I’ve been dreaming of going back to Stanthorpe after a brief day trip there many years ago, with Filippo’s wine tours. He must have been building his website at the time, because we were trailed by a photographer and our day featured on his website for many years to come. We’re no longer on the site… but it was kind of funny.
We visited Stanthorpe in July 2015. It was cold.
• Do plan to visit the local wineries. There are lots dotted all over the area. We found the Internet a bit patchy, and we found the tourist maps confusing, and while the wineries said they would be open on set days at set times they weren’t. So we ended up doing a lot of wasted driving which was a little frustrating. Some pre-planning may have ensured a better use of our time. You could visit www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au The scenery was beautiful and maybe if we were on a tour, we would have not wasted time.
• Don’t pack the car too tightly on your trip. You want to make sure you have some extra space, so you have enough room to buy some wine to take home with you!
• Do try the Strange Bird Wines. They are an ‘alternative’ wine and to achieve that definition they must represent no more than 1% of the total bearing wines in Australia – so you’ll definitely try something you may not have tried before.
• Do go to Jester Hill Wines, 292 Mt Stirling Road, Glen Aplin as this was the only winery we actually found open in the three days we were there! The Rose was lovely drop.
• Do listen to Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler on your journey there. Peter’s grandfather George Woolnough was a saddle maker in the town of Tenterfield, about an hour south of Stanthorpe. The saddle shop he worked at from 1908 to 1960 is now a museum on the High Street of Tenterfield.
• Do visit Mt Stirling Olives and buy some olives grown on the land, and say hi to their gorgeous beagle.
• Do stop at Suttons Juice Factory and Café and try their apple pie. They make it the way apple pies should be made, full of delicious Stanthorpe grown apples, and served with ice-cream. Also buy their cider and apple juice!
• Do go to the Granite Belt Maze and Mini-Golf if you’ve got kids. Ours our teens so they went in while we rested in the car. I thought it was a bit expensive for the whole family to go in. We could peak over the fence and talk to them while they were in there and they were happy about that.
• Do visit the Jamworks of Glen Aplin. Lots of home-made jams and chutneys and the most enormous marshmallows you’ve ever seen! Secret: they get the marshmallows from cosco. Ask the owners about planes – they have lots of plane stories to share 🙂
• Do visit the Jersey Girls Café at Stanthorpe Cheese and share a platter. We had one between the four of us and it was ample – though we found the bread batons a bit too big and doughy, and I looked away for a second, and my son pulled all the dough out of them, and just left the crisp outer bits. We had so much left over we packed up the left overs and ate them latter that evening.
• Do stop at the Brass Monkey Brew House and try some of their boutique handcrafted beers. Beers not really my thing, but the place was welcoming and they had a cute puppy. In fact a lot of the places in Stanthorpe had dogs – which were lovely.
• Do check out the produce calendar and try Stanthorpe’s in seasonal produce.
• Don’t visit the shop beside the big apple – it’s really expensive – a sucker trap for tourists.
• Do pack your walking boots and venture down to Girraween National Park. In fact try and go there every morning of your stay, and venture on a different walk – it’s beautiful and rocky and we did see a troop of kangaroos. What more could you want.
• Do stay at the Sommerville Valley Tourist Park at Storm King. We stayed in one of their three bedroom apartments. It was an absolutely gorgeous location looking over the dam. There were rabbits all over the place (be careful of the rabbit holes) and a camp fire pit at the front of our cabin. We also had a fire place in the cabin – and we stayed there three weeks before the famous week it snowed in 2015 – so it was very cold.
- Do buy your firewood from the garage – it’s cheap there!
- Do buy lots of apples so you can make apple pie when you get home, and remember your time in Stanthorpe.
I can’t believe it snowed in Stanthorpe three weeks after we visited. I’d definitely stay at Sommerville Valley Tourist Park and spend longer hiking in Girraween National Park and I’d also ensure I had extra room in the car to bring home cartons of wines!
Stanthorpe is 2 hours and 40 minutes south west of Brisbane Airport and 3 hours and 15 minutes south west of the Gold Coast Airport. Of course you can fly with the lovely people at Virgin Australia from anywhere in Australia, to one of these airports, and hire a car, and take a quick trip down to Stanthorpe.
Disclosure: This trip was entirely funded out of my own pocket, and is part of a entry into Top Travel Tips competition with Virgin Australia #PBEvent @VirginAustralia
Three weeks after we visited it snowed!! Here was one of the photos on social media – oops I do not know who to credit it too – but it is so QLDer.