Home' Caravanning Australia : Winter 2010 Contents Caravanning Australia • Winter 2010 • 119
Nearby Roma and the surrounding
countryside were first explored more than
150 years ago by Sir Thomas Mitchell.
The unofficial capital of the region dates
back to 1867 when it was named after
Lady Diamantina Roma Bowen, the wife
of the governor at the time.
This thriving rural town has plenty to
offer the modern day visitor but history still
plays a major role and one of its most
popular attractions is the Big Rig, a
fascinating tribute to Australia's oil and
gas industry which includes a spectacular
night show. This is a rich agricultural and
farming area, and grapes have been
grown here for many years. In fact,
Queensland's oldest winery, Romavilla,
has been producing table and fortified
wines since 1863 and proudly continues
to do so.
Even the trees are historic. The
Avenue of Heroes is a heritage-listed
avenue of 138 bottle trees within the
town, which were planted as a tribute to
soldiers from the district who lost their
lives in World War 1. Mt Abundance
Homestead outside town was the site of
the first settlement in the region and was
built in 1860. Visitors are still welcome.
Follow the road north and you'll go
right past the Carnarvon National Park,
home of the spectacular Carnarvon Gorge
with its ancient rainforest and some of the
finest Aboriginal Rock Art in Australia.
The Adventure Way is the link
between Brisbane and Adelaide and
includes two State highways as it passes
through the Downs: the Moonie Highway,
a 285km stretch of road from Dalby to St
George and the Balonne.
As can be assumed by its name, the
Moonie Highway passes through the tiny
town of Moonie which was the site of
Australia's first commercial oil field. It
opened in December 1961 and despite
being a relatively small field is still
operational today. At St George, the
highway becomes the Balonne for 300km
to Cunnamulla, mostly following the
The Warrego Highway is the 744km
stretch from Brisbane, which enters the
Downs at Dalby and leaves it past Roma
at Mitchell on its way to Charleville. At the
township of Miles between Dalby and
Roma you'll find the Miles Historical
Museum and more than 20 old buildings
in a recreated township. Miles was
originally known as Dogwood Crossing
and like many of the settlements in the
area was established on a track blazed by
Another historic experience awaits
outside the town at Possum Park where
accommodation is offered in historic
underground bunkers and restored troop
The Leichhardt Highway, named after
the explorer, begins in Victoria and enters
Queensland at Goondiwindi, then heads
north-east across the state to the
Capricorn Coast. Travelling north, take a
left turn at the tiny settlement of The
Gums and you'll come to Glenmorgan
and Monty's Garage, a 1940s style auto
garage which is now a Vintage Car
Museum. While in town railways buffs
should visit the End of the Line display in
the Glenmorgan Railway Station.
Gardeners and naturalists will also enjoy a
visit to the nearby Myall Park Botanic
Garden, one of Australia's oldest
collections of arid and semi-arid native
plants, and the birthplace of the Grevillia
plant 'Robyn Gordon'.
Goondiwindi, locally known as Gundy,
is the start of the Gore Highway which
runs for 210km from the Western to the
Darling Downs through a rich patchwork
of farming landscape. The area around
Goondiwindi was settled in the 1840s by
pastoralists and by the middle of that
century had become an important
administrative and commercial centre. The
town is still most famous as the home of
champion racehorse, Gunsynd,
affectionately nicknamed the 'Goondiwindi
To further explore the Western Downs
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Moonie highway. PHOTO: TOURISM QUEENSLAND.
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