There are plenty of scenic destinations within a short drive of Brisbane, and you may have visited many of them. But if you’re willing to drive a little bit further, there’s one must-visit destination you may not have been to yet – the Bunya Mountains. If you’re looking to take a day out from Brisbane, there’s no better place to chill out, relax and restore your soul, spirit and mind – and it’s gloriously beautiful there too.
The Bunya Mountains is a stressed-out city-dweller’s dream. Your stress levels start to drop the minute you start the drive up the winding Bunya Mountains road, as the lowlands scrub vegetation changes to the cool rainforest of the mountain. Once you arrive, you’ll enjoy temperatures that are a few degrees cooler than the surrounding plains, and one of the most scenic wilderness destinations in Queensland.
Start your day with late breakfast or morning tea at Poppies on the Hill Café, where you have a wide range of delectable local produce and dishes to choose from (including the famous Bunya burgers available in summertime). You can enjoy sitting at an outside table surrounded by the very friendly wallabies who call the area home (you may even find one sitting under your table!). You’re welcome to feed the wallabies, but you’ll need to buy specially formulated food from the café to do so.
Spend the rest of your morning visiting the Visitor Information Centre (a wealth of intriguing information) or the Cedarvale History Centre, or just exploring the area. You can even book a local massage!
Pop back to the Café for lunch under the bunya pines surrounded by the friendly wildlife. When you’ve eaten all you can, spend some time feeding the friendly king parrots and crimson rosellas with special food you can buy at the Café or General Store. Feeding these wild birds is a truly special experience, and you may find yourself with several of the birds sitting on your hands, your shoulders and your head!
Then spend the afternoon visiting the National Park and hiking along one of the many beautiful bushwalking tracks, where you’ll come across scenic views, waterfalls, rainforest, birds, wildlife, plant life, fungi and serene rock pools. There are numerous walking tracks to explore – some long and some shorter. In fact, there’s a walking track for any level of fitness or ability! Keep an eye out for the big strangler fig too – a favourite part of the Scenic Circuit where the path actually goes through the tree!
If you prefer a more leisurely afternoon, pack a picnic and spend your time lounging around under the bunya pines and enjoying the ambiance of this beautiful place. Take a book or just chat with your companions – it’s guaranteed to be a relaxing, peaceful and restorative time.
Finish the day with a stroll to Fisher’s lookout to watch the sunset and see the stars come out. If you visit during October and November, you’ll be surrounded by a host of fireflies as you walk down the hill from the lookout.
If you visit on the last Sunday of every month, you’ll have the added bonus of local handcrafted markets to visit. Offering more than 30 stalls on the local green under the bunya trees, there’s a wealth of handcrafted gifts, local produce and arts and crafts to choose from.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s sure to be a delightful way to spend the day, in one of Queensland’s most spectacular and peaceful wilderness destinations.
How to get there
Located two hours from Caboolture, and between two-and-a-half to three hours’ drive from Brisbane, the Bunya Mountains is an easily accessible trip. Please note: some roads are unsealed.
For northside/eastside residents: From the Bruce Highway, take the Caboolture-Kilcoy turnoff and then take D’Aguilar Highway to Yarraman. Then turn left onto the New England Highway towards Toowoomba; follow for 21kms then turn right at the signpost ‘Maidenwell-Bunya Mountains’. Once you reach the Maidenwell Pub, turn left onto Bunya Mountains Road and make your way up the mountain.
For westside/southside residents: Take the Toowoomba turn off from Ipswich Road. Follow the Dalby signs along the Warrigo Highway when you reach Toowoomba. At Jondaryan, turn right at the Bunya Mountains turn off and follow the signs to the Bunya Mountains.