Day 1 – Explore Maryborough’s Story Bank and Portside Heritage Precinct
Just three hours north from Brisbane, a trip to the historical town of Maryborough is a must. Maryborough’s striking art, statues, heritage buildings, memorials and museums tell the story of a town that was once one of Australia’s largest sea ports. If you are arriving from the south, you will pass by Mt Bauple which has significant importance to the local Butchulla people and is known as the home of the macadamia. Closer to Maryborough the cattle grazing land gives way to rich sugar cane fields as the highway winds its way north. Just before the turn off to Maryborough on the left- hand side is Lychee Divine next to the Puma Service Centre, where beautiful lychee liqueurs and lychee ice cream are presented by the owners of Lychee Hill Estate.
Maryborough was one of Queensland’s industrial powerhouses in the final decade of the 19th century, producing naval ships, sugar milling equipment and railway rolling stock. Learn the history of our city and tales of days gone by with our local guides. Free guided walk tours leave Maryborough City Hall Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 9am (weather permitting). No tours run on public holidays. Bookings are essential and can be made at the Visitor Information Centre at City Hall. (Ph: 1800 214 789)
Literature lovers will know that while Mary Poppins is a fictional British character, Maryborough is the birthplace of her creator, author P.L. Travers, born in 1899. Take a walk around the city that inspired this famous nanny’s story and stop off at the Mary Poppins in Richmond Street to take selfie.
There are cafes, a mural trail and regular walking tours, but it’s the town’s architecture, including the St Paul’s Church bell tower and the miniature railway that cuts through Queens Park in particular, that brings P.L. Travers’ magic to life. The new Story Bank housed the former Australian Joint Stock Bank building on the corner of Kent and Richmond streets (P.L. Travers’ birthplace), has a Mary Poppins and is a delightful experience. “As you cross the threshold, you will enter a world where fantasy and fact intertwine. Tales and yarns, myths and legends, memories and stories – share in their retelling and their creation.”
Visitors can also have ‘Tea with Mary’, a private and personalised tour with a Mary Poppins’ inspired local character who will guide you on a fascinating discovery of beautiful riverside parks and glorious colonial architecture, finishing with a delightful morning tea in an old-style cafe. This tour departs the Story Bank and is on request with only a small fee.
The nearby Portside Heritage Precinct is metres away and home to the Maryborough Customs House and Bond Store. The Bond Store which dates to 1864 and retains some of its original flooring and barrel rails. Here one can listen for the clatter of footsteps and the murmur of voices from the past. (Tip for Mum and Dad: If you’re looking for a unique experience, you can’t go past ‘tipples and tales’, where you can hear the intriguing stories from the Gauger himself and taste some local tipples).
The glorious colonial architecture of the Customs House and Residence honours the once significant influence of Her Majesty’s Customs Service on the city. Inside, learn about the stories of immigrants who came from afar and uncover the inspirational history of the families who pioneered this important Queensland settlement. Overlooking the lawn at the rear of Customs House is Portside Café which is a great place to grab a coffee and take a break.
Overnight in Maryborough – McNevins Maryborough Motel. Dinner at the motel in Sails Restaurant
Day 2 – Experience Maryborough Heritage Markets and Mary Ann Steam Train.
After breakfast take an early morning walk through Maryborough Heritage Markets (Thursdays) in Adelaide Street next to City Hall to browse a variety of goods from handmade leather belts, an amazing array of farm fresh produce, original hand-made craft, homemade treats, artwork, jewellery, clothes, accessories, natural beauty products and gorgeous cut flowers. Grab a snack from one of the foodie stalls and a coffee and sit in the shade of the huge trees on the Town Hall Green listening to live music.
Also, on market Thursday, the last Sunday of each month and other special occasions, the first railway steam engine built in Queensland in 1873, the Mary Ann, operates from Macalister Station, behind the Bond Store, in the Wharf Street Precinct between 9am and 12.30pm.
The original Mary Ann was built John Walker & Co. Ltd for timber pioneers William Pettigrew and William Sim who used the engine to haul logs in the Tin Can Bay area.
The replica Mary Ann was built in Maryborough by Olds Engineering and the engine continues to play a significant role in the Maryborough community and is available for private hire for functions such as weddings and family re-unions.
