Spectacular Queensland scenery sets the perfect backdrop for your Stanthorpe and Granite Belt adventures. The region is renowned for its natural beauty, incredible food and endless opportunities to relax and recharge. A friendly town in southern Queensland Country, Stanthorpe is the ideal weekend (or long weekend) getaway spot and a fantastic addition to any road trip itinerary. While it’s often thought of as the ideal autumn and winter escape, it’s actually a wonderful spot for a spring or summer getaway too. Long summer days drenched in sunshine and blue skies as far as the eye can see together with weather much milder than the steamy Queensland coastline. To help you plan an amazing trip of your own or just feel inspired to visit here are 17 perfect ways to make the MOST of summer in Stanthorpe!
But first, watch this…
1. Strawberry picking at Ashbern Farms
Head out to Ashbern Farms, located a short 6-minute drive from the heart of Stanthorpe and spend an hour or so picking your own fresh strawberries. Bragging rights and a free scoop of ice cream await the person who finds the biggest berry! The cafe serves up delicious bites including strawberry parfait, milkshakes and waffles so you can sit awhile after your picking adventure and enjoy a bite to eat and a cup of coffee too if you like. This activity would be perfect for families or just those who love strawberries and a true farm to table experience! We picked a punnet and enjoyed them on the deck of our cabin accommodation while sipping delicious wine – perfect. Find Ashbern Farms here.
2. Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire
Get acquainted with the local area by joining a guided bicycle tour with Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire. Run by Vanessa and Jon, there is a range of tours to choose from depending on what you’d like to see, how far you’d like to ride, how much time you have and your budget. The tour is flexible so, if you find yourself a bit too tired and in need of rest you can jump in the follow van. Vanessa and Jon also take care of all your purchases so you can stock up on wine, food, juice and provisions at each stop and not worry about how you’ll carry it. If you’d rather do your own tour you can hire a bicycle, get guidance on where to visit or chart your won course then set off on a day of adventure. Vanessa and Jon are able to organise a gourmet hamper for you and help with pick up/drop-offs too! Find Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire.
3. Sam’s Farm Fresh Fruit & Veg
Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt region are renowned for exceptional fresh produce and, interestingly is responsible for nearly all of Queensland’s apple crop! When a Queenslander sees an apple from Stanthorpe, they just know it’s going to be good. Sam’s Farm Fresh Fruit & Veg is the perfect spot to take your tastebuds on a tour of the region’s flavours. Sam’s is located around 15 minutes drive from the heart of Stanthorpe so it’s a great first stop as you drive into the area. We stopped in on our way to our accommodation stocking up on a box full of fresh bread, cheese, fruit and preserves which we later used for a sunset picnic. I actually recommend bringing an esky or cooler bag with you because, if you’re anything like us, you’re probably going to stock up on a lot of delicious local goods and want to keep them refrigerated on your drive home. Find Sam’s Farm Fresh Fruit and Veg here.
4. Breakfast at Wallangarra Railway Cafe
Start your day with a delicious breakfast or brunch at the historic Wallangarra Railway Cafe. It should take you around 30 minutes to drive to Wallangarra from the heart of Stanthorpe. When you arrive, you’ll be right on the Queensland and New South Wales border! Plan your visit around daylight savings and you can do a bit of time travel on the border. The historic railway platform is the perfect spot for a peaceful breakfast, offering plenty of seating options in and outside. We loved the layout of the cafe, the abundance of plants and cosy spots to seat and just how relaxing it was starting our day there. Something about eating on a railway platform just makes it fun! Be sure to tuck into the yummy food options including fluffy homemade corn fritters and eggs benedict all best accompanied with a great cup of coffee. Find Wallangarra Railway Cafe here.
A visit to Sutton’s Juice Factory, Cidery & Cafe is the perfect way to experience the regions exceptional apples. Located a short 12-minute drive outside the town of Stanthorpe, it’s another spot you can visit on your way in or out, although the drive is so quick you can visit any time! The Shed Cafe serves up the most amazing apple pie and the servings are incredibly generous, accompanied with whipped cream and ice cream. You can also do a juice tasting before stocking up on bottles of the good stuff! There’s a great variety to choose from, made from different types of apples and additional ingredient combinations like apple and ginger, for example. My personal favourite is the cloudy apple juice! We also usually stock up on apple cider vinegar and a few of their amazing jams relishes and chutneys. Find Sutton’s Juice Factory Cidery & Cafe here.
