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Murphys Creek

Stop in at the historic tiny town of Murphy's Creek. You can travel there via Toowoomba from the New England Highway or via the Warrego Highway. Today, Murphy's Creek is little more than a general store, coffee shop, and a historic cottage called Jessie's Cottage. By the cottage, there are picnic tables that make picnicking in this quiet rural setting easy.

Nearby is beautiful Spring Bluff Railway Station. See the award winning gardens and have a cuppa at the cafe, open every day in September and Thursday to Sunday all other months 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Although it is hard to imagine, around 100 years ago Murphy's Creek was a thriving business centre with tannery and bookmaker, blacksmith, bacon factory, wool scour, brickyards, pit sawmill, stone quarries, two stores, a butcher, two hotels and a bakery, a police station, court house and three churches. There were over a hundred children in the school. First called Fingal, the settlement grew when the railway line pushed up the range to Toowoomba.

The nearby creek gave its name to the town just as Peter Murphy had given his name to the creek when he built his station nearby in 1841.

Murphys Creek
Murphys Creek, Lockyer Valley 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. There is no camping on-site. 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.

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 and a brass band concert held at the station are features of September during Toowoomba's Carnival of Flowers. The Railway Station features a cute cafe in the station master's cottage or take your own picnic. It's worth visiting Spring Bluff any time of year, 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.

Crows Nest

Crows Nest, Toowoomba Area
Perched on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, the old timber town of Crows Nest lies amongst pretty, undulating hills and is built around an attractive village green. In the centre of the green, known as Centenary Park, is the statue of Jimmy Crow, a local Aboriginal man, after whom some believe the town was named. Its streets are filled with striking old buildings that house antique shops, cafes, galleries and a museum. Centenary Park has won awards for its design, including its innovative underground water catchment. This small town packs a lot of historical punch. Within an easy walk of the town centre, you'll find Salts Antiques, Carbethon Folk Museum, the Regional Art Gallery and a community arts and crafts centre. After hoofing it around town make for the Applegum Walk - a pleasant stroll along the creek between Bullocky's Rest and Warmann Park. The Crows Nest Show is a significant regional event held annually in May. Pack a picnic to enjoy in nearby Crows Next National Park where you'll find bird watching and bushwalking trails through the eucalypt forest. After rains you'll see Crows Nest Falls in action. You may even spot a brush-tailed rock wallaby perched on the high granite boulders.

Meringandan West

Meringandan West, Toowoomba Area
Meringandan West is a quiet little township tucked away in the green rolling hills north of Toowoomba. Take an alternative scenic route from Toowoomba through to Goombungee via this rural community. You'll see pink and grey galahs, horses and cows grazing and fields of canola and sorghum. Keep an eye out for yellow canola flowers in spring and sunflowers from December to February. It's a great little spot for a country drive and you'll find fuel and basic supplies are available at the service station in town.

Kingsthorpe

Kingsthorpe, Toowoomba Area
Take a quiet side-track from the Warrego Highway or New England Highway to find the hamlet of Kingsthorpe. Kingsthorpe is just a 15-minute panoramic drive west of Toowoomba. Home to both Gowrie Mountain Estate Vineyard and Cellar Door and also Wedgetail Ridge Estate Winery, which are open by appointment. Gowrie Mountain Estate offers accommodation onsite in the historic homestead, while Sugarloaf Mountain Country Retreat, just up the road offers accommodation close to both wineries. The eastern part of the area has several scenic lookouts which provide expansive views over Rosalie Plains and portions of the Darling Downs. One of the most easily accessible is located just outside Kingsthorpe at Mt Kingsthorpe Park and is well worth a look. A graded walking track from the lookout's car park takes visitors to the summit, which provides expansive views as well as a glimpse of some of the original rainforest vegetation that once covered all of Mt Kingsthorpe. A service station is also situated in Kingsthorpe for your convenience.

Oakey

Oakey, Toowoomba Area
Just 30 minutes drive from Toowoomba, 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.

Hampton

Hampton, Toowoomba Area
At the top of the escarpment on the Great Dividing Range, Hampton is a picturesque village surrounded by forests and striking natural beauty. At 715 metres above sea level, it's the heart of the high county and home to a thriving arts community. It's rich volcanic soils and temperate climate make it one of Southern Queensland Country's most productive food bowls. The Hampton area supplies much of the state's rhubarb and avocados and the breadth of produce grown in the area is celebrated at the annual Hampton Festival in May. Stop to chat to a local at the Hampton Visitor Information Centre and browse the historic 100 year old building. If you're travelling with a caravan or motor home, Chapman Park is a designated overnight rest stop within an easy walk of Flavours Cafe and a general store.

Highfields

Highfields, Toowoomba Area
Just a short drive north of Toowoomba along the New England Highway is Highfields, a flourishing community with much to offer visitors. The Highfields Pioneer Historical Village is an attraction with rare and unusual collections of vintage machinery. Much of it has been restored to working order and can be seen in action particularly at the Easter Vintage Festival. The Historical Village also features a fully operational blacksmith shop, a heritage chapel, and an original Toowoomba 1928 Dennis Fire Engine. View 40000 sea shells and coral pieces in one of the largest collections in Queensland. There are many enticing spots to stop including a lookout, nurseries and the Chocolate Cottage cafe at the Village Green, where you will also find antiques, art and other specialty stores. Pay a visit to Abbie Lane Arts and Crafts Village. Set amidst cottage style gardens the old church building has been lovingly transformed into a country craft shop. The village also offers an array of gifts, jewellery, crafts, coffee shop and confectionary. Highfields is also home to a large cultural centre often used by conference groups. An outdoor public swimming complex, a volleyball and basketball court are also located at the centre.

Haden

Haden, Toowoomba Area
Haden is a small rural town approximately 50 kilometres north of Toowoomba and 185 kilometres north west from Brisbane. The town is set high on the Great Dividing Range, and is quite a windy place as a result. There is a picturesque lookout on the Haden-Maclagan Road to the west of the town. The brush turkey, known to local Aboriginal people as 'wahoon', was prevalent in the area in Haden's early days and in 2002 a monument to the bird was erected here. The township was a thriving centre in the early 1900s, with two pubs, three grocer shops, a butcher shop, a branch of the Queensland National Bank and a racecourse. Haden State School was officially opened on May 20, 1912, and first known as Wahoon State School.
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