Cobb & Co Tourist Drive

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The Cobb & Co Tourist Drive is a scenic route between between Ipswich and Toowoomba via the Lockyer Valley.
The drive celebrates the first mail route awarded to Cobb & Co in Queensland when, on January 1, 1866 the mail service commenced from Brisbane to Ipswich. Passengers and mail heading further west were taken from Ipswich to Grandchester (Queensland's oldest railway station) by train and then by another Cobb & Co coach for the rest of the journey to Toowoomba.

The drive follows the railway line and the original Cobb & Co route between Ipswich and Gatton. Just as Cobb & Co's passengers needed occasional stops during their journey, so do modern-day travellers. So, along the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive, three convenient locations in Rosewood, Forest Hill and Gatton have been designated Staging Posts.

All Staging Posts are situated where services, such as public toilets and the availability of food and drinks, are accessible seven days a week.

Journey Details

Duration
2.5 Hours
Distance
120 Kilometres

Full Itinerary

Covering a distance of 37 kilometress this section of the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive takes you from the starting point at The Workshops Rail Museum, through the Ipswich Central Business District and out into the countryside via Leichhardt and Wulkuraka.

Along the way, stops at the Ipswich Art Gallery - housed in the first Town Hall built in Queensland - and St Paul's Anglican Church - the oldest Anglican Church in Queensland are highly recommended. At Walloon, the first stop on Queensland's first railway line, stop and visit Henry Lawson Bicentennial Park. Here you'll find the striking memorial to the lost "Babies of Walloon" and the text of Henry Lawson's haunting poem carved in railway sleepers.

Continue to Rosewood and visit the Staging Post located in the Town Square in John Street. You'll also find a full size replica Cobb & Co here.

Located just 16 kilometres beyond Rosewood is Grandchester. Formerly called 'Bigge's Camp' after pastoralist and parliamentarian, Francis Edward Bigge, it was renamed Grandchester in 1865 and is the terminus for Queensland's first railway line.

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Route Details
Mode of Travel Car
Distance 37 kms
Route Type One Way

Covering 93 kilometres, the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive between Grandchester and Toowoomba travels through the fertile, agricultural area in the Lockyer Valley which is justifiably referred to as Australia's Salad Bowl.

A highlight along the route is the unspoiled hamlet of Forest Hill which has been spared over-development and hasmany of its early buildings still in use. The main hub of this region is Gatton with the village of Gatton being first gazetted in 1855.
After the railway line from Ipswich reached Gatton in 1866, the town became the changeover point for the Cobb & Co Coaches to the Darling Downs.

This strategic importance in the Cobb & Co service is celebrated with a Staging Post at the entrance to the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre.

A visit to the picturesque Spring Bluff Railway Centre is highly recommended and the journey up the Toowoomba range via the township of Murphys Creek is delightful. Arriving in Toowoomba at the end of the drive, a visit to the Cobb & Co Museum is a must. At the museum is the National Carriage Collection - Australia's finest collection of horse drawn vehicles that includes Cobb & Co coaches, delivery carts and more.

Route Details
Mode of Travel Car
Distance 93 kms
Route Type One Way

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