The first thing most people say when we mention Linville is, “where is Linville?”. It’s clearly a common question, as the local Linville Hotel has stickers to prove it in their public bar. Tucked away near the Benarkin State Forest, Linville is a small town in southeast Queensland that can be easily accessed from Brisbane, most of the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba in under two hours.
It’s a beautiful town that comes alive every weekend due to its location right on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and during the Linville Heritage Festival each November.
It’s a secret almost too good to share. This guide gives insight into things to do in Linville and why you should plan a road trip here soon.
So where the bloody hell is Linville?
Linville, a small town of around 133 people *, is located in southeast Queensland, close to the Benarkin State Forest. It is perfect for a day trip, with drives from major southeast Qld locations all under approximately two hours. Longer stays are made easier for those travelling in motorhomes, caravans and camper trailers, with an excellent free camping area.
The town swells by a few hundred or so each weekend.
Brisbane to Linville (via Esk) – this will depend on your departure point in Brisbane. If you are south of the river, the best route is via Esk. If departing from the north, the options are via Samford or the M1, turning off at Caboolture onto the D’Aguilar Highway. You can complete the drive in under two hours, but traffic is more likely to affect these roads, especially at peak times.
Mooloolaba to Linville (central Sunshine Coast) – via Beerwah 120 km 1 hour 40. If you are coming from Noosa, it is approximately 170km and will take around 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Toowoomba to Linville (via New England Highway or via Warrego/Gatton-Esk Rd) – approximately 130km and both routes are 90-100 minutes; sub two hours.
Note: all times are dependent on local traffic
Looking for more Brisbane day trips? Read our guide to the top ten trips from Brisbane.
Linville is the traditional home of the Jagera, Yuppea and Ugarapul peoples.
*2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census
Brief history of the town
For a small town, there is plenty of history built around farming, timber and the railway. It’s also a resilient town, having endured significant change since its establishment in the late 1870s. Today, it continues to embrace this change. The impact of the old Brisbane Valley Railway line is bringing people to town once again, albeit in a different guise.
The Brisbane Valley caught the attention of early settlers in the 1840s, with several key families staking their claim on pastoral runs. The location of the Brisbane Valley, en route from the Darling Downs, up through the Burnett region and further north, made it an essential part of the logistical supply chain. The Balfours, McConnels (note – must investigate family history here!) Archers and Norths were prominent landowners and, in today’s terms, developers of this region.
The Colinton pastoral run was owned by the Balfour family and named after their hometown in Scotland. In 1877, the government resumed 23,000 acres belonging to the station. The fertile agricultural grounds and access to good rainfall had caught the eye of the government, which was looking for land to provide settlement solutions for the population. This land was used to build the township, now known as Linville.
The town’s proximity to the forest meant that timber was central to local industry. The lush farming land meant that dairy and beef cattle also thrived. Timber logging and transportation were commonplace. When the railway arrived in Linville in 1910, it became known as the largest depot in the area, with cattle coming here by truck to be transported further by train.
The Linville Railway Station became part of the Brisbane Valley rail, starting in Wulkuraka (Ipswich) and finishing in Yarraman. The railway ceased operating on this line in 1933.
Things to do in Linville
Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
One of the main drawcards of Linville is the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. As noted above, the Brisbane Valley Railway line was established at Wulkuraka near Ipswich, with the first stage being completed in 1844. The station at Linville was part of stage five and was completed in 1910. The railway ceased to operate in 1993, and parts of the track, including the Linville section, were removed in 1995. Some of this track can still be seen along the rail trail between Linville and Benarkin.
The railway corridor lay dormant for many years following its demise until the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail was developed. Like the original railway, the rail trail was completed in stages, led by people with a vision and local government support. The section between Esk and Lowood was the initial stage, which opened in 2003. The Linville to Blackbutt section followed in 2006, with a further extension to nearby Moore a year later.
Extensions were continued along the rail trail, their completion times heavily dependent on government funding until the final stages were completed in 2018.
The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail covers 161 km of off-road tracks suitable for bikes, walking and horseriding. For cycle enthusiasts, the trail can be ridden over several days from start to finish. Although I heard recently that the record for doing the entire trail in one go was a bit over 13 hours!
However, the beauty of the rail trail is that you can go at your own pace and ride sections of the trail without feeling you need to do it all.
Linville is perfectly placed to be able to set yourself up for a few days and do a few of the sections in either direction. The sections are as follows: Wulkaraka, Borallon Station Rd, Fernvale, Lowood, Coominya, Esk, Toogoolawah, Harlin, Morre, Linville, Benarkin, Blackbutt, Yarraman.
