If you’ve read a few posts on this site you might be forgiven for thinking my music tastes are fixed firmly in the seventies. That isn’t the case, honest. In fact I get into arguments with friends who haven’t moved on since the 70s and 80s. I love new music, I even like hiphop. Why then, you may legitimately ask does the post begin with another reference from nearly forty years ago. Well its all to do with Hot Rods – you’ll find out why later in the post. Deciding on my post titles is always a toss up between a bad joke and a music reference. Unfortunately when you start exploring the humour associated with Hot Rods you’re into dangerous territory. So to keep things above board, I went with the music ref. If you’d rather think of a joke for yourself – what can I say other than ‘Do anything you wanna do’.
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.
Yes you’ve got me. The title is just another cheesy excuse to use a song title. But at least it provides something more entertaining for you to do than read my drivel. The title should probably be more accurately, do go chasing waterfalls, as we find it to be a pretty satisfying occupation.
We’ve written before about making unexpected stops on our travels and the value of serendipity. Our drive from Armidale to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales was no exception. I guess the fact that we driving along Waterfall way should have given some indication that there were sights to be seen along the way.
In Australia, its often suggested that Melbourne is the centre of all that is hipster. We now know this to be false and the movement was in fact launched in the New England area across the towns of Glenn Innes and Armidale way back in the mid 19th Century. How do we know this you may ask? Well, two of the original settlers in the area who assisted other squatters to lay title to land were John Duval and William Chandler. They weren’t referred to by their true names. No, because of the impressiveness of their beards they were simply referred to as The Beardies. This name lives on in the main drag of Armidale and the History Museum in Glen Innes dedicated to The Land of the beardies. Apparently, after founding Armidale, the first thing they did was to open a Barista coffee shop, another Australian first. (I may have made that last bit up but the rest is all true).
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.
This post is about wine-tasting in the Granite Belt region of Queensland. I’m not sure what you were expecting but suggest you might need to go and wash your mind out with soap.
We arrived in Stanthorpe having driven from Toowoomba. We stopped on the way at Queen Mary Falls which is about 30km outside of Warwick and well worth a stop. There’s a nice café which is part of a caravan park and an adjacent free to use BBQ area. We shared a sandwich and chips – great value and watched the parrots being fed by children. They were really tame and would land on your hand for food. Unusually, it appeared that when people weren’t there to entertain the parrots, they occupied themselves by knitting jumpers for the trees.
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.
We were off to Fortitude Valley, or just ‘The Valley’. Hence the reference above to the 1979 punk classic from The Skids. Go on have a listen, you know you want to. For fans of Moulin Rouge, The Valley has a reputation similar to that of Montmartre in Paris, a town within the city where the creatures of the night come out to play. In reality it’s cleaned up its act a lot in recent years and a visible police presence means its very safe. It is still, however, one of the main nightlife areas of Brisbane and we were here to see a gig.
Most people don’t realize that the Bundaberg region is Australia’s most valuable vegetable growing region. You can’t miss the sugar cane fields as you drive through the region, but the yearly value of $200 million for that crop is dwarfed by the $500 million generated by the combined small crops. The rich volcanic soil and perfect climate contribute to the region being a big producer of fruit and vegetables including; tomatoes, strawberries, capsicum and macadamia nuts. The region produces around 90% of Australia’s sweet potatoes and even has the nation’s biggest chilli producer. The crops grown and packed here are found in supermarkets across the country. The coastal location also means there’s great seafood to be had all year round.