10 reasons to visit Woodlands of Marburg

There are enough compelling reasons to visit that you’ll need more than one day to tick them all off your list...
24 Feb 2022
Denise Cullen, Photojournalist

Woodlands of Marburg is a heritage-listed mansion located on a sprawling estate 20 minutes’ drive west of Ipswich’s city centre.

There are enough compelling reasons to visit that you’ll need more than one day to tick them all off your list.

Learn about Marburg’s history

Woodlands of Marburg

Learn more about Marburg’s history, including the contribution that Queensland sugar baron Tommy Smith made to the development of local industry. He planted the first sugarcane on the land in 1881; the following year, he built a sugar mill. Not one to rest on his laurels, by 1886 he had added a rum distillery. 

View the plantation-style brick mansion

Woodlands of Marburg

View the two-storey plantation-style brick mansion built for Smith and his growing family in 1891. Designed by Ipswich architect George Brockwell Gill, the residence features elegant doors and windows crafted from local red cedar. Following its sale in 1944, the property became a seminary and, later, a school retreat. In 2002, a local family purchased the land, restored the mansion, and further developed the property.

Dine at The Sugarmill Restaurant

Pan seared Hervey Bay scallops on a bed of chorizo crumb with pineapple salsa and basil oil.

Dine at The Sugarmill Restaurant. Offering an a la carte menu on Friday and Saturday nights only, guests are brought to the formal dining room where Smith hosted visiting dignitaries. The high ceilings, sparkling chandeliers and white marble fireplace give a hint of the grandeur of yesteryear.

Stay at the Woodlands Country Inn

Enjoy a staycation at the Woodlands Country Inn, which is located just a hop, step and jump from the heritage mansion. Ten deluxe and four executive suites were created after the new owners turned the former priests’ quarters into 4.5 star motel rooms. 

Visit the Tommy Smith Cafe

Tommy Smith Cafe brunch

Savour a meal at the Tommy Smith Café located onsite. Breakfast and lunch are served on weekends, the menu suits all tastes and budgets, but if you’re packing a big appetite, the Woodlands Breakfast Plate with toasted sourdough, confit tomato, spinach, bacon, sausages, butter, and eggs cooked to order is hard to beat. 

Join a ghost tour

The Haunted Mansion Tour explores many of this historic home’s lesser-known tales at night, but don’t overlook the other spooky options when available, like hosted cellar dinners and paranormal tours where guests can experiment with pendulum boards and dowsing rods – if they dare. 

Admire the craftmanship

Tommy Smith Cafe

Admire the craftsmanship that helped create one of Queensland’s oldest sideboards. On display outside the Sugarmill Restaurant, the sideboard is made of red cedar felled at Wivenhoe and milled on site at Tommy Smith’s own sawmill. This piece of furniture has remained in the care of Smith’s descendants for the past 131 years. 

Snap a selfie

Woodlands 5a

 Snap a selfie at one of the many special spots around the property. The solo fig stationed on a ridge overlooking the vineyards is a popular location for photographers, but there are plenty of other nooks and crannies to investigate too.

Get hitched

Woodlands of Marburg Chapel

Get hitched. Woodlands of Marburg has a 19th century chapel or atmospheric grotto available for those who want to tie the knot in style. 

Explore the rest of the town…

The Soul Nook Collective

Use Woodlands of Marburg as a base from which to explore the rest of this charming town.

Stretch out at a styled picnic at The Soul Nook Collective, indulge your love of collectables at Scotland Yard Antiques, Special Branch Collective or The Black Museum, or have a beer and a meal at the Marburg Hotel.

Denise Cullen Photojournalist
Denise Cullen is a Brisbane-based freelance photojournalist who has lived and worked in Athens, London and Kuala Lumpur. She writes about travel, food, agriculture, business and true crime – any subject really, except for golf. Visit her at www.denisecullen.com.au

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