Take A Wander Down Australia's Country Way

8 June 2015
Read Time: 2.4 mins

Country roads can take you home, but they can also bring you to some memorable new pastures. Australia's Country Way is just like any other winding country road, really. Oh, except it's 1,615 kilometres long.

The lengthy highway journey between Sydney and Rockhampton in Central Queensland is the ultimate country road trip, especially if you don't mind the occasional stop for a roaming cow and picking up lunch direct from the farm gate.

Sydneysiders will spend the initial leg of the trip making their way to country music mecca Tamworth before reaching the 'halfway' mark at Armidale in the Northern Tablelands. From there, it's an easy cruise through Tenterfield into Queensland, and that's where things really start to get interesting ...

Loosen The Granite Belt

Tenterfield →  Warwick → Toowoomba

 Enjoy the beautiful historic architecture of Warwick (Image: TEQ)

Wallangarra is a village sitting pretty on the 'Sunny' side of the New South Wales–Queensland border. From the tiny agricultural town, it's an easy trek to 'rose and rodeo capital' Warwick.

As you cruise down Warwick's streets lined with sandstone facades, it's not hard to imagine horse-drawn carts clopping along the thoroughfare 150 years ago.

This is Southern Queensland Country, where an elevated position, crisp climate and granite terroir have created southern Queensland's living pantry.

 Queensland? Wine country? Believe it! (Image: TEQ)

The four-season region is only around 60 kilometres north to south but boasts more than 40 wineries and vineyards, plus paddock-to-plate dining experiences, which locals simply call breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The area is known for its apples, stone fruit, artisan breads, olive oil, jams, chutneys, ciders, cheese and wild-game meat. Take a night to camp, glamp or catch some Z's in a B&B in Warwick, Killarney or Stanthorpe before cruising on to Toowoomba.

Here Comes The Sun...shine Coast

Toowoomba → Kingaroy → Monto

 Time for tea in Kingaroy (Image: TEQ)

Just 90 minutes from the 'big smoke', Toowoomba is a garden-laden town which has recently undergone a trendy metamorphosis thank to yet another instalment of the First Coast street art festival.

There's good coffee and organic cafe fare aplenty in Toowoomba – just the right amount to keep Millennials interested without making the Baby Boomers uncomfortable.

Got more gas in the tank? 7 Epic Road Trips Around The Southern Great Barrier Reef

Don't hit the road in QLD without reading 24 Hours In The Sunshine Coast Hinterland

Want to explore more around Rocky? Read A Former Local's Guide To Yeppoon

From Toowoomba, Australia's Country Way takes you to Kingaroy. The South Burnett town is full of nuts ... literally. Kingaroy is the peanut capital of Australia and lies directly inland from the Sunshine Coast.

Of course, this journey is all about taking the back roads, calling in on small towns, craft markets and cottage cafes along the way, but nobody would blame you for taking a little detour and visiting the sun-kissed coastline!

 Tasty local treats in the Burnett region (Image: TEQ)

If you do make a small segue, veer back on to Australia's Country Way via the quaint town of Childers, renowned across the land for its life-changing macadamia ice cream.

Passing through peanut country to the citrus orchards of the Northern Burnett region, your next main stop is at Monto. Expect to chow down on epic meat pies, which are best enjoyed over tales of the fabled Bunyip – celebrated each year with a town festival.

When The Going Gets Rocky

Monto → Rockhampton

 Rockhampton offers a wealth of experiences. No bull! (Image: TEQ)

Last, but by no means least, we come to Rockhampton. You've made it! And could there be a more fitting finale to Australia's Country Way?

This 'beefy' destination – it is the Beef Capital of Australia, after all – is the southern entry point to the Great Barrier Reef, with a sprinkling of islands off its sandy coastline. But it's more than just paradisiacal islands and underwater playgrounds (although how good does that sound?).

Get to know Rocky, as the locals call it, by planning your visit during rodeo time, by heading underground to the ancient Capricorn Caves, or taking it easy in the Heritage-listed Botanic Gardens, 130 years old and still blooming beautiful.

At the end of it all, finish with a massive feed of surf and turf. Hey, when in Rocky ...

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Queensland.

Ashton Rigg

When I'm not at home in Brisbane, you’ll find me wanderlusting around hipster bars, eclectic boutiques and arty nooks. From bagels in Brooklyn to strudel in Salzburg, I believe the best way to experience a destination is by taking a bite! Tweets & 'grams at @AshtonRigg