Dreaming of a short yet amazing long-weekend 4WD road trip? The Border Ranges Loop Drive is one of our favourite routes from Brisbane. Leave the city behind to discover waterfalls, rainforest and rolling countryside on this 3-night loop drive.
You’ll pass through Ipswich and over the Great Dividing Range to tackle the Condamine Gorge’s 14 river crossings, rainforest tracks in Border Ranges National Park and the fun Duck Creek Road before heading into the picturesque Tamborine Mountains.
In this guide, we’ll give you all the details about where to go, stay and eat and what to do. We’ll also fill you in on the best 4WD tracks in the area. And, if you don’t have a 4WD, we can solve that one too. All of our recreational vehicle hires include unlimited kilometres and roadside assistance so all you need to do is pick one up and hit the road.
Distance from Brisbane: recommended loop – 9.5 hours (550kms)
Recommended circuit from Brisbane:
- Border Ranges National Park
- Tamborine Mountain
- Back to Brisbane
Things to Pack: On this 4WD loop drive you shouldn’t struggle to find places to stop for food, water and gas. Nevertheless, be prepared for adventure with this packing list:
- Bottled water
- Snacks for the road
- Dry food supplies and/or an Esky to chill food for meals
- A tent, sleeping bags and mats
- GPS navigation
- Spare tyre
- Details of accommodation bookings and 4WD permits
- Mobile phone and car charger
Stop 1: Warwick via Ripley 4wd track
Distance from Brisbane: 2 hours (160 km)
Things to do:
- Ripley Road 4WD track
- Templin Historical Museum
- Stop to enjoy views of Brisbane and Moreton Bay from the top of Cunningham’s Gap
- Visit the Australian Rodeo Museum
- Ride a steam train at the Southern Downs Steam Railway
From Brisbane, head towards Ipswich. While you might want to stop to admire Queenslands oldest provincial city, the first point of interest on your 4WD road trip should be Ripley Road, just outside of Ipswich. Continue along the road until it becomes dirt for a bit of mud, sand and rocks with a few sharp ascents and descents. Take particular care after rain.
Once you’ve had a bit of fun, continue towards Warwick along the Scenic Rim. Enjoy the drive and the views before you arrive in town. In Warwick, you’ll find a good selection of accommodation and places to eat. Stay in town, or if you’d prefer, head a bit further south to camp at the privately-owned Springs 4×4 Adventure Park. Here you’ll find a variety of tracks spread over 700 acres.
Stop 2: Border Ranges via Condamine River 4WD track
Distance from Warwick: 3 hours (180kms)
Things to do:
- Condamine River 4WD track
- Stretch your legs on one of the Queen Mary Falls walking tracks
- Wildlife watching
Where to eat: self-catering only inside the park; The Sugar Bowl Café and Bar (Kyogle)
After enjoying a good breakfast in Warwick, fuel up, grab a picnic lunch and drive about 20 minutes south to the small town of Killarney. Here you’ll find the start of the ever-popular Condamine Gorge’s 14 River Crossing 4WD track.
This track is incredible for beginners and just as much fun for those with a bit more experience. It zig-zags over and back over the Condamine River 14 times, passing through the lush bush of the Scenic Rim. Check the conditions before you head out as the track may be impassable after heavy rain. Along the way, you’ll find a few great spots to stop for a swim and enjoy that picnic lunch.
Once you’ve had your off-roading fun, another worthwhile stop is at Queen Mary Falls. Stretch your legs on the 2km loop walking track. There’s picnic tables, toilets and water too.
After arriving and setting up camp in Border Ranges National Park, you’ll be able to explore the dense rainforest of the Tweed Ranges off-road. The tracks here aren’t difficult but they do take you through some spectacular scenery and you’ll have lots of opportunities to spot wildlife and hike.
Inside the park, you will find drinking water, barbeque facilities and toilets. However, you’ll need to come prepared so do make sure you’ve got enough petrol, food and water. Kyogle is the nearest town with supplies. It’s an hour south of the park or a take a short detour on your way in.
Stop 3: Mount Tamborine via Duck Creek Road
Distance from Border Ranges National Park: 4 hours (165 km)
Things to do:
- Snap a picture at Carr’s lookout
- Wander through art galleries at Mount Tamborine
- Enjoy coffee and a cake at a Tamborine café
- Try to spot a platypus at O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards
Instead of heading straight to Mount Tamborine, drive via the 20km dirt, Duck Creek Road. This track runs up through gorgeous farmland scenery with incredible views of the Gold Coast hinterland. It’s fairly easy to navigate but is weather dependant so check the conditions before you head out. A $3 donation is requested to help maintain this popular trail as it runs through private property. Stop at the top for a break and a short bushwalk.
You won’t find much in the way of food or fuel on the way to Mount Tamborine so be prepared. Once you’re there though, you’ll find luxury hotels and resorts, quaint bed and breakfasts and a few campsites. There’s also a nice selection of cafes and restaurants to reward your taste buds after a full day of off-road adventures.
Back to Brisbane
Distance from Mount Tamborine: 1 hour (75 km)
Route to take: Enjoy a sleep in and a leisurely drive back to Brisbane today. While you can easily spend the day exploring the Tamborine Mountain and take the direct route back to Brisbane, there’s also other great options.
Explore one of the many hiking trails of Tamborine National Park, pop into the Gold Coast for a swim and some shopping or consider taking a detour to the Swan Gully 4WD park or North Stradbroke Island for some extra off-road fun.
What to do and where to stop for breaks:
- Stroll the rainforest trails of Mount Tamborine
- Explore glow worm caves
- Take a horse ride with Tamborine Moutain Trail Rides
- Stop for lunch in the Cedar Creek Winery
- Appreciate the view at Lahey’s Lookout, 3kms north of Canungra
- Hike in Tamborine National Park
Lucky enough to have some extra time on holiday? There’s plenty of interesting detours you can add on to the Border Ranges loop drive. Check out these great 4WD road trip extensions:
Take a Journey Off-Road
We love sharing our favourite 4WD road trips with you. If you’re keen to complete this 3-night Border Ranges loop drive, get in touch with us today.
Our recreational vehicles are made for off-road hire and all come with comprehensive insurance, roadside assistance and unlimited kilometres. So, if you’re looking for a first-rate company to make your 4WD road trip easy, look no further than Fleet Crew.