The Road Ahead : April May 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD APR/MAY 2012 36 TRAVEL DRIVE TRAVEL IMAGES: SCENIC RIM (COURTESY TOURISM QUEENSLAND). QUEENSLAND TRANSPORT MUSEUM, GATTON. LAIDLEY (COURTESY LOCKYER VALLEY REGIONAL COUNCIL). AN HOUR WEST of Brisbane, and just 30 minutes from Ipswich and Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley is open for business, having rebuilt and recovered following the devastating floods of January last year. With 2012 being the Year of the Farmer, now would seem a fitting time for a trip to the Lockyer Valley, which is ranked in the top 10 most fertile farming areas in the world. Long regarded as 'the salad and vegie bowl of Queensland', its ideal climate and rich soil produces excellent quality potatoes, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, pumpkins and celery. Known as the 'country garden of Queensland,' the tidy town of Laidley is home to the annual spring garden festival held in September, however, its bountiful gardens are lush and colourful all year round. Get a bird's eye view of the spectacular countryside with a hot air balloon ride, or literally drop in with a skydive. For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there is plenty to do such as bird watching or exploring the region's national parks and art galleries. There's a fusion of old and new; evidence the newly-built Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre which contrasts with the heritage-listed Spring Bluff railway station, home to more than 140 years of railway history. A short drive south leads to the Scenic Rim, named by Arthur Groom, adventurer, naturalist and tourism pioneer to describe the semi-circle chain of mountains which wrap around the valleys between Brisbane and Tamborine Mountain. It's an exciting destination for tourism and culture, a well- known equine breeding ground, hub of rural production and home to a vibrant artistic community. To experience the Scenic Rim at its best, take a drive through the national parks and stop at one of the many lookouts to take in the panoramic views. Somerset Dam is the place for a picnic, swimming, water sports, or to enjoy a spot of fishing. There are also guided or self-drive winery tours to help explore one of Queensland's emerging wine destinations. With so much on offer, and long weekends coming up, why not make it an overnight trip or longer stay? Accommodation is sorted with award-winning B&Bs and farm stays aplenty, as well as camping grounds and caravan parks to suit your preference. For more information on these must-see regions, check out www.lockyervalley.qld.gov.au or www.scenicrim.qld.gov.au. To plan a visit, go to RACQ's trip planner at www.racq.com.au. BY BY BY BY BYC C C CM AM AME ER R EON ON ONM M MCP CP C C CHE HE ERS RSON ON O Brisbane has any number of regions in its own backyard well worth a visit. Here are two of the best.
February March 2012
June July 2012