Recently we travelled to Warwick for a family wedding and discovered a friendly and attractive city filled with great cafes and historical country pubs, rose filled streets and a rich history. To local indigenous people Warwick is known as Gooragooby. It’s said that George Leslie chose the name of Warwick from the pages of a romantic novel by Lord Lytton , so this romantic setting was perfect for this romance writer. We stayed for several days and explored the town and surrounds. We were delighted by what we found only two hours from our home in Brisbane.
As we were staying as a family we chose the charming AirBnB Canning Chalet, able to sleep eight, which was central and decorated beautifully. Boasting four bedrooms, two bathrooms, verandahs, fireplace and fully equipped kitchen we spent a comfortable few days with plenty of room for us all. Others enjoyed staying at the Coachman’s Inn and the historic Abbey Boutique Hotel, which caught my eye for our next visit as a couple, with all its history, beautiful rose gardens and ornate features.
I’d taken a book to read for the journey to Warwick but I never opened it. The drive was so scenic. As rain came through we drove through the clouds of Cunningham’s Gap, which felt like being in a scene from a movie. It was tempting to stop at the many attractions of the Scenic Rim, from farm shops to wineries and quaint bakeries and pubs.
We spent our first evening dining at the recently renovated Warwick Hotel. Built in 1908 it still retains the charm and character of yesteryear. I enjoyed a prosciutto wrapped chicken breast and plenty of vegetables which hit the spot after our long drive. There were plenty of delicious steaks and chicken parmigiana hitting the table for the family.
We woke to a sunny day and decided to brunch before exploring the town. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and coffee at The Cherry Tree Coffee & Dining. I enjoyed the Eggs Benedict with Baby Spinach and Garlic Mushrooms and hubby loved his Avocado Smash with poached eggs. Staff were so friendly and service was extremely efficient. My husband loved it so much he took the boys back after golf the next day and they were greeted like locals.
We spent the morning exploring the town, which has one of the most massive and modern Coles stores I’d ever seen and I do know my way around a Coles! Great antique shops, clothing stores and stationery stores beckoned. We then headed to Pringle Cottage, which has been a family home, hospital and finishing school. It is a sandstone treasure built by Scottish stonemason John McCulloch.
The home is furnished with many period items and shows the way we used to live. As a teacher I was fascinated by the old school room set up. It certainly made me nostalgic for schooldays of old. Outside is an extensive machinery display that caught my husband’s eye. Many of the pieces have been restored to their original condition. I loved the Warwick News Printery filled with a history of printing technology and a massive display of typewriters, which always fascinate me.
The Canning Downs Building houses a saddlery, office, store, memorabilia and much more. Outside is a Shepherd’s Hut, showing the conditions shepherds lived in while tending their sheep. Don’t miss the quirky ‘The Emporium ‘ which has an extensive display of memorabilia and information on Warwick’s history. It was such an interesting spot you could visit again and again. There is so much to see. I had to have my photo taken in the lovely heritage sandstone rose garden which was built to celebrate 150 years of Warwick.
Heading out we visited the lovely Gardens Galore which is a treasure trove of plants, garden ornaments, gifts, fashion and an inviting café. A must do spot loved by visitors and locals alike. Our youngest can recommend the burgers and delicious milkshakes. After vowing to come back and buy some fresh flowers from the inviting display, we decided to take a scenic drive to nearby Killarney where we could wave across the border to our NSW cousins. There is much to explore here from vintage shops to art galleries, picturesque gardens and country markets. Heading back to Warwick we noticed many walking trails I’d love to trek if we had more time.
Choosing a dinner spot was easy with everyone recommending Bluebird Kitchen and Smokehouse. The restaurant is an American style Wood Smoked BBQ restaurant which opened in 2015. It was so busy we were pleased we’d booked. The family ordered an array of yummy burgers, with some sharing the BBQ platter sporting a generous serving of four different smoked meats, four sides, pickles and soft tortillas. I enjoyed some delicious brisket tacos. The servings were generous and food was amazing. We would definitely visit this atmospheric restaurant again.
The morning proved clear and sunny for the day of the wedding and whilst the lads golfed and brunched, the ladies headed to Rebel and The Gypsy for hair and makeup. My hair stylist in Brisbane had found them for me through her friends at NAK and the team here came highly recommended. They also do photo shoots.
We were greeted by the lovely Storm and Chloe who made us feel instantly at home. They listened and knew exactly the looks we were going for, creating soft curls and terrific wedding make up to suit both of our outfits. We were actually shocked by how good they were. We thought the lads might not recognise us when we got home. These expert stylists had made us look so good. A lovely, friendly salon in Warwick that I can now highly recommend for your special occasion look.
The rest of the family wedding weekend passed in a blur and thankfully went off without a hitch at the romantic Glenbridge Country Weddings. Before heading home to Brisbane it was time to relax and recharge at Canning Chalet, reading on the cosy verandah, sharing a wine and cheese platter and reminiscing on a fabulous few days with family and friends. We were lucky with the lovely weather, which boasted fine days with cooler nights. The area was also very green after the recent rains, so we were seeing Warwick at her very best.
We would love to visit Leslie Dam and do some trail walks or visit some flower farms and nearby wineries on our next visit. We still have to visit the Art Gallery and some friends recently enjoyed the Warwick Rodeo. The town also hosts the popular annual fun event – Jumpers and Jazz in July. Look out for the Big Shears which commemorate gun shearer, Jackie Howe. He was born on Canning Downs Station near Warwick and is one of the area’s most famous sons.
The pretty rural city, known for its elegant buildings, is full of charm and history. Known as the ‘ Rose and Rodeo’ City it is best experienced by taking one of the many walks and just exploring. For a lovely mini break head to Warwick and the Southern Downs and don’t forget to say a ‘ hi ‘ from me to the friendly locals. There is so much to see exploring country Queensland.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).