The Burnett Circle
The North Burnett is a real contrast to the coastal parts of the region. Rugged gorges, imposing mountain ranges, serene rural views, the Burnett River and towns offering country hospitality. Take the circle as a side trip or travel through the district on the Burnett Highway (A3) as part of the alternate route from Brisbane or Sydney to Rockhampton.
The access to Biggenden and the Burnett Circle off the Burnett Highway is from Childers (47 kilometres) or Booyal (35 kilometres). Cane farms give way to cattle properties and the Australian bush. After passing through the small community of Dallarnil a road leads to Mt Woowoonga, a National Park with picnic grounds.
The craggy blue ranges are the backdrop to the picturesque township of Biggenden. It is the quintessential quaint township that has a lot to offer visitors. It’s rural with all the safety and friendliness of a small town in the North Burnett, sitting comfortably along side metropolitan services like excellent art, coffee shops, florists, gift shops and a new and very modern supermarket. Biggenden boasts rich mineral resources and many agricultural pursuits; such as beef, grain, peanuts, dairying, piggeries, citrus and timber. Biggenden is proud of its roses and they feature in the main street.
The Chowey Bridge is one of only two of its kind in Australia. This concrete railway bridge was built in 1905 and is north-west of the town. Its classic design reflects in the water below and makes for a pleasant picnic spot. Coongarra Rock is a single rock formation which affords inspiring views of the surrounding mountains for the adventurous. It has restricted vehicle access with the turnoff about 8 kilometres south of Biggenden.
Just 20 minutes drive north west of Biggenden is the region’s newest dam, Paradise on the Burnett River. The dam is named after the old gold mining town which lies deep under the waters. It was completed in November 2005 and holds 300,000 megalitres of water for irrigation.
Paradise Dam is not currently a stocked impoundment so a fishing permit is not required. There are no boating restrictions except near the dam wall. A 5 kilometre boat trip upstream is the restored historic Kalliwa Hut moved to its current site in 1936.
Paradise has great facilities for visitors with free gas barbeques, picnic shelters, environmentally friendly toilets, concrete boat ramp, fish cleaning table and in formation centre and kiosk. Camping is permitted after registration with the kiosk on arrival.
Mingo is situated at the top end of Paradise Dam where the Burnett River enters. It is located between Biggenden and Mount Perry. Facilities include on-site managers, newly constructed camping ground, caravan sites, barbecues and picnic areas, amenities block, boat ramp and fish cleaning station.
Mt Walsh National Park
Rising to 703m above sea level in the Coastal Range, Mount Walsh National Park is a rugged park with spectacular exposed granite outcrops and cliffs. “The Bluff” area of Mount Walsh, at the park’s northern end, is a prominent landmark in the Biggenden area. Have a picnic or barbecue below The Bluff. A shelter shed, toilets, barbecue and tank water are provided in the local authority picnic ground next to the park. Most of this rugged park is suitable only for the experienced, well-equipped bushwalkers with sound bush skills. WARNING: Granite rocks are slippery when wet. Wear shoes with good grip or avoid walking during or after rain.
Bush camping is allowed in the park. No facilities are provided so visitors must be totally self-sufficient. Take a fuel stove. Open fires are not permitted. Camping may be closed in periods of high fire danger. Take plenty of drinking water. Talk to the Ranger before rockclimbing or abseiling in remote parts of the park.
Turn off the Maryborough-Biggenden Road 2km east of Biggenden or 79 km west of Maryborough. Travel a further 5.3km along the signposted National Park Road to the picnic area.
For further information and to book phone
137468 or logon to epa.qld.gov.au/parks.
Coalstoun Lakes National Park
Rising above 200m above a broad cultivated valley, Mt Le Brun contains two large craters which fill with water creating shallow lakes. The crater lakes are protected in Coalstoun Lakes National Park. Formed more than 600,000 years ago, the mountain is one of the youngest volcanic formations in Australia. There are no facilities. This is a park for bird watching and nature study. Leave your car at the base of the mountain and walk up the steep outer side of the northern crater. Continue down into the crater. Turn off the Isis Highway 20km south of Biggenden or 4km north of Coalstoun Lakes Road. Follow the gravel track to the base of the northern crater. The nearby town was named after the lakes.
