Only 3 to 4 hours west of Brisbane and you not only pass the beautiful range, you start to see the clear blue sky and head towards the Granite Belt.
Country Australia, a hidden treasure, needs to be visited more by those of us in Brisbane stuck making the horrible journey south every long weekend on a jam-packed highway to a crowded beach with expensive food and abominably priced accommodation. Go west and then a little south.
A weekend away to celebrate a hen's night turned into a weekend away wine-tasting complemented with cheese, chocolate, pears, grapes, marshmallows, ghost stories (don't ask!) and fantastic company.
We started at Hidden Creek Estate, last time this was attempted, we nearly drove into the creek. Granted it was late at night but some caution when driving along the pathway next to the creek is needed. We arrived at the cafe and winery before embarking on our bushwalk in Girraween National Park.
More importantly perhaps was the lunch we enjoyed, I ordered the chunky beef pie with red wine gravy and mushy peas, kipfler potatoes and fresh carrots. Other items on the menu was a free form lasagne, haloumi and vegetable stack or a leek tart with blue cheese. The staff were so helpful, food was delivered in great time and the setting was perfect - possibly what influenced my decision to take home a bottle of moscato.
Hidden Creek Vineyard/Winery/Cafe, Stanthorpe Ballandean
After lunch, we walked into the winery and tried the various wines available. There were a selection of reds, whites, sweet wines and more.
The following day, there was of course, more wine tasting to be had. Our next stop was at Ballandean Estate, next to the very delicious Barrelroom Cafe. I wasn't feeling particularly hungry so I chose the wild mushroom and truffle infused soup, which for a starter with minimal ingredients, was just as satisfying as a dish with a symphony of ingredients.
If a starter was this good, I can only imagine what the mains are like. Around the table, I saw a range of dishes such as duck, lamb fillet and various pasta dishes, but there is definitely more available on the menu.
After lunch, we went into the winery to, of course, taste wines. As I was driving, I had to step out of this activity but walked around to enjoy the crafts and selection of wines available for purchase.
After my friends had finished indulging in the various wines available, we once again hopped into the cars with the designated drivers taking us all to the next pit stop. More wine tasting.
The landscapes that surrounded me is something I have not mentioned so far, country Queensland is truly beautiful. It looks like a dry country but is full of unique surprises that make you feel like you are in a lush paradise. The temperature was actually more bearable than the heat of Brisbane city.
We arrived at our final destination for the day. Golden Grove estate.
Golden Grove Estate
The vineyard met us from the road and we followed the path through to the winery.
Vineyard, Gilden Grove Estate.
Golden Grove Estate, 5 Star Winery, Ballandean
There was a nice area outside with a table and chairs where you could sit and take in the fresh air and the quiet surroundings. The non-drinkers (i.e. designated drivers) sat down and caught up on old times at high-school and relaxed underneath the shade of the trees.
Thanks Little L - love to see these articles about the more out-of-the-way places. The Granite Belt is a beautiful part of the world and deserves a higher profile than it currently has. Then again I suppose we are pretty spoiled here in Queensland. Keep up the great work!