There are several great scenic drives in South East Queensland, and one of our favorite and purest scenic drives has to be the road from Boonah to Killarney via The Head. This is a lovely winding road that has numerous scenic spots to stop at on the way, two very different cafes, a few short walks and of course the whole drive is book-ended by the two lovely towns of Boonah and Killarney.
The Drive starts on Carneys Creek Road just outside of Boonah, which then becomes The Head Road and then becomes Spring Creek Road which takes you to Killarney. Most of the major scenic spots are well sign posted, while minor ones can usually be identified by a place to stop on the side of the road.
The road itself is mostly a single lane but all of the traffic here are people specifically doing the scenic drive plus a few locals. No matter what Google Maps tells you, this is not the fastest route as the twisting narrow road will slow you down. If you are visitng Killarney from Brisbane, it is better to go over Main Range via Cunninghams Gap and go through Warwick. As a result, The Head road is one of the most pleasant roads to drive or ride. Everyone slows down and gives each a little wave as they pass on the narrow road. Yes, even people in big four wheel drives do this. In fact, because the road is so narrow our fellow 4wder’s are the most grateful on this road.
Our first stop up the mountain is the Teviot Falls Lookout. This lookout is not that well signposted and many people fail to see the falls itself, as they focus on the view of the mountains down Teviot Gap
.Moving on from the lookout our first major stop is Carrs Lookout and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe & Cottages. Both provide similar views of the mountains with the lookout being free and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe serving delicious coffee, cake and meals made from the freshest local ingredients. For lunch on weekends, it is recommended that you book ahead.
There are numerous other little spots to stop along the way, including patches of farmland. Once we hit rainforest country, we would wind down the windows to enjoy the fresh mountain air and also to better hear the bellbirds (which we could hear with the windows wound up).
Once over the head we arrive at Queen Mary Falls. This is one of the best spots to linger. There is a beautiful picnic area with both electric and wood fired barbecues, toilets and the falls itself. It is only a short easy stroll to the two lookouts above the falls and a 2 km walk down to the base of the falls and back up (lots of stairs but well worth the effort).
Directly across the road from The Queen Mary Falls Picnic Area is the Queen Mary Falls Caravan and Tourist Park which includes The Falls Cafe. If you started early then the Picnic Area or The Falls Cafe are great places to have lunch. You can just have a break here with coffee and cake while sitting on the deck at the front watching the rosellas and king parrots which are attracted to the bird feeders.
We then move onto the Daggs Falls. Just stop, walk 10 metres to the lookout, take some photos, and keep on driving. The spectacular waterfall is worth the quick stop.
Our last falls are the smallest but has the most interesting walk. Be aware that it is a rough and muddy track along and across a beautiful creek to Browns Falls. While it is not difficult for most people, you might rethink the walk if you are wearing clothes or shoes that you don’t want to get dirty.
From Browns Falls, the land opens up into beautiful farmland.
This is Killarney where the black soil is two feet deep. They grow a little bit of everything but the steep hills means that most of the area is cattle country. If you have timed your trip properly your mind will be turning to steaks for lunch or dinner at the Killarney Pub.
Vegetable lovers need not despair. As you approach the town you will see a few roadside vegetable stalls. Simply stop, grab the vegetables that you want and put money in the tin. We picked some lovely pumpkins for $1 and $2 each. A lot of people have never heard of Killarney and even fewer have visited it. It is not on any major routes, so if you arrive here you are either lost or meant to be here, rather than passing through. While it is a sleepy country town, it is not a bad destination with a number of attractions.
Along with country cooking from several cafes and the pub, it is also worth visiting the Heritage Centre or shop at one of several shops selling local handcrafts and products such as the Willow Gallery. These places are usually run on a co-op basis with several local people taking turns at running the shop, while part of the sales goes to the rent and upkeep of the shop.
The quickest way back to Brisbane is via Warwick and the Cunnighams Gap. Longer scenic routes suitable for multi-day trips included heading north through Toowoomba or south through Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, before heading back towards the coast or Brisbane.