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Queensland generally lives up to the Australian stereotype of being a land of surf and sand and sunshine, where beaches rule, where everything is hot hot hot and humid to boot. Queensland's moniker used to be "The Sunshine State" (it's now "The Smart State". Wtf?), and it includes the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, and some of the world's most beautiful tropical rainforests, living up to its reputation.

A lot of people forget, or don't realise, that Australia is a bloody big place, and in areas we get snow, we even have a snow season and ski resorts (plural. Just). We have cooler climes. And Australian landscape is not just about the beach, or the desert, as there's miles and miles of beautiful green-grey bush. The mountain areas especially tend to be stunning and great for walking.

This weekend, Will and I spent three days in the Granite Belt area of Queensland. It's a complete gem of a place, and totally different to my expectations of the state. You climb 1000 metres above sea level up the Great Dividing Range, and you don't come down. Due to the elevation, temperatures hit below zero in winter and barely broach 30 in summer.

I knew there was Queensland wine, but I thought the vineyards were few and far between, and nothing special. How good can Queensland wine be when most of the year it's scorching hot? In the Granite Belt there there are over fifty vineyards and some seriously good quality wine, primarily red. A mere three hours drive from Brisbane.

Will and I didn't know much about the area except that it had wine, so we didn't take advantage of the three national parks nearby, aside from a short jaunt to Granite Arch. We did try a lot of wine, eat fresh prawns we'd brought from Shorncliffe (five minutes drive from our house, you buy them straight off the boat), taste the most amazing garlic balsamic vinegar ever, and lounge around our little cottage playing yahtzee. Despite the zero degree temperatures outside, we lounged in next to nothing due to a wood fire and a slightly pyromanical Will.

And if the heat in Brisbane gets too much for Will, I've found somewhere to migrate us to that's still near my family. The Granite Belt is easily a new favourite place.
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