I am a freelance writer and diversional therapist, living in Brisbane's North West. I write for Weekend Notes, Must do Brisbane and Starts at Sixty. Visit my blogs at babybloomin.wordpress.com and brisbanetripster.wordpress.com.
Just 20 km south of Toowoomba, in the quaint little country town of Cambooya, the residents have reason to be proud of their local watering hole, the Bull and Barley Inn. First established in 1902, this pub is steeped in history and has undergone a couple of renovation projects over the years. Originally named the Cambooya Railway Hotel, it was one of three hotels in town. In 1978 the name was changed to the Bull and Barley Inn and it is now the only pub in town. Great care has been taken to retain the character and charm of this beautiful old girl. The timber ice cooler from the 1930s has even been restored and is being used again and the staircase leading to the second-storey accommodation has also been restored. Pay a visit and you will enjoy the wonderful old world atmosphere of the 1900's and browsing through the interesting, historic photographic displays around the hotel.
When we visited Cambooya we stayed for two nights at the Bull and Barley Inn and were very comfortable in our tastefully decorated room. As is the case in most old pubs, there was no ensuite but the share bathrooms were just a short walk down the hallway. Our room opened out onto the front verandah of the pub and it was lovely to sit out there and have a drink in the evenings.
If you think you'd like to dine in the restaurant here, a little word of warning.... don't assume that being a country pub you'll have no trouble booking. Make sure you make a booking as this restaurant is very popular and was packed both nights we stayed. It seems word is out that this is a good place to have a top notch feed! The restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Takeaway meals are also available so if, at the end of the day you are a little travel weary, you can eat in your room rather than the restaurant. In cooler weather you can enjoy the warmth of the fireplace in the cosy dining room whilst in warmer months the verandah or outdoor covered tables are a great option.
The dining room at the hotel, complete with fireplace for those cooler months
Now Cambooya is a small country town, with one main street where you'll find a garage, post office, general store and the pub. So what can you do if you're staying here? There's plenty to do within a short drive! And if you're lucky enough to be in this part of the world when the sunflowers are flowering, your drive might include stopping to take photos of bright yellow fields full of these little beauties!
Cambooya was home to famous author, Arthur Hoey Davis, or as most knew him, Steele Rudd. Many remember him for his Aussie characters, Dad and Dave. Whilst staying here you may choose to take a short drive to the small town of Nobby. Here you will find the historic Rudd's Pub (home of "Dad and Dave") where you can check out the photographic collection and memorabilia that adorn the walls. If you decide to have a meal here, you may find yourself sitting at the very table where Rudd sat and wrote!
If animals are your "thing", then the Darling Downs Zoo at Pilton should be on your itinerary. This is a small zoo but don't think it's not worth a visit. We had a lovely afternoon here and were very pleasantly surprised at the variety and number of animals that call this zoo home.
One of the cute residents at the Darling Downs Zoo
We also visited Glengallon Homestead on our trip. The history of this homestead really tells a story of boom and gloom, of glory days and hard times. Wandering around you truly do wish the walls could talk! If all this history leaves you in need of refreshments there is a cafe in the grounds where you can refuel at very reasonable prices.
Other local attractions you may want to visit when staying at the Bull and Barley Inn include: Harrow Gardens in Cambooya, Preston Peak Winery in Preston and of course, all that Toowoomba has to offer. We found that Glengallon Homestead, Nobby and the Darling Downs Zoo kept us busy and we were glad to retreat to our verandah at the Inn at the end of each day.
There was just one more thing on our wish list that we didn't get to see and that was the ghost that is said to haunt the hotel. The ghost's identity is a mystery, but it is reported to be a tall woman with grey hair who haunts the hotel - and apparently she favours Room 6! Reportedly she is dressed in a Victorian-style long blue gown with a long veil over her head. So if you're a guest at the Bull and Barley Inn, keep an eye out for the lady in blue - especially if you find yourself staying in Room 6!