If you know your local streets, parklands and walking tracks like the back of your hand, it’s time to drop your location pin a little further afield in Southern Queensland Country.
While you’ll need to clock up a few bitumen miles in the car before starting your walking adventure, there’s national parks, farmlands and purpose-built trails in nature reserves to explore once you cross the Great Dividing Range.
Get your activewear and walking shoes ready and put these eight walks on your itinerary.
1. Granite Arch, Girraween National Park
Given the fact ‘Girraween’ translates to ‘place of flowers’, it pays to plan a visit to this national park when the flowers are blooming.
Girraween National Park transforms every season, but if you visit in spring you’ll see native wildflowers in bloom along with the granite boulders receiving a wash of gold from flowering wattle.
While the 7.5-metre-high, 6-metre-wide Insta-worthy Balancing Rock may be best known by visitors to Girraween, there’s another precariously balancing rock worth visiting along the Granite Arch Walk.
Follow the Grade 3, 1.6-kilometre circuit from Bald Rock Creek day-use area to pass through the natural stone archway formed by balancing boulders.
Discover the history of the granite formation through the interpretive signs, as you keep an eye out for local birdlife and wildlife making the most of the sunshine on the forest floor.
Learn more about Girraween National Park before you set off with this guide.
Getting there from Brisbane: 256 kilometres (via Warwick), along National Highway 15.
2. Spring Creek Mountain Trail, Killarney
Why set off for just one walk, when you can make a long weekend of it?
Join a guided walk and leave the logistics of meals, accommodation and navigation to the team at Horizon Guides during the three-day, two-night adventure along the Spring Creek Mountain Trail.
The 35-kilometre walk follows the Darling Downs – Moreton Rabbit Board Fence as you trek towards the foothills of Wilson’s Peak where you’ll overnight at local group accommodation, surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Main Range Rainforest.
Getting there from Brisbane: 88 kilometres to Boonah to join the tour (via Ipswich), along State Route 93.
3. Bunya Mountains National Park, Bunya Mountains
Surround yourself with towering Bunya Pines, panoramic views and native flora and fauna in the Bunya Mountains.
With nine walking trails in Bunya Mountains National Park to choose from, ranging from 500 metres to 10 kilometres – there’s a trail to suit any fitness ability and holiday timeframe.
Take an easy one-hour stroll along the Scenic Circuit to explore Festoon Falls and Pine Gorge Lookout or step-it-out from Cherry Plain Burton Wells for up to four hours to see bright yellow King Orchards emerge when in season.
Stop by the Visitor Information Centre for a full list of trails and distances to help plan your walking adventure.
If you want to tackle more than one trail, extend your stay with an overnight following this guide.
Getting there from Brisbane: 237 kilometres (via Ipswich and Toowoomba), along the Warrego Highway and A2 or (via Mount Glorius and Blackbutt) along the D’Aguilar Highway.
4. Picnic Point, Toowoomba
For the ultimate walking adventure, set off early to catch a sunrise over Picnic Point Lookout and Parkland.
Start your morning walk from Lions Park and follow the Grade 3 trail for two kilometres to the escarpment to catch the views from across the Lockyer Valley and Table Top Mountain.
With most of the trail downhill towards the viewing point, expect to work the quads, thighs and hamstrings as you ascend back to your starting point.
For an easier walk, choose the Fantail Walk (3.2 kilometres return) which follows the base of Table Top Mountain from Picnic Point.
Extend your walking time further and combine the Firetrail Walk and Fantail Walk with the connecting Picnic Point Bridle Trail.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite during your morning walk, hit up one of these cafes for breakfast in Toowoomba. After all, you’ve earnt it.
Getting there from Brisbane: Drive 128 kilometres (via Ipswich) along the Warrego Highway and A2.
5. Ravensbourne National Park, Ravensbourne
Follow your nose to Ravensbourne National Park to breathe in the fresh eucalypt forest air during your next weekend walk.
Choose from one of the four walking trails, ranging from a 500-metre circuit to 6.2 kilometres return, exploring the ferns, vines and rainforest environment.
Reward yourself with a picnic under the shade of the giant fig trees at Gus Beutel Lookout.
If you needed a little extra encouragement, you could also turn your walk into a romantic weekend away with the help of this guide.
Getting there from Brisbane: Drive 137 kilometres (via Ipswich) along the Warrego Highway and A2.
6. Mount Peel Bushland Park, Toowoomba
For a walking adventure with a short commute (less than seven kilometres from Toowoomba CBD), head to Mount Peel Bushland Park.
Stretching more than 120-hectares, the purpose-built trails provide the perfect escape for when you’re short on travel time.
Choose from one of the eight trails ranging from 395 metres (return) to over six kilometres.
Explore the native vegetation and keep your eyes and ears alert for locals who call this park home – from kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas to local birdlife.
Combine your walk with a stay in Queensland’s largest inland city following this guide.
Getting there from Brisbane: Drive 136 kilometres (via Ipswich) along the Warrego Highway and A2 to Drayton.
7. Mount Basalt Reserve, Millmerran
Prepare for a geological history lesson as you explore rare volcanic formations at Mount Basalt Reserve.
Follow the Grade 4, 559 metres (return) circuit trail to the summit, where you can enjoy panoramic views of farmland below and towards the Milmerran Power Station – be prepared for a bit of rock scrambling across basalt columns as you track towards the summit.
Extend your day trip by adding one of these things to your itinerary while in the region.
Getting there from Brisbane: Drive 244 kilometres (via Allora, National Highway 15) or 233 kilometres (via Toowoomba and State Route 83).
8. Crows Nest National Park, Crows Nest
Wildlife lovers – put this one on your to-walk list.
Search for platypus in the creeks or spot brush-tailed rock wallabies through the eucalypt forest as you explore Crows Nest National Park.
Perfect for a warm spring day, make sure you wear your swimmers to cool off in one of the creeks and waterholes.
Getting there from Brisbane: Drive 157 Kilometres (via Fernvale and Esk) along A17 and State Route 81.