Experience the changing of the seasons in the countryside
Autumn in the Countryside
If you live on the coast in South East Queensland, then autumn is that time of the year when the weather is warm to hot, instead or hot to too darn hot. If you want a proper Autumn, you need to head to the countryside or up into the mountains around South East Queensland to experience the changing of the seasons.
Seeking an autumn where the leaves are changing is not always easy in Australia as there is only 1 native plant that loses its leaves in winter, and that is all the way down south in Tasmania. So instead you are looking for country towns where the streets and parks are lined with trees from other parts of the world.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Tatters)
There is no hard and fast rule for this, as it depends on both the actual onset of cooler temperatures and the specific trees (and global warming is not helping either). Generally speaking, autumn is at its height in April and May, with it coming a little earlier in cooler mountain towns such as Tenterfield and Toowoomba.
One of the great locations for Autumn is Toowoomba. This city of parks and gardens up in the mountains has numerous places to enjoy the changing of the seasons. Pop into Queens Park, the Japanese Gardens at the University of Southern Queensland or Laurel Bank Park for this experience. Also walk down Campbell Street. This is a street lined with beautiful old Queenslander houses and deciduous trees.
Photo of the Japanese Gardens in Toowoomba courtesy of Russell Brigg (Flickr.com)
The Granite Belt is also a great place to visit during autumn, though usually their autumn season arrives a little later than Toowoomba's. Stantorpe's many apple orchards will greet the season with beautiful golden leaves. Near Stanthorpe one popular autumn village is Tannymorel, near Killarney, where the beautiful tree lined Yangan-Killarney Road makes this town a worthwhile detour on a scenic drive.
Further afield, it is worthwhile crossing the border to New South Wales, where New England towns such as Tenterfield have cooler climates that provide a perfect autumn escape.
Autumn is the time of year to give up on those summer salads and look for something more warming. This means stews and and soups.
It also means seasonal fruits and vegetables. Especially look out for most of your stone fruits as well as apples and grapes. It is also a great time to pick up squash, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. All great autumn foods can be cooked into fantastic warming autumn meals.
Buying pumpkins from a roadside stall in Killarney
I have a preference for the scenic aspects of the wineries in Maleny and Montville but Stanthorpe has a much wider variety of wines. Wherever you are, autumn is the time to enjoy wine while viewing the changing colours of the vines.
Autumn is also when wineries around South East Queensland start to roll out their mulled wines. Out west of main range the days are often still warm with blue skies, but at night enjoying spiced heated wine in front of a fireplace is a must.
Photo of making mulled wine courtesy of Katherine at Flickr
When Autumn arrives and the weather cools down, then South East Queenslander's thoughts turn to bushwalking . It can get a little chilly up in the mountains in the morning or the evening, but the days are usually still t-shirt weather. Toowoomba has a lovely little walk up Table Top Mountain, near Stanthorpe you will find Girraween National Park and and near Killarney there is a nice short 2 km walk at Queen Mary Falls. There are also walks at Goomburra and Cunninghams Gap.
For many people, Autumn is the start of the hiking season in South East Queensland
Autumn is a great time to stay in the countryside. As the weather gets cooler, so do the campfires and fireplaces get lit. Evenings warming yourself by the fire at caravan parks, cabins or campgrounds makes autumn one the best seasons to stay in the countryside.
The Queen Mary Falls Caravan & Tourist Park has barbecues and firepits throughout the grounds
Crisp mornings are also a great excuse to stay in bed a little bit longer and relax. The Spring Creek Mountain Cafe is the perfect solution with views down the mountain from your bed, you just have to figure out how to get your morning coffee without getting up.
Spring Creek Mountain Cottages sit on the side of the mountain providing great views without having to get out of bed