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Meringandan

Meringandan sits amongst the valleys just off the New England Highway, between Toowoomba and Crows Nest, nestled at the gateway to Cooby Dam.

Meringandan and its neighbouring community, Meringandan West, are a quiet detour from the busy highway. The community has general supplies at the Meringandan News and General Store and it's only a short drive to Highfields for most other needs.

Water-based activities, picnic grounds and bush walking tracks make for a great day of family fun at Cooby Dam. Those who are adventurous will enjoy sailing, canoeing and windsurfing. Find a spot on the banks or launch a boat (electric motors only) for some great fishing. Barbecue facilities, bush walking and the children's playground will certainly keep the rest of the family busy.

Meringandan, Toowoomba Area
Queensland
Australia

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Ravensbourne National Park

Ravensbourne, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
For many years, Ravensbourne National Park was a traditional stop over for Aboriginal people on their way to and from bunya festivals in the Bunya Mountains. Today, visitors come to admire rainforest remnants, majestic Sydney blue gums and more than 80 bird species, including green catbirds and vulnerable black-breasted button-quail. Under the rainforest's dense canopy, orchids and elkhorns thrive. Picnic at either Blackbean or Cedar Block day-use area and explore the park's five short tracks (the longest is two hours). Near Cedar Block's self-guiding walk, Gus Beutel lookout gives panoramic views of the Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim. On other tracks, watch for red-tailed black-cockatoos in the she-oaks and listen for the ringing calls of paradise riflebirds. Lorikeets and fairy-wrens are also often seen. Bring wood to enjoy a barbecue at either picnic area. Stay at nearby Crows Nest National Park, at Cressbrook Dam or in nearby towns.

Crows Nest National Park

Crows Nest, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
In Crows Nest National Park, Crows Nest Creek winds through eucalypt forest and plunges into a steep granite gorge. Wildlife abounds among bloodwood and stringybark trees. Follow the creek to the Cascades and Crows Nest Falls, then to Koonin lookout for a spectacular view of the Valley of Diamonds. Have a bush picnic and watch for vulnerable brush-tailed rock-wallabies on the rocky cliffs. During the day, you might see rosellas and fantails. At night, you may spot a glider or a bandicoot. Book early to secure a campsite during public holidays.

Toowoomba Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat

Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
The Toowoomba Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat is a quiet place to relax and enjoy nature. It's a great place to have a picnic lunch overlooking the lakes. Take a stroll along the paved pathway. The habitat covers 7.6 hectares (19 acres), which is quite a small area to establish a diverse wetland. Environmental diversity is essential if the habitat is to attract a variety of waterbirds. There are deep and shallow lakes, areas of reeds, mud-banks, islands and grass areas to provide feeding, roosting and nestling conditions required by different birds. You can gain a lot of pleasure from observing wild birds at close quarters, but you can only do this if you are quiet and well hidden. The bird hide on the island in the South Lake can provide you with this experience. Bring your binoculars and take advantage of the observation platforms and floating islands as vantage points for birdwatching. You will see birds such as maned duck and the straw-necked ibis. Look at the plant life: sedges, rushes, water buttercups and many other Australian water plants grow in the habitat, all of which provide excellent photographic opportunities.

Lake Annand Park

Toowoomba, Toowoomba Area
Free Entry
Lake Annand is a pleasant water attraction which has been created along Toowoomba's East Creek. At just two hectares, Lake Annand Park is one of the more compact of the city's recreation spaces. The development of the park has been carried out along carefully planned lines. There is a New Zealand influence in many of the plantings and features. The lake itself showcases a pulsating fountain, reminiscent of the geysers familiar to those who have visited New Zealand. A simulated lava flow has been fashioned in one area of the park, and distinctive plants such as flax add to the theme. Where there's an attractive expanse of water, there will be ducks, and Lake Annand is no exception. A boardwalk at the lake edge, and a handsome curved bridge, give youngsters (and the young-at-heart) hours of pleasure enjoying the antics of these handsome birds, which paddle towards anyone who might throw them some bread. A bikeway passes through the park and cyclists often pause here on their ride to enjoy the atmosphere. This bikeway follows the route of East Creek right through to Queen's Park, close to the city centre. Well maintained barbecue and playground facilities are another popular feature.

