Family road trip itinerary for Southern Downs
There’s never been a better time to explore our own backyard, and the Southern Downs region, approximately two hours from Brisbane has so much to offer families. Begin your journey by driving from Brisbane to Warwick, which is a charming country town with beautiful old buildings and churches, including the Abbey Boutique Hotel (formerly a convent). By making Warwick your base, you can easily explore everything that the region has to offer.
Things to do with kids in Warwick and the Southern Downs
The winding Condamine River weaves its way through the township of Warwick, and there are beautiful walks along its banks, as well as play equipment for kids dotted along the pathways. But for most of the region’s attractions, you will need a car to drive to places of natural beauty. And while we’ve included a link to an excellent self-contained cottage for families, it’s great to eat out too. Not only will you be supporting local business and local farmers, you’ll enjoy a generous serve of country hospitality.
Drive past sunflower fields
From November through to March, seas of golden flowers begin to sporadically display their blooms in the farmlands that surround Warwick and nearby Allora. It’s a glorious sight and makes a great family photo opportunity. Check out our detailed review of sunflower fields close to Brisbane. Sunday drive anyone?
Queen Mary Falls, Main Range National Park
Picnic, barbecue, bushwalk, feed the birds, spot wildlife. But most of all, check out the spectacular 40-metre drop on this waterfall! You can view it from a lookout, or get up close at its base and feel the mist on your face. Read our full review with all the details.
Southern Downs Steam Railway
Take a step back in time at the Southern Downs Steam Railway, home of the Downs Explorer. Based in Warwick, this not-for-profit group are passionate about steam train tourism. They run regular day trips, overnight trips and longer itineraries. They also offer shorter journeys that are perfect for families. Read our full review to learn more about the pleasures of steam train travel through the countryside!
There is an intriguing story and complex history behind the unfinished Glengallan Homestead. The sandstone mansion, built in 1867, is equally grand and ruinous. Some parts have been restored to display their former glory, whilst other rooms have been left in disrepair, to show their decline. How it was meant to look, once complete, is anyone’s guess as architectural drawings were never found. Families are welcome to look around the property on a self-guided tour. There are acres of garden to play in, and a cafe that serves up indulgent high teas at the Glengallan Homestead and Heritage Centre.
Mary Poppins’ House
Not many people are aware that P.L.Travers, author of the beloved Mary Poppins series of books, spent some of her childhood in the quaint town of Allora. Private tours of the heritage-listed house are available, or you can just marvel at the Mary Poppins’ House from the footpath. Find it at 61 Herbert Street, Allora.
Where to eat in Warwick and the Southern Downs
Warwick Gardens Galore
The Dairy Lounge Café
Rupert’s Bar and Grill
Family-friendly accommodation in Warwick and Southern Downs
The beautifully presented Albion Cottage on Albion Street in Warwick is the perfect place for families to stay. The historic cottage offers four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry. There are board games and DVDs supplied. For heating (it gets very chilly in the winter months!) there is a reverse cycle air conditioner and a cosy wood heater.
Outside is a fenced garden for the kids to play in, as well as a covered BBQ/entertaining area. It is also within walking distance of the main town, including cafes, restaurants and some lovely country stores.
Glendon Camping near Warwick
Located 38 kilometres west of Warwick, Glendon Camping is a hidden secret. The dog-friendly camping area is nestled along Thanes Creek, running through the 1600 Acre property. There is plenty of wildlife to spot, and a plethora of friendly farm animals to meet and feed. If you have a 4WD, there are some fun tracks to explore (ask for a map from reception). There are a surprising number of activities to do on the property including gold panning, and non-motorised watercraft which can be taken down to the dam. However, families should be aware that this is a popular trail bike riding location, and so it can get noisy, especially on weekends. However, when there’s no bikes, it’s a tranquil oasis in the bush.