Blackall Range tourist drive (Queensland, Australia)

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I’ve driven through Woodford and along the Blackall Range tourist drive countless times but never like a tourist. I’ve never really stopped in the small towns along the way nor stopped to take photos of the scenery. Today that will change.

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The Woodford museum and art gallery is a hidden treasure. The local artists have created an eye-catching array of works. There’s portraits and landscapes in water colour, oils and acrylics of all shapes and sizes. The artists are all in residence working away at a large table. The works are all reasonably priced so we buy two small paintings to add to our collection. The creativity doesn’t stop here. There’s a whittling display, models of historic buildings and other historic information.

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Our next stop is Maleny. It’s another town I’ve raced through so many times I have lost count. But today we stop. The town is a popular tourist destination and it’s time to see why. The town is a mix of coffee shops, op shops, second hand book shops and art galleries. The prices are jacked up compared with other areas. But we still manage to find some affordable art to hang on the wall and some fun stuff at an op shop. We also spend some time in the old style lolly shop where I buy drop (Dutch licorice), which is sold by weigh.

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We leave Maleny headed towards Kenilworth through rolling farmland. The towns of Witta and Connondale are tiny dots on the map and even tinier in real life. The landscape is relaxing to drive through.

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Kenilworth arrives before we know it. We visit the cheese factory and taste all the cheeses. All are delicious. There’s Dutch Gouda, bush tucker flavours, sweet chili and chives, mature cheeses and cheeses I wouldn’t have heard of if we hadn’t come here. We eat a picnic lunch in the park. We came here last week with work but it’s different being here just the two of us. More relaxed and I feel more like I’m in a country town picnicking in a park. Our desert is fudge from the lolly shop in Maleny.

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The Obi Obi road up to Mapleton climbs steeply out of the valley and to the mountain top. It twists and turns sharply with views into a deep farming valley and over to the mountains disappearing off into the distance.

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It’s a Wednesday so Montville is quiet. We’ll continue our adventures from here another day. It’s worth the drive anyway because the road out of town follows a ridge line with views east and west.

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All that’s left to do is stop at the farm stalls amidst the Glasshouse Mountains.

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