If you want an iconic country town experience with friendly townsfolk and loads to see and do, then visit Monto in Three Moon Country. Legends surround the name of Three Moon Creek. One is about the Chinese people who arrived in Australia's gold rush era and saw the moon reflected in the creek and a gold panning dish. Another is a cattleman, who also saw the moon and its reflections, and the other is wrapped in Indigenous tradition. Take a closer look and you'll notice the clock in the main street represents the three moons.
Three Moon Clock in Monto. Photo courtesy of Monto Magic Tourism Group
Located in the agricultural North Burnett area, Monto was established in 1924 and was the first town in Queensland built utilising a town plan. It's also where rugby league legend Mal Meninga spent his early life and Aussie actor Michael Caton (Uncle Harry in The Sullivans
and Daryl in The Castle
) was born. If you leave Brisbane in the morning, you'll arrive for afternoon tea at one of Monto's many food venues. The streets in Monto are incredibly wide, which is typical of Queensland country towns and there is an information centre on Lister Street to help plan your visit.
Monto Heritage Post Office Building. Photo Courtesy of Post Office Facebook page.
At the top of town, you'll see examples of historic and art deco architecture in the Town Hall and the Post Office buildings. If you're thirsty, you could stop at what the locals sometimes call the "top pub". At the 1920's colonial-style Albert Hotel, you'll find food and accommodation. It's bike and bicycle-friendly with secure parking for those riding from Brisbane or Bundaberg. Many riders are trying the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail through Boyne Valley to Gladstone and Rockhampton.
At the other end of Newton Street, you'll find the "bottom pub", The Grand Hotel, which also offers cold drinks, good food, a beer garden and live music. In between is the Monto Coffee Lounge for your caffeine fix and they also serve all-day breaky and tasty meals. Monto boasts a range of services and specialty shops as well as parks, a pool, golf club and RSL, so take time to check them out.
Monto Coffee Lounge. Photo Courtesy of Business Facebook Page.
Just along the street is Charlotte Rose Country Co, who stock the most beautiful handmade goodies and craft supplies. On the other side of Newton Street is Harvest and Co. This collective stocks unique locally created art and giftware, locally made artisanal sourdough, nuts, freshly grown produce and so much more.
Harvest & Co Gallery and Collective in Monto. Author's Own Photo.
Harvest and Co are part of the community effort to restore The Rex picture theatre to create a cinema and art gallery. Monto and district has produced a few art notables, including Gil Jamieson, Patrick Hockey and Gordon Bennett. If you're drawn to art, you must see the Three Moon Silo Art by The Zookeeper and DRAPL or explore the town to find the massive murals, sculptures and colourful cows. Yes, you read correctly, there are colourful cows around town. The kids will love finding them.
Gil Jamieson Artwork at Harvest & Co. Author's Own Photo.
As well as pub accommodation, Monto offers the Colonial Motor Inn and Three Moon Hotel. You could treat yourself and stay at the fully sustainable eco-accommodation offered by Bloodwood Cabin at Rawbelle, a BnB where elegant living is combined with the bare necessities. Or if you've got a home on wheels, try the self-contained RV stopover or the Monto Caravan and Cabin Park. Because of covid-19 restrictions, please confirm the stopover is open before you travel. There is also a Big 4 Caravan Park if you're heading out to explore the stunning beauty of dripping rock, dragon cave and bloodwood cave at nearby Cania Gorge and national park.
Bush Walks at Cania Gorge. Photo Courtesy of Regional Council.
Wherever you lay your head, spend a few nights and explore the surrounding villages of Abercorn, Bancroft, Kalpowar, Mulgildie and Mungungo. Discover the legend of bunyips at the Mulgildie bunyip hole or trek to the Beautiful Betsy plane wreckage in Kroombit Tops National Park. The Monto district is rich in history, culture and natural beauty. And if all this is not quite enough to draw you to Monto, there is always the endless starry skies.