Discover wonderful bushland, quaint towns, hotels from bygone erasand even the ancestral home of the macadamia nut.
Delight in the country
The Fraser Coast hinterland is the place for exploring with hidden gems well off the typical tourist routes. The mighty Mary River defines the southern hinterland and provides many brilliant spots for picnics, camping, fishing and canoeing. The river is the southernmost natural habitat of barramundi and they can be found in the ponded area above the barrage with the nearest boat ramp at Tiaro’s Petrie Park. Take a moment to breathe in the fresh, clean air and listen for the bird calls. The river also hosts Australian bass, bream, grunter, eels, spangled perch, mullet, two types of catfish – fork and eel-tailed – and several rare and endangered creatures.
One of the rarest species is the remarkable Mary River turtle which has a distinctively long tail and can use its backside to suck in water and extract oxygen. Sold as a tiny ‘penny turtle’ in pet shops during the 1960s and 70s, it is now one of the most endangered turtles in the world. The ancient Queensland lungfish, which makes a sound like a small bellows when it chooses to breathe on the surface, is also only found naturally in the Mary River and nearby Burnett River systems.
Tiaro township's historic past
A 30-minute drive south of Maryborough along the Bruce Highway is the historic township of Tiaro, the location of the Wide Bay region’s first sheep run (Noomoo Woolloo) in 1843 and later an important stop between the Gympie goldfields and the Port of Maryborough in the 1860s. Take time out to visit the local craft galleries and craft shops. Tiaro has several shops, cafés and two historic pubs. Visitors can barbecue, picnic or go fishing along the Mary River. Information about the Queensland lungfish and the endangered Mary River turtle is displayed at the Tiaro Interpretive Centre beside the Visitor Information Centre on Mayne Street.
Stop in at nearby Bauple, and savour the rare experience of eating macadamia nuts near where they were first discovered by the Butchulla people an estimated 30,000 years ago. The mountain and its surrounds were a sacred place while the nuts – called bopple nuts – were used for food, trade and gifts.
The small village of Bauple is nestled into the foothills of the mountain and its wonderful museum offers the opportunity to delve into the origins of the nut as well as learn about the history of the whole hinterland.
Free overnight camping is allowed for self-contained caravans and RVs at Bauple, Rossendale Park, Petrie Park and in the heart of Tiaro. The quaint, former rail sidings of Gundiah and Theebine are both home to grand old hotels. Stop for a picnic at historic Munna Creek, or head to Miva to find the picturesque Dickabram Bridge. Glenwood Park, south of Bauple, is another great picnic spot and is home to a variety of wildlife including kangaroos, wallabies and goannas.
About an hour’s drive west of Maryborough are the Waterfall Creek Rock Pools, known locally as Utopia Rock Pools, in the Mt Walsh National Park. It’s about a 1.5km hike to the pools which are best visited after rainfall.
Take a quiet canoe or boat trip down the wide waters of the Mary River to spot some of Australia’s rarest species including the ancient Queensland lungfish and the Mary River turtle, or use the river as a base for camping, fishing and birdwatching.
Visit Tiaro’s “Giants of the Mary” interpretive display to find out more about the Mary River and the region’s rare and endangered river creatures.
Go bushwalking, horse riding and mountain biking on country roads and old stock routes including sections of the Bicentennial National Trail.
Learn about the trials and tribulations of Queensland’s early pioneers at the impressive Brooweena Museum and Historical Village.
Walk or drive across the historic Dickabram Bridge which was built in 1886 and is one of only two bridges of its kind in Australia that was traversed by car and train.
Explore the UNESCO-recognised Great Sandy Biosphere, one of the region’s hidden treasures, which provides the habitat for almost half of Australia’s bird species.