This Cultural Centre features art, history, food & a park
The beautiful and lush Lockyer Valley is a little over an hour from Brisbane, with the heart of this fertile valley being the town of Gatton. Whether you are a local or tourist, a great place to stop in is the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre for tourist information, museum, art gallery, library, coffee shop and lake views.
The Lockyer Valley is in the list of the 10 most fertile regions in the world and it is famous for providing most of Australia's winter fruit and vegetables. Even better, it is only an hour's drive from the centre of Brisbane. This area features wide plains, rolling hills and the rugged foothills of the Great Dividing Range. The area is dotted with little towns, cool cafes, great restaurants, farms and cabins to stay in, adventure to enjoy, and of course, really friendly locals.
For visitors to Lockyer Valley, one of the main reasons to pop in here is for the Tourism Information Centre. There are plenty of brochures and maps you can grab and go with, but you can also talk to the people at the centre who are more than happy to discuss with you ideas for your Lockyer Valley trip. You can also book through the centre as well. A hot tip for rural travel in Australia is that if you book through the local information centre, you will often get preferential treatment, as everyone knows each other, and they never want to let down their friend at the tourism centre.
Tourist Information Centre & Cafe in the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre
It is worthwhile also having a look in the art gallery. Their free exhibitions feature mostly contemporary works by local artists. These local galleries around South East Queensland are always worth visiting as the most active artistic scenes in the area are often in regional towns. There is also The Lockyer Valley Legends, which is a series of paintings of notable people, past and present, from the Lockyer Valley.
Don't forget to enjoy some local art work at the Art Gallery
Another place to visit within the Cultural Centre is the Queensland Transport Museum. Tickets are only $2.50 for kids up to 15, and it is free for kids under 6. This well laid out museum features a wide range of historical vehicles along with various knickknacks. It is fun to get up close to various cars or planes that you might have only seen in movies.
This would be more interesting to locals, but the cultural centre also has a library. Of course, visitors to the area with little kids might take them here to read and play on a rainy day while they rest with a magazine or free WiFi. The free WiFi will also keep your teens busy while you are there.
The Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre also has a library that is enjoyed mostly by locals
Speaking of relaxing, the centre also includes the Staging Post Cafe. It is great for lunch, especially the salads, though I wouldn't go past the roast of the day in winter. For many people, it is a nice spot for coffee, tea and cake.
Cakes at the Staging Post Cafe, Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre
Behind the centre is Lake Apex Park, which was established by the Gatton Apex Club in the 1970s. Walk along the path that follows the water's edge, have a picnic or barbecue, or just sit and relax and watch the abundant birdlife that makes the park its home.
Image of Lake Apex Park courtesy of JulieMay54 @ Wikimedia
The centre is also a great place to host events. Weddings are popular because of the lake location, but it is a fully-featured events centre suitable for all sorts of social and corporate functions. The centre can provide catering, but also works with local businesses to provide catering, accommodation and other event services to help you to create that amazing experience for your guests.
There isn't a single thing that makes the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre a must-visit destination on a trip to this area, but it has quite a number of attractions that make it worth popping in to visit. It is great to know that you can escape the weather, see art and history, and talk to experts about where else you can visit, all while also enjoying a meal, snack or drink.
At the time of writing, I am getting mixed information about what parts of the Cultural Centre are open and which are not because of COVID-19 rules. Give them a call before visiting, though of course, Lake Apex Park is definitely always open.