This blog has been written by the winners of a prize given out at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in 2014. The winner brought her daughter with her to enjoy their prize in September. Shirley sent the following transcript of their time in the Lockyer Valley.

Our trip to the Lockyer Valley and Stockton Rise Retreat, September 2014

At the Sydney Royal Easter Show this year I was lucky enough to win a trip for two to Stockton Rise Country Retreat in Forest Hill Queensland. 

My daughter Stephanie did “the leg work” organising the finer details of this trip from the organisers, the Lockyer Valley Regional Council. Hello World Travel at Gatton were really lovely to deal with and booked and organised the donated air travel and car hire etc and then, in September we headed off for our big adventure.  

When I was younger – a long time ago – I worked in the NSW Dept of Agriculture and I now live in a semi-rural community on the Northern outskirts of Sydney. Our family is involved in the plant industry here.  

Stephanie has always been surrounded by rural activities, has done a course in Eco-farming and has recently purchased a few acres on the outskirts of Sydney with her husband and son to enjoy their own ‘piece of paradise’. So a holiday to a rural area in Queensland was really something to look forward to. 

Qantas trip was delightful and our first nerve-wracking experience was to claim our hire car and find our way out of the ‘big smoke’ … Brisbane city. We were extremely grateful we decided to hire a Sat-Nav to guide us easily out of Brisbane to the Lockyer Valley and straight to our accommodation at Stockton Rise Country Retreat at Forest Hill. A move I would highly recommend to everyone when going to a new destination. Because of the limited time frame this helped enormously as we travelled around Forest Hill and Laidley a lot. 

On our arrival we were welcomed by Patti Panaramic view from Stockton Rise Country RetreatPocock to her beautiful, and very well equipped, Stockton Rise Retreat and we felt immediately “at home”. Our adventure was now “ON”. As we had numerous vouchers included in the prize we headed off to explore Forest Hill and then a quick trip to Laidley to purchase our dinner. 

We were up early next morning to explore. Our first destination was Das Neumann Haus in Laidley for morning tea where we had the largest scones I have seen for many a year! We then had a leisurely and enjoyable stroll around town exploring the shops. On the way back to Forest Hill we discovered Lake Dyer which was a big surprise and we had a very interesting time meeting people who were enjoying this lovely place. 

After Lake Dwyer we headed back to Forest Hill and were treated to a scrumptious  lunch at the Post Office Café then we indulged in some more retail therapy at the amazing Post Office gift shop. 

Our next destination was to Plainland to Schultes, where we were given generous vouchers to spend in their butchers/deli. Our shopping though was limited to what we could carry on the plane back to Sydney. As people who are also extremely interested in cooking, this, to us, was like being let loose in a “foodies heaven” and I personally came away with lots of goodies and a lot of enthusiasm for more cooking when I arrived home. 

After Schultes butchery/Deli we travelled a few kilometres back to our accommodation at Stockton Rise Retreat, another piece of heaven overlooking beautiful agricultural land extending into mountain vistas and perfect sunsets of the Lockyer Valley in Springtime. 

Next day we had to return to Sydney and said to each other, again, that we should have extended our time at Stockton Rise to at least a week. We left early in the morning on day 3 to have a quick look around points of interest on the Highway and then just over an hour and three very long tunnels in Brisbane, we arrived at Brisbane Airport. Note that the Sat Nav doesn’t always work properly in the tunnel according to a helpful man from the car hire place but he said you end up near the Airport at least which we did.

We have had a very memorable time in the Lockyer Valley, even only a short one, felt well relaxed and will remember this wonderful holiday for a long time. 

Back home now – we have many new ideas so going into the garden and kitchen to try them out.

We wish to thank all who made this holiday great by providing us vouchers to really experience what the Lockyer has to offer. – We would highly recommend a trip to the Lockyer Valley to relax, unwind, be close to nature and indulge in all the great food and things the Lockyer has to offer… And we think that staying at a place that is very comfortable with a beautiful outlook and a very helpful and friendly owner has made all the difference to our time in the Lockyer… Thank you Patti at Stockton Rise Country Retreat… This is truly a beautiful part of Queensland.

 Shirley Hill and Stephanie Jackson.

SydneyAnother special sunset from the deck of Stockton Rise Country Retreat