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Towns and villages in the Lockyer Valley

Each township in the Lockyer Valley has its own unique history and subsequent character. Enhance your stay by understanding a little of what makes each locality and its community special.

Laidley

Laidley was settled in the 1840s after being discovered by European explorers in 1829. Teamsters and wagon drivers soon found it a convenient place to rest after travelling over the challenging Little Liverpool Range on the way to the Darling Downs. The second largest town in the Lockyer Valley, Laidley is an important centre for crop farming and agriculture. The town retains a nostalgic feel manifested by heritage shop fronts and antique style lamp posts. The community is proud of its history and culture which is directly reflected in the annual festivals, parades and exhibitions and community spirit. A walk down the main street reveals unique local gift stores as well as essential shopping and dining. If you visit on a Friday, the experience is heightened with market stalls and displays lining the sidewalks. Das Neumann Haus, hand-built in 1893, showcases the town's German heritage and at the Laidley Pioneer Village you can discover ancient artefacts and immerse yourself in the region’s rich historical ties. In 2016, Discount My Flights Australia named Laidley as one of Australia's Top 50 Small Towns.

Gatton

Gatton is the largest town in the Lockyer Valley, centred around primary production and agriculture. Officially gazetted in 1855, Gatton has a culturally diverse population of approximately 8,000 and enjoys a laidback, country lifestyle. For the visitor, Gatton has everything required for a comfortable stay. With three major supermarkets, a busy main shopping district, various dining options, quality sporting facilities, parks and reserves, Gatton is a convenient base to explore the surrounding areas. Gatton’s Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre houses a library, art gallery, 300 seat function and conference rooms, Visitor Information Centre and the Queensland Transport Museum. The centre is located at Lake Apex which is surrounded by a wealth of bird life in the wetlands. Take a stroll around the lake, visit the poignant Lights on the Hill memorial and enjoy the serenity.

Plainland

Plainland is a fast growing locality situated on the Warrego Highway 45 minutes west of Brisbane. It is popular with travellers as a refuelling stop for both the vehicle and passengers. Plainland offers the choice of specialty retail outlets, major food chains, a historic hotel and famous Schulte's Meat Tavern. The locality was once grazing country, but today Plainland is an important mix of expanding business, commercial and residential premises. Visit the markets located next to the family owned Porters Plainland Hotel, every third Sunday of the month. The hotel is also a great spot for a meal and live music on the deck.

Forest Hill

Tucked away between Laidley and Gatton is a vibrant little town with so much to offer. Situated six kilometres south of the Warrego Highway, Forest Hill has an unspoiled feel, reflected in its gift shops and tastefully renovated buildings. Originally part of a large rural ‘run’, the area around Forest Hill was sub-divided into small farms in the 1880s. By the early 1900s Forest Hill was thriving and growing more produce than the older Gatton and Laidley settlements. Forest Hill also sits on the Cobb & Co Tourist Drive as a staging post for stage coach transportation in South East Queensland. Home to two beautiful large corner pubs, a quick trip to Forest Hill can easily convert to hours of exploring, shopping, eating and drinking a few cold beers. Make sure you call into Caffe Sorella or the Forest Hill Post Office where you will find a treasure trove of gifts as well as Café 4342 for a memorable dining experience. No visit to Forest Hill is complete without stopping in to the Forest Hill Farm Stall for some farm fresh produce.

Grantham

About halfway between Gatton and Helidon lies Grantham, a little village surrounded by rich farming land. The town is home to Stanbroke, one of Australia’s leading beef producers, who export prime beef to world markets including their Diamantina brand. A number of parks in the area have been recently beautified and a brand new park is located in the new estate. These parks are the perfect place to stop and enjoy the surroundings as well as offer play equipment for the kids. Call in and say hi to the friendly Grantham locals at the general store and newsagency or take a look at the charmingly restored Butter Factory. The original Grantham Butter Factory opened in 1907. At that time Grantham was the centre of the dairying district. It was one of four butter factories controlled by The Queensland Farmers’ Co-operative Company. As production increased, extensions were made to the factory and in 1926 the foundation stone was laid for the brick building we know today. Today, Grantham is a revitalised and thriving community following the devastation of flooding in 2011.

