3 FAVOURITE 4WD LOCATION, SE QLD, NTH NSW. AUSTRALIA

 

I was flicking through some old photos the other day, and couldn’t help but feel so thankful for the many 4WD destinations we can pack up and head out to in this incredible country. We truly do have world class beaches and national parks, and owning a 4WD means you can access the best spots that Australia has to offer. Being able to access so many truly amazing places in a 4WD is a privilege. The more we travel this stunning country the longer the list grows, but I have a number of places that I absolutely love, and would highly recommend. We can’t put these in any particular order; they are all truly special, but here are 3. We don’t want give away too many secrets.

 

Burrum Coast
Enjoy a relaxing beach-side holiday along the Burrum Coast, home to a number of small fishing villages, and the place to enjoy unspoiled beaches, great fishing, swimming, bird watching and wildlife encounters. If you’re searching for a quiet coastal escape with some 4WD’ing fun thrown in and you don’t mind a bit of a drive to get there, then the unspoiled Burrum Coast National Park south of Bundaberg may well fit the bill.

 

The park protects just over 23 000 hectares of coastal lowland wilderness made up of sandy beaches, tea tree swamps, estuaries, wallum heaths, livistona palm groves. The National Park consists of three sections Kinduna, Woodgate and Burrum River, and the first two have plenty to entice the 4wd adventurer including 14 kilometres of vehicle-accessible beach, secluded campsites with uninterrupted ocean views, a tranquil wilderness atmosphere with birds, marine and wildlife in abundance and total peace and quiet

Bundjalung
If you enjoy holidaying on the water, you’ll love Bundjalung’s combination of river, beach and freshwater lagoons. This north coast park stretches north from Iluka to Evans Head with the Pacific Ocean as its eastern boundary. This drive will guide you along a wonderful stretch of the Northern Coast of New South Wales from Ballina to Black Rocks. You’ll cruise along the coast of the 4225 hectares Broadwater National Park which protects an amazingly diverse range of plants and animals, to peaceful Evans Heads then beautiful Bundjalung National Park. Bundjalung, names after the land’s traditional owners, protects over 20 000 hectares of pristine coastal habitat that includes almost 40 kilometres of unspoilted beaches, impressive coastal headland, numerous freshwater lagoons, cypress pine swamps, mangrove mudflats, and even a patch of rare littoral rainforest.
Ten Mile Beach is accessible by 4wd from Woody Head and offers great swimming, surfing and fishing. Throughout the park many shell middens and campsites provide evidence of the Bundjalung people who occupied the area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. To the north of Black Rocks, the beach is used by the Air Force as a practice bombing range. At the southern end of Ten Mile Beach, Woody Head features rare coastal rainforests, and excellent campground and five picinic area including Huka Bluff which is a great whale-watching lookout.

 

Glasshouse Mountains

 

The Glass House Mountains are an awe-inspiring landscape. Let the magic wash over you as you take a leisurely drive through the Glass House Mountains National Park, stopping at picturesque lookouts along the way, or get the blood pumping with some hiking, rock climbing or abseiling.

This interesting historical adventure heads north out of Caboolture along Old Gympie Road following the route of the Cobb & Co coaches that ran between Brisbane and the Gympie goldfields in the late 100’s. You’ll travel along forestry roads and tracks throughout the plantations of the Beerburrum State Forest and catch glimpses and views of the spectacular eroded volcanic peaks known as the Glass House. Tunbubudla (Thw Twins) are passed at close range before you pass Glasshouse Mountain Lookout.  This Is an ideal spot for morning tea of lunch as you take in the magnificent panoramic views. Heading off the road once more you will pass around the base of the largest of the Glass Houses, Beerwah and the imposing spine of Coonowrin, also known as Crookneck.

Next are the historic Bankfoot House and then the Teamsters Way Stop, interesting diversions o the way to Tibrogargan and Tibberoowuccum. Further on is a monument to Mathew Flinders, an ancient Aboriginal bore and the site of the town Campbellville, before your trip ends at a delighted Camping and Day use.

 

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SCENIC DRIVE: BOONAH TO KILLARNEY. SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

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.


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MALENY, QUEENSLAND. AUSTRALIA

Now’s the time when it’s much cooler,  and while everything is so beautifully green, to explore the back roads a couple of hours out of Brisbane.

The film of dust which settles over your car is a small price to pay for the pleasures of ascending into Bellthorpe State Forest on a winding dirt road, and following the switchback country lane east through picture-book scenery eastwards towards Maleny.

The gravel crunches under tyres as you stop in the woodland’s shade. Switch off the engine, get out and take some moments to appreciate the entrancing forest, the peace, the occasional call of a bird.

In Bellthorpe, the massive grey trunks of blue gums soar high to the canopy. Below, the ground is a sunshine-patterned garden of brackens and ferns, and piccabeen palms punctuate the scene.


Just getting to this beautiful place is what Sunday drives are all about.
We’ve done this trip quite a few times and each time we leave different times. Some of the photos reflect the differences.



We always like to head off early, heading out of Brisbane for Samford, and checking for bargains at the Ferny Grove Station market. Then head off to Dayboro, were we come across the weekend cyclists are out on their long-distance rides, so watch out for them.

