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Published: July 24th 2018
We had planned a trip to John's hometown of Stanthorpe, and my friends took some time to map an interesting route for us. Ellen quickly found a must-visit town name for us to visit on the way (not too difficult in Australia!) and after only about an hour in the car, we were in the middle of the mountains looking for the town of Dum Dum. Google maps said we had arrived, and there certainly was a neighborhood of homes with a school, but no sign indicating we were actually there. Still, we 'checked in' on Facebook, took a few photos, and made as Dum Dum jokes we could think of in the three-minute tour.
I realized that the majority of exploration of mainland Australia has been confined to major cities and tourist spots, so the interior, green, and tall mountains certainly surprised me! After some more twisty roads, we arrived in Nimbin. The town that claims to be the only place in NSW where weed is considered legal. Indeed! Every year on the first weekend of May, they have a Mardi Grass celebration in order to promote the legalization of cannabis and all its healing properties. The war on
drug (laws) is real in this town! There are local fundraisers for the bail of beloved potheads, a Hemp Embassy, and every hemp product you can think of for sale in all of the shops. The vibe was peace, rainbows, and hemp. We enjoyed a bit of window shopping and hippie-spotting.
A few hours later, we arrived in John's birthplace, with about an hour to sneak in a winery tour. We chose the one that would be open latest, Harrington Glen Estates. The owner was the only person at the winery, so we had the pleasure of taking our tasting tour with Brent. His introduction of the first wine was - "I hate this wine. It's so terrible, I tell people to use it as a mixer with lemonade. You can have it for ten bucks" 😊 😊 LOL so you can imagine how interesting the rest of the visit was for us! No, but seriously, that wine wasn't great but we really liked many others and after about 10 wines, we decided on three that we liked enough to buy. His wines are only available for purchase on site, so when we drink them we realize just how
special it is because we will never have a chance to drink them ever again! We since have enjoyed one of them with lamb, because the entire time we were with him he was absolutely insistent that Americans hated lamb. Eat that!
At sunset, we drove over to the Stanthorpe golf course for a guaranteed sighting of hundreds of wild kangaroos having a snack. We were lucky enough to see a baby joey in one of the pouches and also get so close that a male kangaroo puffed up and made some threatening moves towards us. How amazing! Afterward, we went back to John's parents (who were in Europe) and enjoyed their chilled home for a few minutes before deciding to have dinner at the local pub. (The neighbor turned on the hot water for us, but not the heat! And since we were in the coldest Queensland town in the middle of winter, it was, well, cold.) We had a hilarious dinner experience where we met interesting people, including Patrick O'Neill who is running for political office and driving and sleeping in his van throughout all of Queensland over the next three months! Brrrrrr. The kitchen must have
been having a seriously crazy night because they had to come back and get a different order for Ellen three times, and when John's second choice of beef pie came out, it looked like it had been run over by a mob of kangaroos. Apparently, the pie maker had died - and for a minute we were worried that it was an actual man that died - mid-pie and he got his dinner for free! That meal was the best deal ever - three mains and two bottles of wine for $78 AUD.
The next morning we left early to return to the (relative) warmth of Broadbeach and I prepared for my vacation with Greg and Jess!
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