Gavin and Nara Stevens from Drayhorse Shires with passengers Wendy Duke and Jacquie Bodger take a winery and brew tour in Mount Alford.
Gavin and Nara Stevens from Drayhorse Shires with passengers Wendy Duke and Jacquie Bodger take a winery and brew tour in Mount Alford. David Nielsen

Travel the traditional method around Mount Alford

WHEN Gavin and Nara Stevens moved from the United Kingdom to Queensland to retire, they envisioned days basking up the sun on the Gold Coast.

While not having to work was enjoyable at first, the pair then found themselves wanting more out of their new life in the land Down Under.

"We realised that retirement wasn't for us just yet," Mrs Stevens said.

While they had moved to the other side of the world to start a new chapter, they quickly realised they missed certain aspects of their former lives.

The husband and wife duo had run a horse drawn touring company in their hometown of Ashford in Kent, and wanted to build up their company again here in Queensland.

They came looking at the Scenic Rim and fell in love with the region instantly, knowing this was going to be their new home.

"We fell in love with the scenery, and the kangaroos. I just love kangaroos," Mrs Stevens said, laughing.

The pair bought two beautiful Clydesdale horses and started up Drayhorse Shires, which provides a unique experience for those who are visiting the Mount Alford region.

While you listen to the soothing sounds of the horses clip clop down the road, you are transported behind in a old carriage, giving you 360 degree views of the mountains and the countryside without the restrictions of car windows.

On a day out with Drayhorse Shires, at a price of $160 per person, you will visit three tourist attractions which make up what locals call the Mount Alford golden triangle.

At each establishment you will be able to try their products, which is included in the price.

Your first stop is at Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard. It is here you will be greeted with a smile, a cheese platter and a few drops of owner David McMaugh's award winning grape juice and wines.

"I have 2500 vines here at Bunjurgen," Mr McMaugh said.

"My products have been received very high scores at the Eat Local Week festivities."

One of his most popular products is the Verjuice Grape Juice.

"We make 6,500 bottles every year, and we sell every single one of those bottles," he said.

"It is a great product for us."

But your day isn't over there. Moving on from Bunjurgen, you will once again be pulled along in the horse drawn carriage a short ways down the road to your second destination, Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.

Perched up on a hill overlooking the lavender gardens, this is a great spot to try more local produce.

Doogan O'Hanlon is the owner of Kooroomba, and is very proud of his establishment.

"After meeting Dave at Bunjurgen, you are brought up to Kooroomba where you will taste more wines and have a lovely lunch," Mr O'Hanlon said.

"We have got about 17,000 vines and we grow eight different varieties of wine.

"We are predominantly known for our Chardonnay, which wins a lot of awards."

After taste testing their highly scored Shiraz, Cabarnet and Chardonnay, you can wander through their lavender gift shop and art gallery while admiring the view and smelling the lavender.

Then it is on to their dining hall for lunch, which is also included in the tour.

Afterwards, it's time to say goodbye to Kooroomba and jump back in the horse and carriage, travelling the traditional method, to the Scenic Rim Brewery.

As the carriage makes its way down the street, you will notice plenty of people waving to you as your pull up outside the brewery.

At first glance, it's hard to believe it's a brewery, as the building was once a convenience store.

But once you get talking to Mike Webster, you find out how he transformed this much-loved country building into a place for grown ups to enjoy a cool, alcoholic beverage.

His range of beers are named after classic Aussie characters, such as Shazza, Digga and Fat Man.

"I want to give you the feel of an old shop and give you brews which are brewed in the traditional way," Mr Webster said.



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