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Stanthorpe, Queensland's Wine Capital
Jenny from Australia
Stanthorpe is a picturesque town known for its amazing national parks, historical buildings and wineries, located on the New England Highway close to the New South Wales border. It has become more popular over the last few years as a tourist destination, with so many rural activities and sightseeing options available.
There are two main caravan parks available in Stanthorpe. The Blue Topaz and Top of the Town (at the top of Main Street), both located centrally so you can enjoy the comforts of your campervan and explore this fascinating town.
The locals of Stanthorpe experience the four seasons of the year, which is not common to Queensland. Winter is a fantastic time to visit, and with low temperatures, a popular retreat is in front of a roaring fireplace with local wine and great food. Make sure you pack your scarf and mittens as there is even the occasional snowfall.
With such high altitudes the frosts are perfect for excellent grape harvests, and perfect wines. There are over 50 wineries in the Stanthorpe district on the Granite Belt as well as stone fruit and apple orchards.
There is so much to see and do in Stanthorpe, with vineyards such as Bald Mountain Vineyards, Aventine Wines and Kooroomba Vineyard and lavender farm all deserving a visit. North of Stanthorpe is also the famous Old Caves winery. Winery tours are popular, and each year in August the famous Jazz in the Vineyard is attended by almost 1000 people each year. Opera in the Vineyard, held in May, also promises to be an amazing cultural experience.
In February, the Apple and Grape festival is held every second year, along with the Food and Wine Festival. With Mediterranean food on the main menu and a favourite with the locals, it has all ingredients for a memorable cuisine experience.
You can't miss the Historical Society Museum, located in the town centre, with a shearers hut, preserved school and goal, along with interesting artifacts from the mid-1800's.
The four major national parks surrounding the city provide an unspoiled wilderness beckoning you to drive further on and explore at your own pace. Perfect for campervan travel, each park offers a contrasting experience.
Girraween National Park is perfect for bushwalkers of all levels, with picturesque walking trails ranging from 25 minutes to six hour hikes. With massive granite rock formations, wildflowers in Spring and eucalypt forests, it is a nature lovers dream. Girraween is easy to find if you take the turnoff from the New England Highway at Wyberba.
Bald Rock National Park is famous for its name, Bald Rock, which is Australia's largest exposed granite rock. With magnificent views, rock formations and bushwalks this park is accessible from the Mt Lindsey Highway, 39 km from Stanthorpe. Camping areas are available.
Boonoo Boonoo National Park is well known for its river system and impressive waterfall. Take a picnic lunch and relax for an afternoon by the rock pool that is above the cascading falls, and surrounded by open forest and lush vegetation.
Sundown National Park is located on the Queensland/New South Wales border. You can leave your campervan at the entrance of the park and then travel by foot to experience the remote wilderness. There are steep gorges, rainforest and waterways and there are places to picnic, camp, swim and just relax and enjoy the amazing birdlife and beauty of the park. You can also explore the impressive Red Rock Falls, Mt Lofty, Red Rock Gorge and Carpenter Gully.
More than just a stopover, Stanthorpe is a unique and relaxing holiday destination as you enjoy your campervan experience.
Author: Jenny Brewer is a Travel Writer with Discovery Rentals (Australia Car Rental)
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