See glorious sunflowers on a day drive from Brisbane
Sunflowers in bloom, as far as the eye can see, are a magnificent sight, and worthy of inclusion on every nature lover's bucket list. I find these leafy plants with bright yellow heads fascinating.
They are majestic, towering over most people, and in large numbers, form a sea of gold near the horizon. Located on farms between Warwick and Toowoomba, the best time to view them is during the summer months. However, this can be a tricky exercise because weather conditions are an important factor in determining when they bloom (my research suggests that it can be any time between October and March). On the last Sunday in January, we set off from Brisbane, hoping to see these glorious flowers. Petrol prices were low, and a long drive through the countryside in an air-conditioned vehicle was a great way of escaping the humid weather conditions outside.
We hadn't found any sunflowers driving the 'Sunflower Route' on a previous trip (summer of 2013), so seeking local knowledge seemed like a good idea on this trip. The Warwick Visitor Information Centre is about two hours drive (156 kilometres) South West of Brisbane. While they can offer no guarantees that you'll see sunflowers in bloom, they are probably the best source of information for where to find them. They are open seven days (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am-1pm), and a friendly staff member gave us maps, showing the best places to look. We travelled North for about 50km before turning off the New England Highway (A3) onto the Nobby Connection Road. We continued along this road until we reached Richards Road, and that is where we hit the jackpot. Thousands and thousands of sunflowers.
The tiny town of Allora is about 25 kilometres North of Warwick and has much to offer, particularly if you are interested in buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s. For more information, see the Queensland Southern Downs & Granite Belt Heritage & Historic Building Trails book. We stopped at the Frog and Swallow Café for lunch, and ate toasted sandwiches. Although we did not buy coffee, a plate on the wall signed by a famous sportswoman, suggested that it was the best in town. Interestingly, Allora has had more than its fair share of famous residents. For example, Wayne Bennett (Coach of the Brisbane Broncos), and Laura Geitz (netball player and Captain of the Queensland Firebirds), both lived there as children. The author of Mary Poppins (P.L. Travers), also lived there for a brief period when she was a child
Also in the town of Allora is the Sports Museum with a superb number of local sports achievers Open every Sunday or by app other days by calling 0407034320 Displays of Australians that have had lots of success overseas