Cute little Lockyer Valley town worth stopping in to visit
One of the things that make Lockyer Valley a cool place to visit is the little towns and townships spread across this fertile valley. One such town worth visiting for a snack, meal, drink, or shopping is Forest Hill. Don't forget to also explore the town's history while you are there.
One of the first things that you notice about Forest Hill is the lack of hills. The story goes that when Allan Cunningham was putting together a map of the region, he confused two areas, one which was a plain and one with a hill. So the flat area was named Forest Hill and the place with the hill was named Plainland.
Forest Hill is a quaint little town in the Lockyer Valley
When AJ Boyd established his farm in the area in 1880, he named his farm Forest Hill after the name of the supposed hill. When the train came through, it had a stop named Boyd Siding, but when the official train station was established in 1881, it was named Forest Hill. With the train station, more amenities followed with the Forest Hill Post Office being set up in 1890.
In the following decades came schools and the area was on its way up as the railway station became the largest freight hub for agricultural products in Queensland. I am not sure what the population was at its peak but it had 472 residents at the last census. It is still a thriving rural community and a great place to visit.
The town is located between Laidley and Gatton and can be a great stop when doing a scenic tour of Lockyer Valley. It is also just 6 kms off the Warrego Highway, which makes it a good alternative stop when driving through the area along the highway.
There are 5 places to eat in the town, plus a butcher if you want to self-cater. The cafes are perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially if you are looking for a light meal. Both Cafe 4342 and Caffe Sorella serve modern Australian cuisine with friendly service. I know that Cafe 4342 does larger meals for people who want something more substantial and Caffee Sorella's breakfast options include a classic country breakfast, which is definitely a case of substance over style.
Even with only a few options for dining, you are spoiled for great choices in Forest Hill
Both pubs are heritage-listed and provide good country-style pub cuisine at a great price with country-style service. The Forest Hill Hotel, built in 1898, is the older pub and it has been decorated with a lot of historic items features. Across the road, the Lockyer Hotel, which people think was built in 1906, is a great little corner pub, decorated simply and similar in food and service to the Forest Hill Hotel.
You can also go to the Vietnamese restaurant which serves Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese and fusion cuisine in a country barn-style atmosphere. Worth stopping in if you need a quick Asian food fix while you are in the Lockyer Valley.
The two cafes in town also act as craft shops, selling mostly locally made products. Attached to Cafe 4342 is Gallery 4342 for additional shopping. Across the street is the Queen Bee's Collective, which also features a wide range of locally made arts and crafts. You are free to browse and the staff are happy to just chat. Remember that if you buy things, you helping to support the local community.
Queen Bee's Collective is one of 3 places in Forest Hill to shop for arts, crafts and gifts
There is also a local butcher shop. For meat lovers, buying your meat in the countryside usually means you get the best cuts for less.
Drinks & Entertainment
Country pubs turn into hubs of locals featuring entertainment, a lot of energy, food, and of course, beers. While two pubs don't make much of a pub crawl, I guess you could go back and forwards between the two pubs until you can't walk or crawl any further.
The Forest Hill Hotel is one of the two heritage-listed pubs in Forest Hill. Did I mention that there are only two pubs in town?
Unless you are living locally, Forest Hill is not a destination in its own right, but it is a great little stop while visiting the area or travelling through. While two cafes, two pubs and, three shops don't sound like a lot, the friendly locals, great food and a bit of history makes this town worth visiting.