Feel like taking a bit of a wander? Some time to contemplate your navel? How about a date with Mother Nature? Well, Southern Queensland Country is flush with National Parks that will take your breath away and knock your socks off. That's it, simply clean, green and lean. Pack your thermos, your boots and try and keep those socks on as these parks are made for walking and best of all, delicious daydreaming. Bet you can hardly remember the last time you indulged in that guilty pleasure.
Bunya Mountains National Park
Ancient Aboriginal tribes of South East Queensland used to walk for weeks to meet atop the beautiful Bunya Mountains, to share stories, culture, food and to celebrate. This National Park, the state's second oldest, still whispers magical stories, contained in the thick trunks of its Bunya pines and the myriad lush vegetation which makes this destination so earthy. Located about 200km north-west of Brisbane, it boasts a range of amazing walks, waterfalls, grasslands, rainforest and birds.
Girraween National Park
Lucky, lucky Queensland. Had this National Park been a tad further south, New South Wales could have claimed it for itself. They probably do. And who can blame them? Located right on the border, 260km south-west of Brisbane in the Granite Belt, Girraween itself means place of flowers, and you'll find plenty of blooms here. But it's the granite and boulders you'll most remember here, particularly the iconic Sphinx formation. Cool your walking feet in crisp creeks, after tackling some 11 marked trails.
Main Range National Park
Sultry Spicers Gap has shimmied onto the radar in recent times due to its fancy accommodation options that have sprung up in the region, but long before retreats were even invented, this spot has sparkled as part of Main Range National Park, 116km south-west of Brisbane. This massive National Park also includes the lovely Queen Mary Falls and Goomburra, but it's the remnants of the Gondwana Rainforest trees and animals that make this destination to die for.
Ravensbourne National Park
Ravishing Ravensbourne, home to rainforest hardwoods and other timbers before they were felled in the mid 1800s, was once a pit stop for Aborigines heading to the Bunyas for their celebratory festival. Perched near the top of the Great Diving Range, some 32km north of Toowoomba, there's still some beautiful rainforest trees to discover here, as well as palm groves, streams and birdlife. And, from its elevated position, it's a pretty picnic spot to boot.
Bald Rock National Park
So we may be stretching the friendship, and the borders, just a tad, as most of this National Park sits in New South Wales, but we're told it also touches on Queensland and that's good enough for us. As the name suggests, the highlight of this journey is the rock itself, measuring some 700m long, 500m wide and sitting 200m above sea level, it is considered the highest exposed type of granite in the country. And yes, you can climb it – it will take you three hours return to the summit, but we're informed it's well worth it.
Lake Broadwater Conservation Park
What's so special about this lake? Well, it's the only large naturally-occurring freshwater lake in the Darling Downs, which means it attracts amazing waterbirds and other wildlife in droves. You'll find Lake Broadwater 30km south-west of Dalby, and when she's full, boy does she sing. Canoe, swim, powerboat or ski on this body of water, or if that's not your thing, a picnic and a walk here along the Red Gum Track are equally pleasant pursuits.
Boat Mountain Reserve, Murgon
There's hundreds of incredible National Parks in Queensland, but this little-known one in the South Burnett is the place where the locals like to flock, for picnics and nature walks. It sits 589 metres high and has the appearance of an upturned boat. There's more than 130 plant and 46 bird species here.
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Author: Tourism and Events Queensland
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