We did a few rides over one weekend: Linville to Moore is a short ride of 7km return, Linville to Benarkin is 42km return and Linville to Yinbun Railway Tunnel is 50km return.
Don’t have your own bike? Out There Cycling hire bikes and conducts tours of the Brisbane Valley and Kilkivan to Kingaroy Rail Trails.
The two-story timber hotel on the main street of Linville welcomes you to town instantly. It has all the hallmarks of a great Aussie pub, and with one of the best outdoor beer gardens in southeast Queensland, it’s the perfect place for a cold one at any time of the day. Well, not really any time; the hotel is open from 11 am Monday-Friday and 10 am on the weekend.
The Linville Hotel is dog-friendly.
Settle in for live music that plays in the beer garden every weekend, and grab some lunch or dinner while you are at it. The kitchen is also operational seven days a week; Sunday is pizza night. Oh, and don’t forget to have a pint of Linville Lager straight off the tap.
The Linville Progress Association has a great map and print-out of their walking trail. It’s a self-guided tour, and everything is close to the main street. It’s an easy walk and can be done at your own pace. The Linville Hotel and Brisbane Valley Rail Trail are also part of the heritage walk.
These are a few of the many historical items of interest in Linville. For a more detailed list, contact the Linville Progress Association.
Pagoda War Memorial
24 local men served in World War I; eight did not return. Their names are listed on the memorial’s plaque. The German gun on the memorial is an authentic piece of war artillery brought home by returning servicemen.
Linville Railway Station
Linville Railway Station saw its last train leave the station in 1989. While the station is no longer used, and the train carriages nearby look less than stellar, the Linville station is now an important part of the town’s history and the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail.
Linville Railway Turntable
This is the final part of the turntable, where the trains were turned around manually on the Linville section of the railway line.
The Linville Store is, as you might expect, a jack-of-all-trades. It provides coffee, food, and a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. There’s even a jukebox. Sit outside in their adjacent garden to enjoy your morning coffee.
The store has been on the main street of town since 1911.
Every November, the town comes alive with the annual Linville Heritage and Arts Festival. There are bush poetry and painting competitions for those who love the arts. Artists line the main street or prop themselves underneath a tree in the park and paint local Linville street scenes.
Stop and watch them paint, or head to the judging at the end of the first day to see who scoops the prize pool. All their paintings go on sale after the judging, so you can take your piece of Linville home with you.
For something different, watch a tree trunk be turned into a piece of art or a live whip-cracking demonstration.
There are camp oven cooking demos, classic car displays, markets, pop-up stalls and live music at the pub.
For more information, go to the official website.
Where to stay
Motorhome and caravan camping
Linville is an RV-friendly town, with a free overnight parking area off the main street, directly opposite the pub. This is a large camping area with a two-level park-up area, allowing vehicles to get a little further away from the internal road if they wish. When there is plenty of rain, the area is grassed; in drier times, it gets bit dusty.
The old Linville Train Station and a few abandoned carriages sit alongside the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. The area is open to camping with caravans, motorhomes and campervans, camper trailers, roof-top tents and tents.
There are several potable water taps, but no hookups are provided here. There are two free power points attached to a power pole. However, the issue is that they aren’t available for everyone to use, as those who get access first permanently attach to them. The closest dump stations are at Kilcoy and Fernvale.
There are new toilet and hot shower facilities – all free – that are kept in good condition by the Somerset Regional Council.
TV reception is also spotty. Mobile phone coverage works best with Telstra, while Optus has no range here at all. There is limited shade, but the good news is that most of the area is quite flat. The campground is also dog-friendly.
Some online reports suggest that the music from the pub at night can be loud, but to be perfectly honest, it didn’t bother us at all. Of course, if you stay directly opposite the pub, this can’t be avoided.
Pro tip: The entry off George St, opposite the Linville Hotel, is steep. Evidence of heavy impact from the rear of vehicles can be seen on the road. If you have a heavy load or your vehicle is low to the ground, it’s a good idea to approach the driveway at an angle. Better still, go down the road just a little further and come into the area in the reverse direction. Access to the upper level also requires some clearance at the back.
A range of different-sized rooms is available at the Linville Hotel. All come with a continental breakfast and have shared bathrooms.
The hotel is also home to a fabulous ‘retreat’, capable of sleeping up to eight, that occupies the former publican’s house. The house was once attached to the pub but now sits off to the side of the beer garden. When the music is playing on the weekend, guests here have a birds-eye view of the activity below, all from the privacy of their own balcony.