Things to do in South Burnett’s autumn

Experience the exciting festivities and changing colours, as the temperatures cool and the region comes alive in South Burnett’s autumn.

Join the festivities at a local show

Each year in March, the annual show season kicks off in the South Burnett. These local shows play host to a variety of agricultural activities. From rodeo, stockman’s challenge, horse jumping, rides, food stalls, trade stalls and the grand parade, there is something for everyone.

Alongside the traditional pastoral, agricultural and horticultural exhibitions, you’ll find plenty of arts, crafts, and homemade wares that show off the talent of the region.

Proston, Murgon, Nanango, Kingaroy and Blackbutt will all take part in this year’s autumn show season.

13 March 2021 – Proston Show

20 March 2021 – Murgon Show

10 April 2021 – Nanango Show

1 May 2021 – Kingaroy Show

15 May 2021 – Blackbutt Show

Take a road trip around the region

An autumn road trip through South Burnett is the perfect way to see the picturesque landscapes as the colours change before your eyes. One of the most unique experiences is the Mt Wooroolin lookout, only a short drive from the centre of Kingaroy. A delight for nature lovers and photographers, there is a short window when the sunrise captures the peanut silos in the background.  There are a range of walking tracks on offer, with some being very steep so wear a sturdy pair of shoes.

Take in the scene at a local Campdraft

Campdrafting is a uniquely Australian horse sport that puts the skills of both horse and rider to the test. Campdrafting involves two main stages; firstly “The Camp” or cutout yard where the rider selects his beast, separates it from a mob and works it, and “The Course” or arena, where the rider guides his beast in a pattern. Sounds intriguing!

If you have never seen a campdraft, you can catch all the ringside action on

19 March – 21 March 2021 Golden Spurs Campdraft (Proston Showgrounds)

2 April – 4 April 2021 Kumbia Charity Campdraft (Kumbia Showgrounds)

South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival

The South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival is on again this Saturday 11th March at Memorial Park, Kingaroy.

This is the festival’s 18th year and is a great way of showcases the best of South Burnett wine and food. The event starts at 12 noon and runs till 8:30pm and will have eight hours of live entertainment including street performers and top music acts.

Kevin Liepins a freelance writer has wrote a great article for Weekend Notes on the festival. CLICK HERE to read.

Entertainment at South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival - image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Entertainment at South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival – image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Enjoy wine tastings at the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival - image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Enjoy wine tastings at the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival – image from the South Burnett Wine and Food in the Park Festival website

Nuts over Bunya Nuts


The Australian Aboriginals knew a good thing when they tasted it and consequently in early times would set aside any tribal differences to travel for hundreds of miles to feast on this native bush food. I am in fact talking about the ‘Bunya Nut’. These giant cannon ball-sized pine cones contain between 50 to 100 nuts and weigh as much as 10 kilograms.  So you really don’t want to be hanging around under a Bunya Nut Tree during the fruiting season. The cones are covered in spikes and fall from towering heights of 30-45 metres. Heads up!!  Although nuts are produced each year, traditionally a bumper crop is produced every three years. The fruiting season occurs from December to March.
It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like the taste of Bunya Pine nuts. The flavour is described similar to a starchy potato or chestnut. Ask a local the best way to cook a Bunya Nut and they will all tell you something different. Either way the kernel must be removed from the shell before being boiled in salty water or placed in the fire for cooking. Personally I like to throw mine in a pot of water used to cook a nice piece of corned beef and then smother it with butter when it’s done. Yummo!
Believe it or not the humble Bunya Nut has been used in cooking since the beginning of time and is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of bush tucker. Today this bush food can be found in a variety of recipes including pancakes, biscuits and breads to casseroles and hommus. Who would have thought you could be finishing your dinner this Christmas with a Steamed Bunya Nut pudding served with brandy custard and wattle seed ice cream.
So where can you find this bush tucker superfood? Simply follow the bunya trees along the Great Bunya Drive through the South Burnett and venture to the native origins of the Bunya Nut, deep into the subtropical rainforest of the beautiful Bunya Mountain National Park.
The Bunya Mountain National Park is 2.5 to 3 hours from Brisbane and 4 hours from both coasts. The Great Bunya Drive (pictured below) is a 390km self-drive tour which runs from Toowoomba to Gympie, with one of the highlights being the Bunya Mountains.



