It's (finally) that time of the year again! The air is getting cooler, the winter woollies are coming out and we're craving hearty, tummy-warming fare. Based in Brisbane and thinking of retreating to somewhere totally romantic? Here are five of our favourite winter escapes for a memorable weekend away…
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Just an hour from Brisbane lies this unbelievably scenic destination. Easily one of its main attractions, Tamborine's rainforests are teeming with beautiful wildlife and bright blooms, making it great for hikes (be sure to check out magnificent Curtis Falls) and finding a little solitude.
You could just spend your whole stay here relaxing in a delightful cottage by the fire, but there's plenty of incredible experiences to be found in Tamborine. Horseriding in the mountains discovering glow worm caves, wine-tasting, wine-paired picnics – it's all here for you to enjoy.
There's also an array of fabulous options for foodies on the mountain and at its base – from fine dining to relaxed fare, all with breathtaking valley views.
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Springbrook, nestled in the Gold Coast Hinterland, is another scenic wonder just under two hour's drive south of Brisbane. Completely tranquil and rich with natural beauty, it's the perfect setting for spa retreats, cabin hideaways and chalet escapes.
Scenery- and fitness-loving couples will be in their element at Springbrook, with some of Australia's most sensational outlooks here. Hit the Twin Falls Circuit track for rainforest surrounds that look straight out of Jurassic Park, plus pinch-me-now views at the Canyon Lookout. And, of course, you can't come to Springbrook without visiting the magnificent Purling Brook Falls and Natural Bridge – they're Queensland icons for a reason.
If you're looking for something a little more relaxed, 'Best of All' lookout also provides amazing vistas, just 300-metres from the carpark. Or, settle in at a cafe for a lazy breakfast and pick up some picnic essentials for a no-fuss dining experience.
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An hour and 20 minutes north of central Brisbane, Maleny is Queensland hinterland at its best. Home to the Obi Obi Creek and Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, and with postcard-ready views of the Glasshouse Mountains, it's a winner for romantic escapes.
After checking in somewhere secluded and charming, get a coffee at local fave Maleny Food Co. (formerly Colin James Fine Food) and do not leave without trying the award-winning Hazelnut Roche gelato. For something a little more substantial, visit Maleny's answer to Brisbane's Eat Street Markets, Pallet Life Artisan Food Market.
Producing some of Queensland's best food and wine, Maleny is also perfect for foodie experiences. Make your way to The Big Barrel for sampling some of Maleny Mountain Wines' finest drops, or check out new-kids-on-the-block Brouhaha Brewery just off Maple Street. And feel like a six year-old again when you feed baby cows, sample quality yoghurt and roam through green pastures on a tour at Maleny Dairies – it's a must-visit. Take gumboots and don't be afraid to get muddy.
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Only 15 minutes north of Maleny, Montville is a haven for food, art, wine, lovely accommodation and more wonderful hinterland views. Walking along its main street brings you to quaint little cafés, art galleries, a boutique chocolate shop and intimate restaurants. Overlooking rolling green hills, The Edge Restaurant is perfect for toasting the occasion and enjoying a delicious meal. Or, pull up a chair at the visually stunning Poets Cafe. Designed in the enchanting Art Nouveau style, it offers a little slice of Parisian café culture among the treetops.
Venturing off the main road, you'll be rewarded with more sensational experiences – the scenic drive alone is utterly dreamy. With a grand 90-metre waterfall, Kondalilla National Park features a range of short walking tracks that make for a fantastic day out – you can even camp here if you're seeking a ruggedly romantic getaway. Or, add a little luxury to your stay and treat yourselves to an indulgent five-course degustation at Spicers Clovelly Estate's The Long Apron. And don't leave without wine-ing and dining at Flame Hill Vineyard & Restaurant or looking out over the sparkling Lake Baroon from Secrets Café.
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Situated in the heart of the Granite Belt's wine region, Stanthorpe requires a bit of a journey (just under three hours' drive south-west of Brisbane) but an escape here is well worth the effort. Offering up plenty of scrumptious gourmet fare, the little country town is also blessed with marvellous natural wonders. Known for its unique granite landscapes, seemingly gravity-defying boulders and open forest, Girraween National Park is just over 30 minutes' drive south of Stanthorpe and boasts wildlife rarely seen anywhere else in Queensland. Look out for wombats, spotted quolls, lyrebirds and turquoise parrots.
Back in the main part of town, couples can fill the days with cellar door visits, strawberry picking at Ashbern Farms, cheese-tasting at Stanthorpe Cheese, exploring lavender fields at Aloomba Lavender Farm and enjoying a pint at Granite Belt Brewery. Add to the mix a chance of snow during winter and you've got a brilliant weekend away.
Want more inspiration for a weekend away or romantic getaway? Check out our short breaks articles
Images courtesy of Destination Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, and Joint TA/TEQ