Published on February 28th, 2014 | by Ann Rickard0
Granite Belt Delivers
Southeners have the wrong impression of Queensland when it comes to winter.
They think we never find relief from humidity and summer insects, and (I admit I am guessing this) they probably see us as wearing t-shirts and shorts all year.
I know many southerners who say they could never live in Queensland because they love a distinctive season change – in other words a fair-dinkum winter and all that shivery rugging-up stuff that goes with it.
They have obviously never visited the Granite Belt in June, July or August.
If there is one place during a Queensland winter you are guaranteed to be able to shrug into a thick jacket, pull a warm scarf around your neck and go off for an invigorating tramp through wintery countryside, it is the Granite Belt.
If there is anywhere in this big state where it will be cold enough each winter night to light a roaring fire and sit by it with a glass of port after a warming meal of ribs braised in a big red wine, it is this region.
As for getting out of bed in the mornings, snuggling into a warm gown and stamping your feet against the chill before looking out the window to see frost on bare tree branches, you’ve got it in the Granite Belt.
They love the winter so much in the Granite Belt they have given the season the rather ribald but engaging name, Brass Monkey Season.
Stanthorpe may be Queensland’s coldest town, but it has some of the warmest people we’ve met in our travels. Country people. They’re like that.
The first time we visited we were taken aback by the diversity and culture of the region, the quality of the wines at Ballandean Estate, the sweet berry coulis at the Bramble Patch and the fresh produce at a dozen cafes and restaurants.
We loaded up the car with cases of wines and jars of pickles, pastes and oils and came home feeling as though we’d just visited Tuscany.
Well, perhaps we stretched the imagination just a little – especially trying to imagine the gum trees were tall cypress trees – but we did find many similarities to the Italian countryside.
And it didn’t cost us much to get there.