The Road Ahead : October November 2007
40 OCT/NOV 07 TRAVEL & LEISURE STORY JIM MATHERS When, as a traveller, you arrive in a well-visited area, you usually expect some indication that the locals are welcoming. Imagine my surprise when I pulled into the car park of a tourist attraction near Stanthorpe recently, and was told to get lost. At least, that's what the sign said. The cheek of it all. Mind you, I was just about to enter the Granite Belt Maze. Located at The Summit, 9 km nor th of Stanthorpe, the Granite Belt Maze is an experience which has been planned well by owners Craig and Sandra Williams. Inside the maze, at ever y dead end, are posts bearing clues. Riddle cards (there are dozens) require you to find specific posts and use the words to help you solve a riddle. This adds to the fun (and torment), as you tr y to find your way through the shrub-lined maze and, eventually, out. Some people do it in 20 minutes. Others, well ... perhaps some of them are still in there. The complex also has a smaller children's maze, mini-golf course, giant outdoor chess set and a kiosk (you can bring your own picnic). The maze opens Friday to Monday, and daily on holidays. Entr y costs $44 for a family, $14 for adults, $10 for seniors or $9 for kids. You can also take a few twists and turns on a farm tour nearby, and learn something along the way. Giardino's Farm Tours, which run at 1pm daily on the huge Turrisi family proper ty at Amiens, take about an hour or so. The 'Seed to Salad' tour, aboard a bus made to look like a shed, provides an insight into life on a large vegetable farm. You'll see the computer-controlled cooling facility and irrigation system (the area has experienced drought for more than a decade and crops are now grown under plastic to compensate) and the nurser y and hothouse, where cauliflower, lettuce and capsicum seedlings are propagated. The $15 tour includes afternoon tea at the huge cafe on site (their cheesecake is a revelation). The licensed cafe opens for breakfast, teas and lunch. The menu is extensive, reasonably priced and includes a long list of mainly local wines, which are sold at cellar door prices. Souvenirs are available too. The Granite Belt area has built a reputation for food and there are many eateries around the ridges. The Carriage Stop licensed cafe, 2 km south of Ballandean, is fairly new. It seats up to 72 people and opens for breakfast and lunch from Thursday to Monday, and dinner Friday and Saturday. Dishes such as tasty lemon pepper crumbed calamari, fish fillets, marinated lamb, lamb shanks and steaks are on offer. Lunch prices range from $5.95 to $22.95, and dinner mains range from $15.95 to $30.95. The wine list includes a lot of local product. The Carriage Stop also has some nice holiday cottages. Also look out for the legendar y Anna's Restaurant in Stanthorpe. Many people have told me about it, so I thought I'd visit to see what all the fuss was about. It is exceptionally good value. The meals are reasonably priced, and the ser vings huge. Main courses range from $16.90 to $26.90 and include pastas, seafood and steak- based dishes, including the delightful Saltimbocca (eye fillet stuf fed with prosciutto and cheese). The tasty stuffed mushroom entree is a house speciality, and there's plenty more to get your tastebuds working. The wine list is extensive, including local, interstate and impor ted wines. Most are under $30 a bottle. Many are sold by the glass. The ser vice at Anna's is friendly and attentive and the Lose yourself in Stanthorpe The Granite Belt region has much to offer for touring all year round.
December January 2008
August September 2007