So long Stanthorpe....(or so we thought!)

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May 24th 2017
Published: May 24th 2017
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Well, it all turned out to be lies! At the conclusion of our last blog we promised to add another one during 2016, and look here it is already half-way through 2017! To coin a well-worn phrase “Better late than never”

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown since our arrival in October 2015 (and subsequent departure in Jan 2017) and now, here we once again find ourselves in the Granite Belt!

During our time here, between us, we have worked at half a dozen different venues across the region, but we wound up working at our most-loved venues towards the end and give thanks to the great couples and their families who we happily call new friends today!

From humble beginnings in the caravan park, we slid into “home” life via our Aussie Housesitters membership, and enjoyed a beautiful cedar home on acreage about 5kms east of Stanthorpe. Here we cared for two beautiful donkeys named Timmy & Dougal and our ranga boys got some free-range time – which incidentally usually meant laying in a garden bed!

Carolyn & Donna welcomed us into their home from Feb to late Oct and we just loved it – thank you both for your friendship & sharing your little piece of the world with us – and those donkeys, who we just adored!

In amongst sitting for C & D, we also had the pleasure of house & dog-sitting for a local lady named Jo on a few occasions, and her three gorgeous “lads” Syd, Flynn & Doodie. These furry boys kept us highly entertained and we look back fondly on all the walkies we enjoyed around town.

Jeff has mainly been involved in outdoor work here, vineyard hand once again, but also had some time as a cellar rat for Summit winery north of town. Tab also worked in a casual capacity there too, meaning we got to take part in numerous “events” – Regional Flavours & Ekka (10 day show) in Brisbane, and also for Jeff the Carnival of Flowers in Toowoomba. These were exciting, hectic & hard work, with usually 10 hour days, the end result being thousands of dollars of wine sales! Those who know us well, know we can talk endlessly about wine so selling it for a living ain’t such a bad gig!

Tab worked primarily for family-owned and operated winery Jester Hill, mainly in the kitchen, with their son Mack as Chef. Again, to be paid to do something you love is such a pleasure, along with the addition of helping out the front with wine sales, it’s been fantastic.

We enjoyed a couple of great “weekends” away, our weekends usually being a Monday & Tuesday! Trips up to Brizzy a couple of times, usually tacked on the end of a wine event for work, always love catching the ferries that transport you from each side all the way up & down Brisbane River. We even took a tour boat lunch cruise down to the famous Breakfast Creek Hotel, an icon of Brisbane with the most awesome front bar ever!

In fact, tomorrow we are heading up to Briz for a dinner cruise on the River, on a huge Louisiana-style paddlewheeler, thanks to Tab’s brother Adam and his wife Carmena who gave us a voucher for Christmas this year – awesome pressie guys thanks! Stay tuned for the next blog for pics.

Another memorable trip during the past 20 months is when Tab whisked Jeff away to Spring Creek Cottages up in the high country inland from Killarney. Two days of sunshine, food & wine, just what birthday boy needed…. being the big 4.0. one shouldn’t exert oneself! Tab found it such a drag to only go along to carry the bags, not! He was also treated to a day out on the Steam Railway that runs from Warwick to Walangarra, where we jumped aboard at the historic platform in Stanthorpe. We arrived down at Wallangarra to gale forced winds, temps about 10 degrees, and a buffet-style lunch that was (HORROR!) OUTDOORS! Needless to say we stuffed our faces smartly and trundled straight for the local pub (Jennings Hotel) where a stool by the fireplace and glass of red were thoroughly required.

Jeff had sneakily organised a coastal escape for Tab’s June birthday (incidentally NOT even nearly 40 hee hee) down to the beautiful Byron Bay. Naturally this also involved sampling local produce, some of which, at a local Japanese Restaurant, birthday girl learned to regret. Never. Drinking. Sake. Again.

We also took a flight down to Sydney and met up with Tab’s parent Maria & Scott in October 2016, where we stayed in an inner city apartment (Air bnb is bloody great!) and did some touristy things and generally just caught up on some family time, which included an hour at Catmosphere Cat Café. Yep coffee & kitties, which as most of you know, Tab and her mum are crazy cat ladies! (The boys secretly loved it too) Thanks mum & dad for going all that way, it was beaut to catch up!

