With international travel well and truly off the agenda for Australians, at least until January 2021, quite possibly July 2023 if you listen to Graham Turner of Flight Centre, it looks like we’ll be seeing more of Oz from here on in.
We recently returned to Stanthorpe for a friend’s birthday celebration and after, spent a few days driving around the area. Winter is in full swing and while the day time temps are a balmy 18 celsius, the night time temps plunge to a freezing 2 celsius. Too cold for me in the camper trailer where there’s only a thin sheet of canvas between me and frostbite. A motel it had to be, but take heed; accommodation in Stanthorpe is at a premium since many city folk are flocking here to enjoy a sojourn in this wine blessed town. Book early, even if you’re seeking a weekday break.
On the way to Stanthorpe, we stopped in at Maryvale (population 300) and staved off our thirst with a couple of drinks at the Maryvale Hotel. Australia does pubs well and the Maryvale which opened in 1913, is a gem with its wide verandahs, rooms with pressed metal ceilings and a really friendly welcome.
In the laid back country town of Stanthorpe (population 5500), we visited Castle Glen. If you can see past the touristy castle like facade, you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of preservative free liqueurs made on the premises and the most friendly owner/distiller who plies you with anything your palate desires. I can’t pass up a good rum and this one infused with ginger was a winner as was a heady plum wine which will be perfect for the Xmas pud. There’s a whole bunch of good reasons to visit Stanthorpe and I wrote about these in This is Australia: Stanthorpe
After Stanthorpe, we headed north to Allora. This buoyant rural town with a population of 1200 is the centre of a farming community where grains and sunflowers dominate.
Mary Poppins has a strong connection to Allora. The house below is where the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers (born Helen Lyndon Goff) spent her younger years. In its previous life, the house was the Australian Joint Stock Bank and Travers’ father was its manager. He died in the house in 1907.
Just 30 kilometres north west of Allora is the tiny town of Nobby, home to Rudds Pub. This bucket list Queensland pub pays tribute to Steele Rudd aka Arthur Hoey Davis, a literary great who penned On Our Selection in 1903.
Small in size Nobby may be, but it’s big on fame. Another famous face hailing from this town is Sister Kenny. Australians are familiar with her visionary work with polio victims during our awful polio epidemics which crippled so many children through the 30s, 40s and 50s. Kenny took the kids in calipers and iron lungs, massaging their flaccid limbs in an effort to restore mobility. Her success rate was high, but she made enemies of the medical profession who asserted that limbs should be immobilised. The polio vaccine of the 1960s did its job – eradicated polio from our shores.
We enjoyed our short stay, and in these Covid times with state borders apt to change and a call by our premier to ‘stay in your state’, it made sense for us to visit this interesting part of South East Queensland.
Where we’ll travel next, I’m unsure. I’m told it will be a camper trailer trip, so I’m hoping for warmer weather!
PS The stunning feature photo is one I cannot take credit – https://www.queensland.com/sg/en/places-to-see/destination-information/p-56b25d5a7b935fbe730dbaf2-allora