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1# Let's Go Travel: Gatton and Surrounding Places, Lockyer Valley, Queensland

Updated: Apr 29



Welcome to my blog. When travelling around Australia it is always handy to know the best places to stay and things to do. This, Travel: Let's Go guide, is written to support anyone thinking or wanting to visit the area. If you are travelling with your fur babies, there is also a companion blog for this area: Travel with Pets Blog - Gatton & the surrounding areas. The Lockyer Valley is a very large area and has so many places that could not be fully covered in one blog therefore, I will be breaking up The Lockyer Valley Region into useable focus areas so this guide does not cover all the Lockyer Valley. Look out for future blogs where I will focus on other areas of the Lockyer Valley Region.


I decided to start the "Travel" blogs collection, with my present hometown (until I retire) of Gatton and the surrounding smaller towns of Grantham, Helidon, and Lake Clarendon. I have lived in Gatton since 2012, when I moved here after accepting a teaching position at Gatton State School. I have seen several changes since I have lived here yet, the heart of the town and its rural feel remains the same.


Location

I will use Gatton as my central point for many explanations. Gatton, Queensland, Australia is the largest town between Ipswich and Toowoomba with a population of around 8000. Gatton is located approximately 1 hour west of Brisbane and 30 minutes east of Toowoomba. Grantham is 10 minutes west of Gatton and Helidon is 20 minutes west of Gatton. Lake Clarendon is 10 minutes east of Gatton.


Climate

Be prepared! the variation of climate in Gatton area is extreme which is quite hard to get used to, so, pack your thermals and diesel heater for those freezing winter nights and make sure you have cool air conditioning for those sizzling summer days! From freezing to overheating...Going from one of the coldest places on the eastern side of the Great Diving Range in Queensland in the winter, to one of the hottest in the summer. Temperatures can range from below zero to the mid 40's.


Gatton

When travelling west from Brisbane, why not stop in at the rural town of Gatton and enjoy all it has to offer. Gatton is the largest town between Ipswich and Toowoomba and even though may just pass by on the bypass, a little detour into the town may surprise you and have you wanting to stay for a while. Hosting a free camp area just a short walk from the CBD, Gatton also has beautiful parks, aquatic centre and gym, sporting facilities, museums, art gallery, libraries, takeaway restaurants, cafes, restaurants, banks, quaint shops as well as major supermarkets. Gatton is an agricultural town and is surrounded by farms and is known as the salad bowel of Southeast Queensland.



Grantham

Travel a 10 kilometres past Gatton and you will come to the small town of Grantham. The village is surrounded by farming land. The town was destroyed, and many citizens were lost by the 2011 floods. The main housing area was moved to a new estate high on the hill. Like all Queenslanders, the people of Grantham have soldiered on, building a park where the pub and houses once stood and after 10 years, the Grantham store re opened. Pop into the Grantham Store for a nice cold drink and try the "best chips in the Lockyer Valley"! Just down the road is the famous Floating Cafe, that has its own history as the Cafe was build from a house that had floated away in the flood. The cafe is in the location where it was found.


Helidon

Drive on for another 10 kilometres and you will come to the small town of Helidon. Helidon and Helidon Spa is famous for its quality resources of Sandstone and for its mineral water. The sandstone has been mined since 1880’s and has been used to build grandeur buildings such as Brisbane’s City Hall. Central Post Office, Treasury Building and Parliament House. You will find a post office at Helidon, a small Spar supermarket and a beautiful, crafted clock celebrating 170 years of settlement. If you like Heritage walks, Helidon has its own, show casing its rich history. Helidon is a small town with most of the town residing on the other side of the railway track.


Lake Clarendon

Lake Clarendon area is a predominately farming area with a lovely state school in the middle. It is a beautiful area. Why have I included Lake Clarendon in this blog? It is because of the picturesque free camp area at the lake.



A brief history of the area

Before Europeans decided to settle in the area, the land known as Gatton was occupied by the Yuggera First Nation Peoples for thousands of years.

1825: Edmund Lockyer explored the area

1841: farming areas of Grantham and Helidon were established

1855: Gatton town was established

The villages were connected by the historic Cobb and Co mail route, Gatton being a staging post, bringing the first Irish and German settlers to the area.

