30 November 2011
While visiting the city’s parks and gardens like the magnificent Japanese Gardens is free, it is best done during the annual Carnival of Flowers in September when the experience is unforgettable.
If you’re feeling hungry and wanting to go beyond pub grub, enjoy the warmth of a local cafe like Café Valetta, or Fire and Ice Restaurant. Alternatively, try the view of the surrounding Darling Downs from the local Picnic Point lookout.
If art takes your fancy, check out Tosari Galleries. While it’s a great way to while away a little time, you can choose from the many captivating pieces by well-known artists, as many are small enough to stow in your van. What’s more, owner Diane Elsden is ready to offer travellers sensible advice gratis.
Near Tosari, the Cobb & Co Museum provides a fascinating display. Beyond the old wagons and buggies, including a horse-drawn caravan, I’m reminded how the Cobb & Co stagecoaches helped open up the west.
Just out of town, the Jondaryan Woolshed brings to life the pastoral history of the Darling Downs. Beyond Jondaryan, nearby Dalby is a cotton town with a quality bush camp at nearby Lake Broadwater, especially if you’re into fishing or boating. However, I pushed on to Miles and Possum Park for the night. If you usually enjoy bush camping over caravan parks, then this spot might change your mind. It’s unlike any other caravan park.
Thanks to David and Julie Hinds’ almost three decades of hard work, Possum Park is a tourist attraction in its own right. Set into the side of a hill, the Hinds’ bunkers are remarkable and look comfortable. As for vanners, staying means relaxing under the western stars in one of Possum Park’s campsites or mingling with fellow travellers down by the park campfire.
The Warrego Highway continues to Roma as a reasonable two-lane highway. Roma marks the end of the Golden West and the beginning of the Queensland outback. While here, take a look at the Big Rig, especially the night display as it tells the story of the discovery of oil and gas in the Surat Basin.
Surat is an important meeting point for many travellers following the Carnarvon Highway. Enter Surat from the north and you’ll discover a wonderful free camp by the river just before the bridge. Here’s a chance to unwind with a little fishing and catch up with fellow travellers. It’s shady, with access to the river, flushing toilets, town water and only a short walk from town.
From Surat (towards Glenmorgan) is the Myall Park Botanic Gardens. Breathtaking is to understate this magnificent 130ha of rare and endangered plant species native to Australia’s arid and semi-arid zones. If you love nature, bird watching or photography take the detour. They do have inexpensive campsites, so finding time to explore is no problem.
Nestled into a bend of the Moonie River, ‘the Gully’, as the six permanent locals call Nindigully, is little more than a pub. For much of the last 140 years, the Nindigully has sat large in the tales of countless drovers, landowners and anglers.
Dating back to the days, the pub was a Cobb & Co changing station. The plentiful stories out of Nindigully, from the inevitable ‘yellow belly that got away’ yarn to the one about the ghost in the cellar and the grave of the unknown drover, are offered with a strong dose of raw comedy and just a dash of melancholy.
Goondiwindi Visitor Information
(07) 4671 2653
Dalby Visitor Information
(07) 4662 1066
Miles Visitor Information
(07) 4627 1492
Toowoomba and Golden West Tourism Information
(07) 4632 1988