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Area information - About Gympie

As the heritage and cultural centre of the Cooloola Region, Gympie boasts a tradition that few areas in Queensland can offer. A city of 16,000 people, Gympie offers the warm hospitality of a country town with all the modern conveniences.

Known as the "Town that Saved Queensland", Gympie's proud heritage began in 1867 with the discovery of gold by prospector James Nash at the site now occupied by the Town Hall. At the time, Queensland was facing bankruptcy due to drought and the fall in wool prices. However, Nash made the five day journey down the Mary River from Maryborough and, after digging up 75 ounces of gold in six days, staked his claim. The Gympie Gold Rush was on, injecting the boost to the Queensland economy that enabled the colony to survive.

Nowadays, you can relive the tradition that has given Gympie its special place in history. At the Gold Mining Museum, displays covering the gold rush days are mingled with exhibits such as the Lighthorse Museum and Andrew Fisher House to provide an outstanding range of cultural as well as historical exhibits. Other attractions such as the Mary Valley Heritage Railway and Woodworks Forestry and Timber Museum provide outstanding links to the region's railway and timber history.

The city's heart is Mary Street, a fantastic blend of shopping, heritage and nearby parkland that combines the activity of a regional centre with the relaxed, carefree experience of a holiday. Take a heritage walk past traditional shopfronts as well as excellent examples of 19th Century architecture. Or stroll to a coffee shop and take in the casual atmosphere that seems to be lost in the modern era. Gympie's location, right on the Bruce Highway under 2 hours drive north of Brisbane, makes it easily accessible for travellers looking for a special slice of Queensland. And it's centrally located to the breathtaking coastline of Rainbow Beach, the dolphins of Tin Can Bay, and the rural hinterland of the Mary Valley.

Come and visit us in Gympie and see what makes us one of the most unique holiday destinations in Australia.


Perfectly situated in Queensland's south east corner between Fraser Island and Noosa, the Cooloola Region is a wonderful blend of beaches, waterways, rural hinterland, and heritage. The region consists of the coastal towns of Rainbow Beach and Tin Can Bay, the heritage city of Gympie, and the rolling hills of the Mary Valley, offering several unique holiday destinations within one location.

The Cooloola Region provides a natural getaway far from the stress and crowds of larger destinations. Our 'highrises' are the Coloured Sand cliffs of our National Park and the mountains of our State Forests. For some adventurers, getting back to nature means sailing on the protected waters of Tin Can Bay and meandering up the Sandy Straits. For others, it's soaking up the sun and seabreezes during a walk along the beach at Rainbow Beach, with Double Island Point and the Coloured Sands in the background painting the perfect picture.

For those who like something less strenuous, why not try a picnic by Lake Borumba in the picturesque Mary Valley, or a stroll through the bush walks in the State Forests.

History comes alive as you step back in time and become part of the action with working displays of days gone by. The Woodworks Forestry and Timber Museum feature retired timbercutters demonstrating techniques used long before chainsaws and technology took over. And of course our regional history wouldn't be complete without a Gold Mining Museum. Here, the heritage of Gympie is seen through exhibits such as the gold mining display, the Lighthorse Museum, and the Andrew Fisher House.

Relive the time when steam train travel was the order of the day. The "Valley Rattler" makes the historic 40km journey from Gympie through the Mary Valley, visiting the towns of Dagun, Amamoor and Kandanga, then stopping in Imbil before the return journey to Gympie. Imbil Country Markets are held every Sunday from 8am until 2pm, with a variety of stalls selling local produce, plants, bric-a-brac, etc. 
With all the options the area has to offer, the Cooloola Region is a terrific choice for your next holiday. Go on....try it!

*Information and images from Cooloola Regional Development Bureau