6. Girraween National Park
Spend a few hours, half or even a whole day exploring the Girraween National Park! There are loads of fantastic trails to choose from, depending on how long you’d like to spend out, what you’d like to see and your fitness/ability levels. Walking tracks like Granite Arch are nice and easy, taking only around 30 minutes or so to complete and ensuring you’ll get to wander past some of the gigantic granite boulders the region is famous for. If you’re in need of more of a challenge, The Pyramid covers some pretty steep terrain and should take around 1.5 – 2 hours to complete. At the top, you’ll be treated to unbeatable views over the area and some amazing photo opportunities too. If nature walks aren’t your thing, the park is a beautiful spot for a morning tea, lunch or afternoon tea picnic surrounded by wildflowers and native trees. Find Girraween National Park here.
7. Ridgemill Estate
On our most recent visit to Stanthorpe, we stayed at Ridgemill Estate and absolutely loved our time in our gorgeous cabin. It’s a fantastic place to stay and also a wonderful spot to visit even if you aren’t an overnight guest. We loved feeding the goats, doing a guided tour of the vineyard with the owner, Martin, while sipping on a glass of Ridgemill rose. Our tour took us through the winery and Martin gave us detailed insight into the process and all the little things that make their wine so good! We also did a cellar door tasting with winemaker Pete, which gave us even more insight, information and a chance to taste more of the good stuff! Find Ridgemill Estate here.
Visit Stanthorpe Cheese, the Granite Belt’s original farmhouse cheesemakers. The cheeses here are made to traditional recipes that taste like real cheese straight from the farm! In the tasting room, you can sample a wide range of cheeses as well as chilli sauce, relishes, chutneys, balsamic vinegar and more. When you’ve found what you like, stock up for later and make yourself an incredible afternoon picnic accompanied by local wine. While you’re at Stanthorpe Cheese, you may like to visit the Jersey Girls Cafe for a slice of cheesecake, cheese platter and wine, juice or tea and coffee. Find Stanthorpe Cheese here.
The Granite Belt region is famous for producing fantastic wine so it makes sense to take advantage of all that’s on offer with a guided winery tour. The benefit of doing a guided tour is that you’ll be taken to great local spots and won’t have to worry about your blood alcohol level as you won’t be driving! You can stock up on bottles as you go, storing them in the vehicle until you get back to your accommodation. There are a number of different providers offering tours through the region so be sure to check them out to find a tour that perfectly meets your needs. Find tours here, here and here.
10. Summit Estate
We visited Summit Estate as part of our guided bicycle tour with Granite Belt Bicycle Tours and loved it! The property is absolutely stunning, with a lush vineyard, beautiful flowers and even a really friendly dog named Diva, if you’re lucky (she loves belly scratches, FYI). We were taken through a tasting and learned a lot about each wine, the process for making it and the extra insight into what makes it so good. I ended up grabbing a bottle of sparkling tempranillo I’m saving for a Christmas BBQ! There are some fantastic events held at Summit Estate throughout the year including delicious dinners, sunset sessions, campfires or, if you prefer, you can grab a couple of bottles and head off into the vineyard for a picnic. Find Summit Estate here.
In addition to some fantastic winemakers, you’ll find talented folk producing all manner of delicious goodies including the superb brewers at the Granite Belt Brewery. There ales and lagers are handcrafted onsite in the 1000 litre microbrewery using the very finest ingredients. You can do a tasting paddle or flight or, if you fancy a bite to eat, indulge in their signature Brewers Platter with four dishes perfectly paired to each beer. Find Granite Belt Brewery here.
While staying at Ridgemill Estate we noticed they had BBQs set up for guest use and it got me thinking a sunset BBQ would be a fantastic way to enjoy the warmer weather in Stanthorpe. As you make your way through the region you could collect delicious goodies for your BBQ, including fresh produce from Sam’s, juice from Sutton’s, wine from Ridgemill and Summit Estate and a quick stop in town to the local butcher. A sunset BBQ leading into a starlit BBQ is a great way to enjoy the area. If you aren’t planning on staying at Ridgemill, don’t worry, there are some public BBQs available for use at spots like Gleeson Park, Kilpa Street Park, Rotary Park, Storm King Dam and the Lions Parks on Maryland Street and Wallangarra Road. Check here for more details.
