Over the years I’ve enjoyed much travel as a writer, illustrator, designer & trainer. After 6 yrs as Magazine Production Manager I've returned to my first love. Find me via www.CreativeTravellerMag.com
Published July 23rd 2013
We decide to begin our Christmas in July excursion in style by stopping off at a favourite local cafe for breakfast before heading for the hills up Crows Nest way. Making a bee-line for a nice chunky timber dining table beneath bountiful shelves stocked with comestibles of all shapes and sizes, is our first instinct.
Seated comfortably with menus in hand and flat whites on order, we embark upon the delightful process of perusing the tantalising list of breakfast goodies on offer. Lu takes advice from a previous visitor and chooses the avocado on toasted sourdough with brinjal pickle on the side. T and I opt for the breakfast panini thinking it might be a little kinder to the waist than the "Big breakfast".
Our meals arrive promptly; served by the gregarious and friendly waitstaff. The avocado breakfast is pronounced as far too large to manage, and is then swiftly devoured with the gusto usually reserved for hungry Labradors. The breakfast paninis are truly delicious but given their enormity they would appear impossible to consume, however we manage nonetheless. Finalising breakfast with a take home supply of brinjal pickle we head for the car and the distant hills of Mt Glorious.
The road to Crows Nest and Toowoomba, can be via a busy and horrible highway, or via the scenic route as described here. Given that our road trip begins on a Thursday morning, we decide to leave the peak hour rush to the commuters and take Samford Road heading west to (not surprisingly) Samford before winding up the steep forested hills to the top of Mt Glorious.
View of Wivenhoe and the Toowoomba Plateau from Mt Glorious
The views from the top of Mt Glorious can be rather, well, glorious but today we are in a cloud forest. At times the mist is so thick I can barely see the road and I make a mental note to refrain from making comparisons to Middle Earth; but it takes a lot of self control.
Bellbirds fill the air with sounds like the compression of many rusty springs as we emerge on the western slopes of the ranges and are met with a view that extends far away across Lake Wivenhoe to the distant escarpment of the Toowoomba Plateau.
We pass gin-clear mountain streams with strategically placed picnic areas tucked under the forestry plantation canopy. Eventually a T intersection offers the choice of Fernvale to the left or Somerset Dam to the right. Both are pleasant scenic roads.
I turn left, vowing to make the return journey via the alternative option. This choice offers views of Wivenhoe with stop off points along the way for coffee and photo opportunities of the dam wall itself.
We don't actually go into Fernvale, but instead turn toward Esk and take coffee at a very pretty cafe whose food and coffee quality don't warrant a mention here.
Fortunately there are three other cafes to try next time.
From Esk we take the mountain road to Hampton. It is a good road which is undergoing a few repairs at present. It seems the recent rains have caused landslips which would make the way impassable without the TLC of the road-crews and their heavy machinery.
Views are more like glimpses on this misty day but the rainforest is lovely and we choose to drive straight through despite the inviting signposts pointing to Perseverance Dam and the various picnic grounds.
We arrive at the Hampton T junction. Left goes to Toowoomba via Carbalah with its Cuckoo Clock shop and Danish Flower Art Centre. Right goes to Crows Nest with its new Bullock Dray sculpture in the town park. This is where we are going.
Tomorrow we'll have a relaxing day in the country with birds and wildlife.
Delicatezza - Blackwood Road Mitchelton
Crows Nest - via Esk or Toowoomba - has both a motel and caravan park