Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kilcoy 7th - 17th June 2010

The Race Track at the Kilcoy Show Grounds
Well I really have to apologise for not blogging sooner,I suppose you think I was having too much fun, but in my defence I have not been well . Some dreaded wog and I can’t stop coughing. We have been to Kilcoy and we are now in Caboolture and have been here since Thursday 17th June. We arrived in Kilcoy from Warwick on Monday 7th June and booked into the Showgrounds in readiness for the HF Radio Get together and their AGM. The camping here is $15 per night including power and water. The maximum stay is one week. There is also camping right in town at Anzac Camping Grounds for the same price but the stay is limited to 3 nights.

 Vehicles arrived steadily for the week and by Friday nearly everyone had arrived. I think there were over 60 vehicles in total for the weekend. Campervans, Motor Homes and caravans of all shapes and sizes were parked everywhere on the grounds.

 Everyone gathered together to renew existing friendships and to forge new ones. The camaraderie and laughter at the various “Happy Hours” was abundant, a meal of corned silverside and vegies topped up with sticky date pudding was enjoyed on the Saturday night. Breakfast followed on Sunday was the usual baked beans, spaghetti, bacon and eggs and toast was enjoyed in front of the grandstand making the most of the beautiful weather. Kilcoy meaning “Nook of the Wood” in Gaelic, was named in 1841 by its first settlers. Although the township was originally called Kilcoy, it was known as Hopetoun around 1897 but reverted to Kilcoy by 1913. Kilcoy is quite a nice town with two local hotels, The Exchange and The Stanley. Noel, Elaine, Bill & Leanne joined us for a meal on Monday night at The Exchange. Supa IGA is where the locals shop and there are two bakeries as well as several speciality shops. Shops stock everything from race day hats to handcrafted timber; you can find country crafts, gorgeous gifts and rustic rarities. The historical township is noted for its wide streets and attractive shady parks. It is situated in an idyllic rural landscape on the D’Aguilar Highway featuring a diverse and picturesque landscape – ranging from rolling farmlands, rugged mountain ranges and stunning forests. Saturday morning the markets were held at Yowie Park in town and many members were found wandering about enjoying the wares at the many stalls. A few brought scarves, gloves and beanies to help ward off the cold. Some days were cool but mostly the weather was fine. Nearly everyone left on the Tuesday and Lillian and Allan were the only couple besides us staying until the Thursday.

 Wednesday we travelled with Lillian and Allan to Jimna, nestled in the hoop pine forests of the Jimna Range, a lovely drive through rainforest and pastoral settings. We enjoyed morning tea at the info centre and then drove out to the old Firetower.

The Jimna Fire Tower
 At 47 metres tall it is the tallest tower of its type in the Southern Hemisphere. They are trying desperately to prevent the firetower from being pulled down. Jimna and the surrounding state forests are popular for four wheel driving and camping.

Some of the local residents at Peach Trees Camp Spot
 We checked out future camping spots at Peach Trees and The Overflow.

Somerset Dam
 We also drove out to Lake Somerset , The Spit and Somerset Dam.

Somerset Lake from Camping Ground
 Many water skiing enthusiasts enjoy Lake Somerset for weekend getaways. Impressive camping areas are available, while the Spit offers great picnic and BBQ facilities for day visitors.

Somerset Spit Day Area
As I said earlier we arrived in Caboolture on Thursday and are camped in the Caboolture Showgrounds for $100 per week or $20 per week. I will talk some more on that later.

Talk again soon

Monday, June 7, 2010

Stanthorpe & Tenterfield

Saturday morning 6th June saw us off and weaving our way over to Tenterfield to finish off what we started last Wed. We arrived at our first port of call at 9am and they weren’t supposed to open until 9.30 but the owner was up and about so after a friendly conversation with him we ventured into Jamworks of Glen Aplin.

 We had lots of tasting of some very different jams, relishes and chutneys. I suppose you have all heard of lemon butter? Well they had that as well as lemon & Lime, passionfruit butters but the most unusual one I thought was banana butter. I think it will go great on my pancake. We enjoyed a lovely half hour or more chatting with the owner and some other visitors from Brisbane then we left for the next place. Felsberg Winery, we had been told boasts 360 degree views of the valley and is located on a granite hillside at an altitude of 875m. They weren’t wrong!

 The most magnificent views could be espied from the Bell Tower Cafe; a photo wouldn’t even do it justice. Bill enjoyed the usual wine tasting, me being a teetotaller watched the scenery. He assured me that the Port was really superb. We meandered our way down the drive between orderly rows of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon and then followed a winding rough road up the The Bramble Patch.

 As the name indicates their produce consisted of Berry Coulis (Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, and Raspberry etc), various chutneys and pastes and lots of lovely goodies. Now I have left the best until last. Heavenly Chocolate!!! Yes that’s the name of the place it’s just a little bit further up the New England Highway and you then turn left into Pyramids Road to a quaint little cottage covered in foliage. I couldn’t decide whether to have the white chocolate with hazelnuts hot chocolate or the Cocco Coconut hot chocolate. So what do you think a girl would do?
 Why have both of course and they were so smooth and creamy it was like heaven. We then travelled on towards Tenterfield which is across the border in NSW. At the border at Wallangarra I popped in briefly to a craft shop. I thought I saw patchwork quilts hanging outside but on a closer look they were actually crochet rugs. They were very well done by the local ladies and there were so many different patterns also.

