Sitting outside with a little jacket and remembering to look for that lovely soup recipe in your folder? What a welcome relief to the summer heat. As autumn arrives this is the time to head to Stanthorpe.
Stanthorpe is a town situated in south east Queensland, not far from the border with New South Wales. The area surrounding the town is known as the Granite Belt. Stanthorpe was developed around Quart Pot Creek which meanders through the centre of town and it was originally inhabited by tin miners as far back as 1872. From Quart Pot Creek it changed its name to Stanthorpe which basically means tin town or village.
Stanthorpe happens to be some 800 metres above sea level and boasts the lowest temperatures in Queensland and some of you may recall the snow that fell there in 2015. While the elevation is not massive it is enough to make sure that switching on the electric blanket as you hop into bed will be welcome.
Cooler in the evenings and the mornings, its days are glorious when the clouds lift, the skies are blue and the day has still got a warmth that follows you around happily.
We loved the road trip from Brisbane which takes you through Cunningham's Gap and picturesque country side right up to Warwick and then onto Stanthorpe. The journey time is approximately three hours but we did stop along the way.
There are lots of heritage B Bs to stay in and they are often pretty Queenslanders or more modern homes but beautifully positioned with lovely gardens or memorable views. Ours was in Thulimbah in Summit Estate overlooking a vineyard and we loved the changing leaves on the vines. One thing that Brisbane suffers from is the sameness of the seasons and going to a place like Stanthorpe reminds you that yes, this is highland weather and yes, you will see the leaves changing into the intense yellow, oranges and reds shimmering in the sunlight.
During the day we had the chance to explore the town with its heritage post office and quaint little shops. We could take a walk along the creek and enjoy the park land or have a coffee in the central drag. More importantly we popped into the information centre where we picked up a Southern Downs and Granite Belt leaflet which showed the town, the attractions but also all the vineyards, breweries, cheese, and fruit and vegetables shops that are worth visiting. This is a very rich area and there is much to explore.
We took the Granite Belt Tourist Drive which took us through orchards, vineyards and forests to Thulimbah where we saw the Big Apple, famous as one of the coldest places in Queensland and The Summit Railway station, the highest in Australia. We stopped at an orchard to marvel at their colour and size and picked two windfalls off the ground. We crunched through them at the top of a mountain and decided they were probably the best we had ever tasted.
We stopped at the StanthorpeCheese and Jersey girls Cafe near Thulimbah which is so popular and you immediately know why as the cheese is delicious and their pickles and preserves equally so. Lots of visitors come here to have a ploughman lunch.
We spent the day popping into some wineries and trying some of the local wines and with over 30 wineries you are spoilt for choice. You can tour them on a bike as some of them are quite central, others are a little further away and you can opt to drive to them yourself making sure you have a designated driver who won't be drinking or taking one of the many tours which will do the work for you while you enjoy the tastings.
Stanthorpe hosts Law Dogs Australia, an event they describe as a "Dog Show with a Bite". This is a training and demonstration show for dogs and is suitable for all ages and fun to watch. For more details and dates when it is held go to Lawdogs.
There are a number of restaurants and eateries to choose from. We decided to go to the Granite Belt Brewery because we wanted to try their craft beers. They have tasting paddles as they call them with a variety of beers that you can taste but they also have a bustling restaurant with pub grub which is good. Our evening was very pleasant.
There is so much more, from the National parks which are close by to the various scenic routes that you can take, to the falls and the lakes nearby. The weather is just perfect for a trip out to Stanthorpe and the surrounding Granite Belt.
Check out some of the events and happenings here .