For some time we’d been wanting to splurge on a stay at The Palazzo Versace Hotel. We’d first come across it as the start and end point of the very naff UK TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’. Z list celebrities are dumped in the ‘jungle’ for a few weeks – really the Gold Coast Hinterland, and required to debase themselves whilst progressively being voted off until only the King or Queen of the Jungle are left. Its one of those programs that you don’t want to admit you watch but get dragged in – the cheeky wit of the hosts Ant and Dec always made us laugh as well. Since we’ve been in Australia, the show has made its way over here, with Z list Aussies being dumped in the African jungle – no doubt in a place just as ‘remote’ as the location used in Australia.
Ok, I give you that the title might be a bit hyperbolic but I think you can safely assume we were pretty impressed with Alure boutique resort in Stanthorpe. We like camping and we like 5 star luxury and to be fair we’re not so keen on the bit inbetween. As a combination of the two, Alure could have been made for us. However, we were a little apprehensive as we’ve tried so called glamping before and been disappointed by damp tents with mediocre facilities. We needn’t have worried, Alure was everything we could have asked for and more.
For those of you looking for something a little bit racy, you’re going to have to read to the end of the post. Anticipation is half the fun after all.
Following an impressive breakfast on the veranda outside our room at Vacy Hall, our second day in Toowoomba was spent mostly nosing around other people’s back yards, as you do. Fortunately, it was entirely above board, and part of the Carnival of Flowers. A number of private gardens are opened as exhibition gardens during the length of the festival and you can pay a nominal fee to have a look round. There’s a number of ways to do this including a hop on hop off bus but we chose to drive around ourselves. The gardens were beautiful but did make us feel a bit inferior given the current state of our lawn. Nonetheless it was really interesting to see how amateur gardeners planned their spaces and put a lot of love and effort into creating a beautiful display for them to enjoy all year round and for visitors to enjoy during the Festival.
You may recall that during the title sequence for the 1970s BBC comedy Fawlty Towers, the sign at the end of the guest house drive was mis-spelt in every episode. My favourite anagram was ‘Flowery Twats’, and visiting Toowomba’s carnival of flowers whilst staying in a guest house gives me a perfect excuse to use it as a title to this post. Not that you need an excuse to use a golden phrase like flowery twats. Indeed, I shall resolve to use it more often in the future. To be fair though, Vacy Hall Historic Guest House couldn’t be further from Fawlty Towers, and Graham, the owner, didn’t strike us as a Basil Fawlty. Indeed, he was most hospitable and also very generous with his advice on granite belt wineries that were next on our itinerary after Toowoomba.