Warm welcome defies winter chill

A WINTER taste adventure with romance and snuggles at Kingaroy?

At first I scoffed at the idea.

The last time I was in Kingaroy I was with my son at a footy carnival.

Accommodation in the town was booked out and we stayed in an $18-a-night pub room, top and tailing in a single bed, romance and snuggles were the last thing on our minds.

But returning to Kingaroy with my wife has changed my outlook on the South Burnett, an area rich in history, agriculture, wineries, the majestic Bunya Mountains and most of all good old fashioned country hospitality.

We stayed at Bethany, a property on the outskirts of town, famous for being the home of the late Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The family has set up cottages on the highest point of the farm overlooking the peanut capital and the mountains.

We arrived after dark and were greeted by bandicoots at the back door and a magical view over Kingaroy.

The glow of the town, framed by the glass doors of our cottage, was like fairy lights draped across the night sky.

They set the scene for the romantic feel inside our weekend getaway.

A fireplace, gourmet barbecue pack, red wine, tea lights around a massive spa and the soothing tones of Barry White put snuggles on top of the agenda.

The television even had trouble picking up Friday night football, much to the delight of my wife Tracey.

"They have thought of everything," she said.

The next day we decided to take on the Bunya Mountains.

As we climbed higher on the scenic 45 minute drive past a patchwork of deep red soils and vivid green crops the outside temperature dropped from a cool 17 degrees to a brisk 10, perfect for bush walking.

We only spent two hours in the Bunyas, not long enough to take in all the coffee shops and amazing scenery, but I recommend a walk to Paradise Falls and Little Falls.

The bush walk paved the way for lunch and a taste or two or three of the region's best wines.

Our first stop was Captains' Paddock Vineyard.

There we met owner Maryanne Pidcock who shared her inside knowledge of wine tasting.

The vineyard features 10 acres of chardonnay, shiraz and merlot vines and a quaint Tuscan inspired café which does a great lunch.

The best discovery was a Shiraz Jelly with cheese and biscuits.

After tasting all the Captain's wines we visited to Crane Wines and met Judy Cooper, who offers wine lovers a taste of award-winning blends, while non-wine drinkers can browse the large range of homemade jams and chutneys and other tasty treats.

Back at Bethany we settled in and planned the next day.

First on the agenda was Taste South Burnett in Kingaroy a combined cellar door and cafe in the historic Kingaroy Butter Factory.

David Gillett let us taste a huge variety of wines, cheeses and fudge.

On the way home we stopped in at the wonderful Wondai Regional Art Gallery and the Dusty Hill Winery at Moffatdale.

Dusty Hill was my favourite place of the trip because it had an amazing atmosphere and beer tasting as well.

Walking into the cafe is like walking into an Irish pub, with home cooked meals, a wide variety of beers in a fantastic setting.



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