For further information please contact
National Parks on (07) 4121 1800.
Ban Ban Springs
The natural freshwater spring and picnic area is situated at the junction of the Isis and Burnett Highways. Its clear sparkling waters provide a refreshing place to stop-over under the weeping willow trees. The natural freshwater springs are the first place in Queensland to have been formally registered as an Aboriginal cultural heritage place – being a Dreaming place of great significance to the Wakka Wakka Aboriginal people.
Known as Queensland’s oldest town, Gayndah was in the running with Ipswich and Brisbane to be the state’s capital. There are older settlements in the state but these are now cities so Gayndah can lay claim to the title.
Today, Gayndah’s oranges and mandarins are famous and are an export commodity. The Gayndah Orange Festival is held on the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend in odd numbered years. Citrus groves are planted around the meandering Burnett River.
Grazing is the district’s major economy with agricultural crops contributing to the economy of the area.
The town is attractive with floral median strips, wide streets and well preserved colonial buildings. Don’t miss a visit to Mellor’s Drapery where you will see the only remaining ‘flying fox’ in operation. Cash sales are sent to a central office by means of cup and wire runners, the change is returned in the same manner.
The historical museum features one of the oldest Georgian Cottages in the state and has a unique collection of antique steam-powered farm equipment in working order. The volunteers at the complex operate regular ‘steam days’ each year.
Claude Wharton Weir, 3 kilometres west of the town on the Burnett Highway (A3) is a popular fishing spot. Australian Bass, barramundi, golden perch, spangled perch and catfish are the most commonly caught species.
Gayndah Art Gallery is located within the newly refurbished Gayndah Arts & Cultural Centre. Built in 1919, this grand building was formerly the Catholic Convent of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan.
The Gayndah Art Gallery is the jewel in the crown of the new art and culture precinct of Gayndah.
Mundubbera, aboriginal word meaning ’footsteps in the trees’, is midway between Brisbane and Rockhampton at the meeting of three rivers (the Burnett, Boyne and Auburn). The Rural Getaway feeds into the A3 here.
Take a walk down to the river. Just upstream the Jones Weir provides a venue for water-skiing, fishing, canoeing and bird watching. It is stocked with Australian Bass, barramundi and yellowbelly. Ceratodus or lungfish and platypus may be spotted in the weir.
The citrus capital of Queensland, one third of the state’s citrus crop is produced here. Boutique orchards also grow mangoes, avocadoes, lychees, peaches, grapes, watermelons, rockmelons, olives, pecans and blueberries.
South-East of Mundubbera the agriculturally rich Binjour and Gurgeena Plateaux are major growing areas for prime beef and creamy dairy.
Auburn River National Park
Auburn River is about 40km or 40 minutes drive south-west of Mundubbera. Travel 13km south along the Mundubbera-Durong Road to the Hawkwood Road intersection. Turn west along the Hawkwood Road for about 20km until you reach the Auburn River National Park turn-off. Drive a further 7km to the park along an unsealed road. Conventional vehicle access is possible. Four-wheel-drive is recommended in wet weather. Stay on the road, as soils are treacherous when wet.
The 405ha park protects an area of open eucalypt forest and dry rainforest. Silverleafed ironbark and forest red gum dominate the grassy open forests. Bottle trees thrive in the dry rainforest on the northern bank of the river near the camping area. The Auburn River, with its rock pools and cascades, winds through the park, providing habitats for numerous birds, reptiles and mammals. Its banks are lined with bottlebrushes, flowing leptospermum shrubs and stunted figs.
A basic camping area is provided on the northern banks of the Auburn River.
For more information and to book phone 13 74 68 or logon to www.qld.gov.au/environment/parks
The town, 35 kilometres north of Mundubbera on the Burnett Highway (A3), took its name from Eidsvold Station established in 1848 by the pioneering Archer family. They named it after Eidsvoll, Norway where the Norwegian constitution was signed in 1814.