Mulgowie

Best known for its real farmers' market and traditional country pub, Mulgowie is situated 12 kilometres south of Laidley. The town’s name is derived from the Aboriginal word Mt Mulgowie, roughly meaning ‘big round hill’. The Mulgowie Farmers' Markets, held at the Mulgowie Hall Grounds on the first Saturday of the month has a reputation worth travelling for. The Mulgowie Hotel, affectionately known as ‘the mulga’ is a locally-owned pub known for twice yearly outback bull ride events. The pub boasts a beautiful family friendly timber outdoor eating area. Stay the night in cabin accommodation or ask at the front bar for pet friendly camping at the community hall grounds. Take a drive around the region to explore lush farmland and see where your vegetables are grown right in the heart of Mulgowie. Explore further up the valley to Thornton for a beautiful scenic country drive.

Helidon

Just off the Warrego Highway, Helidon is a small village best known for its high quality resources. Originally an agricultural settlement, beneath lush green pastures lay world-class sandstone and mineral water. Helidon is famous for sandstone, which has been mined since the 1880s and was used to build Brisbane’s City Hall, Central Post Office, Treasury Building and Parliament House. Today it is exported around the world and has become the international benchmark for grading sandstone. There were once several active mineral water spas around Helidon and local mineral water was bottled as far back as 1879. The Indigenous people of the area bathed in the water to ward off illness and promote healing. Helidon mineral water was marketed across Australia under several brand names and continued to be sold for over 120 years. While in town be sure to take a trip to see the beautifully crafted town clock, which was unveiled in 2011. There is also a heritage walk that travels through town, showcasing Helidon’s rich history.

Murphys Creek

Murphys Creek is situated just below the range north of Toowoomba. The Murphys Creek area was originally known as Fingal or Murphys Waterhole. The town of Murphys Creek was built around the railway station and the ‘wye’ for reversing tanker engines. It housed several thousand workers who worked on the construction of the railway line up the range in the 1860s. Murphys Creek has a rich history of all things railway. This and more can be seen at the Murphys Creek Railway Museum, which is open by appointment (07 4630 5183). Explore the history of a Murphys Creek pioneer with a visit to Jessie’s Cottage, built by Scottish immigrant William Taylor in 1899. The cottage restoration commenced in 1993 and was completed to near original condition in 1997. The town is also home to great monthly markets on the third Saturday. Spring Bluff Railway Station is just a short drive from town. It showcases railway history and is a popular wedding venue due to its beautiful gardens. There is a spot to stop for a coffee and quick bite, or a picnic lunch.

Withcott

The last town heading west and situated at the foot of the Toowoomba Range, Withcott is the last stop for fuel and refreshments before Toowoomba. The town has won many Tidy Towns awards, a credit to the local litter patrol volunteers and is renowned for friendly helpful people. The town is so friendly it was named Queensland's Friendliest Town 2016. Withcott offers the traveller a rural atmosphere, bakeries, cafes, and a great hotel established in 1889. The town is a perfect rest stop for weary travellers to take a break and admire the views of the gorgeous surrounds, just at the foot of the Great Dividing Range. The ideal vantage point, offering breathtaking views of the region is from Tabletop Mountain, accessible via South Street, Toowoomba. Don't forget to pack water, a snack and wear comfortable shoes as the climb is quite steep with loose rocks.

Click here for a copy of the Lockyer Valley Locality Map- region overview or for individual town maps please click here.

 

 

Visitor Centre

Lake Apex Visitor Information 
Centre (Gatton)

Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre
34 Lake Apex Drive
Gatton 4343

Phone: +61 7 5466 3426

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday
8.30am - 5.00pm
Saturday and Sunday
8.30am - 4.30pm

We are closed Christmas Day,
Boxing Day and Good Friday.

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