Debunking Myths & FAQ’s: the Drought & Bushfires
Travelling to Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt
As at 26 September 2019
You love Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, but you’re not sure you should visit right now because of the bushfires and drought?
Let’s debunk the myths and let you in on why the locals want visitors more than ever to come visit NOWto see the beauty of the Granite Belt in Southern Queensland Country!
MYTH #1: Didn’t the bushfires burn everything?
On arriving you will soon see that only relatively small areas of the Granite Belt were affected by the bushfires. The majority of the beautiful landscape around Stanthorpe and Ballandean hasn’t been touched by the bushfires.
No tourist attractions, accommodation, cellar doors or restaurants experienced damage to property.
(You will have heard that four homes were lost in the outskirts of the Stanthorpe town area and we thank the emergency services for their amazing efforts in containing the fires.)
Curious to see where the fires did burn? Take a country drive starting on the New England Highway on the Stanthorpe bypass and turn on to the Texas road, then Amiens road to follow the loop along Amiens Road that ends up back on the New England Highway north of Stanthorpe. Here you will view where the Stanthorpe bushfire reached and in no time at all you’ll find yourself continuing along a beautiful drive by cellar doors and through orchards of beautiful spring blossoms!
MYTH 2: Won’t we have to bring our own water and there’s not enough water for showers?
Not at all! Like much of Queensland, the Southern Downs and Granite Belt is currently drought-declared, but you don’t have to bring your own water. We have water for drinking, showers and all your usual daily needs – but we just ask all of our visitors to be waterwise and save like a local.
Please help us conserve our precious resources by following these tips on your next trip:
- Take shorter showers
- Reuse your towel to reduce laundry
- Use the half flush on the toilet
- Turn off the tap when soaping up or shaving
- Report leaking taps and toilets as soon as you notice them
MYTH 3: Isn’t it better if we don’t come use up more of Stanthorpe’s water?
Lots of Stanthorpe locals and businesses rely on tourism for their jobs and livelihood. If visitors stay away, the Stanthorpe and Granite Belt community will suffer – so we welcome visitors now more than ever!
Stanthorpe will not run out of a supply of water. Southern Downs Regional Council and the Queensland Government have ensured a secure supply of water.
MYTH 4: Aren’t the roads and businesses closed due to bushfires?
In short no! The region’s businesses, including accommodation, dining, wineries, attractions and more are all open as usual and ready for you.
All roads, including the New England Highway and Bruxner Highway are open. Visit QLDTraffic.qld.gov.aufor the latest updates on conditions and access restrictions. For New South Wales roads visit http://m.livetraffic.rta.nsw.gov.au.
MYTH 5: Aren’t the wineries closed because they have no water for making wine?
There are 40+ cellar doors open on the Granite Belt ready to serve you beautiful wines! No cellar doors have closed due to water shortages. The lack of rain does make it tougher on the vines and the volume of grapes grown is less – but excitingly for you the quality and taste of the wine is only higher and more intense in the dry times!
MYTH 6: Isn’t it best that I visit after the drought, when everything is lush and green again?
Spring is a magical time in the Stanthorpe region as orchard blossoms are out and grape vines are beginning to bud. There is an amazing line up of events, including the new Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail. In summer the grape vines have a lush green canopy and visitors enjoy the lower humidity and cooler nights of the Granite Belt high country. The countryside and the National Parks remain a beautiful place to visit even during the drought – plus the best way you can help the Granite Belt community through the drought is it visit on a holiday now!
And to answer a few more of your questions…
Are the National Parks open?
Girraween National Park is open! Sundown National Park – update pending, check National Parks website. The Queen Mary Falls section of Main Range National Park (located near Killarney) is open and offers walks, as well as nearby camping at private campsites. For updates on National Parks, please visit www.parks.des.qld.gov.au/park-alerts/.
Are there fire bans in place?
Yes, there are fire bans in place for the whole Southern Downs and Granite Belt region, as well as large parts of Queensland. Information about bans and permits can be found at www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.
How can I help the bushfire and drought recovery?
The best way you can help is to visit the Southern Downs and Granite Belt (oh, and bring your friends too!). There are also some fabulous wines, local delicacies, preserves and craft beers that you can purchase online today through our various local suppliers!
To plan and book your Granite Belt escape…
If you’d like to donate goods or make a cash contribution, please do so via GIVIT. You can view a list of the items required or make a cash donation on their website http://givit.org.au/.
What do I do if the fire danger returns?
The bushfire season in Queensland will be with us for several months. Stay up to date with the latest on the bushfires by following Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) on social media, visiting the QFES website and tuning into local radio. The frequency for ABC Southern Queensland in Stanthorpe is 104.9FM.