Family road trip itinerary for Southern Downs

Condamine River in Warwick

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.

A girl looks over a field of sunflowers

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 waterfall

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.

A steam train in Queensland

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!

Glengallan Homestead near Warwick

Glengallan Homestead

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.

Childhood home of PL Travers

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.

The enchanted tree at Warwick Gardens Galore nursery and cafe

Where to eat in Warwick and the Southern Downs

There are plenty of great places to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Warwick and the Southern Downs region – allow us to introduce you to a few of the best!
 
Warwick Gardens Galore nursery showing gingerbread house

Warwick Gardens Galore

A must do is to enjoy breakfast or lunch at Warwick Gardens Galore. This nursery cafe, located at 21 Albion Street, Warwick, is open daily until 3 pm. Not only is it a very Instagram-worthy location with delicious food, but the kids will have plenty to keep them amused while waiting for their order. There are stunning plant displays and sculptures to explore throughout the nursery, chickens, a talking cockatoo, gift stores, a gelato bar and a gingerbread house.
 
Inside the gingerbread house, you’ll find the “enchanted tree” which comes alive as you step inside! There’s plenty of room to push and pram or stroller, and there are high chairs in the dining area, as well as a kids’ menu.
 
A hearty country style breakfast on a plate

The Dairy Lounge Café 

Located at 145 Victoria St, Warwick, The Dairy Lounge Cafe can be found in the old dairy factory precinct on the edge of town. There are multiple sitting areas, including some themed rooms that will appeal to kids. Open for breakfast from 7 am and lunch until 2 pm, the food an setting can best be described as hearty country fare meets trendy urban bistro.
Meals from Bluebird Kitchen in Warwick

Bluebird Kitchen

There’s lots of meat on the menu at Bluebird Kitchen and Smokehouse in the heart of Warwick. This place has a huge following from locals and tourists alike, so make a booking to ensure you don’t miss out on their American barbecue inspired menu. 
 
A meal at Rupert's restaurant in Warwick

Rupert’s Bar and Grill

The Coachman’s Inn hotel in Warwick has an onsite restaurant that is open to the public called Rupert’s Bar and Grill. This is the perfect spot if you’re looking for finer dining, or if you are celebrating a special occasion. For kids aged 12 and under, a dedicated children’s menu offers delicious options like spaghetti bolognese and cheeseburger sliders. 

Family-friendly accommodation in Warwick and Southern Downs

Albion cottage in Warwick

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.

kangaroos at a campground near Warwick

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.

For more rural road trip itineraries, check out our Stanthorpe and Granite Belt holiday ideas or discover the country of the South Burnett region.

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