ESCAPE: Simon Marnie (front) said after shooting in Escape from the City in Stanthorpe for the past week, the Granite Belt is definitely the place to be.  (back) Film crew: James Chadney, Glenn Dance and Nick Rowan.
ESCAPE: Simon Marnie (front) said after shooting in Escape from the City in Stanthorpe for the past week, the Granite Belt is definitely the place to be. (back) Film crew: James Chadney, Glenn Dance and Nick Rowan. Liana Walker

Stanthorpe: the secret Australia needs to be let in on

STANTHORPE is a secret the whole of Australia needs to be let in on. That's according Simon Marnie the host of upcoming ABC TV show Escape from the City.

Crews have been filming around the Granite Belt throughout this week where they've taken Brisbane couple Isla and Andrew to show them a better life on the Granite Belt.

"He's a postal worker, she's just retired, they're in suburban Brisbane and Andrew really just thought 'I don't want to spend the rest of my life on this treadmill and if I'm going to do something I'm going to do it now',” Mr Marnie said.

The show, modelled on the British series Escape to the Country, is for people moving from a city who are realising there is a better life in regional Australia. Each episode introduces two people to a country town, where they are shown three houses and introduced to interesting people and places in the area with the idea they'll like it so much they move.

Isla and Andrew chose the Granite Belt as the area they wanted to escape to, and after a week of filming ABC Sydney radio host Mr Marnie said he could see why.

"Apart of all the great food, the produce and the agricultural side, and of course the tourism, there's just a very healthy lifestyle here.

"That's what we've tried to capture, there's so much to show.”

The crew have filmed all across regional Australia from Broome, to Daylesford, to the Byron Bay hinterlands but Mr Marnie said the Granite Belt really stood out to him.

"What I loved about the Granite Belt was there are things that remind you of, say the Grampians, and their beautiful granite outcrops in country Victoria. There are things that remind you of the Hunter and the vineyard areas of South Australia. But there's also the incredible climate of Orange and it seems as though the Granite Belt has things that other areas might have one or two of, it's got the lot of it all combined.”

SEA CHANGE: The crew from Escape from the City film Simon Marnie at Quart Pot Creek. Film crew: Nick Rowan, Glenn Dance, James Chadney (absent) Emma Conroy.
SEA CHANGE: The crew from Escape from the City film Simon Marnie at Quart Pot Creek. Film crew: Nick Rowan, Glenn Dance, James Chadney (absent) Emma Conroy. Liana Walker

Mr Marnie expected when the show goes to air, people from all around the country will want to flock to the Granite Belt.

"You get to spend an hour with us seeing the absolute highlights of Stanthorpe and Ballandean and the whole Granite Belt area and there will be people that will go 'I'd like to come up here'.”

Owner of Stanthorpe Real Estate Logan Steele agreed that after the show airs he expects to see a lot more interest in the area.

"It will certainly bring more people and alert more people to look to the area,” Mr Steele said.

"What it does do is fuels everything in growth for the future.

"It's the same as things like the Apple and Grape where people come up and get revitalised on how beautiful the district is and how friendly the people are and what a great place to be.

"They start to think more about getting out of the rat race and they certainly start to look at Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt areas for that reason.”

But for Mr Marnie, being able to show off one of country Australia's hidden gems was his favourite part of filming.

"Whilst Brisbane knows about Stanthorpe this is a secret the rest of Australia should be let in on.”

Escape from the City will be coming soon to the ABC.

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