The Road Ahead : October November 2007
OCT/NOV 07 43 STORY & PHOTOS JIM MATHERS The Bunya Mountains have become of a gathering place for city folk looking to wind down. About two and a half hours drive west of Brisbane, the Bunyas historically were a gathering place for Aborigines from south-east Queensland and nor thern New South Wales. Between December and March, the bunya pines drop cones (up to 10 kg) containing edible bunya nuts. Ever y few years up until the late 1800s, when the crops were heavy, Aborigines would come here for the 'bonye bonye' festival. Formed 30 million years ago from lava flows and believed to be the remnant of an old shield volcano, today almost 12,000 ha of the Bunya Mountains are protected as national park. Natural beauty is the main attraction. Rich forest, plentiful wildlife, a cool climate, clear skies and a slow pace make it an easy place in which to unwind. Accommodation ranges from camping to rental houses. If you're looking to rent, it's hard to go past the Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre. There are some 80 proper ties available and prices star t from $90 a night (for three adults or two adults and two children). The houses, some accommodating up to 12, make for comfor table and cosy getaways. There are bigger lodges for large groups. Many homes in the Bunya Mountains Titles Estate offer outstanding views to the nor th-east, towards the coast, while homes in the Rainforest Estate overlook the estates' common areas, down to the national park. The houses generally offer fireplaces (logs and log splitters provided), comfor table furnishings, TV, stereo and other modern amenities. House location doesn't really matter, as the whole environment in this area is beautiful. Crisp, misty mornings, wallabies in your back yard and native birds feeding from verandahs are common. Nearby Dandabah has the national park information centre, a shop and a restaurant. It's also where some walking tracks star t. Walks range from the 500 m Bunya Bunya track to the 9.6 km Cherr y Plain track, which star ts at the Westcott picnic area. The 4 km Scenic Circuit is a must, taking you through the bunya pine forest to Pine Gorge Lookout. Up the road from Dandabah, in Bunya Avenue, tr y the great food and drinks at the Bunya Forest Galler y and Tea Room. The menu is built around bush tucker, and it's wor th lingering to tr y some of the many treats on offer. Goodies can be purchased to take home, as can a range of ar t and crafts. Depending on when you visit, you might also be able to captivate the kids with a horse and car t ride, which operates from Dandabah. Natural beauty is the highlight of a stay in the Bunyas. If you want to extend your activities, venture down the mountain to such nearby attractions as the Rimfire Winer y or the Maidenwell Astronomical Obser vator y. Kingaroy, Dalby and Toowoomba are within easy reach too. TRAVEL & LEISURE Clear mountain Cool your heels amid the stunning surroundings of the Bunya Mountains. PLAN WITH RACQ Plan your driving holiday to the Bunya Mountains and your accommodation online with the RACQ trip planner at racq.com. Also check out the tourist drives, including the Great Bunya Drive. RACQ rates Bunya Mountains Accommodation Centre proper ties up to four stars, depending on the proper ty. Book your accommodation online or by calling RACQ on 1800 629 501.
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August September 2007