For lunch, grab some take away deliciousness from Alowishus Delicious in Adelaide Street and visit Anzac Park on Cheapside Street, which is a wonderful family friendly park with picnic tables, barbecues, play equipment, a skate park with extensive paths for scooters or skateboards and soon will have an extensive zero depth water play area completed in 2021.
Dinner at Carriers Arms Hotel opposite Anzac Park in Alice Street.
Overnight in Maryborough – McNevins Maryborough Motel.
Day 3 – Travel in time at Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum. Walk the Gallipoli to Armistice Trail and visit Maryborough Wildlife Sanctuary.
Visit Maryborough Military Museum, said to be Australia’s best after the Australian War Memorial in the nation’s capital of Canberra. Upon entering the Maryborough museum, you will experience a gripping but calm atmosphere which seems to pull you in and wish to explore more as your eyes dart from display to display and goosebumps form on your skin.
The museum is home to an amazing collection of medals from conflicts including Boer War, the two world wars and Vietnam. It represents, primarily with their original medals, more soldiers recognised for gallantry at Gallipoli (134 service personnel and 71 officers) than any other museum including the AWM and the Imperial War Museum – including a VC awarded to Lieutenant (later Major) Herbert James, 4th Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment for gallantry at Gully Ravine, Cape Helles, Gallipoli on 28 June and 3 July 1915.
Later displays celebrate the exceptional valour shown by soldiers such as Keith Payne, Harry Smith, John Cantwell and Timothy Britten. The museum tells the human stories associated with conflict and its effect on the community.
Book a volunteer from here to guide you through the Award-Winning Gallipoli to Armistice Trail (Walk of the Anzacs) in nearby Queens Park. The all-abilities Gallipoli to Armistice memorial is free to visit and appeals to all ages. Its path wends through the well maintained, peaceful Queens Park in stark contrast to the relentless shelling, mud, and bloody carnage of World War I.
A message of hope transcends the stories of lives sacrificed in abject horror. Old enemies became friends. The Anzac Cove stones in front of the Duncan Chapman statue and the sand in his footsteps were a gift from the Queensland Turkish Consul, Turgut Manli. He also donated the sculptured relief mask of Ataturk to the Gallipoli to Armistice memorial trail. Queens Park is a perfect place for a picnic lunch overlooking the mighty Mary River and the old Port of Maryborough.
The Maryborough Wildlife Sanctuary, just a short drive out of town, is a haven for animals where you can see iconic Australian wildlife such as dingoes, kangaroos, wallabies, cockatoos, snakes and more. This is a not-for-profit organisation relying on visitors and donors for support.
If fishing is your thing you will be pleased to know that in the waters of Mary River and nearby Lake Lenthall, barramundi can be targeted during the season. (Lake Lenthall is best accessed by 4WD as the road is not suitable for passenger cars. Permits apply).
Dinner at Portside Café looking out through the arches to the Mary River. Overnight Maryborough – McNevins Maryborough Motel.
Day 4 – Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum and Maryborough Mural Trail
Another Heritage gem in Maryborough is Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum at 64 Lennox Street, managed by the National Trust. Step back in time as you enter and see an original general store and learn of its links to early Maryborough. You cannot but feel a sense of time lost in this memorial to another era. People of all ages are amazed at this amazing place.
Take a self-guided walking a tour of the Maryborough Mural Trail. Start your journey in Kent Street at the Maryborough Visitor Information Centre in City Hall (next to the Village Green), collect a trail map and while there learn about the baking of the historic Peace Cake baked to commemorate the end of World War I and how the trail began.
The map shows the location of each mural and installation and makes suggestions on how the 2km trail over 10 city blocks can be walked in separate sections if distance and mobility is a concern, or in one continuous journey of discovery.
Murals tells stories of local people who have made an impact since Maryborough was first settled. Stories of heroism, bravery and creativity are depicted alongside murals celebrating a rich history including that of Lady Mary Lennox, after whom Maryborough was named by her Governor husband, Captain Charles FitzRoy.
A great place for dinner is The Deck and Anchor overlooking the Mary River at the bottom of Wharf Street. Here you can watch the colours change at sunset and reflect on your time in the wonderful city of Maryborough.
Theatre lovers will be pleased to know that the Brolga Theatre, overlooking the Mary River a short distance away, hosts regular events including international performances in a modern purpose-built venue. Check out the program, you might be able to include a sitting during your stay.
Overnight in Maryborough – McNevins Maryborough Motel.