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!