From our camp in the Richmond National Park our next Easter get-away destination was Kyogle in northern N.S.W where we planned on camping the night in a friend’s backyard. But first we wanted to do some more sight-seeing along the way. We wanted to check out Toonumbar Dam and chose to take the 4WD only route along Iron Pot Creek Road from Peacock Creek Camping Reserve.
Iron Pot Creek Road is definitely suitable only for 4WD vehicles as it was single lane all the way. There were limited spots where you could pull over to allow another vehicle to pass. We only encountered one other vehicle and we were able to pass each other safely without the need for either of us to reverse. The scenery along the way was really beautiful and we all enjoyed the drive.
Toonumbar Dam is an ideal spot to camp, fish or kayak. There are also cabins and a conference centre there. The camp area at Bells Bay has only smallish sites and some weren’t level so may not be suitable for larger camp trailers. However there were several camp spots set up on the opposite side of the dam which were large, flat and grassy. There were also plenty of picnic spots with tables and BBQ’s. There is even a small Golf Course there!
From Toonumbar Dam it is a little over 30 klms into Kyogle. It is a mostly unsealed road and a little windy in places but still a very nice drive. Once in Kyogle, we headed out to our friends house to set up for the night. It was the first time we had actually stayed at someone’s house in our trailer. We think it is a great way to spend time with friends or family without them having to worry about making room in the house for us. It is also a great idea if there are no suitable camp spots nearby. It meant everyone could relax without to much of hard work!
The next morning we were up and on the road early to head to our final destination for the weekend – Stanthorpe. Stanthorpe is situated in the Granite Belt area of Queensland’s Darling Downs region. It is particularly well known for it’s fresh produce and it’s many wineries. I had wanted to visit the area for so long as I am rather partial to a glass of red every now and again!
Our first stop was the Granite Belt Visitors Centre. Visitors Centres are always great sources of information about what to see and do and where to stay. We were pointed in the direction of the Sommerville Valley Tourist Park which is located about 10 kilometres from Stanthorpe. To say we were delighted with Sommerville Valley would be an understatement. It really is a fantastic place to stay.
The un-powered sites were large and grassy and all had purpose built fire pits. These were just awesome as the nights were pretty chilly. A huge load of firewood delivered straight to your campsite by the owner was just $20.00 and it lasted us 2 nights and we took the rest home with us.
Sommerville Valley is right on the edge of Storm King Dam as well, which is a perfect spot for water sking, kayaking or fishing. As well as the campsites there are also small cabins, powered sites and some luxury cabins if you don’t feel like roughing it.
The next morning my long-suffering hubby took me off to visit a couple of local wineries (he doesn’t drink wine). Our first stop was Granite Ridge Wines – lovely spot and some very nice wines. We then visited Ballendean Estate Wines which is one of Queensland’s oldest family owned and operated wineries. Lots of yummy wines and food available there too. I particularly liked their Chocolate Rummy Port. In all I ended up with 2 bottles of red and 2 bottles of port. Could have visited several more wineries but thought I had better be good and visit some other spots.
We found the Jamworks of Glen Aplin a great spot to buy locally produced jams, chutneys and sauces. You can even taste a selection before you make your choice. The kids also enjoyed Strawberry Fields where you can pick your own strawberries so you know they are fresh.
Don’t forget on your way out of Stanthorpe to stop in at Vincenzo’s. They have the most fabulous array of gourmet foods including cheeses, olives, specialty oils, fresh produce as well as a range of gifts and a coffee shop. A worthwhile stop over for any gourmet food lover and a great spot to purchase some nibbles to go with your wine.
Once again the weekend was over to quickly and it was time to head for home. But Stanthorpe will go on my ‘Must Visit Again’ list.