Are you up for a day drive in South-East Queensland country? Then consider Boonah as your destination.
It’s a charming town — a comfortable hour-and-a-bit’s drive from Brisbane — that has an aura of warmth and welcome.
If that has you nostalgic for the past, then be sure to pop into Maynards, on High Street. It’s a third-generation old-school department store, with original shelving and countertops.
As owner Greg Maynard explains, his wide range of fashion offerings is a contrast to the way the store would have looked in his grandfather’s day.
“So my father tells me, it was only black trousers and blue and white shirts, and early on in the day you had to have your coupons from the war.”
The stock may have changed, but Greg still runs an account for regulars, and uses a receipt book, just as his grandfather would have done.
Around the corner on Railway Street, there’s a modern Boonah grocery store with a traditional twist. Hummingbirds Natural Pantry and Café is a health-full bulk pantry and whole food cafe, providing a delicious range of vegan, vegetarian, paleo, dairy-free and gluten-free eats.
Owner Mark Noake promotes waste reduction in the way he lays out his stock.
“The customers enjoy coming in here and picking their own products that they want,” he said. “They can also buy exactly what they need. That’s one of the benefits of us selling in bulk. When you go into a normal supermarket, you end up buying a pack and you may not use it all, whereas here if you only need 100 grams, you buy 100 grams.”
Aside from shopping in town, Boonah’s other main attractions are in nature. Teresa Cause runs Far Outdoors and a walking tour company called Horizon Guides. Her store keeps visitors supplied with all the equipment they need to explore the region.
“It’s got plenty for the keen bushwalker at all levels. We’ve got one of the premier rock climbing sites in Australia, which is known as Frog Buttress to the climbers. We’ve got three lakes which are just beautiful for fishing, water skiing and kayaking.”
Horizon Guides provides professionally-guided bushwalks in the Scenic Rim, and beyond.
“When people come on a walk, it’s not just slogging along, getting to the top of things as fast as possible,” Teresa said. “We talk a lot about the environment, the animals and plants that make this area unique.”
An easy walk that day-trippers can take unaccompanied is to Logan’s Lookout in Mount French National Park. It’s a 720-metre return trip on a path suitable for prams and wheelchairs. The pay-off for a little bit of exercise is a magnificent view across the fertile Fassifern Valley, to the mountains beyond.