If you’re looking to head out into country Australia from Brisbane, the region of Somerset is a great place to head for that classic country vibe. Crisp, clean air, long roads with gentle curves on gently rolling hills, large lakes, and quaint little towns few and far between are what make this peaceful region a beautiful place to visit. With a focus on a calmer lifestyle, some of the free things you can do in the Somerset region include taking in the serene landscapes on a scenic drive, kayaking the waterways or picnic by a picturesque lake. It’s a lovely way to experience Australia at a more laid back pace.
Traverse Alongside Lakes
Lake Wivenhoe and Lake Somerset
One of the nicest free things you can do is go for a scenic drive, and if it’s a drive you’re after, try Wivenhoe-Somerset Road that takes you up the east side of Lake Wivenhoe and the Esk-Kilcoy Road that makes its way up the west side of Lake Somerset.
It’s a beautiful, picturesque drive that takes you close to the lakes while allowing you to enjoy the rise and fall of the mountains the surrounding the catchment areas.
There are also several stops along the way to stretch your legs, have a picnic or get in the kayak and truly enjoy the scenery.
Swim At Savages Crossing Or Twin Bridges
Take a dip in the waters of the Brisbane River just downstream from Lake Wivenhoe. Savages Crossing and Twin Bridges are both a stone’s throw away for the township of Fernvale and are popular spots to go swimming in a natural watercourse.
Take your swimmers, take your snorkel and discover these beautiful scenic swimming spots and see if you can spot some hungry-for-human bull sharks.
Okay, there are bull sharks here, but they’re unlikely to take a chomp out of your leg. Enter at your own risk. Or pack a snack and just enjoy the view. It’s very relaxing.
Take A Scenic Drive
Mt Glorious/ Mt Nebo, D’Aguilar National Park
Speaking of drives, the road that joins Brisbane and the region of Somerset is a glorious drive through the mountains that has numerous walks, lookouts and vantage points. It’s so glorious in fact that it’s actually called Mt Glorious. Imagine that. And Mt Nebo too, which is equally as pretty, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?
But while these things are great to stop at and stretch the legs, this road is all “About them curves, ’bout them curves, ’bout them curves”. It’s the kind of drive that excites. The gentle rise and fall as the road meanders the mountainscape and elevates you into its peaks is the kind of stuff that motorbike riders, car enthusiasts and nature lovers love to explore.
*This drive goes into the Moreton Bay Region
Take To The Waters
Lake Wivenhoe or Lake Somerset
If it’s water activities that you wish to partake in, Lake Wivenhoe and Lake Somerset are massive lakes that provide an innumerate amount of people water which makes them an awesome place to explore on the water.
Kayaking is naturally the first choice for relaxing long-distance travel with stand-up paddleboarding coming a close second for closer to shore activities on calmer days. On windier days, this is a fantastic place to windsurf or wing surf in an environment that wouldn’t be as choppy as the ocean.
There are also a handful of closed-off swimming areas by the shore if you aren’t equipped with watercraft for you to still enjoy the placid waters.
Walk, Ride Or Drive Your Way Through History
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
If combining exercise with a bit of history sounds like a great way to spend the day or several, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail is a 161 km long walking and cycling path that takes you along the old, disused Brisbane Valley railway line.
Taking you across plains and undulating hills, through tunnels and across river beds, the entire trail will take several days to complete but can be done in sections or over numerous visits for those who do not wish to do the whole span during one trip.
Each section starts at a township where the train station used to be. There are signs which provide insights into the history of the railway line, which is often accompanied with something from way back when such as a carriage or the station to add more interest and appeal.
It’s a great way to burn some calories while learning the importance the train line had on the region and with the relaxing, country setting it makes for a fun adventure across the region.
Alternatively, you can drive the Brisbane Valley Highway, and stop by the stations if the trains appeal to you but the exercise doesn’t. Either way, it makes for a great day out in country Australia.
Picnic Or Boat A Calm Lake
If you’re looking to get some lakeside vibes somewhere a bit off the tourist trail, consider Lake Cressbrook in the regions south-east. Halfway between Esk and Toowoomba in the Darling Downs, the lake is a serene place to drop in for a pic-a-nic and get some scenic aquatic views.
You can also launch a boat or a kayak and spend a few hours traversing the calm waters under the warm Australian sun.
And if you think you’d like to stay a while longer, there’s a campground (not free) a stone’s throw away where you can set up a tent and camp by the lake under a thousand stars.
There’s not a whole lot in the way of walks when it comes to the Somerset region, but one place where you can get those lower limbs into action is at Wivenhoe Hill. Although it’s not the most scenic walk, it’s a great way to get back into nature and do some animal spotting. Koalas are known to live in this area, although the endangered species is very elusive. Finding one is very difficult.
If you have young, impressionable and gullible children you love messing with, rather than not giving the walk a go, tell them about the koalas that live there. Then when you’re too far in for them to amscray their butts back to the car, starting telling them horrific tales of Australia’s infamous nightmare, the drop bear. DUN, DUN, DUN.
But you can’t half-ass it. Conjure up a convincing story beforehand and include all the adults going. Take visual aids, screenshot pictures of the drop bears from the internet and save videos. Hell, take fake blood, hide pre-prepared realistic fake gashes under your clothes that you can reveal at an opportune time. Go the whole hog!
Record it and tag one of my social media profiles! I want to see it! Bonus points if you freak the hell out of them at night going looking for animals.
The region of Somerset is a beautiful, serene place to escape the busyness and chaos of city life. Everything out here is slower and calmer. It’s the perfect place to unwind and drink in some nature without much effort. Because it’s away from the tourist trail type attractions, you needn’t spend any more money than on the petrol it takes to get you here. It’s just nothing but peaceful scenes with a whole heap of free things to do in Somerset, the picturesque region away from it all.
Somerset is part of the South East Queensland region. Click here to see what South East Queensland has to offer.
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