Also while in the Sydney vicinity we spent a couple of nights in the Blue Mountains at a spa retreat which was beautiful. A revisit to Scenic World (last time we went there was on our honeymoon 14 years ago) it’s just amazing – well, before 10am when the joint gets crowded out by most of Asia and small children! We highly recommend it from 9am-10am though J Here, we also INDULGED in a dinner for two at “Darley’s” in Katoomba. Not going to elaborate on what we spent, but let’s say GO THERE if you get the chance…’s the reason the term amazeballs was created. Tripadvisor can help you out with the finer details of how much available balance you should have on your Visa prior to going!

We are looking forward to another catchup with Tab’s parents very soon, somewhere on the road as they are out & about in their “varacan” with Dougal the cat, currently somewhere in mid-west NSW. Also with them are their friends Dennis & Marilyn whom we haven’t seen since we lived in Echuca/Moama so should be a grand old shindig.

Around Stanthorpe itself there’s some beautiful scenery, Girraween National Park being a real standout, especially after rain, and also Queen Mary Falls about 40 minutes north. Stanthorpe is a beautiful little town, about 5000 people (about to be 4998!), with Quart Pot Creek running through its’ centre (flooded and covered roads more than once during our time here) surrounded by thousands of acres of fruit and vegie farmland, vineyards, about 40 wineries and 2 breweries. I know, a total shocker that we found ourselves in such a place!

As 2016 went by, we decided to farewell Stanthorpe earlier this year, with the aim of checking out some coastal scenes while we waited for QLD to hit optimum travelling temperatures (from June onwards) and boy, we found some spectacular places indeed. Little towns like Iluka, Wooli, Woolgoolga (just north of Coffs) and of course a few trips to the iconic Byron kept us entertained from Jan through til now. Perhaps more entertained than we bargained for when we ended up with 3 and a half months full-time work at a huge caravan park in the little village of Evans Head! We kind-of stumbled into these jobs after meeting with the park managers on our way south, and they mentioned needing a hand over Easter, so we arrived back there in Feb and have only just left! Jeff was one of the “groundsmen” there fixing things that broke, mowing, trimming, helping people get their vans onsite etc, while Tab worked in their very busy reception office, taking bookings, checking guests in/out etc. It was very busy, but a really great bunch of people to work with and we hope not the last time we make it to Evans!

Our excellent mates Mick, Madge, Jase & Suzz (plus little people Colby, Sam & Fraser) all came to stay for a week during our time at Evans –it was magic despite the weather! It rained every day, but gave us plenty of time to sit around and shoot the breeze over a few frothy & bubbly ones! Thank you guys for making the trip up to see us, it’s so rare we get to all catch up and play. Other mates Sam & Nard, with their two boys even managed an afternoon off to join us for a pub lunch, the kids all loved playtime, as did the grown ups!

We even managed a sneaky little trip up to the Goldcoast when we heard Tab’s cuz Jacquie and her hubby Brendan & son Millar were holidaying up there. It might have been only a few hours of catchup time but well worth the effort!

So what are we doing back in Stanthorpe we hear you ask? Well, Jeff’s gorgeous previous employers (and now firm friends) Brad & Cheryl asked could we house and cat sit for them until their return in early June and well, how could we resist? Beautiful location, beautiful cat, beautiful wine and an opportunity for us all to share a feed and a drop when they get back – thank you guys for sharing your little paradise with us, it’s been a pleasure!

Our time here will once again draw to a close as we plan to hit the road during the first week of June, on our maiden voyage to the inner-west of QLD. A beer at the Birdsville pub has always been on the bucket list, however despite that minimalist goal, we look forward to having no plans for the rest of 2017. It’s time to get Boris fired up, get some red dirt between our toes and experience all that outback QLD has to offer. With that in mind, we can confidently say it WON’T be more than a year unti our next blog! Travel opens up so many opportunities we love to share with our readers, so now that you have caught up on our shenanigans for the past 20 months or so, stay tuned for the next update xxoo

49 photos on this blog, scroll down to access more.

PS. Congratulations to cousin Jordan, and his now-wife Steff who married in a SURPRISE wedding on Mother’s Day!!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 49, Displayed: 28


25th May 2017

Loved the pics on your blog . You looked cold on a couple of them . Hope to see you soon 😘😘😘🚎🚎🚎
27th May 2017

Awesome guys, glad to hear things are still rolling along well. Have a great trip west! Look forward to the next one Cheers Dave Anita Bob

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