Branell Homestead Credit: @mycolourfulworld_
Whether you’re enroute to, or from, the CMCA National Rally in Dalby, QLD, or whether you’re looking for a perfect location for a day trip, weekend or family holiday, the Lockyer Valley has something to offer every type of traveller.
It is a picturesque region with a fascinating history, charming towns and unspoilt mountain ranges less than one hour from the hustle and bustle of Queensland’s capital city.
You’ll enjoy an authentic country experience in the Lockyer Valley – from farmers’ markets and unique farm experiences to national parks and natural environments.
Growing and harvesting is an important part of life in the Lockyer Valley and its local produce is bursting with flavour and goodness enabling visitors to gather and cook with produce as close to the source as possible.
It’s these attributes, and many others, that make the Lockyer Valley an increasingly popular destination for RVs.
Awassi Cheesery Credit: @mycolourfulworld_
LAIDLEY SPRING FESTIVAL
The Laidley Spring Festival (8-9 September) this year celebrates its 60th year and is expected to attract up to 15,000 visitors to the region. The Valley comes alive with spring energy, produce and colour for the festival, an annual spring-inspired celebration that embodies Council and community collaboration.
The event started as the ‘Chelsea Flower Show’, a Red Cross event to coincide with spring, the season that aligns with blooming gardens and local produce harvest. For 60 years, the festival has been an integral part of life in this beautiful country town.
In 2023, organisers are excited to be creating new events including a thriving gardening precinct with special guest ambassador Paul West. Paul, the former host of A River Cottage Australia and regular ABC presenter, advocates for real food, sustainable agriculture, community and regional living. That’s a perfect match to the Lockyer Valley!
The festival program also includes a Street Parade, Twilight Feast and Fest, the annual Spring Garden Fair, Spring Orchid Show, Quilt and Craft Expo, Spring Gem Show, church displays, Under 5s Day and art shows.
The event spotlight also shines on the region’s proud heritage at events such as the Laidley Heritage Weekend, Heavy Horse Field Days, HCVAQ (Historic Commercial Vehicles Association of Queensland) Historic Truck and Machinery Show, or if you like things hot get along to the Murphys Creek Chilli Festival.
The heritage and history of the Lockyer Valley really is fascinating, including the German ancestry of the Laidley community, which is highlighted beautifully at Das Neumann Haus. Laidley’s Pioneer Village, the Historical Village in Gatton, along with the Railway Museum and Jessie’s Cottage in Murphys Creek, offer glimpses of the simplicity of life in early Australia.
The Barn and Scotty’s Garage in Upper Flagstone houses several classic vehicles and is also packed to the rafters with rare collectable items and memorabilia you won’t find anywhere else in Australia.
The natural beauty of the region is best enjoyed via one of the many tourist drives. Take the picturesque inland route by travelling along the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive, one of southeast Queensland’s hidden gems. From Brisbane or Ipswich, follow the ‘wagon wheel’ directional signs to make the same journey that Cobb & Co made over 140 years ago – stopping at Forest Hill and Gatton ‘Staging Posts’ for food and refreshments. In Gatton, be sure to pop into the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre and browse the Queensland Transport Museum, Lockyer Legends Hall of Fame and the Lockyer Valley Art Gallery before dining beside Lake Apex at the Colonial Cafe.
BUILD A FOOD TRAIL
Building a food trail allows you to map a journey that will discover exactly what you want it to – local produce that is bursting with flavour and goodness.
To discover the Lockyer Valley’s farm gates, markets, restaurants and events, visit seqfoodtrails.com.au. The interactive website will also help you link to surrounding south-east Queensland regions and their food tourism offerings. Discover culinary treasures from some of the valley’s most well-known local producers and learn why farm fresh is always best.
Cedar Gully Olives make signature marinated olives, olive wood and olive wood charcoal products. If you own a Weber, grab their premium olive wood cooking charcoal. Gardeners will be interested in their olive wood biochar, a natural soil amendment.
