The Roadtrip Series: see the picturesque surrounds of Crows Nest and the Bunya Mountains
If your office chair is starting to chafe and the watercooler conversations are numbing your brain, that’s a strong sign you need a getaway. Might we suggest getting back to nature and the simple things in life – good food, bushwalks, hiking, bird watching and exploring? As part of The Roadtrip Series, we are stretching our legs and venturing inland to Crows Nest and beyond to the Bunya Mountains to see what makes the area so special to many.
Cruise through Crows Nest
The journey to the Bunya Mountains takes drivers through some of the most picturesque landscape in southern Queensland. If you aren’t strapped for time, make a stop in Crows Nest, which boasts a bounty of sights to see and things to do. Works from local painters, sculptors and photographers fill the Crows Nest Regional Art Gallery, while Roger Salt Antique Specialist boasts shelves of vintage goods and bric-a-brac to browse. Grab a quick bite at The Nest Cafe before venturing east to the Crows Nest National Park where you can explore eucalypt forests, imposing granite outcrops and Crows Nest Falls, which is a haven for native birds.
Stop in for some Bunnyconnellen Olives
Olives tend to be a love/hate thing, but here at The Weekend Edition, its more than love. Not far from Crows Nest sits Bunnyconnellen – one of the best spots in the state for sourcing sumptuous mouth-watering olives. Not only can you purchase jars of table olives to snack on throughout your trip, but you can also stock up on tapenade, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and wine from Bunnyconnellen’s cellar door. Should you wish to linger a while, you can stay the night in the adorable surrounds of The Studio B&B.
Frolic through Bunya Mountains National Park
The Bunya Mountains form part of the Great Dividing Range, an iconic geographical landmark in southern Queensland. The peaks climb to heights of more than 1100 metres, creating vibrant ecosystems in the gullies and along the slopes. The Bunya Mountains National Park shelters the world’s largest grouping of bunya pines, an ancient tree that yields an abundance of bunya nuts. The national park is crisscrossed with walking tracks and dotted with picnic spots and campgrounds, perfect for living out all of your Fern Gully fantasies.
Take a horse-drawn tour through town
Sure, you could walk around to explore the Bunyas, but why do that when you can take a horse as your guide? For more than 25 years Kim and Alan Govern have operated the only horse-drawn tour service in the Bunya Mountain region. Learn about the local history of the area while on board a carriage pulled by two enormous draught horses. Rides travel down Bunya Avenue through Mowbullan Township, but the Rainforest trip sees the Clydesdales wander along old logging tracks to a private rainforest where you will be served fresh damper, billy tea and roasted bunya nuts.
Snuggle up in a chalet
Rest up after a big day at the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre, which boasts some cosy holiday homes just a hop, skip and a jump from the Bunya Pines Forest. Chalets for large groups are available if you are travelling in a convoy, with plenty of smaller abodes available for intimate getaways.
Pop in to Poppies On The Hill
A new day dawns, meaning it’s time to rise early and set about exploring. Before venturing from the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre, swing by Poppies Cafe for a coffee and a bite to eat. Tuck in to a Hearty Bunya Breakfast with bacon, poached eggs, hash browns and more, or stop in a little later for a Bunya Burger with bunya nut and beef patty, caramelised onion, cheese, mixed lettuce, tomato and Poppies special sauce.
Browse the Bunya Mountains Markets
On the last Sunday of each month (that’s this Sunday, April 24!), Bunya Avenue comes alive with activity for the Bunya Mountains Markets. Plenty of local artisans and cooks set up stalls and hawk their wares – local craft goods, flavoursome cakes, aromatic pies and much more are available. Meet the friendly locals and wander among the wildlife that comes out to visit.
Stay a night at The Bunyas
As another day of wandering winds down, seek out The Bunyas and settle in to one of the Dandahbah Getaway Units – studio or two-bedroom apartment – for the night. These cosy apartments boast a lounge with a fireplace to take away the high-altitude chill, plus a fully-equipped kitchen. May 1st will see the unveiling of a new deck area with an outdoor fireplace, which will be a wonderful spot to take in the serenity. The units are a great base from which to plan bushwalks, with entrances to the National Park a mere 200 m away.
Fine food for a song
If you are feeling peckish, The Bunyas boasts two eateries to sample from – Lyrics Restaurant and Elz Bistro. For dinner, you can’t go past Lyrics Restaurant, which has been wonderfully renovated and updated with a whisky bar and scrumptious menu. Open on Friday and Saturday nights, patrons can settle in with an oyster platter to start, and follow it up with lamb shanks and mash, Barkers Creek Pork with pear and balsamic sauce or a warm chicken bunya nut salad. Wash it down with a drop from Lyrics’ impressive wine list, a cheeky cocktail or a nip from Shackleton’s Whisky Bar.
Bistro breakfast before you go
The weekend is winding down and it’s time to head back to reality, but not before you enjoy one more decadent meal featuring some delicious Bunya produce. Elz Bistro is a welcome spot for breakfast and lunch, with large portions and small snacks to cater for any hunger levels. Munch on salmon, ham, eggs and avocado on sourdough, pancakes with bacon, chicken parmigiana, lasagne or Angus rib steak … and consider taking the week off to stick around.
The Roadtrip Series is a collaboration between The Weekend Edition and Southern Queensland Country.