A random surprise

Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Stanthorpe, Queensland, Australia
A flight from the Whitsundays to Sydney would have been too long to do in one stretch. We knew we wanted & needed to stop somewhere then along the way, the question was just where. Good problems a to have ;-). Having just come from Cairns and knowing we wanted to hit up the big cities of Sydney and Melbourne, we were looking for a small non-coastal town to get a better picture of the "real" Australia. After researching over breakfast, we opted for Standthorpe. About 150 miles inland from m Brisbane, this small town in the winters region would hopefully provide us with some different impressions. And at just over 5000 inhabitants, we figured it would be seriously off the beaten path.

The departure out of Shute Harbor was super pretty . Right after takeoff and after a slight left banking turn to avoid terrain, we over the bay and wharf. The Whitsunday National Park would definitely be an area worth checking out on a future Australian trip. Aside from that, the flight to Stanthorpe was largely uneventful. There were a few bush fires that caught our attention and a couple times we opted to ascend instead of getting into some clouds. Other than that, and some pesky headwinds, it was smooth sailing. Funnily, as we approached Brisbane airspace we heard Helmut from one of the TBMs in our group approaching Brisbane for customs after spending the week in Fiji. We had a quick laugh on 123,45 to catch up.

Stanthorpe and its runway are seemingly in the middle of nowhere. The "terminal" building was hilarious, as it didn't look like anyone had been in there for years and it was just a glorified set of restrooms. We were definitely the only ones on the field and there was no avgas or any other services to be had . A cabbie, who had probably never been to the local airport either, took us to our hotel the Boulevard Motel. That's where our friendly reception began.

The couple owning and operating the hotel were delightful. Upon hearing what we were up to yet that we were arriving too late to tour any of the local wineries, they gave us a couple bottles of chilled local rose. We quickly shared one along the "river" just behind their motel. They then told us to head into town and speak with the local paper because they would be interested in interviewing us and hearing about our travels. Keen to use up some of our 15 minutes of fame, that's where we headed next.

Lynden at the local "Border Post" was intrigued by our story so we went next door for our interview. It was fun and indeed we were quite the novelty. She even agreed to drive us to the airport the following morning so she could get few pictures of Maggie.

A walk back through the town took us by a pub at which we stopped. The people watching fulfilled my small-town Australia desires. It was as one would imagine: quaint, rural, blue collar, and could have been any small town USA as well. Tasty Italian with some local Shiraz topped off a pleasant day.

Routing from Shute Harbor (YSHR) to Stanthorpe (YSPE):
PN MK MURPH COBES GAY OK at 8000' with a flight time of just over 4 hours.
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Did you do any 'Blockies' in Stanthorpe?


Haha! I'm going to save that for next time we're there together. Rand, I must say, I loved Australia. We have lots to talk about regarding tourism at Uluru.