Schulte’s Meat Tavern Awassi
Native Oz Bushfoods is an Aboriginal-owned and operated business where founders, Doug and Tracey take you on a cultural journey – feed your mind with a 90-minute Bushfoods Eco Tour or enjoy a bushfood inspired morning tea, with their very own range of gourmet jams and spreads.
If you are crazy about cheese and want to experience a truly unique product, say hello to the crew at Awassi Cheesery, the Lockyer Valley’s purpose-built cheesery, milking parlour and farm gate outlet.
Book an on-farm visit and meet the chickens, kiss a fish, and discover eggs on tap at 9 Dorf Farm.
Find more local farmers at the Mulgowie Farmers Market (the first Saturday every month). It’s an amazing collection of fresh, local produce from growers like Ghost Gully.
The Lockyer Valley Visitor Information Centre also stocks a variety of local products including Kitchen Kreations, Native Oz Bushfoods, local honey, and a range of other unique suppliers. A foodie trip to the Lockyer Valley wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Schulte’s Meat Tavern – a family-owned and operated business that offers a range of the highest quality fresh meats.
For a full list of places to see and things to do, call into the Visitor Information Centre at Lake Apex, Gatton, call 07 5466 3425 or visit luvyalockyer.com.au.
THINGS TO DO FISHING
Nestled on the outskirts of Laidley is a fisherman’s dream. With a catchment area of 3sqkm, holding 6947 megalitres of water, Lake Dyer is fully stocked with anglers’ favourites including Australian bass, golden perch, silver perch, spangled perch and mary river cod. Don’t forget those pesky eels and turtles, as well as red claw and blue claw crabs. Be sure to jump on Seqwater’s website to check water levels, and don’t forget to have your fishing permit at the ready, otherwise you will be buying fish and chips dinner.
SLEEP UNDER THE STARS
If you like the idea of falling asleep beneath a blanket of stars, wherever you go in the Lockyer Valley you will find glamping, caravanning and off-grid experiences that allow you to soak up the full splendour of the night sky. Simply step outside your RV and look up to see the spectacular display in all its glory. Each location is unique and offers experiences beyond stargazing.
Glen Rock State Forest is a popular spot for campers in the Lockyer Valley, with picturesque views of the surrounding creeks, ridges and plateaus of the Great Dividing Range and Mount Mistake.
Campers can spend up to a maximum of 30 nights camping at the Casuarina camping area – an open, flat, grassy area close to the Blackfellow Creek. RVs are also welcome to stay in the forest. Camping permits are required, and fees apply.
As you relax around the fire at night, be sure to take in the beauty above, as it is one of the best uninhibited views of the starry sky and a popular destination for astrophotography.
Credit: Sean Scott Photography
The Lockyer Valley is home to an abundance of natural flora and fauna. In addition to a variety of endangered species in the Lockyer National Park and Glen Rock State Park, tourists might also catch a glimpse of some of the 350 bird species that have been recorded in the valley at the local parks and reserves. Many species found in the Lockyer Valley are migratory, so the birds you may see are continually changing.
BUSHWALK THE TRAILS
With the Lockyer Valley home to national parks, state forests, mountain trails, lakes, parks, and lookouts, lace up your hiking boots, because we have compiled a list of the best natural spaces to add to your itinerary.
Great bushwalking sites to visit include Gormans Gap and Mount Campbell, Flagstone Environmental Park, White Mountain State Forest, and the spring wildflower laden Helidon Hills.
The Bicentennial National Trail also passes through the Lockyer Valley. Part of Australia’s living history, the trail commemorates Australia’s Bicentenary and stretches 5330km along our country’s east coast. It is open to hikers, horse riders, mountain bikes and pack animals.
Credit: Sean Scott Photography
Some of the best bird’s eye vantage points of the lush greenery in the Lockyer Valley can be found at the region’s two lookouts.
