Experience the pleasures of true country hospitality in the scenic Mary Valley. The Mary Valley offers a unique hinterland experience incorporating rainforest drives and bushwalks, forestry, wildlife, and carefully maintained recreation areas.
Dairy, beef, small crops and timber are the main stays of this region with the freshest of produce and country crafts available at markets and local stores. Discover the friendly, laidback atmosphere of rural living at its best.
The Mary Valley townships of Kandanga, Dagun, Amamoor and Imbil have a long history in the timber industry and it was for the excellent supply of quality timbers that generated the need for the Mary Valley railway line. This line is still in use today with the historical steam train “The Rattler” departing from Gympie, visiting each of the small townships on route to Imbil.
The Mary Valley Scenic Way provides a charming drive through picturesque hinterland. The road from Dagun to Amamoor takes you to the Amamoor lookout, where you have a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. A ‘sun dial’ pillar provides information on local landmarks. From the lookout you can follow Amamoor Creek to see the State Forest parks of Amama, Cedar Grove and Amamoor Creek.
Heading through Kandanga and onto Imbil takes you along a breathtaking route of hills patch-worked with pineapple plantations, dairying and grazing properties.
Imbil, nestled beside Yabba Creek, the largest township in the area, is perfect for horseback riding, canoeing or soaking up the quaint country atmosphere of the Valley.
Drive up to the Imbil Lookout for spectacular views or enjoy the friendly, helpful service of local shopkeepers to put together the perfect picnic lunch for a day of swimming and fishing at Lake Borumba.
The State Forest reserves throughout the Mary Valley offer ideal camping and recreation facilities and are utilised throughout the year by nature enthusiasts. With superb lookouts, bushwalks, natural swimming holes and forest drives there is something for everyone. Platypus are frequently seen as are lace monitors (goannas), wallabies, koalas and birdlife is prolific. Especially rewarding are the distinctive calls of the Bell Bird and Whip Bird.
A visit to each of the fully restored historical railway stations is a must with regular markets and something different available at each. The Dagun Station boasts a natural history walk, maze and botanical garden or relax and sample local wines, cheese and fresh produce. Amamoor Station highlights the talents of local crafters with handmade items available in the gift shop while Kandanga features murals by prominent artist Lizzie Connor.
Misty mornings or stunning sunsets are just two of the landscape opportunities photographers will love. There are accommodation options to suit everyone with a fabulous selection of cabins, motel, hotels, farm stays and bed and breakfasts to choose from or camp out under the stars at one of the many camping grounds available.
The Mary Valley is home to some of Australia’s largest music and sporting events. Imbil State Forest drive transforms into one of the most watched and challenging courses on the Australian Rally circuit each June. Amamoor State Forest provides one of the most spectacular entertainment venues as 60,000 people come together to attend the National Country Music Muster during the last full weekend in August each year. Every August scarecrows pop up all over the valley, each with a distinctive personality waiting to greet visitors to the area during Scarecrow Season and there is a fun time to be had by all at the Mary Valley Show and Rodeo.
Did you know, the Mary Valley/Cooloola Shire holds the most Endurance Horse Riding events in the Southern Hemisphere?! Endurance Horse Riding is the fastest growing horse riding sport in the world. Riders are attracted to the Mary Valley and Cooloola Shire because of its exceptional forest trails!! Nowhere else can you ride through Eucalypt, plantation, and rainforest in the one outing!
Horse riders will love the quality and quantity of endurance rides and equine events in the Mary Valley. The Easter Far-A-Way endurance ride is a seven-day event with over 320 entrants and is the largest endurance ride of its type in Australia. The Brooloo Mountain Challenge takes place in June. Guided horseback tours are available for those wishing to experience the thrill and old world country charm at a more leisurely pace.
The Mary Valley boasts excellent sporting and recreational facilities. Tennis courts, swimming pools, lawn bowls and sporting grounds are available and play a prominent role in the Mary Valley communities.
There is always something to do in the Valley. Join in on an acoustics night at the Imbil hall, visit the growers’ market in Dagun, pack up a picnic, go water skurfing, skiing or fishing at Lake Borumba or take a scenic four wheel drive tour through the forest.
Country hotels, cafes and clubs provide quality meals from locally grown fruit, vegetables beef and dairy. Eat in or take a scrumptious ‘home cooked’ style meal to be enjoyed in the location of your choice.
Friendly locals and businesses ensure a Mary Valley holiday is one of fond memories you’ll be eager to repeat.
In the Mary Valley, you’re never too far away from country hospitality. The Mary Valley Scenic Way is the main route linking the towns of the Valley, with several ‘back roads’ providing picturesque alternatives.
This area is a patchwork of pineapple plantations, grazing properties and macadamia farms at various stages of growth. Major industries here are dairying, timber and pineapples, with the entire area providing an outstanding hinterland experience characteristic of rural Australia.
The best way to access the Mary Valley from the north is from Gympie, with the southern approach through Kenilworth and the Blackall Range. Either way, the Mary Valley is Australia’s rural hinterland at its best.
A unique experience is to relive the time when steam train travel was the order of the day. The “Valley Rattler” makes the historic 40km journey from Gympie through the Mary Valley.