For a green change just 30 mins from the city and with plenty in a trip to fill a day, the scenic valley featuring the tiny historical hamlet of Samford Village is hard to beat.
Day trippers have a choice of taking the longer hilly route along Waterworks Rd and via Mt Nebo, with jaw-dropping views and bush and rainforest walk possibilities on the way, or the direct route via Samford Rd, which, shortly after leaving the suburban outreaches of Ferny Grove plunges into bushland and emerges shortly thereafter in a picture perfect countryside of rolling green hills and valleys.
Samford Village itself may be small but contains a decent stash of preserved heritage buildings, a fascinating history museum, gourmet character cafes, a century old pub, old-fashioned Saturday country market, train-themed playground and quaint slab hut peddling local arts and crafts such as handmade patchwork quilts.
Things to Do:
1. Samford District Historical Museum – Only open on Wednesdays and Sundays, it is well worth scheduling a trip on those days for. This little Valley time capsule is set out like a small village itself, containing Samford's first garage, the original Ferny Grove and Grovely Stations, a working blacksmith, the reconstructed 1870's local shingle-roofed school house, dairy shed and a toy museum, between the housing a staggering collection of memorabilia. And the staff, many of themselves from a bygone era, are full of fascinating yarns about the Valley's past and their lovingly put together exhibits.
2. Take a heritage stroll around the village, starting at the John Scott Park with its rail themed playground (which was once the site of the Samford Railway Station and goods yards).Turn left into Main St and on the other side of the street is the Samford Valley Hotel whose main building hails from 1912. Next door is the old English Scottish & Australian Bank, which dates from the 1930s and was the scene of the first armed robbery in the Valley after World War II. The landmark neighbouring Farmer's Hall was towed here from Lutwyche and became the social scene hub from the end of World War I, while Cash Avenue alongside was once part of the Samford Railway Line, with some of the embankment still intact. The corner shop before the Memorial Park was opened as a butcher shop in the 1930s and the Memorial Park is home to the century old schoolmaster's house from Samford School. And check out the cast iron 19th century lamp posts on Main St, dating from the late 1800's.
3. Rail Trails - Both within the village and in the foothills outside are some rare rail trails, the remnants of the old railway line that once ran through the valley from Ferny Grove to Dayboro and that are now used as bush walk and cycle tracks. It was this stretch of line achieved infamy on Labour Day May 1947 when Australia's worst rail disaster until then occurred just outside of town. A steam train especially put on for a group of Customs employees and their families took a bend too fast, resulting in the train careering off its tracks and the front carriages telescoping, with a resultant tragic loss of 16 lives and 38 injuries. A cairn by the side of McLean Rd (itself part of the ex-railway line) marks the spot where the crash occurred.
The rail trails are the closest ones to be found in proximity to Brisbane and are worth checking out. One is accessed from Latina Ct, a service vehicle turning circle off McLean Rd and it is essentially a bush track hemmed by railway embankments that is suitable for mountain bike riders. A second one occupies a section of Cash Avenue (named after Samford's first free settler) in town and a third is a little out of town and contains an old tunnel which is now a bat colony's residence.
4.Otherwise, continue the drive up to Mt Glorious, where a rainforest walk and/or Devonshire tea is only 20 mins away.
Eat & Drink:
While the Samford Hotel with its beer garden, pavilion restaurant and playground is a magnet for families and groups, those seeking more than casual pub fare have several choices:
1. Flying Nun Café - for something atmospheric and ecclesiastical this uber popular establishment resides in a new and an old church and dishes up fabulous gourmet fare.
2. Happy Berry House - a café in a converted weatherboard cottage, serves up hearty breakfasts and home-made lunches.
3. BuzzStop Espresso – The hippest little joint in town sits alongside its evening twin the Ya Ya Bar and churns out coffee and light meals that alone make the trip from town worthwhile.
4. Ya Ya Bar – As the sun goes down, Ya Ya heats up and is the in-spot for the most delicious tapas around. Also renowned for their Sunday sessions.
by Jodi Panayotov © Must Do Brisbane