The temperature might be dropping, but when it comes to things to see and do, it’s only heating up in the Western Downs.
It’s a balancing act of nature and nurture, as cooler days are all about exploring the great outdoors, while nights are best spent curled up around a fire, wine, whiskey, or hot chocolate in hand.
If you’re looking for a winter like this, start loading up your favourite playlist and set the GPS to Western Downs, where the country views start just 3.5 hours drive from Brisbane.
Let us show you around.
1. Take a Scenic Drive
If your idea of happiness is planning a road trip to somewhere new, we know just the route – Sunshine Coast to Western Downs.
This journey covers the best of the Western Downs, which is no mean feat, considering the region is only just smaller than Switzerland by land size.
No matter which direction you embrace this journey, this road trip promises history, heritage, and a whole lot of country hospitality as you take this circuit through Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles, Condamine, and Tara.
2. Explore the Townships of Jimbour and Bell
Enjoy the stately gardens of Jimbour House under clear blue winter skies, as you explore this jewel in the Western Downs’ crown.
This blue-stone manor house, is as spectacular as the manicured gardens it sits within, shaded by ancient Moreton Bay figs, Queen palms and Douglas firs.
Make your day’s exploration progressive, going from garden to garden, swapping Jimbour for the neighbouring town of Bell where you’ll find the Bell Biblical Gardens.
Rumoured to be one of the only biblical gardens in the world, enjoy morning tea set to the backdrop of the Our Lady Help of Christians Catholic Church.
If you’re up for something more substantial to sate your exploring hunger, enjoy lunch at The Bun Hotel, 15 minutes down the country road.
3. Take a Pub Crawl
If you like your beers cold and hospitality warm, there’s no better way to get a taste of a region than a meal in a country pub.
Lucky for you, the Western Downs is full of them – and makes for the ideal place for a progressive pub crawl (responsibly, of course).
Whether you’ve got a hard-earned thirst, hankering for a pub feed or just want to meet the locals, the chances are good to find all three when you know where to go.
If you’re looking for a good time and a long time, drop your pin on the “Pink Pub” aka the Dulacca Hotel, where you can start with warm food and cold drinks, before having a go at bowls, soaking up the scenery, before setting up for the night in the caravan park out the back.
For a slice of history served with your schooner, The Bun Pub, wears its past on its sleeve – having been in the business of pouring beers since 1911.
Alternatively, crack a coldie in one of Queensland’s oldest country pubs and pull up at the Warra Hotel, whose tin and timber dates to 1876.
4. Sleep Under the Stars Bunya Mountains
Did you know winter is milky way season? With fewer clouds and mostly clear nights, there’s no better time of the year to swap nights spent in front of the screen for evenings under the stars.
If you’re looking for the ultimate stargazing location, climb 1135m above sea level to the Bunya Mountains and turn back the sheets at one of these places to stay.
If you’ve already explored Queensland’s second oldest national park on two feet, why not mix up your next adventure by tackling it on two wheels?
The Bunya Mountains will soon be home to approximately 28km of mountain biking trails, ranging in length from 1.4km to 7.8km and beginner grade through to advanced.
Enjoy the milder winter temperatures putting pedal to the metal on one of the six loops, which have been designed to tread lightly on the iconic scenery.
5. Pitch the Tent somewhere with a firepit
Pack the car, load the tent and don’t skimp on the hot chocolate and marshmallows, because the Western Downs camping scene is not short on fire pits.
In fact, five of its crowd-favourite campgrounds, underwent major upgrades in 2021 to add even more creature comforts to nurture you in nature.
At Caliguel Lagoon, Chinchilla Weir, Waterloo Environmental Park, Lake Broadwater, and Tara Lagoon you can expect new amenity blocks, electric BBQs, camp kitchens and communal firepits to warm your winter stay.
6.Warm the Body and Nurture the Soul at These Hideaways
Who said holidays need to be all go, go, go?
Slow down and savour the season, sinking into one of the many charming accommodation options across the region with a good book, a bottle of your favourite wine and a crossword or two.
For accommodation where the indoors is just as inviting as what’s outdoors, check into the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre, Jubri’s Hideaway, Laurels of Chinchilla, Art’s Hut or Bell Bijou.
7. Warm up with Pioneering History
Discover the history of the Western Downs with a guided tour with a warm, friendly local at the Miles Historical Village Museum.
This collection of over 30 buildings and countless displays is like opening pandoras box from the moment you cross the threshold.
Looks can be deceiving – this museum expands like Mary Poppins Bag on the inside – covering everything from a shell collection to war museum, lapidary display and streetscape that celebrates yesteryear.