There are some absolute gems of free camps available in country Queensland and Maidenwell in the foothills of the Bunya Mountains is one of them. The sports ground behind the pub has been made available for short term stops, you can stay for 48 hours. The grounds have toilets with hot showers, cost for the showers, $2, they only take $2 coins, worth knowing so you can save the coins for the showers. The pub also makes space available for RVs and has toilets and showers. The pub itself is a cosy, country pub, providing excellent counter meals and on the last Saturday of each month they do a pig on a spit.

This was the second time we have stayed at the Maidenwell sports ground, a nice relaxed bush setting. We did an overnighter once before, having dinner at the pub. This time we decided to come up just for the night and to make this weeks bush walk, Coomba Falls, which is just 2 kms down the road from the Maidenwell camp ground. Maidenwell does not have a lot to attract visitors; the pub, the Trading post, a small cluster of houses and the Coomba Waterhole are about all there is to Maidenwell, but the excellent free camp and the great little pub make it a great overnight stop.

The last Saturday of every month the pub does a pig on the spit, a big event, people come up from Brisbane just for the meal, so the camp was pretty busy, but it is a large site and could easily accommodate even more. I heard the pub had something like 170 for the dinner. Me, I love peace and quite, so Maidenwell on the last Saturday of the month was perhaps not as quite, as I like, and the pod attracts a bit of attention, so I didn’t really get to escape people on the weekend. There was also a local charity cricket match playing on the oval and with the start of the school holidays, there were lots of kids, it was a big family event. We found ourselves a nice quite corner to the back of the site, just by the stockyards, so still peaceful and with a gorgeous view over the neighbouring paddocks. We had the local birds for company, scrub wrens, wagtails, magpies, crows and in the morning I heard the unmistakable call of kookaburras. Just as the light was coming up the kookaburras greeted the dawn, to be followed by the magpies and crows.

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The meal at the pub is rightly famous, for $20 you get a gigantic plate of the usual roast veg accompaniments, with three meats if you so desire, and magnificently cooked. A carnivore’s paradise, they pile the meat on, G tried all three; the chicken, the roast beef and the pork, all were excellent. I tried a much smaller amount, had to ask them to stop adding meat, but did try the roast beef and the pork, which were surprisingly moist and beautifully cooked. I guess a good vegetarian option is to just get the veg which included peas, carrot, corn on cob, potatoes and pumpkin. Despite my efforts at vegetarianism I could not resist trying the meat. The $20 also included a small dessert, a choice of chocolate cake, carrot cake or a choc mousse, not a huge dessert and nothing special, but after the main meal you really don’t need anything too big. The pub does do beautiful, generous pub meals, they also do pizza which I have yet to try, maybe the next visit. Lovely, friendly staff, we can highly recommend the Maidenwell Hotel!

The camp ground is excellent, including a disabled access toilet and shower. There is no potable water on site so remember to bring enough water, or be willing to boil before using. Generally, as campsites go, this site is excellent, a truly lovely bush location. Given the generosity of councils and communities in making sites like this available I feel the onus is on all of us to look after and care for these sites, and this is a generally well loved and cared for location. We can highly recommend. We can also recommend a stroll or drive down the road to Coomba Falls.

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