We woke to more rain in the campground at the Darling Downs Hotel. We had a big t-bone steak the night before and a couple of glasses of wine. I suppose this is how the hotel can justify a free camp site. If everybody decides to eat and drink at the pub, it makes a fair income. The night was very quiet (apart from the rain) and very few cars passed by. I love the rural setting of this place and having discovered the creek yesterday makes it even more special.
Once stepping out of the caravan, I was ankle deep in water. This is not surprising, considering the road outside the pub was also under water. As we didn’t have much sunshine and it didn’t look like much more for the next couple of days, we decided to stay at a camp ground with power so that we could top up the batteries. We decided on Sommerville Valley Tourist Park on Storm King Dam, near Stanthorpe. On the way through Stanthorpe we stopped at the information centre to get a bit more information about the area. This is a lovely information centre and we received good advice. The centre is next to the river which was quite flooded. The footbridge across the river was under water and the river was fast flowing.
We arrived at the caravan park and were quickly settled in our van, awning out with chairs and table ready for lunch. We have a nice view of the dam and we enjoyed our left over Chinese dinner from Thursday night as today’s lunch.
The weather was not inviting for a stroll along the foreshore. Instead we went for a drive in the comfort of the car. We felt safe leaving the caravan behind with tables and chairs outside.
Stanthorpe is well know for being a fruit growing area. We saw many apple orchards, covered by elaborate net structures. The area has also become a wine growing area with many boutique wineries. We saw grapes being grown under similar nettings, but also the traditional way on the slope of a hill. We also passed some pine plantations.
Stanthorpe is in the Granite Belt and we certainly saw many granite bolders tossed into the landscape. After a bit of searching we found a way up to the Donnellys Castle Recreation Reserve. The boulders here have apparently provided shelter to bushrangers in the past. It is quite easy to imagine that you could hide among these boulders with little chance of being detected.
The view from the top is spectacular – I am sure it would be even better with sunshine!
We couldn’t follow the scenic route suggested due to road closures – too much water over the road.
We saw this track that went into the right direction and was marked 4WD only. Being in a LandCruiser that should be alright. We followed the track for a little while. Water had created deep ruts in the track and when we got a chance we turned around. Better now than attempting to turn around when getting stuck.
We followed a road along the Rabbit Fence – that didn’t lead anywhere useful either. Eventually we made it back to Stanthorpe and back to the caravan.
Today’s route on everytrail: Today’s route