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Thanks to our region’s diverse landscape – from national parks and ancient rainforests to naturally occurring lakes and dams – there’s plenty of ways to keep cool in nature in Southern Queensland Country.

If you prefer to trade the outdoors with air-conditioned activities, we’ve got you covered too - with museums and cellar doors guaranteed to lower your body temperature.

Find out where to cool off this summer in Southern Queensland Country with this guide.

1. From the comfort of a picnic blanket

Prepare the sandwiches, dips and crackers and navigate your way to Picnic Point in Toowoomba.

Throw down your picnic blanket under one of the mature hoop pines or South Queensland kauri trees within the 160 acres of parkland and enjoy panoramic views of the Great Dividing Range and Lockyer Valley.

For an immersive nature escape, head to Ravensbourne National Park and enjoy a cool escape surrounded by rainforest vegetation.

If you’ve got a few extra days up your sleeve, replenish the picnic basket with local produce and work your way through these picnic spots in Southern Queensland Country.

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2. Walk under a canopy of ancient trees

Get your step count up in the oldest national park in Queensland with a visit to Bunya Mountains National Park.

Located 1100m above sea level, overlooking the Western Downs and South Burnett regions, you’ll feel an instant reprieve from the heat as you weave your way toward the mountain top.

There’s no shortage of shade on offer within the 11,700-hectare national park, thanks to the 600-year-old Bunya Pines standing 25 metres high.

Take things at your own pace exploring the Bunya Mountains on foot, meandering along part of the 40km network of walking trails.

Before you go, read everything you need to know about the Bunya Mountains National Park - from how to get there, what to do and what to expect during your cool mountain escape.

Bunya Family Walking

3. Chase waterfalls

Few things are as refreshing on a warm day as feeling the mist of a freshwater fall on your face and body.

Put a visit to Queen Mary Falls on your summer itinerary and enjoy the cool air created as the water cascades down the 40-metre-drop.

As Queen Mary Falls is the only thing allowed to make a splash at this location (read: swimming is prohibited), swap a swimming session with a coffee break at the aptly named Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park across the road.

Refuel with a burger and escape the midday sun or grab a cold drink or ice cream to refresh between walks.

If you’d prefer to explore a waterfall which ends with swimming, follow the Falls Drive to Browns Falls – one of the three waterfalls that make up the 80km stretch of scenic drive.

With only 600m separating you from the picnic area to the swimming hole, let the sound of the 15m high waterfall guide you to your next refreshing pitstop.


4. Enjoy a cold, crisp glass of white wine

Get to know Roussane, Alvarinho and Petit Manseng as you cool off along the Strange Bird Trail in Stanthorpe.

Perfect for escaping the midday heat as you hop from your airconditioned car to cellar door and back, we’d recommend you put aside a full day of wine tasting following these top eight wineries that includes a stop at the ‘King of Verdelho’ and one of Queensland’s best Fiano.

With one day dedicated to swirling through the region’s best wines, extend your stay for a long weekend to explore more with this guide to Stanthorpe and Granite Belt region.

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5. Explore the region’s history and heritage

Nothing says ‘cool’ more than an air-conditioned museum.

Plan a visit to the Queensland Transport Museum in Gatton and lower the body temperature as you walk through their display of vintage transport trucks – from cabs to trucks and fire engines.

With changing exhibitions year-round, it’s the perfect way to cool off in the country even if you’ve visited before.

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6. Make a splash in a local waterway, dam or lake

Pack your swimmers and get your hair wet in one of Southern Queensland Country’s waterholes.

Soak up views of the Great Dividing Range as you soak in the cool water of Lake Dyer, located on the banks of Laidley Creek. With bathroom and barbeque facilities, make sure you pack the esky and settle in for a full day by the water.

Splash about in the only natural lake in the Darling Downs at Lake Broadwater Conservation Park, 30km south-west of Dalby. As a naturally forming lake, make sure you check water levels with the local Visitor Information Centre before hitting the bitumen to this local waterway as water levels fluctuate with rain levels.

With the capacity to store 69,000 ML of water, head to Lake Coolmunda (aka Coolmunda Dam) for a refreshing dip 13 minutes’ drive from Inglewood in the Goondiwindi region. Stay for the weekend or week at the Lake Coolmunda Caravan Park to have this body of water on your doorstep each day.

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7. Tuck into a pub meal and coldie

Pull up a barstool and bring down the body temperature with a cold brew in one of Southern Queensland Country’s local pubs.

Spend the hottest part of the day with lunch and a coldie, and tick off another one of these seven country pubs in our region (of course, ensuring you have a designated driver to travel safely from pub to pub).

Looking for more inspiration for ways to cool off in Southern Queensland Country? Keep exploring with these blogs:

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Acknowledgement of Country

Southern Queensland Country Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands and waterways that run through these regions. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past, present and emerging.