Here at Downshift we like to have adventures. We’d been tossing up the idea of a long drive somewhere, good people, food, drinks and great times. It was finally time to put that into action. So let me introduce you to DS Weekends.

Privately advertised on the DS Management’s private Facebook profiles, we thought this initial weekend away was going to be mainly with people that already knew each other. Surprisingly, and to our pleasure, we did have some new faces keen to come on board for the adventure. The days leading up to the weekend away had a few of us worried with weather reports warning of storms and flash flooding. With the cruise going ahead regardless, everyone met up in Mt Gravatt at 10am, fuelled up, fed and ready to go.


As we departed we quickly realised that the weather gods had landed us with an absolutely perfect day. Jumping briefly onto the M3, we headed out the back of Beenleigh and up towards and along Tamborine. With Matt’s FD RX7 missing the cruise due to receiving final touches in the shop, he was forced to bring his brother’s Mazda 3. Not the most exciting car, but the roads ahead would make for some fun driving regardless. There was indeed a great mixture of cars on the day.


An Evo, XR6, Accord Euro, MPS 6, 32 GTR, Supra, S2000 and S15 rounded out the group.


Everybody was pumped for the mountain roads. The map handed out on the day heading along ‘spaghetti roads’ from QLD to NSW looked to be nothing short of exciting.


As the route exited the windy mountain roads and the cover of ‘tree tunnels’…


… we were graced with the sight of mind blowing scenery of enormous valleys and rolling green countryside.



It was amazing seeing the greens come out. A welcome change to the usually dry, yellow and brown grasses of the Australian landscape.


Sooner than expected, we had arrived at our first pitstop, Laurel Cottage Garden Cafe & Restaurant. A beautiful little eatery with indoor and outdoor seating. As part of the package, Downshift supplied lunch and drinks.


After our bodies were refueled it was time for more winding roads.



The entire trip had jaw dropping scenery at every turn. It was mild, yet sweet compensation for not driving, being able to take in the incredible views.




We had a brief stopover in Murwhillumbah to allow people to get some petrol and stretch their legs before the final stop.


It was however, at this point we had our first and only casualty for the weekend. Corey in the Evo had refueled and was on his way back when his car shut down. With seemingly the immobiliser stopping his car from restarting, he was going nowhere under his own power. ‘Luckily’ he had a relative nearby with a workshop and was able to get it there safely and then back home. His weekend though, was over.


Back on the roads we kept heading towards our final destination. Our much loved team member Jared was in the lead and missed the turnoff, taking 80% of the group on a 15 minute detour.


Whilst we waited I fired off a couple of shots.



From what I’m told, the detour was lots of fun. Once we regrouped, we all headed off.


I had a quick opportunity along this stretch to grab some rolling shots of a couple of the crew.

Em’s Supra.


Jarred in his S15.



Mother nature has one last pose to give us…


… before we hit the dead centre of town…


… and drove down the last little road before our abodes for the evening.


We had arrived at Alstonville Country Cottages.


Everyone headed inside and was allocated a cabin.


Each cottage was well equipped. Walking up the balcony past your own private sitting area and BBQ, you had your own lounge room, kitchen, bathroom and two separate bedrooms. Couples getting priority on the bedrooms with the queen beds, and the single folk claiming their respective beds in the secondary room, everyone was very comfortable.


Then you saw the views from your balcony.


After everyone unpacked we all headed up to the ‘entertainment precinct’ for the cracking of the first beer. A swim was also in order with many of the group keen to cool off after a long day’s drive.

Soon enough the sun had set and tummies were once again rumbling. Conveniently, on location was a fantastic pizza oven and we used it to full advantage! Cooking up a storm we had fresh home made pizzas cooked in a wood fired oven.



It was great having everyone, old friends and new nursing a couple of drinks over dinner and chatting about the day’s adventures.


Troy and Em showing off their ‘Zyzz’ poses.


Not to be outdone, Matt was adamant that he had what it took to prove he was all that is man.


As the evening progressed, the group migrated up to the fire pit for those deep, intimate discussions that an adventure and a few drinks form.


Then off to bed.

As day 2 dawned, we were greeted with less than the perfect weather we’d received the previous day. With a slight drizzle I made my way up to the eating area taking some photos of the groups cars on the way.



The view overlooking the pool.


As the girls found the totem tennis pole…


…and the animals that reside at Alstonville Country Cottages…


… it was time to cook up the much needed hearty breakfast.


Breakfast was consumed eagerly.


Jared with his face of post breaky ‘content’?


Troy and Ben.


As the briefing was given on day 2’s route I had a quick chance to fit in one final lap of the location.




With everyone in the know of the day’s route we set off.


After a short drive…


… we arrived at what people had been waiting for all weekend.


Roads with the speed signs stating ‘drive to the conditions’.


Everyone was pumped for this section and I can assure you, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I decided to take this moment to just enjoy the drive, so no pictures.

Once we’d had our fun (some of us twice, heading back and re-driving some sections) it was time to hit the highway for the gentle cruise home.




A simply incredible weekend. Meeting new people, experiencing new – fantastic roads, great food, chilled atmosphere, and just an amazing time out enjoying our passions. DS Weekends V1.0 was an absolute success and we cannot wait to take more of you on our second adventure.


Until next time.

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