Lockyer Valley

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Grey nomads visit Lockyer Valley
‘Australia’s largest foodbowl’ boasts many scenic spots Pic: Kev Russell

Nestled at the foot of the Great Dividing Range just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, the picturesque Lockyer Valley has long been a favourite destination for grey nomads … and its seems the love is reciprocated.

This is clear by the three 48-hour rest stops with a variety of facilities that have been made available at Heifer Creek, Narda Lagoon and at Gatton. And caravanners and motorhomers will also find some top camping opportunities at Glen Rock National Park, Lake Dyer and Murphys Creek Escape.

The warm welcome that greets travellers is no surprise given the laid-back country atmosphere that permeates the region, despite its close proximity to the bright lights of the Queensland capital. This is an agricultural district sometimes known as ‘Australia’s largest food bowl’ and most visitors love to stop at one or more of the numerous roadside stalls to pick up fresh local produce direct from the farm gate.

Farmers markets are also hugely popular.

There are some wonderful smaller settlements in the valley, each with their own particular charm, and these include Plainland, Forest Hill, Grantham (which is recovering strongly after being hit Page 8 hard by flooding in 2011), Mulgowie, Helidon, Murphys Creek, and Withcott.

Gatton is the largest town in the area with a population of approximately 8,000. It boasts a range of shops and services including a number of supermarkets.

The wetlands surrounding Lake Apex is home to a wealth of birdlife and many visitors love to take a stroll around the lake, and visit the poignant Lights on the Hill memorial.

The next biggest town is Laidley which was settled in the 1840s when it became a convenient place for teamsters and wagon drivers to rest after travelling over the Little Liverpool Range on the way to the Darling Downs. The town’s proud history is reflected in its heritage shop fronts and antique style lamp posts. Laidley’s German ancestry is highlighted at Das Neumann Haus which was hand-built in 1893, and at the Pioneer Village.

Other places for visitors to immerse themselves in the past include the Historical Village, Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre and Queensland Transport Museum in Gatton, along with the Railway Museum and Jessie’s Cottage in Murphys Creek.

Tourism bodies advise that 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 South East Queensland’s hidden gems. From Brisbane or Ipswich, grey nomads can make the same journey that Cobb & Co made over 140 years ago by following the ‘wagon wheel’ directional signs.

 

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