 I would have loved to have visited Tenterfield in April; they say the streets come alive with the beautiful autumn foliage on the trees. It still looked nice even though most of the trees were bare. It is a small world!! Outside the Tourist Bureau we met some other fellow travellers from WA. Namely our ex newsletter editor Fay who was travelling with her Sister & BIL. By this time I was starting to get hungry and we had planned to taste again the lovely apple pie at Suttons in Stanthorpe. It didn’t disappoint as they served it with spiced apple cider ice cream. It was delicious and I was so full that I couldn’t manage tea, but gee it was worth it. On the way back we stopped to take photos of the dressed kangaroos on the side of the road. They looked quite smart in their state of origin gear.

 I believe Warwick has a Jumper Festival in July and I will be sorry to have missed it. Apparently the trees in the main street are adorned with home knitted jumpers to ward of the cold. We are leaving tomorrow for Kilcoy and hopefully it will be a bit warmer there.

Talk again soon

Friday, June 4, 2010

Warwick & Stanthorpe-The Granite Belt

What a pleasant change today.  The sun actually came out and paid us a visit.  I am sorry I haven't communicated much this past week but the phone coverage and internet acess is very intermittent is this area.  In fact I am sitting out in my car to write this as there is no signal inside the motor home.We didn't leave Boonah as planned on Saturday as the heavens opened up and we had so much rain that we couldn't get the Trailer out of the paddock.  So we arrived here on Sunday in Warwick having drove through Cunningham's Gap without any trouble.  The weather here has been absolutely miserable.  Cold and Wet and freezing.  I weakened and went out to Aldi's yesterday and bought some Thermal Undies.  And you guessed it the Sun started to come out.  We are parked up on a horse property here and the rent's free but there is no power or water except for what we are carrying and there has been any sun for the solar panels to generate any power either.  However the locals tell us this is there worst week for bad weather.  Monday we familiarised ourselves with the town and did a bit of shopping.  They have a lovely shopping centre in the centre of town with everything you need.  Warwick is named the Rose and Rodeo City.  They are famous for their rodeos which are held every October. A lot of business's have the rose in either their name or depicted by a rose.  Tuesday we drove over to Toowoomba approximately 100kms from here to visit the CRT Farm Fest.  It was a huge event with lots of boys toys  We met up with Larry & Donnette and Carol and Garry.  Personally I would rather watch paint dry but it was tolerated by the enjoyment of their company.  The guys really enjoyed their day and I won't feel so guilty now when I am dilly dallying in a patchwork shop in future.   Not much there for ladies unless you like the western or workwear gear.  I managed to buy a hand held vacuum packer which works on batteries or power which will prove very handy. Wednesday we went along to the famous Pig and Calf Markets, which are held every Wednesday and they auction off everything and sundry.  There were a lot of chooks and fat roosters, a few calves and a pile of odds and assortments of household items.

  We then drove over to Stanthorpe another 80kms north.  What a difference!  Stanthorpe is a lovely town and with the trees blooming with their autuum colouring was quite a contrast.  It reminded me very much of some of the places in America.

 We viewed the whole town from Mt Marla Lookout it looks quite vast although I don't think it is as big as Warwick.  After we visited the Information centre we discussed our plan of action over a coffe in their lovely coffee shop.We decided that as a lot of things were only open on weekends we would come back on Saturday and visit Tenterfield and do those things South and today we would do the other points of interest.  So our first stop was Suttons Cider Factory where we tasted all the different apple juices, they featured on Landline a few weeks ago and let me tell you their apple pies are every bit of what they said.  We left there armed with 2 litres of apple juice, Pink lady and Winesap flavoured and 2 apple and rubarb pies. ( We actually ate them last night and they were delicious we may have to visit them again.)   Our next stop was to Vincenzos under the Big Apple.  This was a gourmet delight with everything italian, cheeses pasta's salamis, confectionery even italian handbags.  I drooled over them but left emptyhanded.  Castle Glen was our next port of call and this was really pretty.  They make liquers and there is over 500 different liqueurs sold here.  Every colour of the rainbow and lots of different shapes.

   The strawberry and chocolate port sounded rather decadent.  I left armed with a cocnut creme liqueur and of course a white chocolate liqueur.  I intend to add the coconut creme one to my coconut creme pie.  (When I was in USA we tasted a coconut creme pie and I have been trying to emulate one since).  We then stopped at the Granite Belt Dairy and shared a lovely strawberry milkshake made from fresh jersey milk and some delicious cheese tasting. We had a very nice chat to the lady who owned the store and we are now a full bottle on cheese flavours. LOL.  We arrived back in Warwick in time to visit Julie and Peter who were passing through on their way to Brisbane. met them at the Caltex Truck Stop just outside of town, it seems to be our popular visiting spot as we met Alan and Lillian there yesterday for a coffee on their way through also.  We will see them all next week when we go to Kilcoy for the HF Radio Club AGM which is being held on the long weekend.
Talk again soon
The Colours of Stanthorpe