Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stanthorpe getaway Part 1

Long, long ago, back before the dawn of time,  Mr Pickings and I used to go camping.  This was your regular kind, not glamping- just the tent and the sleeping bag and the billy on the fire.  And we used to go mid-winter when it was absolutely freezing!  One of our favourite places was Girraween National Park down near the QLD/NSW border.  It is a beautiful and relaxing area in which you can chill out and walk and listen to the birds- aah the serenity!  (movie quote in case you are not an Aussie reader).
These days our old(er) bones don't like the hard rocky ground so we tend to stay in cabins or B & B's.  Our most recent trip was a long weekend away at Stanthorpe, on the Queensland side of the border.  It is a great little country town, surrounded by vineyards, and other tourist havens like olive and lavender farms, jamworks, and a fabulous apple farm- Suttons-where they make their own seasonal juices, ciders, and apparently the best apple pie in the State!
We had a great time driving around the countryside, taking in the beautiful sweeping plains and the big blue skies.  And don't forget the wallabies, kookaburras, ducks (and 6 adorable babies) and all the other wildlife. And of course there is lots of great food around.  


glorious mountain views on the road to Stanthorpe


lunch at Warwick's Cherry Tree Cafe-yep that's a lot of chips!


the sunsets were glorious and glowing


We were lucky that it was almost the full moon, so we had the most wonderful sunsets then a beautiful moonrise each night.  As there were controlled burn-offs each day, it meant there was lots of smoke haze in the air, leading to divine nightly shows as the sun glowed through the clouds.

On our first full day, we went off to Hidden Creek Winery to have lunch.  We seemed to be the only tourists around this particular day so we had the cafe to ourselves.  It was lovely sitting in the sun at the front of the cafe, watching the farmer pruning his vines with an air-compressor tool.  No hand jobs for the modern vintner!


pinkly-glowing magnolia tree at the front of the cafe


I had grilled barramundi and vegies, while Mr Pickings had a beef and red wine pie.  As I am being kind to my liver lately, I only had lemon lime and bitters to drink.  Kinda ironic being in a wine growing area, but guess what! I drank no alcohol all weekend.  After lunch, we went to the lavender farm just over the border and spoke to the old lady who runs the place. She was a bit of a ditherer but the nice thing was that she said we had made her day.  We were her only visitors so she was very glad to see us.


who could resist this cute bear?  Not me!


I can never resist buying boutique olive oils so off we hot-footed the next morning to the Mt Stirling Olive farm.  They also sell local fudge, and chilli products so it is heaven for me.  Mr Pickings just holds the basket!  So yes I bought infused oils and olive forks and olives and fudge- you get the idea.


Ok this is just one of the many items I bought!



We headed off to a local winery for lunch which is on the opposite side of the highway to the olive farm so how could we resist such serendipitous proximity?  They are right up on top of a ridge so you get wonderful views from the restaurant, so you can eat and drink and admire.  More about this in Part 2!


16 comments:

  1. I remember Stanthorpe as a lovely country town - went there a few times when I worked for a travelling microwave cooking school. Happy memories - thanks Sherry.

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    1. hi rachel
      a travelling micrwave cookng school? oh my that sounds interesting. yes it is a great little town.

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  2. We went to Suttons and the Stirling olive farm. I love their salad dressing-did you try that? :)

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    1. hi lorraine
      no i haven't tried their salad dressing but i have tried lots of different oils and olives.

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  3. Love Stanthorpe! I also love Vincenzo's (just outside of Stanthorpe); they have the best local produce-tend to go a bit nuts there and buy everything. Good local olive oil.

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    1. hi Jem
      i think stanthorpe is a bit of a hidden gem (excuse the pun) with so much to offer. i think they need a really good tourism officer to get the news out.

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  4. Looks like a lovely place....glamping, hahaha! That cracked me up. We are off to camping coming weekend, and by the sound of it, it does look like we are going glamping, lol!

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    1. i quite like the idea of glamping- proper beds and lights etc... have fun.

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  5. These are beautiful photos. I am from the Downs so I know the area well.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. It was a lovely sunny weekend and the countryside was beautiful.

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  6. That's very brave of you to go camping in the middle of winter! I don't think I would have been up for it - I do hate the cold. I can understand why you now prefer cabins. What a shame the lavender farm isn't visited more often - she must have been so thrilled when you came up the drive. I love the look of your sandwich - so many fillings and plenty of chips as well xx

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    1. thanks charlie. i love a club sandwich. and the chips- but not so good for my waistline:)

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  7. Hi Sherry, Looks like a lovely time, it must be wonderful to see all the wildlife and to experience the peace and quiet. Wondering if the lavender farm had a nice fragrant smell as you visited?

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    1. Hi cheri
      No the lavender is dormant till spring but soon it should start to flower. They harvest early summer. It was still lovely to see the fields covered in little bushes tho.

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  8. I haven't been camping (or glamping) in years but I'm ready to go :)

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    1. I love camping but my old bones don't:)

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