Grantham, Lockyer Valley

Grantham, Lockyer Valley Area
About halfway between Gatton and Helidon lies Grantham, a little village surrounded by rich farming land. The town is home to one of Australia's leading beef producers, exporting prime beef to markets around the world. In 2011, Grantham suffered severely in the January flood event. For a while, the town became a household name due to extensive media coverage. The Lockyer Valley Regional Council implemented a voluntary land swap for affected residents. The first of its kind, the swap was run as a ballot, enabling residents to exchange their land for a block on higher ground. Today, the new estate on the hill is occupied by both new and old residents in a beautifully landscaped setting. A number of parks in the area have been recently beautified and a brand new park is located within the new estate. These parks are the perfect place to stop and enjoy the surroundings, offering play equipment for the kids. Call in a say hi to friendly locals at the general store and newsagency or take a look at the newly restored Butter Factory. You will find fresh local produce at the fruit and vegetable market store as well as road-side farm stalls.

Oakey

Oakey, Toowoomba Area
The Oakey area offers a real country experience - genuine country hospitality and the chance to make a deep connection with the town's rich pioneering history. The Oakey Historical Museum has faithfully preserved the everyday lifestyle of the town's forebears for new generations to enjoy. The collection is a must-see for every visitor. A popular drawcard is the Australian Army Flying Museum where you'll see every kind of aircraft flown by the Australian Army since World War II, including the latest high-tech military helicopters. Other remarkable flying machines include a replica of the Bristol Boxkite as used to train pilots in World War I. The area's most famous sporting son, the mighty racehorse Bernborough, is celebrated in a life size bronze statue that stands proudly outside the Jondaryan service centre. Here a press-button recording lets visitors relive one of Bernborough's brilliant wins and find out more about his exploits. Oakey has motels, pubs, a caravan park and bed and breakfast accommodations just a short drive from regional wineries, with restaurants featuring fresh local produce and the finest beef. Or, for a relaxing taste of rural life, you can try a farmstay on a working cattle and grain property.

Pittsworth

Pittsworth, Toowoomba Area
A pleasant 30-minute drive from Toowoomba, just off the Gore Highway is Pittsworth. Here lies some of the richest farming land in Australia. You'll discover a town equipped with modern facilities and everything you'll need for your journey, however there's still a country town feel and a strong sense of history here. A beautiful display of Silky Oak and Jacaranda trees line the town streets, flowering in October and November. The town is surrounded by cotton and grain growing farms, as well as some remaining dairies. The Pittsworth Pioneer Village showcases the early development of the area and is dedicated to the memory of the feats of Arthur Postle - the "Crimson Flash". Once the world's fastest athlete, Postle grew up in the district and developed his live of running on the family farm. Craft travellers will be interested in the Lady Fletcher Lace Room which houses one on Australia's largest lace collections. In Hume Street you will find the gracious St Stephen's Catholic Church, constructed in 1908. Just around the corner, St Andrew's Anglican Church is also worth a visit to view the magnificent stained-glass windows.

Spring Bluff

Spring Bluff, Toowoomba Area
Spring Bluff is a beautiful valley tucked in the ranges north of Toowoomba and best known for its picturesque Railway Station. Spring Bluff Railway Station is a favourite day trip for visitors and locals alike. Its gardens are magnificent during Spring and Summer and steam train rides are a feature of September during Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers. The Railway Station features a coffee shop in the station master's cottage. It's worth visiting Spring Bluff just for the interesting drive down the range off the New England Highway through to Murphy's Creek. The road meanders through lush bushland, following the path of the creek.

Jondaryan

Jondaryan, Toowoomba Area
Jondaryan is a quaint rural township, home to The Woolshed at Jondaryan and Station Village. Built in 1859, The Woolshed at Jondaryan is Queensland's oldest operating woolshed. You can join a daily guided tour to learn about the history of Jondaryan Station and its role in the development of pastoralism on the Darling Downs. Stroll back in time through a fascinating complex of historic buildings, machinery and collections and watch live shearing demonstrations in the original shearing shed. You can also stay at the Woolshed, enjoying easy access to the Bunya Mountains, Dalby, Toowoomba and Oakey. Open daily, admission to the Museum grounds including a guided tour is an additional charge upon check-in. Either stay in a self contained cabin or the pet friendly caravan park with fantastic facilities including great amenities, dump point, a coin operated laundromat, a bush kitchen with barbecues, open fire pit and refrigeration. They have events throughout the year including Easter celebrations, the Jackie Howe Festival in September and New Year's Eve at the Woolshed. Please visit their website for a full calendar of events.

Southbrook

Southbrook, Toowoomba Area
Southbrook is a scenic rural community located on the Gore Highway near Pittsworth. The township has a primary school, hotel, store, fuel and other basic facilities. Local farm properties are characterised by hilly grassland, uncleared native woodland, and crops including sunflowers, chickpeas, wheat and barley. A great place to stop and smell the fresh air on your way to Goondiwindi.
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