Enjoy a bounty of produce
WITH the golden glow of autumn comes the crisp air in the countryside of southern Queensland.
The parks and gardens are awash with magnificent vibrant red and burnt orange leaves underfoot. Roadside stalls are full with bounties of just-picked fruit and vegetables.
Open fireplaces are roaring. And winding country roads, wine trails and waterfalls are all waiting to be explored.
The precursor to winter makes autumn the perfect time for travellers to discover their own backyard, or better yet, venture further out to discover the splendour of regional Queensland.
Some of the best destinations to see the season in its full colour are the Darling Downs, Southern Downs, Granite Belt and surrounds where you can take a leaf from nature and enjoy life at a slower pace. Here's your guide to southern Queensland this autumn:
Apple and Grape Festival
February 23 - March 4
The biennial Apple and Grape Festival is a celebration of the Granite Belt region's finest produce and booming wine industry. Averages of 60,000 people attend the festival each year. The 10-day event culminates in an unforgettable weekend of colourful street carnivals and the renowned wine fiesta.
Sunset Vineyard Walks
April 7, 14, 21 and 28
Join Tim and Michelle Coelli on a leisurely stroll through their picturesque, hand-tended vineyard. Admire the rich autumn colours of the vines set among stunning granite boulders and impressive twisted gum trees. Discover how they grow, prune and harvest grape vines to produce the highest quality wines. Press Tim and Michelle for the secrets of their sustainable vineyard practices, involving the use of birdlife to replace pesticides and careful mulching instead of irrigation. Then return to their stylish cellar door (in a classic 1920s Queenslander with wrap around verandas on three sides) to enjoy a guided tasting matched with artisan cheeses on the veranda as the sun sets.
Big Skies 2018
April 28 - May 6
The annual Big Skies event celebrates the sights, tastes and unique experiences the Western Downs has to offer. Beneath the grandeur and beauty of Jimbour House, the Jimbour Amphitheatre hosts Day on the Plain, an exciting line-up of rock artists to entertain music lovers. Head for the skies on a balloon ride over the breathtaking countryside or explore the endless blanket of stars during an evening of guided stargazing.
Opera in the Vineyard
Opera In the Vineyard attracts up to 1800 people each year providing an intoxicating mix of music, wine, food and an unforgettable time. The event organisers, Ballandean Estate Wines and the Rotary Club of Stanthorpe, have donated almost a million dollars to charity since the event's inception.
Southern Downs Harvest Lunch
Enjoy a true paddock-to-plate experience when Melrose Station hosts a culinary event to celebrate the Southern Downs region's amazing array of fresh, seasonal produce. Taste ingredients that will inspire you to question where your food comes from and what delicious meals you can create using seasonal produce.
Grazing the Granite Belt
Enjoy two days of lazy grazing with award-winning wines and gourmet food. Spend Saturday on the hop-on-hop-off bus visiting the participating cellar doors and sipping wines, as well as indulging in the wonderful meals prepared with local ingredients by local food artisans. On Sunday, join them for breakfast with the wine-makers.
Gather the family for a day of great food, art and activities to celebrate the thriving farming culture of the "high country", north of Toowoomba.
Visit the Community Produce Stall where you'll find a cornucopia of fresh produce, eggs, honey, preserves, bread and much more.
Then grab your ingredients for dinner and have a chat with some local growers while you're at it.