Thursday, September 28, 2006

Queensland's Wine Country

I know I am getting older when for my spring break I didn’t head to the coast as many classmates intended but instead suggested to Chris that we should explore the granite belt, an area in Southern Queensland known for its produce and wineries. A couple of days was all we could afford for a break so take advantage we did.

Winery hopping was a little different in this particular area than I have encountered elsewhere. The wineries were small owner operated ventures. Walking into the cellar door was like entering someone’s private home for a bit of a chat with the tasting of wines being an welcome addition.

Queensland Low Key Yet Tasty Wines

The scenery is also unlike any wine region I have explored. Set atop a volcanic plateau means the fields are punctuated with giant boulders. It was not uncommon to see vines strategically weaving around the piles of unmovable rock.

Our plan had been to camp in the nearby Sundown National Park but rains bucketing from the heavens quickly convinced us to change our minds. It is hard not to be a little bitter when during the worst drought in Australia’s recent history Mother Nature decides to finally bring forth the rains during the first chance we have had to camp in many months. So a motel in Stanthorpe it was.

The second day greeted us with a gorgeous blue skied crisp morning. The climate is much cooler up on the plateau and locals shared tales of temperatures dropping to -10 degrees. It has even been known to snow in the lifetime of some with whom we spoke. Hardly what one expects in tropical Queensland.

We decided to head back to Brisbane through the back roads and enjoy the wonderful scenery that was even more stunning when not back dropped by a blanket of grey and rain.

One stop we made was at a lavender farm, where although the bushes weren’t in full bloom still managed to invoke whimsical dreams of one day owning our own little piece of this rural paradise.

Lavender Farm Scenes

The roads were twisty, the traffic non-existent (our biggest concern was watching for stray cows) and the scenery breathtaking. While living in the city, surrounded by freeways and shopping centres it is far too easy to forget that Australia affords some of the prettiest country I have yet to encounter on my travels.

Road Traffic

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