Looking for fun things to do in Maryborough and surrounds? Life’s most lasting memories are often made in quaint places.
Nestled inland, off the coast of Fraser Island – one of Australia’s most picturesque ports of call 40 km away, is the peaceful colonial hamlet of Maryborough.
Accessible by planes, trains and automobiles, this enduring burg just three hours north of Brisbane boasts scores of interesting options to fill up a week’s worth of vacation days and nights.
History buffs hankering for uncharted expeditions will appreciate the abundance of accessible monument parks, museums, and heritage registered haunts.
Cuisine connoisseurs will gush over the glut of halcyon hash houses, sunny outdoor cafes and pastoral eateries teeming with healthy, organic options.
Should shopping desires arise during one’s coastal sojourn, no Queensland-quest would be complete without perusing the local art market, a trip to the station square or a breeze through the classic traveler’s gift gallery.
Whatever the jet setter’s fancy, Maryborough is keen to deliver before you head on to the Fraser Coast and Hervey Bay.
15 Maryborough Activities & Attractions
1. Start the Trip with Toast
Early risers won’t have to wait too long to get their day going as this delightful breakfast bar on Bazaar Street starts taking orders just after 6:30 AM.
Guests at Toast Espresso Bar will enjoy the polished cement floors, lime-green fittings, stainless-steel aesthetic, and craft coffee of this inviting café that offers indoor and outdoor seating.
Fruit, sandwiches, toasted focaccias, smoothies, and specifically gluten free options are all on the menu, and with a reasonable price point attached to almost every item, its certainly the best place to get the most bang for your breakfast (or brunch) bucks.
2. Venture out to Maryborough City Hall
At the corner of Kent and Lennox in the central business district stands a tall building, built at the turn of the twentieth century, and designed to demonstrate Maryborough’s culture prominence.
Constructed in an American colonial style, the exterior of City Hall was assembled using local Meredith bricks while red cedar is carried comprehensively throughout the interior.
Over time, a clock tower, a curtain tower and a stage were added.
Semi-circular barrel-vault ceilings are featured in the auditorium; ornate classical detailing adorns the stage, while columns and the proscenium feature the city’s emblem, a Crimson Bottlebrush.
The Visitor Information Center at City Hall offers daily guided walking tours, at no cost, and every Thursday the firing of the time cannon takes place before sundown at the City Hall Green.
3. Pause for Reflection at Bauer & Wiles Memorial Fountain
The only known outbreak of the pneumonic plague in Australia took place in Maryborough in 1905.
Beside City Hall, along a gentle stretch of grass rests a resplendent water fountain that commemorates Cecilia Bauer and Rose Wiles, nurses who courageously volunteered to care for victims during the outbreak, but eventually lost their own lives to the disease.
From tragedy great beauty can blossom; the fountain offers a peaceful retreat during daylight and a stirring spotlight for photos and sweet saunters after sunset.
4. Go for a Guided Walkie-Talkie around Maryborough
Enjoy a walking tour of this once bustling port of call led by a well-versed local performance artist.
Adorned in period-piece attire, guides help day-trippers discover Maryborough’s vibrant past with deep dives into charming, character-rich stories set to a leisurely-paced two-hour stroll.
Along the way, expect to venture to notable landmarks, into municipal centers, Queen’s Park, and the birthplace of Helen Lyndon Goff, known worldwide as P.L. Travers, who penned the eternal Mary Poppins book series.
Weather permitting, daily tours depart City Hall at 9 AM local time every Monday through Saturday, with limited holiday exclusions.
5. Visit the home of P.L. Travers (author of Mary Poppins)
As the birthplace of author P.L. Travers, Maryborough regards Mary Poppins with fervent reverence.
On the left-hand side of Cherry Tree Lane is Travers’ first home, the second story of the old Australian Joint Bank Exchange.
Now serving locals as the Story Bank Museum, visitors stepping inside can still sense a world where imaginations ran wild back in the earliest days of 1900s Queensland.
Outside the museum, stands a life-sized bronze statue of the celebrated storybook character, replete with her magic umbrella.
Those wishing to borrow an old book while passing through can do so from the borrowing box attached to the wall of the world’s tiniest and most adorable collection of classics at the Cherry Tree Lane Street Library outside the Spoon Full of Sugar Café.
And speaking of sweet treats, the aforementioned is a functional food and beverage establishment, so be sure and order up a tea, or a coffee and of course a little cake before continuing onward.
6. Keep Calm and Carry on in Queen’s Park
Stroll down Sussex Street and stumble in to quaint Queen’s Park and the Botanical Gardens.
Indulge the beauty of the mystical and majestic trees.
