SITTING PRETTY: Helen Derbyshire and labradoodle Hugo enjoy the Granite Belt lifestyle.
SITTING PRETTY: Helen Derbyshire and labradoodle Hugo enjoy the Granite Belt lifestyle. Linden Morris

Diversity draws duo to district

ONE soon-to-be Stanthorpe local couple is taking the term tree change to a new level.

The two are not only in the process of trading in their busy city lifestyle for a more relaxed one on the Granite Belt but they purchased a block of land covered in pine trees to make their dream come true.

Walter Plep and Helen Derbyshire have been together for eight years, more than one quarter of which has been spent dreaming of, planning and making their tree change a reality.

While there were several reasons for the move, the main one was for the lifestyle, Ms Derbyshire said.

"We currently live in Spring Hill, just outside of Brisbane city, and this means a change of pace and a different lifestyle for us," she said.

"We originally thought we would move to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast and then the Hinterland but decided that would still be too much like city living and then settled on Stanthorpe.

"Marking the tree change to Stanthorpe was also like a return to my origins - I was born in Herberton on the Atherton Tableland and, in folklore, it is where some of the early miners in Stanthorpe migrated to after the tin had run out at Quart Pot Creek.

"We have been planning this for about two and a half years now."

Ms Derbyshire said while she and Walter were still in the process of making the move, it was not too far off.

"We are back and forth from Brisbane at the moment with our jobs," she said.

"All going to plan, we will be officially moved in by January. I finish my job in October and Walter hopes to be able to work more from here and only go back to the city for important meetings and such.

"I am involved in a lot of Spring Hill community things so I would love to be able to do the same sort of thing here.

"If you come to a new town, you like to think that you leave a positive footprint instead of just breathing the air."

Since their first visit, the list of things the couple loves about the region continues to grow.

"We have friends here who we visited and then we came back again, and again, and again," Ms Derbyshire joked.

"We have met some really nice people so far and the winery tours, and fresh fruit and vegetables are also a plus.

"We love the landscape, environment and the fresh air as well as all the wildlife and birds we get at our house.

"It is great being able to drive to the shops and there is no traffic.

"And we are also attracted to all the arty things happening in town and we like the cultural diversity and the mixed heritage of Stanthorpe.

"It is the right-paced lifestyle for what we want."

Ms Derbyshire said to make the most of their move to the country, they made special considerations when building their dream home.

"The house was designed to be echo and climate friendly," she explained.

"It is made from Hebel which has environmentally sustainable properties.

"We also wanted a lot of glass to make the gardens an extension of the living space and to allow for plenty of natural light.

"It is bigger than what a downsizing couple needs but there is plenty of room for family to come and visit."

Ms Derbyshire said she and Walter looked forward to settling in permanently.

"I look forward to getting involved in the local community and becoming a part of it and Walter is really looking forward to all the wines on offer and cellaring his collection," she said.

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