I'm a shift worker who'll find any (and all) excuse to celebrate with family and friends and loves the serendipity of road trips. Living in Brisbane and trying to look at it like a tourist.
Published June 24th 2012
Sundays, in my opinion, are for taking the scenic route and all the better if you can weave in lunching and shopping.
Our Sunday started at the Fernvale markets, which have long been a family favourite. Actually, Fernvale itself is a favourite. Along the busy Brisbane Valley Highway, there's a fabulous playground and picnic ground, a skate park, award- winning pies at The Old Fernvale Bakery and a friendly, old-fashioned butcher shop.
The Fernvale Markets are hosted by the Fernvale Primary School P&C and held every Sunday from 6am until noon. They offer everything you could possibly want in a country-style market - homemade baked goods, fresh fruit and vegetables, craft items, clothing, crystals, second hand books, DVDs and games, poultry (both chicks and laying hens) birds and pet supplies (including hutches and coops), dried herbs and spices, plants and a variety of second hand stalls. One stall sells especially good quality fruit trees, very competitively priced. Cows in the adjoining paddock add a special charm.
Whilst the markets-pies-park routine is great, sometimes it's nice to take a leisurely, scenic approach to post-market lunch.
Taking the Northbrook Parkway route - which links Wivenhoe Dam with the Brisbane Forest Park- through Mount Glorious to Samford is a picturesque journey. The road winds and climbs through the D'Aguilar State Forest and the scenery is breathtaking. This is a popular cruise for motorcyclists and they add to the feel of the quintessential Sunday drive.
Around 50 minutes later, we've reached the pretty village of Samford.
Bookings are essential at The Samford Tavern, and for good reason. The Tavern has character, the atmosphere is wonderful, the food is great and there's an ample play area at the rear of the Bar & Grill Garden to amuse the kids. The staff in both the bar and grill sections are friendly and helpful and service is prompt even when busy.
On this occasion, we were armed with a Birthday Club voucher from The Samford Tavern. This is free and certainly something worth signing up for. Visit the Samford Tavern's website, and open the Birthday Club link to sign up for a 'party starter' voucher. The voucher entitles you to one of their delicious large pizzas, a bottle of either red or white wine and, if you dine on the actual date of your birthday, a $20 drinks tab. Vouchers are sent out prior to the date and are valid for one month after the birthday. Highly recommended!
Lunch at the Samford Tavern is available from midday to 2.30pm on Sundays (closing at 2pm other days) and is open again for dinner from 5.30pm. Afterwards, walk off lunch with a stroll down Main Street and browse the local shops for unique gifts (for yourself, or someone else).
This made for a day full of country-style charm and scenic cruising, all within easy reach of Brisbane and Ipswich.