Be sure to grab breakfast at the fantastic Brinx Deli & Cafe, located on the main street in Stanthorpe town – you can’t miss it! The food in the cafe is absolutely delicious, highlighting favourites like eggs cooked to your liking and smashed avocado as well as a range of other yummy bites to try. We absolutely loved our breakfast and the coffee was fantastic too! Wander into the deli area and you’ll be spoilt for choice with a huge range of provisions to sample included cheeses, preserves, bread, sauces, relishes, chocolates and so much more. Brinx is very popular, especially on the busy weekends so be sure to factor this into your plans. Find Brinx Deli & Cafe here.
Stanthorpe has a fascinating history so it’s well worth taking the time to wander through the town at some point. Be sure to take note of the historic buildings and gorgeous street artworks, capturing Stanthorpe’s vibrant history. You may like to duck into the local pub for a cold beer and a classic country Queensland pub lunch! There are some lovely boutiques and a few thrift stores to be found as well as some great cafes, bakeries and good food spots worth checking out too. Find Stanthorpe here.
Markets are always a great idea to experience more of a new destination in one easy spot! You may like to plan your visit to coincide with the Market in the Mountains, held the second Sunday of the month and other special, pre-determined dates. The market showcases the best of the region including delicious food, fresh produce, arts and crafts, gifts, organic products, plants and more. Find the Market in the Mountains here.
16. Varias Restaurant
Indulge in a spectacular lunch or dinner at Varias Restaurant overlooking the vineyard and town of Stanthorpe. The menu here is so good it’s difficult to choose! My only advice for you is to make sure you show up hungry. The restaurant is open for lunch daily and for dinner Friday & Saturday only and if you are planning on visiting on a weekend, I’d recommend you book. Sample mouth-watering dishes like beetroot and fetta arancini, BBQ duck leg and perfectly cooked sirloin topped off with a decadent dessert like dark chocolate fondant. Varias takes the very best local produce and turns into unforgettable meals. Find Varias Restaurant here.
Take some time away from the hectic pace of daily life and escape to southern Queensland country for a weekend getaway. It only takes 2 hours 45 minutes to drive from Brisbane to Stanthorpe but you’ll feel much further away! Find yourself the perfect accommodation, maybe a private cabin overlooking a winery, and spend your weekend sampling delicious food and wine set against the iconic Queensland bush. You may like to take Friday off work and head out to the region for two nights, driving home on Sunday afternoon. It’s a lovely way to get away from it all and have some much needed time to rest and recharge. Read our Ultimate Guide to visiting Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt region here.
5 Top tips for visiting Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt
- Make sure you allow extra drive time as you move through the region. There are loads of great spots to stop at including cafes and producers of delicious goodies like jams, preserves, cheese, chocolate and so on. You’ll spot them as you drive around and will want to ensure you have enough time to duck into those that take your fancy.
- It’s really important to keep in mind that crops are the livelihoods of the farmers who work them. With that in mind, it’s not okay to stop and pick produce from anyone’s private property (unless you’ve been given express permission by the property owner). It’s also not okay to wander onto a farm for a look around. There are plenty of ways to sample locally grown fruit and vegetables so be sure to visit places like Sam’s Fresh Fruit & Veg and spots like Sutton’s.
- Don’t wait until winter or autumn to visit! The region is the perfect playground for your spring and summer adventures so be sure to head out there, support the locals and their businesses and have an amazing getaway in the process.
- The locals are a big part of what makes the region so special so be sure to connect with them where possible. For us, this was in little moments talking to accommodation providers, restaurant and cafe staff/owners and even just people on the street! The country hospitality is fantastic and connecting with the locals makes a visit even more enjoyable.
- Don’t be deterred by bushfires or drought! The best way to show your support for the amazing people in the region is to head out there and visit. We spoke to so many wonderful people from growers and suppliers to accommodation and tour operators who wanted people to know the region is open for business and ready for your visit! If the thought of drought or bushfires is holding you back, banish those thoughts and get out there.
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