There aren’t many things in life as enthralling as embarking on a road trip that speaks like no other. Enter destination Central Highlands, a unique home to some of the most peculiar attractions Queensland has to offer.
Explore these 5 must-do self-drives when in the Central Highlands
1. The Maraboon H2O Trail
A loop embarking from Emerald to Fairbairn Dam, Lake Maraboon and back, the journey spans approximately 55 kilometres, making it a quick and easy getaway.
Adventure into the water irrigation areas of Emerald, its cotton farms, citrus orchards, and table grape vineyards, as you make your way to the magnificent 820 metre long Fairbairn Dam wall and Lake Maraboon.
The best part about this journey is the destination. Lake Maraboon is an oasis of the Central Highlands, with spectacular landscapes that make a great picture. With plenty of wildlife creatures around and friendly park peacocks that frequent the area, a visit to Lake Maraboon is a relaxing one with Mother Nature.
For this journey, you will want to consider packing a picnic or bite to eat by the lake. There are plenty of shaded spots for you to take cover from the sun, as well as wide grassy open spaces. Lake Maraboon also has free use barbecue pits for those who want to do a big cookout instead.
Anglers shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw in a line given the amazing catch opportunities of the lake. Frequently stocked with barramundi, silver perch, golden perch and red claw crayfish, it’s no wonder fishing at Lake Maraboon is renowned throughout the Central Highlands.
Before making your way to Lake Maraboon from Emerald, be sure to drop by the Maraboon Tavern for a hearty meal to prepare for your adventure. With classic pub meals perfected by skilled professional chefs along with a wide array of other delicacies and international cuisines, your choice of a decadent meal is plenty. The fresh cold beer on tap will also help you feel refreshed for the adventure ahead, and if you’d rather prefer other beverages, the drinks menu has a good variety containing both local and international aperitifs.
If you’re running out of time to make a stop at the Maraboon Tavern before you head to Lake Maraboon, you could always drop by on your way back for dinner as the establishment’s dine in time ends at 8.30pm everyday. Make a booking to avoid disappointment by calling (07) 4982 0999.
2. Minerva Discovery Loop
The Minerva Hills National Park offers panoramic views of natural beauty. Departing from Springsure to Minerva Hills National Park and back to Springsure, the loop is a good 95 kilometre circuit. At the park, take on the opportunity to wander along the skyline lookout as you get close to the Virgin Rock formation standing tall above Springsure. Check in at the Wills Memorial Site before heading back to Springsure and passing through the Minerva open cut coal mine.
3. Path of Pioneers
A historical journey taking you from Emerald through Lilyvale and the Capella Pioneer Village, with an end destination of the Sapphire Gemfields, this trail goes for 170 kilometres. History is embedded in this journey, from exploring the old town of Lilyvale to having your hand at fossicking in the Sapphire Gemfields, it’s time to explore the miner in you as you embark upon the pioneer path.
4. Arcadia Explorer
Starting from Rollestone to Lake Nuga Nuga and then the Arcadia Valley back to Rollestone, this circuit takes 195 kilometres to finish.
It’s a relaxing drive through the beautiful scenery of farmlands and grazing spots. Lake Nuga Nuga is the ideal place to make a stop for a picnic, while enjoying the beautiful views. Take a break from the wheel and head to the waters by canoe if you’d like, or simply look out for the abundance of birdlife in the area. Your next destination, Arcadia Valley, offers stunning views of the Carnarvon and Expedition ranges.
5. Central Highlands Mining Trail
A decent 215 kilometre trail beginning from Clermont taking you through Capella, Lilyvale, Emerald, Blackwater and then Buff, this journey will give you insights into the best of the Central Highlands.
The trail takes you through the ways of each local township and its affinity with the mining history of Australia. As you drive, you will be able to spot some mines along the way, but the opportunity to book a mining tour to get a firsthand experience down in the mines is always recommended. To visit an operating mine, be sure to check out the ones at Blackwater.
Banner image credit: Talbaht's Travels