Cooking with Bunya Nuts



Place the nuts in a jug or bowl and cover with boiling water for 2-3 minutes.  This softens the shells making it easier to cut and makes the brown skin surrounding the nut, stick to the inside of the shell allowing the nut to be removed cleanly.  Use a strong short blade knife or Stanly knife and slice down the length of the nut.  The softened shell will peel away from the nut.  Slice the nut in half and discard the centre pith which can have a bitter after taste.


Place the nuts in boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cool slightly before shelling to extract the edible nut.  To make a nut meal: place in blender when cold and process to bread crumb  consistency.

To enhance the flavor the nuts can be boiled in the water used for the cooking of corned meat.









Used shelled nuts (raw or boiled) and toss lightly in a hot pan with melted butter or your favorite oil. Be careful not to overcook as the nut flesh will become hard and leathery.



Turn the nuts frequently for even cooking. When cooking directly on the fire, the use of hot ashes gives better results as the shells can ignite on hot coals of flames.

Off and Racing!

Did you know that horse racing in the South Burnett dates back to early 1850.

Pastoral stations of Taabinga, Tarong and Nanango had their own tracks and breeding programs. The first reported race meeting was held at Nanango Station on Boxing Day 1859.

Now we know the Melbourne Cup is a two mile race. Well the Nanango Cup (formally known as the Nanango Plate) was a three mile race. Yes you read right three miles! That’s three times around the current day track. The winner of the first Nanango Cup was Pat McCallum on his horse Pilgram. Unlike the millions of dollars todays’ jockeys and trainers get, pat received a winner’s cheque of £40. Which was worth a year’s pay!

For those wondering, racing began in Wondai around 1907 and were put on hold during WW1 and WW2. In 1958 the South Burnett Race Club was formed in Wondai with the first race meeting held on 4th April 1959. Racing in Wondai continues today with three races held each year.

Sadly Kingaroy’s racing history was a short one – just like the height of a jockey. Races were conducted at the Kingaroy showgrounds for various beneficiaries including the School of Arts. Racing in Kingaroy finishes before the Second World War.

Kumbia Races began in 1922 with intervals during war years and between 1953-1956. Racing began in earnest from 1956 to present day. Would you believe that there used to be eight race meets a year. Now there is only one held on Melbourne Cup day earning Kumbia the title of “The Flemington of the Bush”.

What about Blackbutt? Well there were races held up and down the Brisbane Valley and the Brisbane River Valley Blackbutt “Timbertown” Picnic Race Club Inc. is still an active and registered group, but haven’t held races for many years.

Who can forget about the legendary Burrandowan Picnic races, which have been held since 1922. Back in the day soldier settlers would gather together and the tradition still continues today, with the races held in May of each year.

This SUNDAY 4th December, the Nanango Race Club will be holding it’s last race meet for the year. Will this become a new trend? Some places in Australia have races everyday of the week! Time will tell as racing meanders through the 21st Century. So if you’re looking for a break from Christmas shopping grab some friends, throw on your glad rags and head to the Nanango Racecourse.

The Best of Horses on the Best of Country Courses!


Horse Racing at Tarong Phot - D Clapperton

Horse Racing at Tarong
Photo – D Clapperton

Pass the finishing post at Nanango Races

Pass the finishing post at Nanango Races

Wake Up in Wine Country

There’s no better feeling than escaping the city on a Friday afternoon for a weekend away discovering the cellar doors, restaurants and cool natural places of Southern Queensland Country’s wine trails. Here is a weekend intinary taking in the South Burnett Wine Trail.

It’s so easy to wake up in wine country!


Take an early mark and hit the highway out of town. En route stop in at Blackbutt’s famous Wood-fired Bakery for some crusty bread and a sweet treat and Taste South Burnett in Kingaroy to stock up on  local goodies – olives, olive oil, caperberries and their hand-made fudge.

Check in at Crane Wines B&B overlooking the cool Booie Range. Do a cellar door tasting with winemaker Bernie and select a bottle to enjoy with dinner.

Settle in and cook your own barbecue (Crane’s BBQ packs include beef, chicken or Barkers Creek Pork, salad, potato bake and dessert).

Retire to your verandah to enjoy the twilight views over the vines. Star gazers may like to book a night sky tour with Kingaroy Observatory


Head into Kingaroy for a hearty country breakfast at  local favourite Utopia Café.

After breakfast, pop into Kingaroy Art Gallery to catch an exhibition by local artists and don’t miss their gallery shop, a hub for artisan jewellery, ceramics, textiles and woodwork.

En route to lunch, drop into local icon The Peanut Van for a range of delicious locally grown flavoured peanuts.