Dayboro is just over 40km from Brisbane, has a small Sunday market along the pavement in the main street, note the selection of home-baked cakes.



We then take the hill route to Mount Mee, sometimes calling in at the impressive cafe in the vaulted-roof pole house at Ocean View Winery. Further on, we always stretch our legs at the Dahmpongah Lookout, with its wide view over pastures and the distant spires of the Glasshouse Mountains from the southwest.




We then move onto Woodford, and on a Sunday morning it’s busy with pleasure drivers, motorbike tourers and locals. On the first and third Sunday of every month, volunteers offer steam train rides on the Durundur Railway. The Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society has an assortment of mining and cane trains to run on its “two foot” gauge line. Passengers sit in wagons once used to move bagged sugar to the port for the six-minute run to Storey Brook station, where cottage herb gardens are the attraction.



Heading northwest on D’Aguilar Highway, ignore the next right turn to Beerwah, but three or four kilometres further on, take the next right to Stony Creek.

This little road climbs north up into the Conondale Range, but a short way in, take the right turn and drive 4km into Bellthorpe Forest Reserve. At road’s end is Stony Creek recreation reserve, with picnic tables, toilet block and a short walk to a pool fed by the creek. The running creek is a pleasant place to sit and cool your feet, and the pool is shallow but inviting for a cool-off.




Back on the road to the Conondales, the bitumen runs out as the road climbs into state forest. There’s an expeditionary element to the drive because sign posts are few and far between. High up, there’s a junction. Turn right on the narrow West Bellthorpe Rd, a graded gravel route which follows a hogsback, with forest on one side and dairy cattle meadows on the other.




Here are glimpses of the Glasshouse Mountains from the northwest. You’re in the Mary River catchment, back on a ribbon of bitumen and heading through Booroobin in very picturesque hill country. You emerge on the Woodford-Maleny Rd. Turn left, then right on the Maleny-Kenilworth highway and ease down into the charming town, round about lunchtime.
Maleny has an interesting mix of shops and a great choice of places to eat. The Big Byte Cafe has an internet corner and a gallery of black and white photographs of pop music stars well worth checking out.

No visit to Maleny is complete without a side expedition through more attractive landscapes down to Baroon Pocket Dam.



This is the Sunshine Coast’s drinking water supply, a forest-fringed lake covering 380ha. The Lake Baroon Freshwater Fish Stocking Association has been introducing Mary River cod, golden perch and Australian bass fingerlings in large quantities since at least 1989, so it might be worthwhile taking your rod.

For the best Glasshouse Mountain views, when heading back towards Brisbane, retrace your route on to the Maleny-Woodford road and follow the Blackall Range Tourist Drive signs towards Mary Cairncross Park on Mountain View Rd.
A kilometre along, there’s ample parking space at McCarthey’s Lookout, commanding a fabulous view over the Glasshouse Mountain caldera from the northeast.

A couple of kilometres further on, at another good mountain viewing spot, Mary Cairncross Park is a hugely popular picnic ground. Abutting dense rainforest, the open grassed area is skirted by a path. Timber benches have been provided along this Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Walk, complete with a bamboo trellis on which vines essential in the lives of the butterfly are being cultivated.




Mountain View Rd leads back on to the busier Landsborough Rd down the range towards the coast. At Landsborough, follow the old Pacific Highway south. On this drive, there are plenty of excuses for another stop: Australia Zoo, roadside shops selling locally grown pineapples, macadamia nuts, fruit and vegetables and even a fisho’s van. And suddenly, you’re back on the motorway, vying with the traffic, which on a Sunday afternoon is probably slowing down well ahead of the Bribie turnoff.

Things to do in Maleny

 Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.

Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland featuring a panorama of waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings, idyllic rainforest surroundings and views of the spectacular Glass House Mountains at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. Bring a picnic to enjoy by one of the many lakes or lounge under a tree with a good book and soak up the peace and serenity. 

Baroon Pocket Dam.

Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways. There are picnic tables, free barbecues and playgrounds for the kids, making it the ideal spot for a get together with family or friends. Take a dip in the calm waters, kayak the lake and its tributaries or simply cast your rod and wait for the Australian Bass to bite. 
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is 55 acres of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life. There are several tranquil walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms where you can soak up the natural beauty and read information about various species.

Gardners Falls.

Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to Gardners Falls, a hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about. Follow the bubbling waters downstream where the pools increase in size and enjoy a freshwater swim in the largest pool underneath the falls
The Cheese Circuit.

A visit to Maleny Dairies will not only prove that milk comes from cows (not cartons) but that it tastes so good! The milk, yoghurt and ice cream can be tasted and bought at the farm shop. You can also join a farm tour, ride a tractor and see the cows milked at 3 pm.  Once you’ve tasted the raw goods, head to Maleny Cheese, where you’ll see the cheesemakers in action and enjoy tastings in the café and shop.

Brews and Views.

Stop in at Maleny Mountain Wines to sample a range of reds, whites, fortified and dessert wines from Australia and around the world. The friendly staff will find the perfect wine for your palate or the best drop for your celebration, picnic or BYO dining. If you prefer beer, make a pit stop at Brouhaha Brewery.

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