If the Western Downs was a hand of cards, Dalby would be King. After all, it reigns supreme as Australia’s richest cotton and grain growing area.
Don’t dismiss Dalby as a purely agricultural centre though, Dalby’s got plenty more jewels in its crown.
Discover its natural beauty, city-like amenities and urban foodie gems with this Dalby guide.
1. Grab a bite at Butcher’s Pantry Coffee & Takeaway
Fuel up at local Dalby favourite, Butcher’s Pantry Coffee & Takeaway.
Located beside the local butcher, this hole-in-the-wall cafe serves homemade sweets and grab ‘n’ go options as well as healthy ‘heat and eat’ meals.
Don’t miss out on ‘the best burgers in town’ with combinations including the Hawaiian Chicken Burger, Loaded Hotdog Burger and the Tex Mex Burger.
Looking to feed the troops after a long car ride? Call ahead to order one of the Butcher’s Pantry’s grazing boxes – they come in both sweet and savoury options and will satisfy even the fussiest of family members.
2. Stroll the main street
For a quaint country CBD with more art deco architecture and character than a Phryne Fisher novel, take a wander along Cunningham Street, Dalby’s main drag.
This tree-lined street is packed with shops (there’s even a whole centre fittingly called Shoppingworld) and eateries which will fill your day (and stomach) with hours of exploring.
For women’s clothing, The Shop and Bella & Spice are just a few of the stores where you can dress head-to-toe for the races within the confines of one single store.
3. Catch the sunrise (twice!) over Lake Broadwater Conservation Park
The half hour drive from Dalby to Lake Broadwater Conservation Park gives you enough time to brace yourself for the raw beauty of the only naturally occurring freshwater lake in the Western Downs.
Colourful cotton and sorghum fields frame the route and give way to the 350-hectare lake, which reflects the eucalypt trees and blue skies (or colourful hues if you’re catching the sun rising or setting) this area is so famous for.
Its au-naturel vibes brings all the animals to the yard, with over 240 bird species recorded at the park.
It’s also a camper’s dream and it’s easy to see why. Picture dropping your pegs amongst the gums and waking up with a waterfront view rivalling a tropical paradise, with the tranquility and peacefulness of being remote.
You might as well leave your torch at home, the stars have got you covered, and you’ll have front row seats to the milky way which lights up the park after dark.
Local tip: Drive a touch further down the road to come across a birdwatching track, which also happens to be a bushland haven for dozens of wallabies.
4. Take a walk along Myall Parklands
We’ve got your Sunday afternoon stroll #sorted with a riverside walk at the Myall Parklands.
Connecting to the Condamine River, follow Myall Creek along a 4km (approx.) loop, which includes picnic and playground areas, information plaques, and scenic views of the river and the flocks of white cockatoos who call it home.
5. Fill your tummy at the Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival
Every August the town is lit up by the Dalby Delicious and DeLIGHTful Festival – a multicultural food extravaganza.
A lantern parade is a much-loved feature of the festival, leading to the parkland filled with food and market stalls, topped with live music and entertainment.
6. Walk and talk with the animals at The Dalby Show
If you’re visiting Dalby in April, you’re in for a must-do event – The Dalby Show.
The classic country show puts on livestock competitions, arts and crafts exhibitions, markets and packs plenty of entertainment with live bands, a rodeo, and rides.
Test your muscle by entering the Farmer’s Challenge, a country-style obstacle course, where farming activities put the competitor’s skills to the test.
7. Get up close to the cows at the Dalby Regional Saleyards
Get amongst the auction-action with a Wednesday morning visit to the Dalby Regional Saleyards. Here you’ll get a glimpse of why this is the cattle capital of the Western Downs.
Walk along the gates of Dalby’s recently refurbished and now Queensland’s largest sale yards with over 200,000 cows sold from the yard each year in the intense auctions.
8. Discover treasures at the Dalby Country Antique Shop
One visit to the Dalby Country Antique Shop and you’ll see why the locals keep this hidden gem under wraps.
You’ll find the quaint storefront in North Street, the perfect base to live out your Antiques Roadshow dreams.
You can easily spend hours perusing the vintage furniture, homewares, toys, and various knick-knacks stacked carefully in the store, which has overflowed to the shed out the back.
Owner and operator, Ross, is more than willing to have a chat, help find a particular item, and fill you in on the history of some of the antiques that have come through his shop door.
9. Chill out at Thomas Jack Park
Take time out of your busy travel schedule and kick back with a picnic at Thomas Jack Park.
Based in the centre of town, you can watch the bustling roads from the comforts of the lush green grass, surrounded by gardens, leafy trees, water features, and a playground or two.
10. Get the 411 on the town at the Dalby Visitor Information Centre
End your relaxation rendezvous in Thomas Jack Park with a stop at the Dalby Visitor Information Centre.
Local volunteers are more than willing to point you in the direction of things to do and how to get there – not to mention the overwhelming amount of brochures and booklets you can stock up on to peruse in the passenger seat.
It’s also got your souvenirs sorted with locally made homewares, clothes, jewellery, jams and chutneys – perfect to tick off your holiday gift list.
11. Take a trip down memory lane at the Dalby Pioneer Park Museum
If you love to explore the history of each town you visit, Pioneer Park Museum is a must-do stop on a trip to Dalby.
Housing the largest working tractor and agricultural machinery displays in Queensland, the Pioneer Park Museum is sure to delight both young and old tractor fanatics.
The standout piece of history in the museum? Well that would be an original letter written from Ned Kelly in his jail cell, requesting his mother come and visit him.
We can’t give away all of the secrets – come and discover the history of how the letter came to end up in the Dalby Pioneer Park Museum for yourself.
Take a piece of Dalby with you and pick up some local jams and honey from the craft shop.