1866: The railway arrived from Brisbane to Toowoomba.

1866: The first post office was built

1876: Gatton State School first opened which later survived two fires one in 1991 where half the school was burnt down and the second 2013 where a dental van and school block was burnt.

1897: University of Queensland Agricultural College was established

1975: Lake Apex was opened

2009: Cultural Centre was opened

2011: Devastating Floods hit the area

2013: Lockyer Valley Aquatic and Sports Centre was opened. William Kemp RV Park is at the old Gatton Pool site.


Things to do and See


Gatton surprisingly has many things to do and see for all ages. There are so many things to do I will probably forget to add some in this blog.


The Lockyer Legends Hall of Fame is in the heart of Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre. It is a celebration of local legends, nominated by the people of the Lockyer valley. Residents nominated made a long-term contribution of state, national and international significance within the last 160 years. You can view the portraits and read the biographies of these local legends in display albums. Entry: Free


If you love visual arts, also located within the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre is the Regional Art Gallery. There are many mediums on display including sculptures, photography, textiles, and canvas. Entry: Free


If you have a love of cars and trucks, you will love the ever-changing Queensland Transport Museum located in the Lockyer Valley Cultural centre and the Lights on the Hill Memorial located high on the hill at Lake Apex Park. The museum has all types of historical vehicles, large and small on display and would be the delight of anyone interested on transport of any kind. Admission: $ 8.00 Adults. $ 6.00 Concession. $ 3.00 Child (5-15 years). FREE Child (under 5 years). $20.00 Family (2 Adults + up to 3 Children).


If you are looking for somewhere a little quieter or somewhere to take the children, next to the Arts Gallery you will find the Gatton Library. A quiet area to use the Wifi.

Why not spend a day at Lake Apex Park, and enjoy the hectares of pristine park land. Take a leisurely stroll around the the lake or go for a jog and use the outside gym equipment. Lake Apex Park is also a bird Sanctuary with over 150 different species of birds that call the park home. The park has many picnic spots around the lake, most with BBQ's close by. Located to the right of the cultural centre, there is also a new skate bowl and the only off leash dog park in Gatton.


The 1st Sunday of the month, visit the Gatton Village Markets located between the dog park and the Gatton Historical Village. While at the markets, why not take a step back in time and visit the Gatton Historical Village. The historical village hosts 22 building from churches to the original Gatton railway station. Take yourself back to the by gone era of Gatton with each building having their own unique story to tell. Gatton Historical Village opens the 1st Sunday every month to coincide with the Markets.

Lockyer Valley Sport & Aquatic Centre, built in 2013, is located next to the Gatton show grounds. This is the perfect place to relax, get fit or enjoy some family fun. The centre has a gym, sports area, an indoor heated pool with ramp access and a 10 lane 50m outdoor heated pool.

Pools:

10-lane 50m outdoor heated pool, 27 degrees, 1m to 1.8m deep, hoist access. 18m heated enclosed pool, 31 degrees, 0.8m deep, ramp access. Aqua Aerobics classes. Poolside Cafe. BBQ facility (on request). Disabled access facilities and change rooms

Gym:

A fully equipped Studio Gym. Equipment is specifically selected to provide all the necessary tools to improve health, gain strength, develop lean muscle mass, or lose weight. They have strict social distancing and hygiene rules. No Towel, No Entry. Must have a towel and is to be used on benches, etc. Bring your own water bottle. Wash your hands on entry and exit. You must disinfect equipment before and after use. You will be required to disinfect before moving on to the next piece of equipment.


Pricing: Pool Entry: Adult: $5.80, Child/concession: $4.80, Family: $16.00, Spectator: $3.30 Gym: Casual Visit: $16.00


Grantham. The Awassi cheesery is an artisan bespoke cheese and boutique sheep farm nestled in the tranquil Grantham hills of the beautiful Lockyer Valley. Surrounded by Avocado groves and fields of Awassi sheep, is the ‘Awassi Cheesery’. This purpose-built sheep dairy and boutique cheesery is the home to the ‘Grantham’, a regional cheese designed specifically for its locality. Open Thur to Sun 11am to 4.30pm 776 sandy creek road, Grantham. For more information call 0412 671 047.


