The Roadtrip Series: discover the magic of the high country of Ravensbourne and Hampton
If you’ve got an itch to cut loose on the weekend and explore, we say go for it. Southern Queensland is filled with some of the most picturesque and stunning vistas in Australia, not to mention must-visit towns of friendly locals. As part of The Roadtrip Series, we are venturing to Ravensbourne and Hampton to find the best spots to eat, explore, stay and shop.
Connect with nature
Located on a spur of the Great Dividing Range between Toowoomba and Esk, the Ravensbourne National Park is a beautifully lush expanse that is perfect if you’ve been surrounded by dull grey skyscrapers for too long. The cool rainforest and eucalypt trees shelter trickling streams and native wildlife such as the green catbird and wompoo fruit-dove. Stretch your legs at the Cedar Block day-use area that acts as a starting point for walking tracks of varying distances, or head to the Gus Beutel lookout for breathtaking views of the Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley.
Shack up in a forest retreat
It’s very easy to lose a day exploring the greenery of the Ravensbourne National Park, so if you feel the need to spend the night in the area you simply must book a forest chalet. Ravensbourne Forest Chalets offer six intimate abodes with double spa baths, king beds log fires, full kitchen facilities a secluded verandah and barbecue. This mountain getaway location is the perfect weekend hideaway to help clear your head of cobwebs with some crisp mountain air.
On Sunday May 15, Chapman Park in Hampton will come alive with the annual Hampton Festival – a food and produce extravaganza that offers ‘a taste of the good life’. The region’s best food vendors will be setting up alongside stalls stocking wares from wineries and artisan producers, while Hayden Quinn will be hosting a flavoursome demonstration of gastronomic endeavour. Local artists will be creating work on mini canvases for Art in the Park and musicians from the area will provide plenty of live music. If you are a glutton for fresh produce, gorge your senses in the cornucopia of goods from local growers and artisans.
Make an indulgence stop
Fancy something sweet? The Chocolate Cottage and Cafe has been catering to sweet teeth since 1997, producing a mind-boggling selection of chocolates in house as well as pumping out delicious meals from the cafe six days per week. More than 60 verieties of chocolate are available, from classics to novelty nibbles such as fried egg, funny face lollipops and caterpillars. The cafe dishes up a great breakfast and lunch with gluten-free options available.
Have a shop at Abbie Lane
Along the New England Highway near Highfields is a delightful arts and crafts hub that sprouted around a gorgeous old church. Abbie Lane Arts & Crafts Village features six shops set within quaint old-style buildings, selling a range of quirky goods such as jewellery, clothing, home wares, furniture and gifts. In addition to the brilliant buys on offer, visitors can relax at the Abbie Lane Cafe enjoying yummy treats amongst the cottage gardens, which is filled with eclectic furniture and finely wrought bird cages.
Grab some roadside rhubarb
Macbeth Farms is a family owned farm that produces some of the best ruby red rhubarb in all of Queensland. Spread out over six acres near Cabarlah, the farm is notable for its rich volcanic soil, which yields 1.5 tonnes of rhubarb weekly. In addition to sending rhubarb to local markets, Macbeth Farms also sells farm gate fresh rhubarb to visitors to the area from it’s own roadside stall.
Relax, unwind and escape
Ravensbourne Escape is a wonderful location to stay for a night or two, with plenty of accommodation for couples, groups and families overlooking Ravensbourne National Park. Enjoy a round of golf or some tennis at the onsite facilities, or merely swing through for a bite at the Ravensbourne Cafe & Restaurant, which has recently undergone some renovations and will be re-opening to the public in time for Mother’s Day. Patrons can enjoy breakfast, lunch and coffee on Saturday and Sunday or dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Sample some local flavours
Should you need a pick-me-up for a delicious meal to start your day, Flavours at Hampton can easily satisfy. With two coffee blends and a menu of tasty meals, this family owned and operated cafe offers hearty choices for breakfast and lunch, as well as special pizza nights on the first Friday and Saturday of the month. The regular menu boasts meals such as chicken and salad wraps, crispy skin salmon on garlic mash, steak and veggie burgers, quiches and tasty treats to go.
Head to a mountain hideaway
Cloudlake is one of the most stunning abodes in Queensland and the best part about it is that anyone can stay a night in one of two stunning locales overlooking the water. The Boathouse is a contemporary polehouse with decks overhanging the lake, kitchen facilities, hammock, steamer lounge and wood fire facilities. The Mother of Ducks cottage is a larger accommodation option surrounded by lush gardens full of olive trees, mulberries, kiwifruit and rhubarb.
Sample the region’s best winter produce
After the Hampton Festival wraps up for 2016, the team behind the festivities will gear up for the Hampton Winter Harvest Long Lunch. This paddock-to-plate experience will take place on July 9 and 10 and will encompass two lunch events, offering a smorgasbord of delightful dishes prepared by celebrity chef Matt Golinski and Wild Canary’s Glen Barratt. Each course will be matched with award-winning wines from the area, with winemakers on hand to explain the interplay of flavours. The lunch includes a farm tour, three courses, beverages and transport from Chapman Park.
The Roadtrip Series is a collaboration between The Weekend Edition and Southern Queensland Country.