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Take the road less travelled and you will end up in the peaceful Tara Region, as far from city life as you can imagine. Accessed off the main Moonie and Warrego Highways, Tara is literally 'off the beaten track' and that's just how the locals like it.

If you are hankering to totally escape the stress of the city, you'll find life in Tara happens at a relaxed pace and travellers are always welcome to stay a while. When you arrive in town, drop into the Tara Information Centre to chat to a local about what to see and do. Enjoy the Lagoon Parklands featuring Settlers Park and the Walk of Remembrance Garden. The Lagoon offers a cool respite and it serves as the local fitness precinct complete with outdoor gym. You can picnic by the water's edge, fish, cycle or take the interpretive walk to see an abundance of birdlife.

Native flora and fauna displays are abundant throughout the Shire, and among these you can spot some rare species. The eastern third of the Shire also supports Queensland's best examples of ironbark, spotted gum and cypress pine trees.

Tara Commercial Hotel is home to several paintings by framed artist Hugh Sawrey that he painted while passing through in the 60s. And don't miss the chance to meet and see the work of Barbara Geisel, an internationally acclaimed wool artist and local resident.

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Cathu State Forest

Yalboroo, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Along the rugged Clarke Range behind the Whitsunday coast is Cathu State Forest. Forests and woodlands range from distinctive poplar gum Eucalyptus alba woodlands and exotic Caribbean pine plantations on the creek flats to dense rainforest, hoop pine plantations and tall wet eucalypt forest along the range.

Malanda Falls Conservation Park

Malanda, Tablelands Area
Free Entry
Surrounded by dense rainforest, the North Johnstone River tumbles over basalt rock that was formed by an ancient lava flow at Malanda Falls. The much-photographed picturesque falls flow into an artificial swimming pool in this popular park near Malanda.

Barcaldine

Barcaldine, Barcaldine Area
Barcaldine is situated on the junction of the Capricorn and Landsborough Highways and known as the Garden City of the West. Many visitors use Barcaldine as a base from which to explore central west Queensland.

Chillagoe

Chillagoe, Mareeba Area
Head into the accessible outback west of Cairns and discover the underground wonders of the former mining town of Chillagoe. Just 140 kilometres west of Mareeba along the Wheelbarrow Way, Chillagoe was once an ancient coral reef which has been transformed into spectacular limestone bluffs with a network of some 560 caves, while early volcanic activity has created rich marble and mineral deposits.

Bucasia Beach

Bucasia, Mackay Area
Free Entry
Located in the Northern Beaches area of Mackay, Bucasia Beach is a picturesque sandy haven, popular for walking, swimming and fishing. Kick off your thongs (footwear) and feel the soft white sand underfoot.

Peregian Beach

Peregian Beach, Noosa Area
About 13 kilometres south of Noosa Heads, Peregian Beach is one of a string of lovely beaches between Noosa and Coolum. Just over the sand hills at the southern end of the beach you'll find Peregian Environmental Park, an area of wallum heath which bursts into a colourful profusion of wildflowers in spring.

Illawong Beach

Mackay, Mackay Area
Free Entry
A serene and peaceful coastline awaits at Illawong Beach. Kilometres of sandy shoreline as well as off and on dog leash areas make Illawong Beach a popular choice for sunrise strolls. At low tide, the ripples in the sand stretch for kilometres, where small blue soldier crabs can be seen scuttling across the surface.

Agnes Water

Agnes Water, Gladstone Area
There is a certain kind of golden sparkle that glistens across the ocean in this part of South East Queensland and Agnes Water shines bright as the last stop in the surf beach stretch. Surrounded by two beauties that Australia is well known for - the Pacific ocean and a number of diverse national parks - Agnes Water makes the perfect, quiet seaside getaway and you might even find time to learn how to surf while here with regular lessons on offer.

Gatton

Gatton, Lockyer Valley Area
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The fertile Lockyer Valley of South East Queensland is home to the rich farming region of Gatton Shire, just 60 minutes from Brisbane. Known for its spectacular scenic backdrop of steep hills and the mountains of The Great Dividing Range, Gatton is a fast growing region that has maintained its natural beauty and charm.

Childers

Childers, Bundaberg Area
Rows of red rich soil, green macadamia trees dotting the horizon, "hedges" of sugarcane along the roadside and a main street with history and heritage oozing out of its facades - history, heritage, arts, culture, food and wine is all here in Childers.
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