Waiting for the season to start and the cash to begin flowing? Here are some free (or cheap) things to do while you wait.
There are six national parks around Stanthorpe. Sundown and Basket Swamp/ Woolool Wooloolni are really only accessible by 4WD, but Girraween, Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo and Queen Mary Falls are all easy to access by all-weather roads. Ask us for a map and some park info at the office.
Girraween has the most infrastructure – free BBQs, solar hot showers, a nice swimming hole (unless you’re afraid of turtles) and heaps of walks from very short and easy, to challenging, to completely scary. The others are further out and have less organised camping and hiking facilities, but are great for a full day trip. Boonoo Boonoo has the best swimming holes, strung out along the creek on the road in plus in rockpools above the falls; Bald Rock is the biggest monolith in Australia after Uluru and has an easy route or a hard route to the trig station at the top. There are also three really cool spots that are not national parks – Donnelly’s Castle (just down the road from the Happy Apple, with a small picnic area and great views over the Granite Belt), Harrigan’s Lane swimming hole, and Undercliffe Falls (these last two are out on the NSW side of the border)
The area is also well-supplied with markets. Stanthope hosts the Seasonal Feast Farmers Market on Fridays, down-town in the Farley St Piazza, on Fridays from 8 am. Often there’s music. The Market in the Mountains (second Sunday in the month, at the showgrounds) is more your standard crocheted coathangers sort of event, but they, too sometimes have music, and a good selection of local fruit and veg over summer. For the crafty types, Bridget Bunchy just down the road from the Happy Apple has a room of free scraps of fabric and arty stuff like that – check it out on your way to the Summit Store.
The library and the art gallery are housed in a beautiful building in Weeroona Park. Just back from the main street in Stanthorpe, the library offers free wifi and comfortable seating, as well as beautiful parklands outside (the wifi reaches a fair way). Behind the library and the art gallery is the town pool ($3 entry per adult). The carpark behind the pool is the starting point for Parkrun (5 km fun-run that kicks off every Saturday at 7 am). There are free BBQs in the park (ask reception to mark them for you on a map), and a pool hall called Kill Bill has just opened across the road from IGA, on Davadi St.
Keep an eye on our facebook page for more ideas to keep you entertained below budget!
So you’re coming to Stanthorpe to get your 88 days up, or to earn some money to finance the next part of your travels. Here are some tips that might help you.
Your first stop will probably be BEST Harvest Labour. Corner of Railway & Rogers streets, phone 4681 6200. Linda, Sharon and Judy know exactly what’s going on work-wise, and are the main point of contact for farm work. Please don’t drive around farms; the farmers get really annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of their working day. The exception is Rugby, who are happy to receive applications in their main office on Amiens Rd.
Banks: Stanthorpe has ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB, Heritage and Bendigo. If you need to do regular banking that you can’t do online, or if your employer pays by cheque (I know, but rural Queensland hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world yet) probably think about Heritage – they are open Saturday morning as well as traditional bank hours, and the women who run it are switched-on and helpful.
Doctors: We hope you don’t need them, but you probably will if you’re here for any length of time. Stanthorpe Medical Centre is the bulk-billing practice – if you come from a country which has a reciprocal agreement, this is the clinic to use. Call them between 8 am & 5 pm weekdays on 4681 1666. Pick up the new patients form first so you have it filled out before your first appointment.
Hospital: Sometimes with farm work things happen. Stanthorpe has a great casualty department. Again, we really hope you don’t need it, but for stitches, bites, suspected breaks or dangerous allergies, they are the best. We recommend you consider having your tetanus shots up to date before you get here. 8 McGregor Terrace, call 4683 3400 (but not in an emergency. In an emergency, ALWAYS call 000)
Now the important stuff: wifi.
The Happy Apple has free wifi for our guests, accessible from around the office. Sit outside in the little grove behind the office, or in the information room next to the office, and catch up with your friends back home. Don’t forget to review us while you’re on-line!
McDonalds wifi is probably the fastest, but they’ve been known to suggest you leave if you sit there drinking one coffee for three hours. Find them on the New England Highway, on the bypass around Stanthorpe.
Stanthorpe Library has free wifi you can use on your own device, and a few computers you can use for a small fee if you need to print anything. Please respect other library patrons, and don’t unplug any of the library electronics to plug your own stuff in. The library is open 10 am – 5 pm Monday & Tuesday, 1 pm – 5 pm Wednesday, 10 am – 6 pmThursday & Friday, and 9 am – 12 pm Saturday. There’s a pretty cool art gallery in the same building with entry by donation, and a nice park outside where the wifi still reaches most of the time. If you want to borrow books, there’s a $50 deposit for travellers that you can get back when you return all your books and DVDs in good condition. Corner of Marsh & Lock streets (in Weeroona Park)
The Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre has free wifi – don’t expect any of the volunteers to be able to fix log-in problems as they’re mainly elderly and not that technically minded, but the verandah is a beautiful place to sit, overlooking the creek.
Message us on facebook, or ring us on 4685 2880 if there’s something you’d like to know that we haven’t covered here. We can’t wait to meet you at the Happy Apple, where you’re always with friends!
The Happy Apple is a friendly haven for working backpackers, but we also love to welcome grey nomads and families, and there is so much for everyone to see and do on our doorstep. Two great cellar doors are conveniently situated in walking distance; Heritage Estate’s Old Church Café and tasting room is in a gorgeous desanctified church just across the railway tracks, and Summit Estate, where Nick and Alison welcome picnickers in the vineyard, is a short walk down Granite Belt Drive. At Summit Estate you can also enjoy panoramic views of a working vineyard while sampling delicious deli products from Vincenzo’s, also just a two-minute walk from the Happy Apple.Further down Granite Belt Drive, keen craft-lovers will find Bridget Bunchy, a self-styled ‘up-cycling gallery’ full of products made from reclaimed materials, and featuring the famous oddments room where you are free to take anything that might inspire your next craft project, or fit into a current piece of patchwork.
On the other side of the highway, almost close enough to smell the pie cooking, is Sutton’s Apple Farm, an excellent spot for lunch in the packing-shed café, set in the family orchard and featuring numerous different flavours of apple juice.
These are just a taste of what is within walking distance – next week, we’ll let you in on some secrets about attractions not very far down the road from our reasonably-priced, cosmopolitan caravan park!