The Goondiwindi region might be best known for a famous grey racehorse and booming cotton industry, but this border-hugging town and surrounds counts stunning river walks filled with art and sculpture, gorgeous gardens and peaceful wetlands in its natural bounty.
Venture 220 kilometres south-west of Toowoomba to wander the banks of the Macintyre River, explore birdlife in a botanic garden and transport yourself to the Mediterranean.
If you find yourself in Southern Queensland Country’s mighty south-west, mark these trails and make time to immerse yourself in the mother of all nature walks.
Walk on the wild side along the Goondiwindi River Walk
For an easy stroll, seek out this 3-kilometre trail that winds along the majestic tree-lined Macintyre River. Along the walk keep an eye out for some recent additions to the local art scene – this includes the Boat Ramp sculptures, the new bird loo and new artwork on the pump station.
If you like your nature with a serve of history, take the time to stop at various points of interest along the walkway and read the interpretive signs that detail the town’s history, culture and wildlife.
If you’re eager to get the adrenaline pumping, keep an eye out for exercise stations dotted along the walkway at Riddles Oval, McLean Street and Boyle Street.
Bird enthusiasts love this trail, which is sometimes referred to as the Macintyre River Walk, as along the way the prolific local birdlife likes to make itself known.
Spot birdlife in the Goondiwindi Botanic Gardens and Lake Coolmunda
Dreamed up by a WWII fighter pilot and keen field naturalist by the name of Cecil “Tiny” Cameron, the first trees were planted at the Goondiwindi Botanic Gardens in 1988. Since then, this 25-hectare community-run Botanic Garden has flourished into a prized local gem.
The garden is filled with hundreds of species of Australian trees, shrubs and grasses native to the Upper Darling Basin region. Keep an eye out for special plants like the wheel of native grasses, Aboriginal food and medicine plants and collection of saltbushes.
One of the best trails is the short, 1.5-kilometre loop around the central lake. In the middle of the five-hectare lagoon is a nesting island that attracts native wood ducks, pelicans and spoonbills to name a few. Keen birdwatchers should keep an eye out for some of the 152 bird species that have been sighted in the gardens.
Those with four-legged friends will be glad to hear that dogs are welcome to wander off leash along all trails.
Make a day of it and bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawns or food to grill on the free electric barbecues. On a hot summer’s day the lake is a popular spot for swimming, as is Lake Coolmunda at Inglewood (pictured) where walkers mix with water-skiiers and families enjoying a picnic.
Make tracks at the Goondiwindi Natural Heritage and Water Park
This 210-hectare recreational water park might be best known for its thrill-seeking, adrenaline-pumping water sports, but it also features half a dozen themed walkways that stretch across more than six kilometres.
If you don’t want to get your heart pounding while water skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing and boating, stick to solid ground and explore the diversity of mother nature on two legs.
The reserve blends man-made elements with the wetlands environment where short themed trails like the Waterbird Walk or Natural Fauna Trail will help you explore the unique ecosystem and spot birds and wildlife in their habitat.
Spectators will love the 2.3 kilometre Waterside Trail that follows the edge of the water-ski circuit, while those looking for serenity will prefer the 1 kilometre Bush Bird Trail.
Step into the Mediterranean at Inglewood Olive Walkway
You don’t need a passport to transport yourself to the Mediterranean. The perfect trail for daydreamers, wander the Inglewood Olive Walkway alongside the Macintyre Brook.
Choose to take the short 1.3 kilometre version, or complete the full 2.2 kilometre circuit. Along the trail learn local history with interpretive signs detailing historical events in the area. Keep an eye out for the Alan Cunningham monument, commemorating the man who named the Macintyre Brook in 1827.
Inglewood is Queensland’s best olive growing region, so pop down the road to Coolmunda Olives for a tasting and learn why scorching summers and cool winters make great olives. See if you can taste the difference between varieties like Spanish Arbequinas and Manzanillos, Greek Kalamatas and Cypriate Koronieki.
For more things to see and do in the Goondiwindi region, don’t miss these top 10 attractions.