More than 150 years ago, amateur explorer John Bidwill began collecting select specimens of flora from the Moreton Bay region dubbed Bunya Bunya by indigenous land dwellers.
Near the southeast section of the grounds, by the entrance gates, the lone surviving tree from Bidwill’s collection still stands.
Continue onward, consuming the charming late 19th century designs around the Melville fountain and band pavilion.
Art history aficionados are likely to indulge in the experience, as the fountain represents an endearing object of remembrance for the locally revered Janet Melville.
Following her passing in the late 1880s, Melville’s massive trust was benevolently bestowed by her last request to various local charitable institutions and hospitals.
A focal point for photography fanatics, the fountain features a large basin with a rising center column adorned with griffin heads around the capstone that spout water from their open mouths.
Unruffled cranes appear further up the structure and atop the center of a tiered funnel a golden cherub stands, grappling a horn of plenty that shoots a jet stream of water out into the sky.
If that’s not the spot to start a hashtag-heavy insta-story, what is?
Also worth admiring while afoot are the old railway tracks and the hidden tiny waterfall tucked behind the lily pond.
7. Get Goosebumps at the Gallipoli to Armistice Memorial
Inside Queen’s Park is an interactive memorial opened in 2018 that guides guests on an emotional walk through The Great War.
Walk with the Anzacs and allow the overwhelming sense of local pride and eternal sacrifice to swallow the moment.
The heartbeat of the exhibit is a fanned spindle of weathered steel columns, soaring sky high, highlighting the landscape of Anzac Cove and the cliffs on the fateful shoreline of Gallipoli.
The trail winds through the park as statues pace the course and whispering voice tracks tell traumatic tales of sacrifice.
The sounds of marching feet plot the way as soldiering voices drift alongside guests pushing down the path.
Among the monuments is a replication of the typewriter used by Australian war correspondent Charles Bean, and most notably, a full-scale bronze statue of Maryborough’s most famous son, Lt. Duncan Chapman, the first Allied soldier to take the shore at Gallipoli in 1915.
Each sculpture speaks to a distinctive side of the war and the battles waged, not only by the men on the front lines, but also by journalists and doctors, and the women holding down the fort.
This world-class military memorial represents a centerpiece for the city and a global landmark of national significance.
In a sense, the design and overall presentation is not that of a traditional war memorial or museum.
It does not boast about the caliber of weapons fired during battles or offer detailed plans with mission maps, but rather yields those taking in the experience a deeper understanding of how the first World War affected the Australian people.
In essence, it’s one hundred years worth of war stories told in art, education, and commemoration.
8. Breeze by Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum
Look no further than Lennox Street to find one of the three original retail stores preserved and still standing in the world.
Enter the time capsule as this location offers a glimpse of what shopping was like back in the late nineteenth century.
Assembled by business partners Martin Geraghty and Patrick Brennan, the store served as the epicenter of what was then a small commercial hub.
Members of both founders’ families were still operating the business and serving customers as recently as 1972, representing a centennial of communal commerce.
The store officially closed shortly after those 100 years of service, but the building itself still holds original stock and trading records dating back to late 1800s.
The store was reopened to the public as a museum to pay tribute to the truly iconic local family who ran the market for a century. Check out their website for more information.
9. Stop and Appreciate the History of Historic Homes
Wander a 7 km away from the central business district and admire The Rosehill Homestead, the oldest remaining private residence built in the region.
The remarkable home, still housing families today, was for sale as recently as 2016; listed for a modest $769,000.
Sitting on over 21 acres of private grounds with magnificent river frontage, the enchanting colonial dwelling is more than just a private retreat.
Over the years the home has hosted weddings, elegant tea parties and guided tours.
Original construction of the property began in 1856 by a pioneer couple, John and Mary Ann Eaton.
The home was built by hand using clay bricks and cedar joinery.
Mr. Eaton eventually became the second mayor of Maryborough.
For many years the home was a part of the city’s ghost tour, and it has been said that some guests described feeling the presence of an elderly man and a small child at times on the property.
10. Revel in Relics at the Military Museum
Maryborough possesses a proud military past and that stands at full attention throughout the town’s Military & Colonial Museum.
The exhibition hall houses a treasure trove of artifacts, medals, and powerful war memorabilia.
Only the Australian War Memorial in Canberrra can claim a more comprehensive dearth of pieces to peruse than the collection on display at the old J. E. Brown warehouse on Wharf Street.
Among notable one-of-a-kind distinctions, the museum has the largest private collection of Victoria Crosses in Australia, as well as the only Cross of Valor medal on public display in the country.
Automobile history appreciators will want to gander at the globe’s oldest surviving three-wheel motorcar, a centurion-wonder built back in 1911 by London, England’s Albert Girling, and brought down to Australia by his brother, Sidney before the Great War.
