COMFORT: The thought of open fires pulls in the tourists to the region.
COMFORT: The thought of open fires pulls in the tourists to the region. Goodluz

Guests love snow season

WINTER is big business in Stanthorpe and as the temperatures drop, the inquiries go up.

However, operators have to walk a fine line between enticing guests with pictures of wintery-white landscapes and the reality that few years see much snow.

Located at Wyberba, which is one of the colder regions and therefore more likely to see snow, Glenys Bamberry of Wisteria Cottages said once it turned cold, she fielded constant inquiries about the weather.

"They ask me when is the best time to come,” Ms Bamberry said.

"They want to know when they can see snow.”

No promises are given.

She tells them while the coldest months are July and August, it doesn't snow every year.

"You can't just have pictures of snow on your website,” she said.

"You have to balance it.”

She said many guests were also happy to see a heavy frost, something that was also rare in Queensland.

And then there is the appeal of open fires, an aspect of the Stanthorpe experience that pulls in as many people as the snow.

"They want to have that experience of snuggling up together, that's what they enjoy doing,” she said.

Marion Carrick of Alure Stanthorpe which offers 'luxury couple accommodation' also notes the importance of 'fire tourism'.

"People love it,” she said. "It's cold, they've got a log fire and a bottle of wine.

"You throw snow in and it's a frenzy.”

She noted a difficult situation when it snowed in 2015 as it was 7am, with the snow coming down, but she was loath to interrupt her guests. In the end she sent them a text.

"They all came back and said 'I know, it's amazing'.

"They were supposedly grown adults and every one of them had been out and built a snowman.”

Marion said the pull of such activities was not adequately reflected in tourism figures, which asked people what attractions they wanted to visit.

"Climate is the driver,” she said.

"But it's an experience thing, not a doing thing.”

Simon Smith, who took over the Luxury Wine Tours business last year, has yet to have a full winter but has noticed an upturn in inquiries since the cold weather began.

While he said the region looked more attractive in summer, "the picture of log fires, sipping a wine, is a hard image to get rid of”.

And snow or not, he's still prepared for that interest, taking guests past the hall in Eukey and showing them a picture of it covered in white.

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