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What do you get when you combine two national parks, Queensland’s wine region and largest inland city with 700 kilometres on the bitumen? A road trip that will have your Instagram followers double-tapping with envy.

Whether you spread the journey over a long weekend or a week – this national park trail is guaranteed to ignite all five senses.

What are you waiting for? Get ready to experience the Girraween National Park and Bunya Mountains with this guide.

Brisbane to Girraween National Park

Person standing next to granite boulder, looking out at another granite mountain.

Balancing Rock, Girraween National Park, Southern Downs & Granite Belt

Pack the hiking boots, activewear, sense of adventure and jump in the car for your first overnighter on this national park trail, at Girraween National Park.

Navigate your way to Girraween National Park, 250 kilometres south-west of Brisbane, taking you up over the Range through Cunninghams Gap, or ‘The Gap’ as it’s known to locals. Make a stop at the top and take a hike on one of 7 tracks that connect to this Main Range National Park trailhead. If you've time, Falls Drive is well worth the diversion to get your fix of panoramic views and majestic waterfalls including the famed Queen Mary Falls, also part of Main Range National Park. Then, keep heading south toward Girraween, near Ballandean and set up camp at one of the two camping grounds or check-in to a cabin or cottage in nearby Stanthorpe.

If you’re short on time and have to choose just one hike to tackle at Girraween National Park, head to the Bald Creek day-use area and set off along The Pyramid track to tick off Girraween’s most popular attraction, Balancing Rock.

Couple on top of a mountain next to a large boulder staring into the distance.

Balancing Rock, Girraween National Park, Southern Downs & Granite Belt

Make sure you snap your obligatory photo holding up the 10-tonne boulder balancing on a one-metre base as you take in views of Girraween’s other peaks.

While Balancing Rock might win the popularity contest over the other trails, there’s plenty more to explore throughout this national park – from waterfalls and rock pools to open fields filled with wildflowers in spring.

If you’ve got a few days up your sleeve, stop by the Visitor Information Centre at the day-use area to get a lay of the land and ask a local for their tips on other trails to explore.

Whether you’re visiting during summer or winter, make sure you come prepared for the elements of this granite playground – you’ll need sun protection in summer and warm clothing in winter with suitable footwear to navigate the boulders.

Close up of large wine barrels lying on their side.

The Barrelroom Wine Lounge, Ballandean Estate Wines, Southern Downs & Granite Belt

Set off early on your walk to ensure you’re back by lunchtime to graze on seasonal produce at The Barrelroom Wine Lounge at Queensland’s oldest winery – Ballandean Estate. Or stop for wood-fired pizza at Balancing Heart Vineyard accompanied by wines created by Australian winemaker of the year, Mike Hayes.

Regardless of whether you’re staying at one of the camping grounds or in Stanthorpe, you can’t leave without stopping by a cellar door or two during your stay.

Girraween National Park to Bunya Mountains

Aerial view of car driving along winding mountain road surrounded by green trees.

Bunya Mountains, Western Downs

While the destination for the 300-kilometre drive might be the Bunya Mountains, the journey along the way serves up a slice of history, arts, and culture.

Head north via Allora to see the childhood home of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers before continuing to Toowoomba – Queensland’s largest inland city – to stretch the legs, top up the caffeine levels and take in the city sights.

Save your lunch stop for the Farmers Arms Tavern, 20 kilometres past Toowoomba along the New England Highway in Cabarlah, and grab a steak sandwich, chicken parmi, or eye fillet from Queensland’s longest continually licensed pub.

Lady walking through store filled with arts and crafts, one side is open to flowerbed outside.

If you want to pick up supplies along the way, stop by the town of Hampton as you continue towards the Bunya Mountains to explore the local arts and craft stores and fill the boot with local produce from this Southern Queensland Country food bowl.

Once you arrive at the base of the Bunya Mountains, the stark difference between the two national parks instantly becomes apparent – from giant exposed granite boulders to dense rainforest and ancient Bunya Pines.

While camping is permitted at three different campsites, if you’re looking for more creature comforts, check into one of the cabins or chalets at the top of the mountain instead.

Set the alarm early to catch a sunrise across the region from one of the seven lookouts before stepping it out along the nine walking trails.

Silhouette of Bunya Pine at sunset.

Bunya Mountains, Western Downs

With 40 kilometres of trails to explore – ranging from 500 metres to 10 kilometres – stop by the Visitor Information Centre and grab a map to help plan your adventure.

Get up close with some of the Bunya Mountains noisiest residents – Australian King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas as you hold out a tray to feed them each morning or afternoon.

Kick back on the lawn outside the grocery store with a barista-made coffee and hang with the native kangaroos and wallabies that claim this stretch of grass each day.

Wind down from a day’s adventure at the Bunya café and bistro and prepare for the sunset show where the sky is blanketed by chocolate wattled bats.

Bunya Mountains to Brisbane

Depending on how much time you have, there are three options to get you home. Take the northern route back to Brisbane and travel along the D’Aguilar Highway via Blackbutt towards Caboolture.

Or, if your feet are ready for more, put Crows Nest in the GPS. Fill the tummy at My Little Blueberry before arriving at Crows Nest National Park, offering creek views, granite outcrops, and a waterfall this eucalypt forest is a joy for nature lovers. You may even spy a brush-tailed rock-wallaby or, if luck's in, a platypus.

If you prefer to take the 220-kilometre drive at a leisurely pace, explore the small country towns of Maidenwell, Yarraman, and Blackbutt along the way.

Stock up on locally made sauces and relishes from the Maidenwell Trading Post and grab a barista-made coffee for the road.

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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.