Things to Do in Chinchilla, QLD
Chinchilla draws tourists as well as those passing through and its no wonder with a diversity of flora, fauna and abundant bird life. Find time to explore Chinchilla and the rest of the Western Downs region and you will be pleasantly surprised. Start at the very friendly Visitor Information Centre and ask about fossicking for petrified wood, where to catch a fish, where to find the bird life and seek advice and direction about our local attractions and features.
Visitors are welcome to a work out at the town’s aquatic centre which offers year round services that include the use of an indoor 25m heated pool, an outdoor 50m pool and a gymnasium. Chinchilla also can boast excellent sporting facilities for rugby league, touch football, horse racing, polocross, golf, cricket, tennis, soccer and lawn bowls. There is also a multipurpose indoor sports centre stadium which provides opportunities for all sorts of indoor sporting pursuits for the active minded.
Chinchilla was originally the home of the Barungam people. In 1848, Matthew Goggs, the first white settler, was granted a lease to develop Chinchilla Station. The town grew around 1878 when a railway link was built between Toowoomba and Roma. A lot of this history can be viewed first hand by
visiting the Chinchilla Historical Museum which houses old buildings and replica buildings, a display of petrified wood and a comprehensive outline of Chinchilla’s cypress pine timber heritage among other historical memorabilia.
Chinchilla Weir on the Condamine River is a great venue for water sports, fishing of course and a delightful picnic setting. Archers Crossing is another recreational area situated about 24 km south east of Chinchilla on the banks of the Condamine River also where bush camping, boating and
picnics are popular.
The Australian Watermelon Capital
Chinchilla has another unique feature whereby it is known as the melon capital of Australia. The region produces about 25% of the nation’s watermelon crop and celebrates this achievement by hosting the very popular Melon Festival every 2 years. There are melon themed events and games like melon smashing, the melon skiing event, melon bungee and melon bullseye competitions. There is also recognition for growers to produce the largest melon, a revered achievement. Parades, markets, arts and crafts, lifestyle luncheons, a poets breakfast and a triathlon are just some of the other
features of this local carnival which is recommended for attendance.
In addition to the Melon Festival, other popular staged events include the Rotary May Day Carnival, the Lions Mardi Gras and the very popular Grandfather Clock Camp draft which draws competitors from across the country. This is a major event which swells the town in competition for the
Grandfather Clock prize.
Other Chinchilla Attractions and Places to Go
Another display worth seeing is that housed in the Boonarga Cactoblastis Hall, some 10km east of Chinchilla. The display dedicates an insect in commemoration of the eradication of the Prickly Pear cactus. The Cactoblastis moth and lava was imported from South America with immediate results overwhelming the spread of Prickly Pear. There are also several scenic drives around the region and one in particular reveals stands of Chinchilla White Gums and also the expanse of termite resistant Cypress Pines within the nearby Barakula Forest. Another scenic drive takes you to the public viewing area of the Kogan Creek Power Station where you can learn about its construction and operations. This landmark is located about 30km south east of Chinchilla and dominates the landscape for quite a distance.
It has been providing power to the national grid, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since its completion in 2007. The Power Station operators are developing solar thermal technology with the aim of producing more electricity with the same amount of coal thereby increasing efficiency and
reducing greenhouse intensity. A visit to this site will provide an appreciation of the enormity of the project.
A drive to the historic township of Jimbour, near Dalby, will reveal one of Australia’s great pastoral homesteads named Jimbour House which is a great example of European pastoral heritage. The property is a residence but visitors are welcome to roam through the gardens and admire the classis