Helidon Heritage Trail - If you would like to steep yourself in local history, why not pop into Helidon and follow the signs of the Helidon Heritage Trail. Start the trail at Memorial Park with the commemorative clock and ponder through all the interesting information, sandstone monuments and the very special lone pine tree which has been propagated from a seed which can be traced back to the lone pine tree at Lone Pine Ridge, Gallipoli. Next find you way to Railway Street with the historical Criterion Hotel and the Old Bank Building. Located on the grassing island strip is the open air Pictorial Museum. The pictorial museum has rotunda structures, full of information and photographs of historical times. Maybe grab a coffee at the new coffee shop or an ice cream at the Spar and take in all the historical delights of this small town.



Useful Information


The main shopping area is in Gatton. The CBD has various, shops, pubs, banks, and cafes is within walking distance of the free camping area. If you click on the map below, it will show you the location of these places in relation to the free camp area.


Food, we can’t live without food, so lets see where we can get food!


Gatton has 3 major supermarkets, Coles, Super IGA, and Aldi.


Coles. Gatton Square, William Street, Gatton. Phone: 07 5462 2622

https://www.coles.com.au/ Click and collect

Super IGA. 8 Railway Street, Gatton (close to Free Camping Area) Phone: 07 5462 1722

Aldi, 7 Ballatine Street, Gatton. Phone: 13 25 34


There is also many fast food and cafes/restaurants to suite most tastes in Gatton itself.

Gatton Square: Cafe 63, McDonalds, Subway, Chinese, Bakery, health food shop,

Gatton CBD: Natural Noodles, Oh Sushi, Cafe 33, Jak & Mo, Kebabs, Indian, Pizza, Domino's Pizza (North Street), Killing Time with Coffee, Royal Hotel.

Railway Street: KFC, Tins & Trays, Hannant's Takeaway, Rosie's Chicken (Shell), Sweet Treats, Gatton View Hotel.

Spencer Street: The Sea Merchant.


Grantham only has a few places remaining in the main street after the devastating 2011 floods. One of the surviving buildings is the Grantham Store which offers cold drinks, take aways and some top up supplies. The Floating Cafe is also an indirect survivor of the flood. The building which "floated away" in the floods was rebuilt into a beautiful cafe. It’s a great place for a coffee or lunch. The deck is great in the summer and during the winter months, warm yourself by the fire while sipping their homemade soup. Opening hours 7 am to 3.30 Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri. 7.30am Sat & Sun. Closed Tuesdays. There is also the Grantham Service Station that has an after hours card pay fuel pumps.



Helidon

Unlike Grantham, Helidon has its own post office, police station, train station Pub and a small Spar supermarket. On the Highway at Helidon Spa and only a short walk from the James Norman Hedges Park Free Rest Area, there is also the Pacific Fuels 24 hours service station that sells hot food and drinks and a small supply of essential goods. They also have an ATM and toilets.


For the traveller


Free Camping

For a more detailed description check out our Free Camping page


William Kemp RV Park, East Street, Gatton


James Norman Hedges Park, Warrego Highway, Helidon Spa


Lake Clarendon Rest Area, Main Green Swamp Road, Lake Clarendon


Note: There is only event camping available at the Gatton show grounds


Dump Points & showers

Dump point: William Kemp RV Park, Gatton

Showers. I have been told that travellers can use the showers at the Lockyer Valley Sports & Aquatic Centre gym for a small fee. There are showers in the amenities block at the pool.


Visitor information

Lockyer Valley Information Centre.

34 Lake Apex Drive, Gatton, Queensland, Australia

Phone: 07 5466 3425

Lockyer Valley Visitors Guide



Links:


References:

Courier Mail, Images Gatton Star, 1991 Gatton State School Fire

Courier Mail, Tom Thredingham, 2013, Van & Block Fire



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Disclaimer

This blog is intended as an information guide only and it is not a comprehensive list places in Gatton. Any information given is correct at the time of publishing but may change at any time. Travel Adventures Australia or the author in no way accepts responsibility and/or liability for the facilities, actions and services of individual operators mentioned in this blog. In no way does Travel Adventures Australia or the Author endorse any specific venue.

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