From wine-tasting to stargazing: things to do in Kingaroy
If farm-fresh produce, rolling countryside and picturesque B&Bs are your idea of the ultimate weekend, it’s time you put Kingaroy on your must-visit list. Less than three hours’ drive north west of Brisbane, this quirky country town is the perfect country getaway. As an added perk, it’s the ideal base from which to explore the vineyards, cellar doors and farm shops of the South Burnett wine region.
Here’s your guide to the top ten things to do on a weekend in Kingaroy.
Friday: Escape to the countryside and explore the heavens
Wave goodbye to Brisbane and feel your stress melt away as busy city streets give way to the wide open country of the Queensland hinterland. Your destination: Hillview Cottages, just 10 minutes north of Kingaroy.
Set among 57 acres of farmland right on the edge of the Booie Range, Hillview is a collection of three historical cottages, each with their own unique charm. Choose to stay in the old church, the former worker’s cottage or the converted dairy: all are kitted out with a woodburning stove and uninterrupted views of the surrounding countryside.
Grab your complimentary cheese platter and bottle of local wine and get comfortable on your private deck or patio, with native birdsong and the lowing of nearby cattle the only sounds for miles around. As the sun sets, fire up the stove and get cosy. Or, if it’s a clear night, take a trip down the Kingaroy Observatory for an unforgettable evening of stargazing.
Head up to the Observation Deck (complete with retractable roof) and get behind the lens of a high-powered Meade Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. Expect a crash course in astronomy from your host, scientist James Barclay, as you marvel over close-up views of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and it moons and much more.
Tip: Bookings are essential and weather-dependent.
Saturday: Sample local drops and produce fresh from the farm
Start your day right with a breakfast of fresh South Burnett produce, courtesy of your hosts Sandy and Chris. Fill up on local bacon and eggs collected from the property’s hen house or simply slather some famous Kingaroy peanut butter on a slice of freshly-baked bread.
Your first stop of the day is Pottique Lavender Farm, home to the largest lavender shop in Australia. As you drive up towards the quaint homestead the first thing you’ll notice is the spectacular fields of purple blooms that surround the farm. The second thing you’ll notice is the soothing fragrance of lavender that hits you the moment you step out of the car.
Taste locally-produced lavender liqueur and other local wines at the farm’s cellar door, wander the field and pick your own lavender or treat yourself to a Devonshire tea: a lavender scone, smothered in lavender jam with a side of (yep, you guessed it) lavender tea.
Next on the agenda is an afternoon of wine-tasting, starting with family-owned winery Kingsley Grove Estate. Work up an appetite in the tasting room sampling the vineyard’s famously innovative wine styles, then head next door to the restaurant for lunch, followed by a scoop or two of wine ice cream.
On your way to your second cellar door of the day, keep an eye out for farm gates and honesty boxes selling everything from peanuts, fruit and veggies to homemade preserves: you’ll need supplies for tomorrow’s picnic.
Just down the road from your cottage you’ll find Crane Wines Boutique Winery. Pick a few top drops and relax on the porch of the vineyard’s grand colonial homestead, as you watch the afternoon sun sink towards the Booie ranges. Then pick up a gourmet pizza in Kingaroy on your way home and settle in for a night by the fire.
Sunday: Get a local history lesson then picnic beside a waterfall
After another slap-up breakfast, make time to visit a much-loved local icon: the Kingaroy Peanut Van. With a list of fanciful flavour options that span everything from horseradish and massaman curry to lime and butterscotch, owners Rob and Chris are the undisputed peanut kings of Queensland.
If you’re curious to know more about the history of Kingaroy’s peanut industry, take a short stroll up the street to the Kingaroy Heritage Museum. Travel back in time as you wander displays of agricultural machinery built by local inventors and dating back to the early 1900s.
There’s more local colour on show across the road at the Kingaroy Regional Art Gallery. This stunning Art Deco building houses a range of collections featuring new and established local artists.
Pick up any last-minute picnic supplies while you’re in town, then jump back behind the wheel for the scenic 30 minute drive to Maidenwell. This afternoon’s destination is picturesque Coomba Falls: a deep natural swimming hole surrounded by striking granite cliffs. From the carpark it’s an easy walk down a few steps to get to the water, so grab a blanket, your lunch and (if it’s a warm day) your swimmers.
(If Coomba Falls inspires you, here are nine more waterfalls and waterholes in Southern Queensland Country to help plan your next trip).
When to visit Kingaroy
Although the weather is great all year round, Autumn is widely considered the best season to visit Southern Queensland Country and Kingaroy. That’s when the temperature starts to dip and the leaves change colour, making the countryside even more picturesque and cosy nights by the fire all the more appealing.
It’s also well worth timing your trip to coincide with one of the South Burnett’s flagship food festivals.
In August, Kingaroy comes to life for the annual Kingaroy Baconfest, a three day celebration of Australian pork. Taste quirky treats like choc-dipped bacon and bacon fries as you cheer on the competitors in the highly competitive Smoke-off competition.
If you’re travelling in May, check out the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival an hour’s drive north of Kingaroy. Rolling into Goomeri on the last Sunday in May, this event is all about fun. From the annual pumpkin pageant to the Great Australian Pumpkin Roll you’ll find plenty to keep you amused – and with lots of delicious local eats on offer you definitely won’t go hungry either.
For more things to do in Kingaroy and the South Burnett, check out this guide to the region.