The Mary Valley Scenic Drive rewards drivers with a patchwork landscape of pineapple plantations, grazing cattle, macadamia farms, rainforests and endless rolling hills.
If you are heading north out of Brisbane take exit 244 off the Bruce Highway onto the Old Bruce Highway before turning left onto Kenilworth Skyring Creek Road. This road will rise to a lookout point before dropping to cross Chinaman’s Creek Bridge. Turn right onto Tuchekoi Road and notice how the landscape has changed from light forest to grazing pastures. At the intersection of Mary Valley Road look out for the old barn which is popular with photographers. Turn left and make your way to the village of Imbil. Imbil is a quaint and modest village with a Sunday market and is situated on the banks of the Yabba Creek.
Imbil grew out of a strong timber industry and the region still boasts one of the few remaining Hoop Pine forests in Australia. Experience the history of the Imbil Museum or picnic on the village green where the historic Timberman’s Walk weaves between old Jacaranda trees. In spring the colours are amazing.
You can also explore the local antiques and art culture, before picnicking on the shores of Borumba Dam – just a 15 minute drive from Imbil.
Crossing Yabba Creek, drive north along Imbil-Kandanga Road and note how the scenery switches from rolling wooded hills to rich pastures and herds of grazing cattle. Kandanga has a rest stop area on the edge of town, the perfect place to pull over and have a cuppa. Take a few minutes to drive into the village which was the headquarters for the region’s anti-dam protest.
Jacaranda Walk, Imbil (courtesy of Melawondi Spring Retreat)
Back on the road, travel north for about a kilometre and you’ll reach the turn off to Amamoor. The Amamoor State Forest makes a picturesque home for the Gympie Music Muster, with people travelling from all over Australia to experience this unique four day music festival. Amamoor Creek provides excellent bird and platypus watching opportunities and walking tracks. Just down the road from Amamoor is the village of Dagun. Here you can inspect one of the few remaining working sawmills in the region. Leaving Dagun, the scenic route leads you past Jones Hill into historic Gympie.
At the end of your journey, you may wish to relax with a glass of wine at one of the many country style Bed and Breakfasts, or even at a rustic cabin retreat where a warm bath, country hospitality and a locally-made dinner await you – or continue onto the Gympie City Tourist Drive.