Whether you want to soar high above, cruise across lakes, drive winding valleys or bike the rail trail there’s adventure to be had at all speeds, from adrenaline junky to Sunday driver.
Spend a day, weekend or whole week hopping between Somerset’s cute towns and classic pubs, pedalling the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, paddling the lakes and creeks, and exploring creativity, history and local life.
Here are 10 things every visitor should do in Queensland’s incredible Somerset region.
1. Go on a grand camping adventure
Swap the city grind for Somerset’s beautiful bushland and expansive lakes, and nights watching Netflix for a roaring fire pit and bag of marshmallows. Peaceful evenings beneath starry skies in the great outdoors are the perfect way to reconnect with loved ones and forget those digital distractions. Across Somerset there are loads of campsites where you can pitch a tent with family and friends, including your four-legged best mate, plus handy free spots in some towns to pull up the campervan overnight. Discover the best places to camp, caravan and stay in Somerset.
2. Walk, run or ride the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
As Australia’s longest recreational rail trail, this special track draws eager adventure seekers from across the country. Thankfully the 161-kilometre long Brisbane Valley Rail Trail has been split into 11 easier-to-approach sections that vary from seven to 24 kilometres in length, perfect for various ages and levels of fitness. Just choose a section and journey from town to town on foot, two wheels or horseback as you follow the former railway line and bucket-list track through stunning Aussie bushland.
3. Hop between country pubs
Across Somerset the beer flows as fast as the banter in the region’s many charming country pubs. Designate a driver and make an afternoon of hopping between more than a dozen historic and classic spots on our official Country Pub Trail. Expect warm friendly service, ice-cold beer and menus loaded with pub feeds like chicken schnitty and steak. Some spots even boast basic guest rooms on the second floor, perfect to make a weekend out of your country pub crawl.
4. Splash about the lakes
If you’re a fan of freshwater, fishing and fun times you’ll feel right at home around the giant lakes and dams of Somerset. A favourite for all fast, adventurous watersports, Lake Somerset is especially popular with water skiers, jet skiers, wakeboarders and tube riders. But if you prefer paddle power or a peaceful lakeside swim, take it down a notch on Lake Wivenhoe where restrictions on motorised vessels keep the waters calmer and quieter. Anglers love visiting the lakes too, but before you cast a line in hope of catching dinner, don’t forget to pick up a fishing permit.
5. Embrace the warmth of country hospitality
Somerset is more than cold beer and warm banter. With a rich farming history and abundance of fresh produce, there are dozens of hidden foodie gems scattered throughout the local villages and towns. From a local coffee roaster to a sweet fudge shop to top notch cafes that double as art galleries, discover the best places to eat in Somerset with our complete foodie guide.
6. Get your adrenaline kick
7. Taste the terroir
Did you know the first grapes were planted in Somerset in the early 1800s? Yes, Somerset’s fertile soils have a long history with winemaking and the best vineyard to taste the terroir is the family-owned and award-winning Woongooroo Estate. Let friendly owners Phil and Gail invite you in to taste their finest drops, or go one better and make an afternoon of it with wine and cheese pairings or snack on antipasto platters and ploughman-style lunches.
8. Eat a pie
No visitor should leave Somerset without enjoying a steaming hot meat pie from the award-winning Old Fernvale Bakery. For almost five decades owners Bill and Lyn Rose have been using local produce to craft the absolute best pies in the country. Not limited by tradition, this local bakery has always challenged its bakers and apprentices to dream up delicious new flavours. Now the bakehouse and cafe boasts more than 150 types of pie in it’s repertoire. Drop in to discover what’s inside the counter today.
9. Enjoy a lazy Sunday drive
The winding roads, curves, dips and slopes make any drive around Somerset an adventure and activity in itself. Whether you’re on two wheels or four, add a scenic drive to your day trip or camping vacation to make the most of the fresh country air, rural landscapes and lakeside views. Taking a lap around Lake Wivenhoe or driving up the west side of both major lakes are two favourite scenic routes for cars and motorbikes. Those with a 4WD can kick it up a notch with extra off-road trails that lead over the Conondale Ranges.
10. Do something unusual (and Instagram worthy)
Somerset is more than its incredible lakes, country charm and adrenaline-pumping watersports. Hidden throughout the valleys and hills are dozens of things you didn’t know you could do like hike the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail with a llama, spot a yowie in the wild or enjoy a romantic picnic and paddle date with your significant other. Bring your loved ones for a weekend adventure or go camping and challenge your mates to tick off one of Somerset’s more unusual things to do.