Queensland Southern Downs Attractions
Queensland Southern Downs, with Brisbane in the center, the Gold Coast to the south and the Sunshine Coast to the north, is a particularly popular holiday area. The hinterland extends by way of Toowoomba and the fertile Darling Downs to Charleville. Offshore are the South and North Stradbroke Islands and Moreton, Bribie and Fraser Islands.
Warwick (pop. 10,600) has a number of notable 19th C buildings - the courthouse (1886), the post office (1891), the Town Hall (1888), with a clock tower, the National Hotel (1890) and Pringle Cottage (1863), now a museum.Warwick's situation above the Condamine River at an altitude of 450m is good for rose-growing, and thousands of rose bushes in gardens and parks and along the main road justify its claim to be the city of roses. A rodeo held annually in October attracts many visitors.
Within easy reach of Warwick are the Leslie Dam, an artificial lake 15km west and two national parks on the borders of New South Wales to the south, Main Range National Park on the Cunningham Highway in the direction of Brisbane (60km) and Queen Mary Falls National Park.
Charleville (pop. 3600) lies in the center of a rich pastoral district with hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle. It is the terminus of the Westlander rail service.Both the Royal Flying Doctor Service (259, Baedeker Special) and the School of the Air (41, Baedeker Special) have bases in Charleville, which visitors can see round (the School of the Air only during the school terms).Also of interest is the Historical Museum in the old Queensland National Bank Building (c 1880) in Albert Street, a wooden building which has preserved its original internal arrangement. An unusual exhibit is a vortex cannon used in unsuccessful rain-making experiments in 1902.
The little town of Miles (pop. 1500) lies on Dogwood Creek, so named by the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt in 1844 after the shrubs growing along its banks. Originally called Dogwood Crossing, it was later renamed Miles after a local member of parliament. It is an important traffic hub on the Warrego and Leichhardt Highways and the Brisbane-Charleville railroad line. The area has always been good sheep country, but nowadays the emphasis is on cattle and wheat. After rain there are a profusion of wild flowers.The Miles and District Historical Village is a pioneer settlement with many old buildings.
The name of the little country town of Goondiwindi (pop. 4390) is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning 'resting place of the birds'. The economy of the area is based on cattle raising and the growing of grain in irrigated fields (huge grain silos).The old customs house, in use until the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, is now a museum. The Victoria Hotel dates from 1898.The Spring Festival is celebrated in October.
Stanthorpe (pop. 5000) is the main town in the Granite Belt, the chain of hills running along the boundary between New South Wales and Queensland. Lying at an altitude of over 800 m, it has the lowest temperatures in Queensland, but the climate and the soil are suitable for the growing of fruit grapes. In spring there is a glorious show of blossom on the fruit trees, and many species of orchids grow in the area.
Girraween National Park
11,000ha.Girraween National Park lies at the north end of the New England plateau, on the borders of New South Wales. The park's average altitude of 900m with its winter frosts has led to heavy weathering of the rock, producing bizarrely shaped granite crags and huge oval boulders piled up on one another. The flora of the park is closer to that of the cooler south than to the rest of Queensland. In charming contrast are the eucalyptus forests, the marsh flora and the bushes which cling to clefts in the rock right up to the summit of Mount Norman (1267m). In spring there are great expanses of many-colored wild flowers.From the visitor center near the two camping grounds there are a number of walking trails of varying length (Granite Arch Track, Mount Norman).
Sundown National Park
11,200ha.This is an area of rugged gorges on the Severn River and dense forests. There are no roads or trails, but it is possible to walk along the streams in the park (though care must be taken not to lose your bearings).
Address: Glenlyon Dam Road, MS312, Stanthorpe, QLD 4380, Australia
Useful tips: Best time to visit: spring and autumn. Access via the road from Stanthorpe to Glenlyon (in dry weather only). From the New England Highway via Ballandean, to the north (all-terrain vehicles only).
Dalby (pop. 10,000) is in the fertile Darling Downs, in the center of a rich grain-growing area in which there is also much stock farming. It is well served for roads at the junction of the Warrego, Bunya and Moonie Highways.In Edward Street is an obelisk marking the spot where the explorer Henry Dennis camped in 1841. Pioneer Park Museum is worth a visit.
From Dalby, excursions to Lake Broadwater (29km southwest) and Bunya Mountains National Park (60km northeast) are available.
Roma (pop. 7000) is the largest town in southern central Queensland. The town was founded immediately after the separation of Queensland from New South Wales, and was named after the wife of the first governor of Queensland, Sir George Bowen. Thereafter it rapidly developed into the center of a large cattle and sheep farming district.
A tarred road (250 km; last 50km an unsurfaced track) runs north from Roma by way of Injune to the Carnarvon National Park.
Taroom (pop. 750) is the center of a cattle-raising area, lies on the Dawson River.Ludwig Leichhardt passed this way in 1844 on his expedition from Dalby to the north and carved his initials on a tree (still to be seen in the main street). The local Aboriginals put up a bitter resistance to white settlement, launching a raid on Hornet Bank in 1857 which was followed by bloody reprisals.
Isla Gorge National Park
7800ha.Isla Gorge National Park takes in an area of deeply indented gorges and sandstone rock walls. On the highway is a rest area, from which there are various walks and bush trails.
Kingaroy (pop. 6250) is famed as the 'Peanut Capital of Australia'. Peanuts flourish in the red soil of the area, and over 50,000 metric tons are harvested annually and stored in giant silos. Other local crops are beans and grain.
Bunya Mountains National Park
Bunya Mountains National Park was established in 1908 to prevent further felling of the forest. It is part of the Great Dividing Range, with hills rising to 1100m (Mount Kiangarow, Mount Mowbullan), forests of bunya pine, expanses of rain forest, impressive waterfalls and areas of grassland. From some points there are magnificent views. Many kangaroos and wallabies.
Main Range National Park
11,500ha.The park extends for 40km along the Great Dividing Range. It has an extensive network of walking trails through woodland and rain forest and over unspoiled bush country, with magnificent views.
Address: MS 394, Warwick, QLD 4370, Australia
Useful tips: Main access road at Cunningham Highway ranger station. Best time to visit: spring and autumn. For safety, walk in daylight hours only.
Queen Mary Falls Section
333ha.Queen Mary Falls National Park takes in a hilly region on Spring Creek, a tributary of the Condamine River. Its particular attractions are the falls from which it takes its name and the gorge on the river. There are walking trails with fine panoramic views.
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