If you’re living in Brisbane and you like exploring, chances are you’ve probably done most of the popular day trips. Mt Tambourine, the Sunshine Coast hinterland, the Scenic Rim, the Goldie, Noosa… Been there, done that, right?
Well here’s one you probably haven’t done (and should do, pronto).
Ravensbourne, Crows Nest & Hampton… If you haven’t heard of them, you’re not alone. Just north of Toowoomba, these places are well off the tourist trail, but less than two hours from Brissy, they make a worthy day trip (especially if you like good food and avoiding the crowds!).
Set your alarm early and start the day by watching the sunrise at Mt Cootha on your way out of the city (it’s on the way, guys!). Next, hit the Old Fernvale Bakery and grab a coffee & a pie for breakfast. They have over 120 types of pies (not a typo), and they are GOOD.
With a full belly, keep heading west. You’ll go through the town of Esk, before heading up to Crows Nest National Park. Do the easy hike to the Koonin Lookout (4.4km return), which gives you epic views across the gorge.
This is probably (OK, definitely) my favourite part of the road trip. Drive to the small town of Hampton (it’s more of an intersection really) and go to Emerlaude. It’s a micro-region-eatery that is TOTALLY worth driving 2 hours for lunch. The food is great (and reasonably priced), they have lovely wines and a fab cocktail menu, and the service is exceptional! Just. Go. Now.
From Hampton, drive to Ravensbourne National Park and visit the Gus Beutel Lookout to lose yourself in the gorgeous views across the Lockyer Valley. If you need an pick-me-up, stop at the Woods Cafe for a coffee with a killer view, before starting the drive back home.
Love a good sunset? Pack a picnic rug and watch the sunset on the banks of Lake Wivenhoe before heading back to Brissy. Want to make a weekend of it? Camp at Lake Wivenhoe (Captain Logan Campground is a great spot) or find a cosy country cottage along the way (there’s heaps).