The Archer family lived at Larvick, Norway and the name of their home was “Tolderodden”. The conservation park on the Burnett River near Eidsvold Station is named after it.
In 1887, a goldfield was declared and the town grew up at the foot of Warden’s Hill near Eidsvold, the site of early mining activities. After 12 years the gold petered out and the area founded its fortunes on beef.
Eidsvold’s past can be seen in the slab homestead “Knockbreak” built in the late 1850s which is part of the Eidsvold Historical Complex. Also at the Complex you will find a “railway siding” with examples of rolling stock and cottages, the Duncan & Schultz collection of bottles, pioneering tools and memorabilia and the George Schafer Collection, a superb display of one man’s lifetime collection of rocks, gems, bottles and unusual items.
Of interest is Alice Maslen’s hitching rail which was put aside as a place to tie her horse when she was in town. Alice never gave up her horse and buggy for modern transport.
See and experience traditional bush lore and crafts at the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning Centre. The Centre provides a window into a history full of inspirational stories, of real people and their contribution to our remarkable past. RM became famous through his clothing and leatherwork and spent decades living in the Eidsvold district on his property called “Rockybar”. The Centre which was opened in 2010 honours this great Australian, showcasing his skills and achievements through the Interpretive Centre bringing his passion for bush lore to life.
RM had a profound respect for the Aboriginal people with whom he lived and worked and local aboriginal culture is reflected in the Centre.
The Wuruma Dam was constructed across the Nogo River in the Upper Burnett River catchment for irrigation and town water supply for Eidsvold, Mundubbera and Gayndah. When full, Wuruma holds 165,400 megalitres.
Stocked fish include Australian Bass, Barramundi, Golden Perch, Silver Perch and Saratoga with breeding populations of Eel Tailed Catfish, Spangled Perch and Eels. Being one of the few Bass/Barra lakes, Wuruma has big potential to draw keen anglers wanting to tangle with two of Australia’s premier sports fish targets.
Basic facilities are provided with picnic tables, toilets, shelters, barbecue’s and showers. There are no boating restrictions at Wuruma Dam, however some restrictions may apply during times with low water. A 200 metre no boating zone exists from the dam wall.
Monto is the youngest town in the North Burnett, being established in 1924. This is in contrast with the district’s ancient geological features which include the sandstone cliffs of Cania Gorge, a 200 million year old coral reef, and rich mining deposits of copper, gold and coal.
Monto is an agricultural centre with cattle, piggeries and dairies. It’s hard rich soil produces lush crops such as grain, sunflower, navy beans and lucerne. Take the time to come off the highway to visit the town centre and pick up some tourist information at the quaint pioneer cottage. The Burnett Highway (A3) continues north to Cania Gorge, Biloela and on to Rockhampton.
Look for the Bunyip statue at Mulgildie just south of Monto. The legendary Bunyip hole is about 10 minutes drive from the statue which immortalises the stories of the Bunyip, dating back to the beginnings of time.
Cania Gorge National Park
Spectacular sandstone cliffs similar to Carnarvon, lush rainforest with tree ferns and piccabeen palms growing along watercourses, dry gorges and dry open eucalypt woodland make this Park well worth a visit.
The turnoff to the Park is 12 kilometres north of Monto on the Burnett Highway, then 14 kilometres through Moonford township to the Gorge. The road is bitumen all the way to Lake Cania. Camping is not allowed, however there are two privately run accommodation establishments on the way in to Lake Cania.
Picnic on the Three Moon Creek – you may be lucky enough to see a platypus. There are many walks through the Gorge and some steep climbs to Giant’s Chair Lookout and Castle Mountain.
Lake Cania is a water storage designed with recreation in mind and is popular for aquatic sports. It has been stocked with fish – bass, yellowbelly and silver perch. The lake is well known for fantastic saratoga catches. There are no boating restrictions at Cania Dam. There is a dual lane concrete boat ramp that is usable when the lake is around half full. Alternatively, most anglers drive down a gravel track toward the dam wall and launch there at low water levels.
The dam reached capacity for the first time ever in December 2010.
The lush green parklands and many shady trees coupled with the new catering facility makes this a popular location for weddings or parties.