Travel north from Toowoomba along the edge of the Range above
historic Spring Bluff Railway Station, known for its beautiful gardens.
The whole precinct is now heritage listed. This is part of the historic
Ipswich to Toowoomba railway line, completed in April 1867 You're now
at Highfields, first in a string of charming villages along the
escarpment. Don't miss the Pioneer Village here, and the town's host of
specialty stores. The Highfields Pioneer Historical Village has an
unusual collection of vintage machinery. The Historical Village also
has a fully operating blacksmith shop, a Heritage Chapel, an original
Toowoomba 1928 Dennis Fire Engine, a two cell lock up short term prison
from 1903, Model T Fords, and a collection of restored antique radios
The Danish Flower Art Centre at Highfields hosts a number of displays
including a flower barn, Dutch furniture store and operating blacksmith
workshop. The Chocolate Cottage is located at the Village Green which
sells antiques, art and other specialty items. Across the road from the
Village Green is Jacaranda Manor. Within Jacaranda Manor is a coffee
shop, fudge factory and bead store. Davidson Arboretum which includes
Araucaria bidwillii (Bunya pine).
Further on, the villages of Cabarlah and Hampton are just as well
endowed with attractions. Cabarlah is situated on the Great Divide with
views to the east of the Lockyer Valley through to Brisbane and to the
west across the Darling Downs. Whilst in Cabarlah we recommend a stop
for a coffee at the mexican inspired cafe Colours of San Cris. Also of
notable interest is the large cuckoo clock shop on the New England
Highway in nearby Cabarlah.
Since the Second World War, Cabarlah has also had a significant role as
a base for the Australian Army. It was home to elements of the 7th
Brigade early in the war. Later in the war it became a hub for signals
and other training. Cabarlah is now home to 7 Signal Regiment
(Electronic Warfare) and other Australian Defence Force signals
Hampton is known for the antique shop and gift stores as well as local
produce, including citrus and avocados grown on the many farms located
around the district. A circuit drive then links Ravensbourne and Crows
Nest, giving access to their respective national parks and to Lake
Cressbrook and Lake Perseverance. Ravensbourne National Park features
short bushwalking tracks, a scenic lookout and picnic facilities. In
May the park surrounding the Visitor Information Center plays host to
the Hampton High Country Food and Art Festival. The festival gives
local producers from all over the Darling Downs a chance to showcase
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Crows Nest National Park is known for its rugged landscape dominated
by domed granite outcrops, waterfalls, and a sparkling gorge called
Valley of Diamonds. This valley is so-called because of the mineral
felspar which glistens in the sunlight. Lookouts, wildflower heaths,
wildlife observing and birdwatching are popular attractions for
visitors. The park has a camping and picnic facilities.
Duration: half to full day.
Start and finish: Toowoomba.