On weekdays I masquerade as a mild mannered office worker but on weekends and holidays I break out the X-ray glasses in search of fun, food and new adventures.
Grape fun for the whole family
The town of Stanthorpe lies 2.5 hours drive from Brisbane in the heart of the Granite Belt. This region is well known for its apples and stone fruits and award-winning wines, so it's no surprise that they love to celebrate all that their region has to offer with the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival.
The festival has been running for over 50 years, making it one of the longest-running festivals in Queensland. It's only held every second year (on even-numbered years) and this year it will run for 10 days from 28 February to 8 March, with the main weekend of activities on 6-8 March.
Sample the award winning wines / Photo Credit: appleandgrape.org
There's so much to see and do every day of the festival and much of it is free, including the daily apple orchard tours and cooking demonstrations using fresh regional produce. On the main weekend of 6-8 March, the program really ramps up with free street parades, markets and on Saturday night, fireworks.
There are lots of things to see and do / Photo Credit: appleandgrape.org
There are also some ticketed events such as the Stanthorpe Rodeo ($20 Adult/$50 Family) and the Warwick to Stanthorpe Steam Train Journey, ($30-$150) which are both being held on Saturday 7 March. Or for all the food and wine lovers, there is the 3 day Heritage Bank Food & Wine Fiesta ($5-$25) which starts on Friday 6 March. However, you will want to get in quick for the ticketed events as some of the other events are already sold out. The full program of events can be found here and bookings for all ticketed events can be made through the website.
But the thing that truly makes this festival stand out from the rest would have to be the public grape crushing on Friday 6 March. That's when you can take off your shoes, jump in a grape crushing barrel and stomp away your stress whilst squishing those grapes with your bare feet. Just remember to bring a change of clothes with you as it can get quite messy.
Bring your friends - and a change of clothes / Photo Credit: appleandgrape.org
With so much to do and see at the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival, why not make a weekend of it and book some local accommodation. Don't forget to take an empty esky and stock up on the local produce as well. Not only are you sure to have a great time but you will be showing your support for regional Australia in a real and tangible way that is guaranteed to put a smile on their faces.
A wide range of Granite Belt produce for you to try / Photo Credit: appleandgrape.org