drop in before 2pm, or on Saturdays you have until 3pm to check out this slice of history.
1.30PM: Enjoy a pub meal at Victoria Hotel
On the heart of the main street lies the grand old black-and-white dame, better known as the Victoria Hotel.
This sturdy brick-and-timber hotel with criss-cross dark panels, white lattice, stained glass windows and a striking tower was built during the Queen Victoria era and adds an early colonial vibe to the town.
Pull up a barstool in the public bar to sink a schooner or two with the locals, and if you’re hungry pop into the recently refurbished family bistro to dine on hearty pub classics like a chicken schnitty or rump steak.
You’ll soon see why it’s a worthy addition to this list of the best country pubs near Brisbane.
3PM: Tour Gundy’s Art Trails
Most public art here is outdoors, so if you’re in town, you may have already started to notice Gundy’s colourful street art, murals and sculptures.
A favourite spot is Bowen Lane, where large-scale artworks sit alongside smaller hidden pieces.
Follow Goondiwindi’s art trail guide (available at the Visitor Information Centre) plus keep an eager eye out for murals on the pubs and water tanks and wave to the unmissable 6.5-metre high “Big Cod” and oversized “Coat of Arms”.
Of course, if you prefer to see art in a gallery setting the Goondiwindi and Texas art galleries offer regularly rotating exhibitions.
5PM: Cast off at Lake Coolmunda
There’s no better place to relax, enjoy the sunset, bird watch or cast a line than Lake Coolmunda.
The expansive lake is the ultimate nature escape, where you can simply switch off and enjoy a picnic by the banks, relax with a fishing line for the afternoon, or get your adrenaline racing with action-packed water sports.
If you’re enjoying the serenity and need a spot to sleep, book a campsite or cabin and fall asleep beneath starry skies to the sound of crickets.
OVERNIGHT: Camp your way across the region
Speaking of camping, BYO tent or campervan and set up for the night at one of 17 campgrounds in the Goondiwindi region.
8.30AM: Join a Gundy Cotton tour
From farm to fibre to fabric, see how cotton is turned from a raw material into your t-shirt on this 3.5-hour tour.
Go behind the scenes with a local who will show you town sights before touring a 2,500-acre working cotton farm.
Hear about the history of cotton production in Australia, see the machines used and learn about innovative ways the town captures, uses and recycles precious water needed for farming.
Kicking off at 8.30am, the tour includes morning tea of locally baked goods at the Customs House Museum before ending at the Goondiwindi Cotton store where you can see the high-quality final product in its finished form.
AFTERNOON: At leisure
Take the afternoon at your speed and choose your adventure from the below three options. Our tip is if there’s a race meet on, don’t miss it.
From the clear but rocky upper reach of the Dumaresq River to the muddy waters of the lower Macintyre, Goondiwindi is a fishing haven.
Take your pick of creeks, lagoons and Coolmunda Dam and toss out a line to try your luck catching Murray River Cod, Golden Perch, Freshwater Catfish, Spangled Perch and Silver Perch.
The Goondiwindi Fishing Guide (available at the Goondiwindi Visitor Information Centre) will help you find where to fish and perhaps even more importantly, where not to, as well as where to launch your boat.
Pencil in a race day
Gunsynd the ‘Goondiwindi Grey’ put the town on the map when he placed in the 1972 Melbourne Cup – and thanks to the champion Australian thoroughbred racehorse, the region is still horseracing mad.
There’s nothing like the energy of a race day to get to know the local community and Goondiwindi Race Club puts on an extensive racing calendar each year.
Pencil in any race meets in Goondiwindi, Talwood and Texas that fall during your visit.
If you miss race day, there’s still the Gunsynd Museum to learn more about the crowd-favourite racehorse.
Tour the region’s local museums
If you like museums that push the envelope further than antiquities locked up behind glass, Gundy region has the museums for you.
Why not check out the Australian Tobacco Museum in Inglewood, which documents the industry there until the 1960s?
Or maybe Customs House Museum, a restored pre-federation border point that displays historical artefacts, items of yesteryear and information about the Gundy region’s history is more you style.
The nearby town of Texas has the Heritage Centre and Tobacco Museum, which features a mini shearing shed, gaol and stocks, blacksmith shop, post office store, farm shed, and a comprehensive Tobacco Museum as well.
Looking for more things to see and do in Gundy?