By Gemma from Our Coast Life
Listen up! If you’re craving an escape that’s all about unwinding, wallabies and whisky, we’ve got the trip for you.
Part of the Great Dividing Range, the Bunya Mountains is the ideal short break that’s all about getting back to nature without missing out on any creature comforts.
The drive promises fresh country air, delicious food, one of the most beautiful sections of road around, and the highest whisky bar in the country.
Make an early start and head to Kingaroy from Brisbane (3 hr drive), from the Sunshine Coast (2 hr 45 min drive) or the Gold Coast (3.5 hr drive). Don’t forget to stop at the iconic Peanut Van for some local peanuts that come in a variety of tasty flavours. Before leaving Kingaroy, take a look around the Heritage Museum – it’s full of fascinating stories about the local peanut industry. Or if you’re a lavender lover, pop into Pottique Lavender Farm for delicious lavender scones and a pot of lavender infused tea.
Now it’s time to head to the Bunyas, take the road to Dalby but don’t forget to turn left at the Bunya Mountains sign. Prepare yourself for a stunning drive!
The road weaves through farm and bushland, but as the mountains begin to rise the road narrows and becomes a stunning game of twists and turns. Just make sure to take your time, as wallabies often graze beside the road.
Arriving in Dandabah village in the heart of the Bunya Mountains, enjoy a beef and bunya nut pie at Poppies on the Hill Café while you make friends with the local wallabies who graze on the surrounding grassland.
Check into your accommodation and soak up the peace and tranquillity of the ancient Bunya pines and surrounding rainforest. But make sure to wander your way up to Fishers Lookout in time for sunset and take in the panoramic view from elevated viewing platform.
You can buy basic self-catering supplies from The Store or make a booking for dinner at The Bunyas Tavern. While you’re there, make sure to visit Shackleton’s Whisky Bar, which is Australia’s highest whisky bar with 116 whiskies to tantalise your taste buds.
Early risers will love watching the sun rise over the panoramic mountain scenery while listening to a chorus of local birdlife (the Bunyas is home to more than 121 species of beautiful birds).
After breakfast, set off on the 4km Scenic Circuit Track for a taste of everything the Bunya Mountains has to offer. Enjoy spotting tadpoles of the giant barred frog in the ponds of Saddletree Creek, and walking straight through the middle of a giant strangler fig. If you’re quiet, you might also spot swamp wallabies and red-necked pademelons which prefer the cover of the rainforest.
Enjoy lunch at either The Bunyas Café or Poppies on the Hill Café, before making your way to The Store in the afternoon where you’ll likely encounter brightly coloured king parrots and crimson rosellas.
For $5 you can pick up a tray of seed to get up close and personal to these magnificent wild birds.
Make your way back up to Fishers Lookout in time for sunset, but this time stick around for a little while. From October to November fireflies can be seen for about an hour at dusk. Slowly wander down Bunya Mountains Road, taking a side trip through Rifle Bird Park to see the beetles’ twinkling lights.
After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll have the energy to take on another of the Bunya Mountains bushwalks. There’s plenty to choose from, but the 5.4km Barkers Creek Lookout Trail is a popular choice, as it passes Paradise Falls, Little Falls, Big Falls and offers soaring views from the Big Falls and Barkers Creek lookouts.
Alternatively, enjoy a taste of yesteryear by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. Early Europeans used bullock and horse teams to harvest the red cedar and other rainforest timbers from the Bunya Mountains. Today you can enjoy a ride in a wooden carriage, as Clydesdales leisurely guide you through the local streets and bushland. Tour options range from 10 minutes to the two-hour option which includes a journey down an old logging track before tasting billy tea, damper and roasted Bunya nuts around a campfire.
The Bunyas Markets are also held the last Sunday of every month with a wide range of local produce, arts and crafts.
Whichever final activity you choose, plan to leave the Bunyas by 3pm so you arrive home by nightfall relaxed and refreshed.