Get a taste of country life on a day trip to Jimbour and Bell in the Western Downs, just a short drive from Toowoomba or the Bunya Mountains.

 

Jimbour House

Just 25 minutes’ drive from Dalby you’ll find one of Australia’s most gracious historical homes, Jimbour House, built in 1877 for the princely sum of £30,000.

An oasis of grandeur amongst the surrounding fields, the stunning two-storey sandstone mansion remains a private residence, with its interior open only for special events. However, you’re welcome to stroll through the grounds and magnificent gardens which are open daily.

Pop a gold coin in the box upon entry, grab a Living History Walk brochure and follow the trail around the property to bring this unexpected treasure’s colourful heritage to life. The site includes a chapel built in 1868, jacaranda avenue, and an impressive kitchen garden with poultry run.

Insider Tip: Pack a rug, some cushions, a book and a picnic and laze away the afternoon under the shady giant fig trees.

 

Rusty’s Spice Market

You can’t miss Rusty’s – its colourful façade sits pretty on the main street of the tiny country town of Bell, a short skip from Jimbour, in the foothills of the Bunya Mountains.

Housed in the old Bell Butcher Shop, it’s a true spice market offering sauces, fermented mustards, condiments, ghee, and – you guessed it – wonderfully exotic spices and curries. Prepare for a delightful assault on your senses, and take the opportunity to stock up on a wide range of local creations such as jams, soaps, honey, olives, chutneys and seasonal goods.

 

Pip ‘n’ Cherries

Before you leave Bell, sample the coffee and homestyle cake at Pips’n’Cherries in the old Freemason’s Hall on the Bunya Highway.

This little café combines delicious country fare with eclectic pieces of vintage furniture and bric-a-brac that conjure up memories of yesteryear. Wander around the building to discover trinkets and curiosities around every corner, with plenty of comfy places to relax, both inside and in the garden.

The extensive menu features hearty country-style portions and will keep you happy at breakfast, morning tea and lunch.

 

Further afield: Jondaryan Woolshed

If you’re on the hunt for more country action, head a little further afield into the Darling Downs region to explore heritage-listed Jondaryan Woolshed.

One of the oldest and largest woolsheds in Australia, Jondaryan celebrated 160 years in 2019. Step back in time as you take a self-guided tour to explore the 30 buildings that make up the historical museum, ranging from a school and hall, to a jail and cheese factory. Mini train rides also run on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

Rustic cabins, self-contained cottages, camping and van sites are on offer if you’d like to take your time and you can even book the property for a romantic country wedding celebration.

By Gemma from Our Coast Life