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How To Enjoy Small Town Australia

While I dearly love Australia’s gorgeous beaches and stunning bush country, I also like simply wandering through small Queensland towns like Clifton, Allora, and my personal favorite, Warwick.

Warwick looks like the movie set for Western classics, especially if you raise your eyes above street level to the marvelous balconies, railings, and cupolas of the dozens of fabulous old hotels, theaters, and government buildings. The elegant Town Hall (see above) was built of local sandstone in 1888. One of the oldest local authority buildings in Queensland it features a stately clock tower.

My first visit to Warwick was on a blazing hot summer day. After strolling along the main drag in the withering sun it was time for a cold drink. My friend and I nipped into the Criterion Hotel, found perches on rickety wooden stools, and ordered Lemon Lime and Bitters. I happily guzzled my frosty drink and amused myself watching the locals chatting away at the bar and playing pool in a nearby room. I confess I was slightly disappointed at the dearth of wooden legged cowboys, bush rangers, and sheriffs with shiny tin badges, but a girl can’t have everything.

Warwick is located 162 km southwest of Brisbane and is the major commercial center in the Darling Downs. Established in the mid-1800’s, things really got moving in Warwick with the arrival of the railroad from Ipswich in 1871.

I love that Warwick shot to fame with the hurling of a well-aimed egg at a visiting dignitary.

It was 1917 when The Little Digger, Prime Minister ‘Billy’ Hughes visited Warwick to press his case for conscription. The townsfolk, along with the majority of Australians, were against the idea, and one fellow showed his disapproval by launching an egg at the Prime Minister. Hughes was furious and insisted the egg thrower be arrested by the local policeman. The copper refused saying that as no Queensland law had been broken, he could not arrest the offender. Legend has it that this incident and the stubbornness of the policeman led directly to the establishment of the Commonwealth Police Force.

Nowadays Warwick is known more for its weekly Pig and Calf Sale (click here to read my article on this marvelous event), Rose Festival, and the annual Warwick Rodeo than egg-throwing miscreants.

I’m so glad that towns like this still exist, providing beautiful buildings and broad, tree-lined streets for folks to enjoy on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

How To Enjoy Small Town Australia

  1. Wear comfortable shoes and a wide-brimmed hat.
  2. Wear sunscreen!
  3. Stop often in local cafes, pubs and restaurants to sample local drinks and regional dishes.
  4. Take time to visit local museums and get to know the colorful history behind otherwise stodgy buildings and meaningless monuments.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask locals to tell you more about their town. You’ll get stories to entertain you for hours.
  6. Time your visit to take in local attractions. A few minutes online will give you all the information you need for local markets, fairs and festivals.

For more information on Warwick, visit: http://www.warwickevents.com/

What is one thing you’d tell a visitor to see in your town?

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Krista - I’m so happy I could introduce you to a new place, @60c20c30108ed504d853b6fa252c8613:disqus πŸ™‚

Krista - Aren’t they the best, @8eef44b2333b5347110438bf9441c6f6:disqus ? πŸ™‚

Krista - No way, @2598b235482b8f0d98c9897e6d1f6fb8:disqus That’s amazing πŸ™‚ What a small world. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad you like them, Barbara! πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad you like these sorts of places too, Andrea. πŸ™‚ There’s something so relaxing and freeing about them. πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m with you on the long plane ride, Duchess – ayiyi. πŸ™‚ It IS worth it though. πŸ™‚

Krista - You are my kind of travelers, Jamie! πŸ™‚

Krista - I’m so glad you came by, Kate! πŸ™‚ Isn’t it funny how we view places differently? I would probably feel the same way about someone adoring the places I grew up. πŸ™‚ This place is such a haven for me and I really love it. πŸ™‚ Maybe because my job takes me traveling so often, I love having a quiet, country place to call home. πŸ™‚ I would love to visit Turkey one day – it is definitely on my bucket list. πŸ™‚

Kate Walker - Wow! I have to say it’s very weird to hear someone wax lyrical about the Darling Downs. I grew up in Bell (near the Bunya Mtns) and went to school in Toowoomba for a couple of years. My grandfather and aunt and uncle live in Warwick. It’s nice reading a different perspective because I couldn’t get away from the area fast enough! These days I do appreciate Australia (and even miss it!) a lot more. I came across your blog via the Turkey’s for Life people. I live in Fethiye, Turkey (same place they do).

Andrea - Never been to Warwick but I share your love of country and rural Australia. The cities are good but to really experience Aussie culture and some of the friendliest people around you have to get out of them and see the little towns as you mentioned. Great tips for getting the most out of it, too!

Duchess - Sounds lovely. Although that much time on a plane makes me itchy, I’d still love to go someday.

Jamie - You just listed everything we do on trips – try the local food specialities, visit museums, markets, shops, fairs and try to learn a bit of the local history. Warwick looks beautiful and charming and a lovely place to spend a few days holiday. Wonderful post.

barbara - Australia has some fabulous small towns. I love doing road trips here.

Anna Johnston - Oh yes, I’ve been through Warwick, my Gramps went to boarding school there apparently πŸ™‚ Queensland has lots of towns like that, love the really, really wide streets of Qld πŸ™‚

Nicole - Great list! I love visiting little museums and stopping in cafes in small towns. πŸ™‚

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures - OMG I’ve never heard of this city and I’ve been all over Oz! Very cool to learn something new πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - I really do, Mia. πŸ™‚ It’s such a big, open, sunny place, with open-hearted, sunny people. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - Those things sound wonderful, Val. πŸ™‚ Hopefully I can come visit your town one day!

RamblingTart - I’ve been amazed by that too, Linda! I guess all those British convicts brought their hometown names with them. πŸ™‚

RamblingTart - It was on that day, Corinne. πŸ™‚ It was Sunday and nearly all the shops were closed.

Mia - U sure love Australia , dont u?
I do too , now!
Am sure u enjoyed ur frens weddings and the view from ur room sure is beautiful!

bellini - Thanks for sharing this place in the world with us. What would I tell people to visit in my town? The pyramid at Summerhill Winery (along with some wine and lunch of course), a hike along the trestles at Kettle Valley railway, a local beach…..

LindyLouMac - The thing I am enjoying learning from your posts and those of other bloggers based in Australia about the towns is the number that are named after places in the UK. Warwick is yet another! Another interesting post and lovely photos.

Corinne @ Gourmantic - It looks so deserted! And I loved the egg throwing story πŸ™‚

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