Cunninghams Crest Lookout can be found just outside of Laidley and provides two viewing platforms for visitors. The lookout was named after explorer Allan Cunningham who, with his party, discovered the region in 1829. It was on this spot he named the plains below as ‘Laidley Plains’.
The lookout also features murals, poetry, sculptures, and mosaics that celebrate the Aboriginal and European history of the site and reflect on Laidley’s early pioneers.
The second lookout is Schultz Lookout, which is found in the beautiful Blenheim Hills area. It overlooks the rich agricultural farmlands. Both lookouts have picnic tables to allow visitors to sit down and admire the view.
GREAT TOURIST DRIVES
The easiest way to get the most out of your visit to the Lockyer Valley is by following the picturesque tourist drives. Pick up a map or brochure from the Visitor Information Centre or download one from luvyalockyer.com.au. Suitable for most vehicle types including motorcycles, these drives also work for car Clubs with plenty of noteworthy stops along the way.
Credit: Sean Scott Photography
COBB & CO TOURIST DRIVE
Enjoy an historic drive celebrating the early days of the stagecoach in south-east Queensland. Follow the ‘wagon wheel’ directional signs to make the same journey that Cobb & Co made more than 140 years ago. Stop at Gatton and Forest Hill ‘Staging Posts’ for food and refreshments, available seven days a week, both with public amenities. Pick up a Cobb & Co brochure from the Visitor Information Centre.
LAIDLEY VALLEY DRIVE
This drive takes you through fertile farming land bordered by the Little Liverpool Range (east) and the Mistake Mountains (west). Travel south through the rural towns of Mulgowie and Thornton to Crosby Park, for a picnic beside Laidley Creek. In the wet season, take in picturesque waterfalls flowing from the distant mountain slopes. Camping is available at Centenary Park, Thornton. Catch the Mulgowie Markets on the first Saturday of the month.
Credit: Robyn Hill Photography
GLEN ROCK DRIVE
Explore creeks and valleys under the Great Dividing Range via the small communities of Ma Ma Creek and Junction View. Stop and visit the settler-built church and historic cemetery at Ma Ma Creek. Locate pioneer graves and view the memorial dedicated to three local brothers lost in France in WWI. Drive through the Thiess brothers’ spectacular first major earthworks job, carving out a huge section of stone for road access. Stop at Heifer Creek rest area and read the Thiess Memorial. Continue to Glen Rock Regional Park via the great views from Lagoon Creek Road and return to Gatton through the farming areas of Mount Sylvia and Tenthill. Bushwalkers will enjoy exploring the basalt ridges and rainforest gorges of Glen Rock. This drive does include some gravel and is not recommended for caravans or buses.
Holidays are better spent when everyone in the family can travel. If your four-legged best mate is coming too, you want to ensure dogs are widely welcomed wherever you go.
In the Lockyer Valley, there is an abundance of parks and reserves for you and your dog to exercise. These include the off-leash dog parks at the Laidley Recreational Reserve and Lake Apex in Gatton, where you can play a friendly game of fetch together.
If you’re visiting one of the many townships in the Lockyer Valley, why not take your beloved pooch with you for a tour down the main street. It’s a great way to browse the many businesses and meet the locals, who might just ask if they can have a pat!
WHERE TO STAY
RV travellers can rest their heads at a wonderful array of camping areas across the region. Rest areas at Narda Lagoon and William Kemp Park offer free 48-hour rest stops with a variety of facilities. Glen Rock National Park, along with spots like Lake Dyer and Murphys Creek Escape, also mean you are spoilt for choice to RV or camp in the Lockyer Valley.
Check out luvyalockyer.com.au/whats-on/events for a full list of all events happening in the Lockyer Valley or call the Lockyer Valley Visitor Information Centre on 07 5466 3426.
Written: Sat 01 Jul 2023
Printed: January, 2023
MY COLOURFUL WORLD, SEAN SCOTT PHOTOGRAPHY & ROBYN HILL PHOTOGRAPHY