Allan Cunningham, a British botanist tracked his way to the peak of the mountain range in 1827, only days before he named the expanse of rich pastures he had travelled through the Darling Downs. It wasn’t until the 1840s that the squatters and their sheep followed. On the 3 July 1909, Cunninghams Gap was declared a national park.

This new park, which originally consisted of 3,100 acres, was located on the western side of the range and included Gap Creek

Walking tracks were constructed in the 1930s and 1950s. On 11 June 1927, the 100-year anniversary of Allan Cunningham’s discovery of the Darling Downs, the new road through Cunningham’s Gap was officially opened by the local Member of Parliament, Sir Littleton Groom.

Although the road, which was built entirely by volunteers, was officially open, travelling along this new route was inadvisable, especially on the portion west of Aratula.

The road was plagued by problems during this early embryonic stage with the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland announcing that the road was closed, less than one month after it was officially opened.

The newly sealed road through the gap was eventually opened in November 1949.

history of bestbrook
Bestbrook in the 60’s

Bestbrook was a working farm up until the early 1980s, originally the farmhouse was situated just off the Cunningham Highway to the east of the main Coach house about where the old tennis court is located. Now used for horse riding.
An aerial photo of the farm house taken in 1965 is located in the front reception. With views of the old dairy and sheds, and showing cultivation at the foothills of the mountain, which was once a lake but is now our Labyrinth project started in 2015.

Bestbrook was purchased by a group from Brisbane who had dreams to develop it into a tourist facility, introducing domestic and international tourists to a little bit of country.

The original development had big plans, installing 9 self-contained cabins along Gap Creek and then on the 1st December 1989 the Coach House was opened to the public by Sir Frank Moore the then Chairman of Qld Tourism and Travel Corporation. Aust. Tourism Industry Assn. This was a great day for the small regional area of Maryvale, normally home to cattle and dairy farmers was now being exposed to the wider region and inviting tourists from all corners to come and visit.

In 1995 the “Village bunkhouse” was built to capture the school camp market, international student market and further grow Bestbrook. it was sold in 2001 and had a couple of years of showing no growth.

It was purchased by the current owners Ray and Elise Vincent, who have worked tirelessly to rebuild relationships and grow a strong customer base to see Bestbrook shine and become a strong local business in the area.
They are very grateful to their wonderful staff, who pride themselves in saying that they work at Bestbrook, treating it as if it was their own and giving their all 100% of the time.

Since conception Horse riding has always been a big part of Bestbrook’s story, unfortunately with rising costs and continued staffing shortages it was decided that Bestbrook will not be running horse riding lessons and trails rides any more.  This was not a decision that was made lightly but as we approach our 21st year of working and living the Bestbrook Story we needed to look at Bestbrook’s continued longevity and it was decided that we need to reduce our risks and take on a new direction so that we can continue to provide a farmstay for families to continue to enjoy into the future.


History in the form of a wagon wheel
This wheel dates back to the 1800’s and was found in Bestbrook’s Creek in the 1990’s

The Story Behind the Wagon Wheel

During the latter part of the 1991 when surveyors were on the property there was a very interesting find.  At the foot of the cliff below the animal yards you can see a narrow track which goes along Gap Creek for a short distance then crosses the creek to the flat country on the other side, this was the original settler’s road to the Downs.

At this time, we were at the end of the worst drought known in the district.  It was so bad that even the trees on the mountain side were badly stressed – many thought they had died. Gap creek was just a trickle.

Malcolm Lelay, the Trail Boss at the time, happened to be down at the creek working where the old settles route crossed the creek and what he had always imagined was the remains of an old fence post, he saw part of a wagon wheel showing through the creek gravel.   He got hold of a shovel and started digging.  He unearthed the entire wheel from the creek bed.  The experts at the Cobb and Co Museum at Toowoomba say that it was probably off an imported American wagon at the time.  The wooden axle is unknown for Australian manufactured wagons and the steam bent wooden rims, rivetted hickory spokes indicate an American manufacture.  The wheel dates back to the 1860’s so for 130years the wheel lay undisturbed at the bottom of the creek.  Wheel can be seen in the foyer of the coach house.



Warwick Historical Society

Pringle cottage in Warwick

Warwick has a some of Queensland’s finest examples of heritage listed sandstone buildings and a trip to the Warwick Visitors Centre or Warwick Historical Society Museum will provide further details and maps.
The Warwick Historical Society Museum is a collection of buildings which features furniture and household items representing more than 130 years of family life in the Warwick district. Most notable is the sandstone Pringle Cottage which was built circa 1870, and is listed by the National Trust. Collections of photographs, historical and personal items, farming equipment, vehicles, and machinery are displayed in several buildings relocated on the site.


5 km to the west of Bestbrook heading towards Warwick is Maryvale Rd to the left and just 2km down that road is the small village of Maryvale were you will find a 100+ year old heritage listed hotel.


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