Laidley, as the second largest town in the Lockyer Valley, is an important centre for crop farming and agriculture. Settled in the 1840s after being discovered by European explorers in 1829, teamsters and wagon drivers soon found it a convenient place to rest after travelling over the challenging Little Liverpool Range on the way to the Darling Downs. The town retains a nostalgic feel manifested by heritage shop fronts and antique style lamp posts.

A walk down the main street reveals local gift stores and on Fridays, the experience is heightened with market stalls lining the sidewalks. The town’s German heritage is showcased at Das Neumann Haus, which was hand-built in 1893. Once considered the cultural hub of the community, Das Neumann Haus was restored and refurnished in the style of the 1930s to be opened to the public as a house museum. Now volunteers tell the stories of the Neumann family and the history of Laidley and serve refreshments on the back deck of the house, seven days a week.

Down the road, Laidley’s Pioneer Village and Museum has an extensive collection of objects, machinery and buildings offering an insight into the timber and farming industries and lifestyles of early pioneers. It too is open seven days a week and regularly plays host to school and bus groups. The Laidley community is proud of its history and culture which is directly reflected in its annual festivals that include the Laidley Heritage Weekend in May, June’s retro cool Chrome & Clutter Festival, and September’s Spring Festival, with its oldfashioned street parade, flower and orchid shows, quilt and craft shows, markets and family days.

One of the best vantage points to see the beauty of the Lockyer Valley is Cunningham’s Crest Lookout, situated on the knoll where explorer Allan Cunningham and his party crossed in 1829. It was on this spot that he stood and named the plains below ‘Laidley Plains’. Visitors today are rewarded with panoramic views from viewing platforms and the lookout features murals, poetry, sculptures and mosaics that celebrate the Aboriginal and European history of the site and reflect on Laidley’s early pioneering men and women.

Staying in and around Laidley, expect a peaceful atmosphere, personal attention, comfortable beds, loads of country hospitality and that home-awayfrom home feeling. Branell Homestead, an award-winning B&B, has become a highly coveted wedding location because of its timeless charm. As well as the main homestead Branell has three, three-bedroom luxury cabins, each with breathtaking views, to accommodate guests.

Stockton Rise Country Retreat overlooks fertile working farmland for a true Lockyer Valley experience. From the three-bedroom self-contained home, visitors can breathe in the fresh, clean air while enjoying the picturesque outlook. Glencoe Cottage, also part of the family of properties, is an original farm house renovated to accomodate visitors.Opt for a farm tour when you book your stay at Stockton Rise. Perched high on a hill overlooking the Lockyer Valley, Porters Plainland B&B also offers country solitude, beautiful views and modern comfort. For caravan and motorhome travellers, Narda Lagoon is a restful spot to pull up wheels or Laidley’s Lake Dyer, with its picturesque water outlook and well-kept facilities is a perfect getaway location.

For more information on Laidley and the Lockyer Valley, visit www.luvyalockyer. com.au or telephone the Lake Apex Visitor Information Centre on (07) 5466 3425.

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