Lunch is 10 minutes out of town at Kingsley Grove Estate, which offers cellar door wine tastings with winemaker Simon,  delicious house-made wood-fired pizzas and delectable wine ice cream handmade by Pat – the perfect finish!

For the afternoon head back to Cranes to relax on your verandah with a good book or put on your walking shoes and head for the trails of Yarraman State Forest.

For dinner take a lead from the locals who rave about the views and food at Cassis at Booie, just a few minutes’ drive or 10 minutes walk from your cottage (take a torch if you plan to walk!)


Relax on your verandah overlooking the vineyards while you cook your own breakfast;  Crane’s breakfast pack includes country cured bacon, local sausages, eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Mid-morning check out and make your way home via the northern South Burnett Wine Trail visiting the cellar doors at Clovely Estate, Moffatdale Ridge, Bridgeman Downs and Dusty Hill Wines.

On the way home:

  • Nature lovers may like to visit Wooroolin Wetland – a brilliant walking and birdwatching spot. Photographers will love the eerie stands of trees in the tea tree-stained water.
  • Ask Cranes Winery to pack you their famous Lazy Lunch Picnic Basket brimming with local gourmet goodies and a bottle of house bubbles, then make for Lake Barambah which offers peaceful waterside picnic spots and great freshwater fishing.
  • Other lunch options include a top counter meal at The Wondai Hotel, lunch overlooking  the vines at Dusty Hill’s Pendergast’s Tavern.

Take your time and savour the South Burnett.


WORDS: Jane Hodges


This year has been a vintage of two stories, all about the weather but with differing results. We were told to expect an El Niño this summer which means reduced rainfall. Obviously this is not ideal for any form of agriculture. With grapes requiring watering, particularly in the early part of the season when the vines are coming back to life and then when the fruit is developing. The latter part of 2015 brought us timely rainfall and cooler conditions – perfect for the Kingsley Grove Estate vines!

So here is the first part of the story….

The results of the mild spring weather in our vineyard were excellent, good canopy growth on the vines and optimal conditions during fruit set. It was shaping up to be our best vintage since 2006, both in quantity and quality. Even with a hailstorm that probably meant a 10% loss in crop, we were lucky with it happening early enough in the season that grapes were still relatively small and still quite hard. This meant damage was limited to the few grapes that were hit by the hail.

Despite the good start to the season, all the same pressures were always possible. So as not to take any chances we followed a religious spraying program to prevent any disease later in the season and we netted at the first sight of the birds, which always arrive in ones and twos at the start of season and then multiply quickly as the grapes start to get sweet and irresistible!

So, all sensible precautions taken, we started picking a bit later than in many previous years thanks to the milder weather, on 14th January.

We began with the early picks, some of our Semillon for our unique Queensland Green wine and Chardonnay for sparkling Brut which we call Tingle. We are fortunate to have our own mechanical harvester so we can pick at night, which is best for the grapes. We also had the opportunity to hand pick a small amount of our new Pinot Grigio to add in to the Chardonnay, to make a classic style sparkling. The results in the winery are very exciting and these wines will likely be in bottle by the end of February 2016.

We then moved on to our Verdelho just a few days later, and once again we were blessed with some beautiful fruit which we can see has already produced one of our best Verdelhos yet!

Now for part two of our story….

Then began the summer rain, which we were supposed to have this year. It did not cause too much drama with the next picks on the schedule but now is putting some pressure on the quality of red wine grapes. With the Semillon and Chambourcin safely picked just before the rain started we have hardly any white grapes left on the vine, just those we leave on late for our fortified white wines.

We went from showers, to storms, to rain pretty much every day and the red grapes are not happy with the persistence of the strangely wet El Niño weather pattern. Most of them are still going along okay, but our Sangiovese is not happy at all. This variety has large berries and closed bunches so don’t cope so well with the rain. They are not as quick to dry as more open bunched varieties and have thinner skins which do have the same resilience as the smaller Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet grapes.

The Sangiovese is very important to us; it will make 4 different wines this year, some of which are our best-selling wines. The saving grace this year is that they are yielding a lot of fruit, so with some more careful picking we should be able to still get a good result, just losing a fair bit of quantity. Having said that, we plan to pick the Sangiovese and the Merlot on the 5th February….if only the rain breaks for long enough for the grapes to dry and for us to get them off the vine. So we watch the weather radar hourly, read the forecasts daily, and pray for good fortune.

Once we get past these then we just have to worry about the Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and late picks for the fortified wines. Needless to see, we will be happy when all the fruit of labours are under the broad roof of our winery.

wine icecream

Kingsley Grove Estate

Simon Berry.