With its rich history and scenic location, Gympie had plenty to offer. Whether you are a local looking for something to do with the family, a South East Queenslander wanting a great location for a day trip or a visitor from further afield, you have a huge choice of things to see and do.

Top 10 Things to do in Gympie

1. Visit state forests and national parks

Escape to the countryside and soak up the natural wonders of the region. With its warm climate, natural forests, wandering valleys and spectacular coastland the region is rich in geographical diversity.

There are a number of state forests and national parks within easy driving distance from Gympie. Go for a short stroll to a lookout or hike for several days. Take the family camping or go abseiling for an adrenaline rush. There are hundreds of trails throughout the parks that you can cover on foot, mountain bike or horseback.

2. Get out on the water

The Mary River is a great place to start your water adventures in Gympie. Right along this rich valley from its source near Boorabin to the mouth at River Heads there are plenty of places to fish or go canoeing. At the Borumba Dam near Imbil you can water-ski, paddle or watch the action from the shore.

In the area around Great Sandy Strait you can view the spectacular coloured sands at Rainbow Beach, hand-feed the dolphins at Tin Can Bay, try snorkelling or take a cruise out to Fraser Island.

Have a dip in the Mothar Mountain Rock Pools at the junction of Woondum and Boulder Creeks only 15 minutes drive from Gympie. Along the many waterways in the region you can find plenty of safe places to swim so and go out, have fun and get wet.

3. Scenic drives

The Gympie Heritage Trails have been planned to showcase the regions natural beauty and rich history. They have detailed signs at each point of interest and you can even use your smart phone to follow the maps and scan the QR codes on each sign for access to website information.

Depending on how much time you have you can follow the Gympie trail around the town’s goldfields or travel further afield and explore the surrounding towns and countryside. Take a picnic up to lookouts in and around Arrawatta, Imbil and Amamoor.

Why not make up your own scenic drive between the country markets, pubs or historic sites in the area? Just grab a map or follow your GPS but be sure to look at all the stunning scenery along the way.

4. Explore the Mary River catchment

The Mary River begins its life in near Boorabin in the Conondale Range on the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It flows north passing the towns of Gympie, Tiaro, Kenilworth and Maryborough along the way to its destination at River Heads on the Great Sandy Strait below Hervey Bay.

The river’s colourful history includes thousands of years of use by the aborigines, early exploration by Europeans in the 1800’s, timber –felling, agriculture and the glory of the gold rush era.

You’ll find plenty of quiet spots to enjoy some fishing, camping or swimming. Take your boat or canoe out on the water or follow the river course through the valley by car.

The valley is famous for its fresh produce including beef, dairy products and a wide variety of delicious fruit and vegetables so take the opportunity to taste it all whenever you can on your travels. Look for stalls and loyalty boxes along the roadside.

5. Historic buildings and museums

During the gold rush era, there was money to be had and this reflected in the fine architecture of the period. Follow the Gympie Heritage Trail through the town and marvel at the detail in buildings such as the Old Post Office and the Surface Hill Uniting Church. As you wander along Mary Street you can pop into one of the lovely cafes with traditional shop fronts.

The Gympie Gold Mining & Historical Museum is a wonderful place for the whole family to enjoy. Here you can learn about the history of gold mining in the state, see some of the many well-preserved relics or join in one of the many activities on offer.

Discover more of the region’s remarkable history at the Woodworks museum in Gympie. This fascinating museum is full of informative displays and excellent examples of the timber products and machinery used over the years. There are indoor and outdoor displays for you to wander through and live demonstrations at peak times.

6. Pan for gold

Try your luck panning for gold at the Deep Creek Fossicking Area right in the heart of Gympie. Panning was the first method of gold mining used in the area as it was the most simple and had the easiest access. The alluvial gold is washed down from several large underground reefs further upstream. As the miners didn’t have the resources to access all of these reefs there is still reported to be a lot of gold in them and therefore in the creeks. The creek bends in the gully are a good place to try as the alluvium can build up in the silt there.

7. Pubs, cafes and restaurants

Enjoy local hospitality and country charm at some of the historic pubs in the region. You can kick back and enjoy a cold beer after a bushwalk or try one of the local wines. Many of the pubs have been restored lovingly so you can appreciate details such as the polished timber fittings, rich carpets and local artwork. In the cafes and restaurants you can have a delightful afternoon tea complete with home-baked treats or sample traditional and modern dishes featuring delicious and fresh local produce. You’ll be spoilt for choice and definitely won’t go hungry.

8. Country markets

The landscape around Gympie and the Mary Valley is quite diverse so the soils are suitable for an amazing range of fresh produce. The area is ideal for both beef and dairy cattle, citrus orchards, olive groves, grape vines and much, much more.

When you visit the markets held in towns such as Gympie and Kenilworth you will often get to meet the growers or producers in person. Their passion and commitment is evident in their top quality produce. The markets are generally held on weekends in popular locations such as the Gympie Gold Museum. Stroll through and gather items for a gourmet picnic, to take home and cook up or simply to enjoy on the spot.

9. Valley Rattler Steam Train and railway stations

After the coming of the railway to Gympie from Maryborough and later from Brisbane, the Mary River Valley branch line was built around 1914 to service fruit growers and dairy farmers. It ran from Gympie through Dagun, Amamoor, Kandanga and Imbul and formed an essential part of the state’s economy.

Following the closure of the old Gympie Railway Station when it had become almost redundant, the branch line was rescued by a devoted group of locals and converted to a popular tourist attraction. Visitors could travel the full 40 km or hop off at each station and explore the area around each one. The stations were beautifully restored and are now popular in their own right.

In recent years, services have been suspended due to high running costs. However the local council has been actively lobbying for federal funding so there is a good chance the line may be reopened in the future. Check the local Tourist Information Centre for updates.

10. The need for speed

If you love a good race you have many to choose from at the Mother Mountain Speedway and also the Gympie Racecourse.

The Speedway is only a short drive from Gympie. It was built in the 1960’s for motorbikes but now it is sedans in various classes that burn their way around the track. The season begins in September and ends the following May. Locals and tourists alike can come along and watch from several stands and vantage points around the track. There are 2 canteens with licensed areas to keep you fed and watered.

Enjoy racing of a different kind at the Gympie Racecourse. The local turf club holds meetings year around and the facilities are excellent. You can hire a tent or marquee for a group or enjoy a meal and drink at the restaurant and bar. Visit the Gympie Turf Club website for dates and details.