Poor Gympie, always getting the rough end of the holidaying stick from its pretty blonde-haired Sunshine Coast cousins: Noosa and Rainbow Beach. An old gold mining town with little sex appeal apart from its plethora of farming machinery stores and The G Spot (the town’s adult shop), it’s reputation was not improved in our household when a visiting South African pronounced it as “Jimpy” or when our old friend Peckerhead admitted she grew up there after some unsavoury incidents involving a $4 bottle of brown sherry…
BUT there are still some pretty cool things to do in the Gympie area, especially if you’re staying out at the 9 Mile Cobb and Co and need to get away from all the bushranging/farm animal/relaxing action. (You can read about the excellence of this particular camp site here.) Or maybe you weren’t really paying enough attention when you booked your accommodation in Glenelg. Kinda looks like Gympie. Anyway, don’t drag race your way down to the coast just yet- here’s a few things to keep you and the kids occupied in the Gympie area:
Pack a picnic, a couple of bandaids and explore the Rockpools, located at the convergence of Boulder and Woondum Creeks. There are BBQs and picnic tables here, but I think it’s best spent rock-hopping a little way up the creek, finding a small secluded pool next to the rocks and listen to the water and whipbirds call amongst the eucalypts. We had to drag the kids out of here after a few well spent hours exploring the little worlds in each pool. The rocks can be slippery, hence the bandaids. Hill Road, Tandur.
Prefer a latte with your forest experience? Or just want to get out of a wet campground on a rainy day? The Gympie Jungle, on Tozer St in the middle of town is actually a really great indoor soft play area for kids. There is a separate toddler section and then an older children’s section (or the mosh pit as I like to call it) and of course, coffee, cake and depending on where you are on the dieting cycle, hot chips and sandwiches. This is a great option for running down your kids batteries while you charge yours. 23 Tozer St, Gympie.
Alright, so visiting a cupcake shop isn’t really an ‘activity’ but this place is pretty spectacular and the cupcakes are delicious. If you really feel like it, take the kids to the huge Lake Alford Park for a run about in the playground before you head over to Heaven Leigh. They have themed days on the weekends from time to time- there was a very life like yet slightly undersized dinosaur there last time I popped in for a Snickers Cupcake. 3 Hughes Terrace, Gympie.
Have bragging points next time you meet with ‘serious’ hikers and tell them about the little known Boulder Mountain Hiking Trail in Woondum National Park. Alternatively you could just work up an appetite for lunch by climbing this 3.2km Class 5 trail to its spectacular summit top. This walk definitely adheres to the ‘all about the journey not the destination’ mantra, with the trail beginning fairly gently through some lovely rainforest before getting ridiculously serious in the open eucalypts 300m from the summit. The views from the top are not so much Wow as Wowzas Where’s My Protective Tinfoil Helmet as you pick your way through the large TV towers to vistas towards the ocean over the Cooloola National Park and west to the Mary Valley.
If you’re not feeling goat-like, you can take the very easy and serene 500m Turpentine Circuit through beautiful rainforest and beside the creeks at the bottom of the mountain, or just drive your car up to the top. Hills Rd, Tandur.
There’s one unfortunate thing about Cooloola Berries: they haven’t genetically modified their berries to be harvested in the summer months. 2016 Delicious Produce Awards winners, Cooloola Berries, is a gorgeous family run business growing mostly strawberries on their farm along with a small café. They’re open daily from April to November during strawberry season and encourage families to Pick Your Own berries, or pop along on a Sunday for Paella, wine, music and good times. Kids are very much welcomed and most importantly, have plenty of space to run around between the rows and rows of strawberries. 856 Tagigan Roud, Wolvi.
Got a favourite hang out in a not so luxe area? Been on a rigorous hike to the top of a mountain only to find your view obscured?? I’d love to hear about it!