The Roadtrip Series: travel through the Booie Ranges to the thriving city of Kingaroy
You can’t call yourself a true Queenslander until you’ve taken in some of the state’s vibrant countryside. If you are in sore need of a getaway, try loading up the car and hitting the road to see your own back yard. South Burnett is one of the most unique regions in the country, and no city encapsulates the magic of the area as well as Kingaroy. As part six of The Roadtrip Series, we will be showing off Kingaroy and the Booie Ranges to give you an extra push towards taking this weekend off to go exploring.
Explore the city’s culture and heritage
Once you arrive in Kingaroy, the first thing you should do is familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Kingaroy boasts a beautiful country charm, and as one of the major cities in the South Burnett region, it has a rich history that extends to the late 1800s. The Kingaroy Heritage Museum is a great place to start exploring, with historical exhibits showing off the towns early development, the growth of its peanut industry and the people that helped build the area to what it is today. The Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery is also worth checking out, with plenty of works from local and visiting artists hanging in the gallery spaces. Even the gallery’s home is an art deco masterpiece – well worth a look for any retro architecture buffs. Before moving on, be sure to stop by Carroll’s Cottage, the Carrollee Hotel and the Burnett War Memorial Museum to ensure you have the full picture of Kingaroy’s beginnings.
Coffee and brunch a morning must
The best way to start the day is with a good breakfast and a good cup of coffee. If you still need your caffeine fix while on holiday you will be pleased to know that Kingaroy has a bunch of charming cafes for you to imbibe java and nibble on a satisfying brekkie. Utopia Cafe on Kingaroy Street is a lovely spot to visit, with a menu of offerings including Eggs Benedict, pancake stacks and breakfast omelettes with chorizo and bacon. Whipbird Cafe on Chaseling Street offers homemade meals, freshly made juices and great coffee until 2:00 pm (good news for late risers). The Giving Tree is a 100 percent vegan cafe that offers gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free and allergy aware options. Be sure to get a couple of cakes to go – they are scrumptious!
Go nuts for Kingaroy’s iconic export
Kingaroy is unofficially known as the peanut capitol of Australia, with thousands of tonnes of peanuts being processed and distributed around Australia and overseas. The Peanut Company of Australia’s silo stand proudly in the centre of town, while The Peanut Van distributes top-notch nuts to local markets and events as it has done since 1969. These peanuts are jumbo-sized, and are the highest quality nut available. Flavoured and salted varieties are hand-cooked in pure vegetable oil before being sealed in airtight bags to ensure freshness, so when you go to town on a bag of nuts you’ll have a hard time stopping. Go for original salted, curry, savoury tomato, hickory, smoked or barbecue flavoured nuts. If you are keen on grabbing a bag for road trip snacks, swing down Kingaroy Street and visit Robbie and Chris Patch at the Peanut Van’s retail outlet.
Devour dining delights
South Burnett is teeming with great produce, which can be found in some of the best restaurants in Southern Queensland Country. One of the benefits of visiting the heart of the region is being able to sample the produce at its freshest. Taste South Burnett is a popular spot to source gourmet fare from around the region, including wines, deli goods and sweet treats from local providores. If you want to sample the tastes of South Burnett in style, then book in for dinner at Cassis at Booie. Chef Wayne Smith, his partner Emmanuelle and chef Jimmy Stephen have created a menu of dishes that boast the best ingredients from the area. Enjoy succulent slow-cooked pork belly with sweet corn custard, pan-roasted fillets of salmon or a grazing plate of house made charcuterie and wash it down with a glass of fantastic local wine.
Sniff, quaff and purchase the region’s finest wines
If dinner has increased your interest in South Burnett’s boutique winery scene, you are in luck. Kingaroy is the perfect base from which to branch out and sample the region’s best drops. The South Burnett Food & Wine Trail is the perfect crash course on the area’s crop – running from Nanango to Moffatdale. Along the trail you will come across Dusty Hill Winery – a beautiful family owned winery overlooking Lake Barambah. Stop by for wine tasting of current vintages and purchase a bottle or two from the cellar door. Crane Wines is another boutique winery that also offers bed and breakfast accommodation within a grand colonial homestead. Crane Wines was the first winery to opening in the region, and offers sweet, dry, sparkling and fortified styles to suit any palette. Kingsley Grove Estate is an award-winning winery that is spread out over 9 hectares of vines, producing five red and six white grape varieties for 18 different wines. Tours take in the estate’s winemaking and storage facilities, before heading to the cellar door for tastings.
Rest your head at some beautiful B&Bs
A long day of travel and sightseeing is best capped off with a welcome rest. Kingaroy is fortunate enough to have several stellar bed and breakfast operations located in a range of picturesque spots. Mulanah Gardens is located near the Bunya Mountains National Park, and boasts beautiful walks and wildlife in addition to the cosy cottages. Redrock on Booie offers visitors accommodation with a view over a 45-acre property, as well as abodes with wood fires, spa baths, open decks and breakfast hampers. Hillview Cottages is a romantic destination to spend a night, with relaxing massages available as well as double corner spa baths for de-stressing and rejuvenating.
See the stars of Kingaroy
One of the benefits of getting out of the city is being able to see the night’s sky in all of its uninhibited glory. A sky full of stars is an impressive sight, but visitors to Kingaroy can go a step further by taking in a show at the Kingaroy Observatory. Established in 2004, the Kingaroy Observatory is the largest, self-funded business of its kind in Queensland – helping locals and visitors take in the planets of the solar system, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters through the three telescopes capable of magnifying up to 800 times.
Take in some of the natural sights
No weekend away is complete without a day reconnecting with nature. The South Burnett’s outstanding natural places are a must-do for outdoor types. Enjoy a spot of fishing or camping at Lake Boondooma or at the Bjelke-Petersen Dam, or pack a picnic hamper (stop back in at Taste South Burnett for a resupply) and enjoy some gorgeous weather at Yallakool Park. If you have an itch to stretch your legs, head to The Kokoda Track and the Carroll Nature Reserve and take in the bushland vistas available just outside of Kingaroy. Apex Park and Lookout offers great views of Kingaroy, the peanut silos, Tarong power station and Coolabunia Hill. This is a very child-friendly park with old steam trains and playground equipment as well as undercover barbecues, picnic tables and parking.
Mark your calendar for some travel-worthy events
It never hurts to plan your trip around a significant event, and Kingaroy has plenty in the coming weeks and months that will make any trip extra special. First up is the Burrandowan Race Day on Saturday May 14. Dress up and enjoy a day at the races with a range of dining packages and events complimenting the racing program. The Goomeri Pumpkin Festival is one of the more unique events on the South Burnett social calendar. Centred around the legendary Great Australian Pumpkin Roll (an event you must see to believe), the festival also features street parades, roving entertainment, cooking demonstrations, live music, food and plenty of pumpkin-themed activities to participate in.
Indulge in a touch of lavender
On your way out of town make one last stop at The Lavender Farm at Pottique, five minutes from Kingaroy on the D’aguilar Highway. As one of Australia’s largest Lavender farms, Pottique has been making and selling lavender infused goods since 1996. In addition to a range of gorgeous antiques and country-style home wares, Pottique’s store offers goods such as lavender scones, teas, ice cream and drinks. Enjoy one final picturesque wander and savour the tranquil moments before journeying back to reality.
The Roadtrip Series is a collaboration between The Weekend Edition and Southern Queensland Country. If you are keen to plan more weekend getaways, check out some other guides in The Roadtrip Series – Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Crows Nest and The Bunya Mountains, Ravensbourne and Hampton, Killarney and Warwick.