It’s easy to forget that Queensland’s not all about the beach. Get a taste of the real Australian countryside and a slower pace of life in Southern Queensland Country.
Immerse yourself in the epic landscapes of national parks, sample paddock-to-plate produce and boutique wines, and see inside thriving rural communities with a hands-on farm stay.
The region is centred around the town of Toowoomba, famed for its technicolour gardens, street art, cafes and the annual Carnival of Flowers.
Southern Queensland Country is a place that changes dramatically with the seasons. Eat and drink your way through some of Queensland’s best food, stroll through ancient forests or get lost among the blooms in Toowoomba.
Toowoomba is considered the capital of the region and is known as the Garden City. You’ll see why in spring, when the whole city comes alive during the annual Carnival of Flowers festival.
Follow your food from farm to table in Southern Queensland Country, with passionate local producers creating exceptional fruit and vegetables, beef, nuts, olives and more. Then there are vineyards and cellar doors producing excellent cool-climate wines to wash them down with.
Soaring pine trees, secluded waterholes, plunging waterfalls and roads lined with wildflowers are all to be found around Southern Queensland Country. Venture into vast national parks, such as Bunya Mountains, and Girraween, where you can stroll the 280-metre Wyberba Walk beside Bald Rock Creek, see the famed Granite Arch and climb The Pyramid for unbeatable views.
Also don't miss Queen Mary Falls near Killarney, accessed via a leisurely walk through the forest of Main Range National Park, where you can cool off in the misty spray and maybe catch a rainbow.
Part of the Great Dividing Range, the Granite Belt is Southern Queensland’s premier wine region, producing cool-climate varietals at almost 50 cellar doors. Pick your own apples or berries, stock up on artisan cheese and olives, cycle winding country roads or hike the dramatic granite escarpments that give the region its name.
Perched right atop the Great Dividing Range, South Burnett is where the rainforest gives way to rolling grasslands. Camp in the Bunya Mountains, fish on Lake Boondooma, taste the fruits of Queensland’s newest wine region or chase waterfalls on the lush Barker Creek Circuit.
Music festivals, Indigenous exhibitions, triathlons and horseraces are held all year round. Toowoomba bursts into bloom with Queensland’s most famous flower festival and you can attend some of Australia’s quirkiest food events, such as the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival and Chinchilla Melon Festival.
Cosy up in a quiet mountain cabin, let the kids run wild on a local farm or pitch your tent in a budget-friendly holiday park. There are plenty of options for every kind of traveller in Southern Queensland Country.
In the town of Toowoomba, accommodation options include historic hotels, modern apartment complexes, homey bed and breakfasts, and holiday parks with great facilities for families.
The Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport is just 25 minutes from the centre of Toowoomba and about two hours’ drive from Brisbane CBD. There are direct flights to and from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns, as well as between Toowoomba and other regional destinations across Queensland.
Toowoomba is about 130km inland from Brisbane. It’s an easy drive through pretty countryside and takes about 90 minutes. From the Gold Coast, it takes about two hours to drive to Toowoomba, which is 180km inland.
There are regular bus services running every day between Toowoomba and Brisbane, as well as between Toowoomba and many other regional centres.
Southern Queensland is one of the country’s great driving destinations. Hire a car and tackle sections of the Great Inland Way, Warrego Way or Adventure Way, discovering small country towns and stunning landscapes.
You can easily get around Toowoomba, or to other destinations close to the city, by taxi.
Many properties around the region offer a shuttle for passengers to transport them from the airport to their accommodation.