Queensland, Australia, is famous for its endless sunshine and miles of golden beaches, but just a few hours drive South West of Brisbane and 1,000 metres above sea level, it’s all about cosy cabins, log fires and wine.
The Granite Belt, which takes its name from the ginormous boulders that pepper the region, is surrounded by fertile ground. It’s the areas fruit and veg patch and home to Queensland’s wine region. The towns swell during picking season. While the wine might not be as dazzling to my palette as the grapes from other Australian regions, the wine and food tours are pretty darn fun and very generous! I lost count of how many wines I tried and I did stumble across a few absolute gems. Read about my favourite Granite Belt vineyard and cellar door here.
Things to do
There are some stunning national parks in the area with walks for all abilities. We visited in Spring and decided to head to Giraween National Park as I had read about the wildflowers. Beautiful tiny orchids, peas and even a granite bluebell can be found if you look closely enough. Giraween means ‘place of flowers’ and it did not disappoint.
We took a couple of easy short walks including the Underground Creek track, Dr Roberts’ Waterhole track and walked along Bald Rock Creek to the Granite Arch.
You can also climb your way to the park’s famous peaks; Castle Rock or The Pyramid for spectacular views.
There are lots of things to see and do in and around Stanthorpe. Along with the wineries, there’s a random pyramid structure, breweries, bike hire, an apple orchard, art galleries, a cheese shop, a couple of other national parks and much more.
Where to stay
With no real winter along the Queensland Coastline, you can get a real taste of the cool season over the colder months thanks to the area’s elevation. It’s been known to snow here! There are a number of cabins and villas to choose from, complete with log fires. They can book up quick so it’s best to plan ahead.
We stayed at 31 The Rocks in one of the studio villas. The husband and wife team who run the place are lovely and the best bit (and why we booked here) is that it has an amazing spot to view the sunset from right on the property. We were joined by the neighbour’s friendly beagle as we made the short and easy ascent to see the sun dip below the hills in the distance.
The villa was clean and comfortable and had enough logs to see us through a long weekend. There are lots of other similar options which look fantastic such as Alpine Lodges.
Where to eat
We were lucky enough to get a table at The Mcgregor Terrace Food Project. Meals are on the smaller side but so delicious and it meant I had just enough room for dessert. It has so much ambience and a weekly changing menu that supports local producers and showcases mindfully sourced ingredients.
If you’re passing through Warwick and are feeling peckish, the café at Warwick’s Gardens Galore is also well worth a stop.
Stanthorpe really is the perfect escape in South East Queensland.