11. Get Away to Gatakers Artspace for fun activities
Behind the M&C Museum, inside the renovated Gatakers Building are four galleries housing fine contemporary art from across the Queensland region and beyond.
Everything on hand is original and should a stroll through the airy expanse unleash an impulse to buy, shoppers will delight, as almost every piece showcased is available for sale.
Interactive workshops and seasonal events are also often on the calendar. The art scene rarely stays quiet on Kent Street.
Speaking of sounds, by nightfall Gatakers can get lively.
On the second Saturday night of each month from 6 PM to 9 PM, live music, fabulous food and the best of local art and culture are on full display in the alluring ambience of Gatakers by Night.
Feel free to bring folding chairs or picnic blanket, as casual meal options are also available.
Full bar service is also available on site, but unfortunately pets (including dogs) are not permitted to party with their families.
12. Traverse the Mural Trail: Maryborough’s most colourful attractions
Go gaga over bronze sculptures and Snapchat-style street art that distinguishes the revitalized buildings dotting the Maryborough Central Business District’s portside precincts.
Brought to life in 2015 by local businesswomen, Elizabeth Lowrie and Deborah Hannam, the CBD’s Mural Trail lays claim to copious art installations and wild wall paintings that treat tourists and locals alike to permanent, photo-worthy visual attractions.
Jumpstart the journey at the Maryborough Visitor Information Center by digging into out how the trail got started, then saunter down Kent Street to uncover more than thirty unique murals and graphic installments that stretch across ten city blocks.
13. Hop and Bop About the Heritage City Market
Set aside time in the schedule for a little thrifty retail relaxation.
Since 1987, at the nexus of Adelaide and Ellena Street, colorful stalls and live music mute the movement and drama of traffic as the city’s center becomes a bustling outdoor Heritage Market every Thursday from 8 AM to 1 PM.
A fun frolic about offers loud laughs, tasty treats, and fine crafts fashioned by local artisans.
Stick around for a spell and witness the firing of the daily canon, which historically signified the 1 PM close of business.
The weapon currently used for entertainment purposes is a replica of the one fired in the days before the town clock debuted.
14. Behold the old Bond Store
Built in the 1860s, the two-story Government Bond Store served to store a bevy of goods made available for purchase to frequent port travelers passing through the Customs House next door.
The sturdy brick building, one of the oldest of its kind still standing in the region, boasts its original wood floors and rum barrel rails.
Classic architecture enthusiasts will relish the rare nineteen-century construction, while Instagram opportunists can make the most of the moment with a spate of snap-worthy spots on-site.
Digital media upgrades offer guided tours and lend fresh takes to the historical sights and sounds of the Wharf Street property.
Explore the rich tales of legal opium importing and sugar trading.
Relax and be regaled as in-person hosts spin classic yarns from the store’s chapter in the old storybook of early settlement.
Then wind down with a flavor-forward tasting flight of local ports, liqueurs and tasty small plates before idling away for the evening.
15. Dine Out at Alowishus Delicious
A favorite outpost among Bundaberg Queenslanders, Alowishus is the hippest, most celebrated cafe in central Maryborough.
The breakfast menu boasts Australian café gems like smashed avocado on sourdough with feta cheese, zucchini and sweet corn fritters, and eggs benedict.
For those seeking something a little offbeat, how about a Toad In A Hole – two pieces of sourdough toast with a fried egg, tomato relish and avocado.
Starving? The Breakfast Stack packs a punch – avocado, bacon, sweet potato, halloumi, baby spinach, pesto, cherry tomatoes, two poached eggs and balsamic glaze on sourdough.
Craving animal protein? The Alowishus Big Breakfast is definitely in order – two free-range eggs any style, bacon, honey mustard pork sausages, grilled cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, tomato relish and sourdough toast.
Afternoon and evening dining offers items for everyone.
Wraps, sandwiches, and burgers – all with gluten free bread/bun options! Beyond traditional beef protein, handmade chicken and decadent veggie alternatives are also available.
Order a classic menu construction or craft your own creation to your own preferences.
Tacos, lasagna, quiche, numerous salads, and even cauliflower-mac-and-parmesan-cheese croquettes, with spinach, crispy bacon and chipotle sauce are on the menu.
So many delicious dishes made to order, ready to devour by all.
Popular Sights in Maryborough Surrounds
Hervey Bay and Fraser Island are the most popular sights in this stretch of the country, but of the country. Although Hervey Bay (29 km away) and Fraser Island (40 km away) aren’t too far, as the sun sets the some people prefer to stay overnight in one of the hotels and motels in Maryborough. The roads can become dangerous in the evening as kangaroos can wander onto the road which are a nuisance.
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