Australia: Brisbane Valley QLD

Finding a dry window of time in between the constant rain has become nigh impossible and whilst there’s much to celebrate about our decades long drought biting the dust; the flip side is rain, lashings of rain.

Thankfully, we only had to contend with rain for one night on this week long trip to Wivenhoe Dam and Crows Nest.

We arrived at Wivenhoe via the pub trail. My husband relishes a good pub and a good beer, so Glamorgan Vale hotel made a choice first stop. On a Saturday, the place fairly hums with dozens of bikers who throw back coldies, share jokes with the jovial owner and depart in a cacophony of deaf defying revs, music blaring … the likes of which rival a movie set.

Drinking in the view

Futher on we drove through Lowood, cloaked in a sea of green from recent rain.

Beyond was Coominya and another liquid amber stop at the town’s pub.

Both Lowood and Coominya lie on the rail trail, a trail that extends from Wulkuraka outside Ipswich to Yarraman. Once, a train line serviced all towns along the route with freight and passenger services, but improved road transport sounded the death knell for rail. Everyone is welcome along the trail – cyclists, walkers, horseriders.

End of a rail trail horse ride. Riders enjoyed a meal at the Coominya hotel

A short distance from Wivenhoe is Fernvale. There is a well run Information Centre here, an excellent bakery/cafe and of course, the ubiquitous pub!

Rail trail distances from Fernvale

Wivenhoe Dam built in the 1980s provides water for Brisbane and Ipswich. It is South East Queensland’s largest dam and right now sits at 90% capacity. Further upstream is Somerset Dam which regularly feeds water into the Wivenhoe catchment. With more rain predicted, water is now being released downstream from both dams.

Camping at Wivenhoe was ultra easy. There are 2 very well run camping areas: Logan Inlet (caters mainly for unpowered tents) and Lumley Hill (caters for those wanting power on caravan sites).

Our small, simple tent found the perfect home on the shores of Logan Inlet (see feature photo). We camped here for 3 nights, but could have stayed 3 weeks, such was the simplicity and isolation at this time of the year. Lucky are those who live in this neck of the Brisbane Valley. Blessed with vast expansive skies, full moon starry starry nights and land, lots of spacious land; they are indeed privileged.

Kangaroos are out in force, nibbling all day on the green grass. Plenty of joeys poked their heads out of mums’ pouches
Gearing up for a cold night with a warm fire and a good fine red
16 kms of hiking trails deserve a special mention. They’re well maintained with plenty of wildlife thrown in for good measure. Didn’t sight any snakes – maybe a bit too cool
Plenty of birdlike and kangaroos along these trails

From Wivenhoe, we pointed the car in the direction of Crows Nest via Esk, a most pleasant tourist town stopover.  The Esk caravan park gets rave reviews for its setting and gardens as well as its close proximity to the rail trail.

Once a pub

From Esk we drove on the Esk Hampton Rd via the rather impressive Lakes Perseverance and Cressbrook. Kids galore were enjoying rock climbing at the Perseverance school campsite.

Lake Perseverance

Crows Nest, 543 metres above sea level, population 2000 and 43 kms from Toowoomba makes an excellent stop for a few days. We stayed at the caravan park, an easy 1.8 km walk into town.

Reception at Crows Nest Caravan Park
The Curly Carrot Restaurant at the caravan park. Couldn’t go past the pizza and pinot

The nice surprise about Crows Nest is that there’s much to see, much to do.

This is Jimmy Crow and his nest at the base of the tree. Teamsters relied on him for information and directions.
Town Square – nicely laid out with war memorials and parklands
Downed some good ale at the Grand Crow
Nolans Block – recharging Crows Nest’s battery with its quality stores and dining options
A good brew can be found here
A Crows Nest icon
Softdrink of yesteryear. A dozen of these beauties are packed in the car.

Excellent walking is definitely on the cards at Crows Nest. One rather pretty walk starts at Bullocky Rest then flows into the Applegum track. Flowers are blooming, water is rushing and gushing through the creek and the grass trees are decidedly stunning.

Pump Hole

Six kilometres from town is the Crows Nest National Park and its shining star at the moment is the Falls.

Along the way are rock pools, full to the brim after recent rain.

Nature’s swimming pools

Another Crows Nest site well worth visiting is the Museum. Long hours of passion and labour have paid off for the volunteers who have recreated a village complete with a bunch of buildings true to their century old past.

Rooms in this house are thoughtfully restored and full of items destined to take you on a trip down memory lane. You will recognise your grandparents’ kitchen for instance

And last but in no way least, is Crows Nest’s remarkable bookstore. The sheer number of quality second hand books lining the shelves is pleasantly overwhelming. Could’ve walked out with a library, but reined it in with a single purchase – Don’t Tell Me Lies, a collection of investigative journo writings from the likes of John Pilger and Wilfred Burchett (2 Aussie journos who never disappoint).

4 thoughts on “Australia: Brisbane Valley QLD

  1. Perseverance has no public camping but Cressbrook has a fantastic camp ground, we were there last weekend, it is one of our regular get out of town retreats, space, solitude and hot showers wonderful. Hope you got to try the pastries at My Little Blueberry, they are worth a trip to Crows Nest alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree about Cressbrook camping – top little spot. The place I didn’t get to try, but should have was Myrtille Bistro – heard only good things about its food, wines, service. Always a next time!

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