Located on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range in southern
Queensland and bordering New South Wales, the Darling Downs is a low plain
region that is dominated by rolling hills of farms and wineries. The region also
includes the area known as 'The Granite Belt Wineries', which is gaining a
reputation as a serious wine producer.
During the 1920s, millions of acres in
the region were infested by the prickly pear, a cactus from South America. This
noxious plant invasion originated from a single, yellow flowering prickly pear,
brought to Australia in 1839. The biological introduction in the 1930 of the
Cactoblastis Cactorum was the outstanding success story in controlling the
infestation of the introduced plant. There is a cairn, erected in Marble Street
in 1965, that records the indebtedness of the people of Queensland (and Dalby in
particular) to a tiny moth.
Geographically the principle towns in the region is Toowoomba, whilst other
towns on the Downs include Allora, Cambooya, Clifton, Cecil Plains,
Chinchilla (in the
west), Crows Nest and
Crows Nest National Park, Dalby,
Drayton, Jondaryan, Mitchell,
Nobby, Oakey, Pittsworth,
Roman, Rosalie, Tara, Taroom, Wambo, and Warwick. On the
northern boundaries of the Downs are the Bunya Mountains and the Bunya Mountains
The Southern Downs area is part of the wider Darling
region. It is an area that stretches from Cunningham's Gap (120 km south west
of Brisbane), Allora and Clifton to the north, Wallangarra to the south and west
to Inglewood and Texas. It
also includes a region known as the Granite Belt, and together is referred to
and promoted as the Southern Downs.
Other destinations in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt regions include
the Warwick region
(that include Allora, Killarney, Leyburn), the twin towns of Inglewood and
Goondiwindi on the
western edge of the Southern Downs, and Waggamba (part of the Goondiwindi Regional Council).
There are five parks in the Southern Downs region on the Queensland side of
the border, including Main Range National Park, Mount Barney National Park,
Sundown National Park, Girraween National Park and Goomburra State Forest
The Western Downs area is part of the wider Darling
region, with shared localities of that in the
Southern Downs region. The Western Downs is sometimes referred to as The Maranoa, after the Maranoa
River which runs through it.
The Western Downs is promoted as an area that starts from the eastern part of the
arid South West region of Queensland to the agricultural region of the Darling
Downs in the east, whilst to the west is the dry Channel Country.
River and Maranoa River are the two main catchments in the region, whilst the
Warrego Highway, Carnarvon Highway and Balonne Highway are the major road routes
across the region.
The Darling Downs, Western Downs, Southern Downs and Granite Belt regions are a
popular tourist destination, with the main route in the region include the New
England Highway and the Warrego Highway, that provide ease of access to the many
historical and heritage attractions. The region is often grouped and described
as part of Toowoomba and South West Queensland.
Check out our listing of
Downs accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information,
contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions,
tours, local maps and other information.