The Best Things to Do in Stanthorpe & The Granite Belt

Autumn Scenes in Stanthorpe

Escape the bustling cities and immerse yourself in Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt’s natural beauty and warm hospitality. Located in the Southern Queensland Country, this region has so much to do and see and is a perfect getaway for nature lovers, food enthusiasts, and wine connoisseurs.

From stunning national parks to award-winning wineries and charming local attractions, Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt have something for everyone. This comprehensive travel guide will show you the best places to visit in Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, including hidden gems and must-see attractions, to make your trip unforgettable.

Where is Stanthorpe?

Located in the Southern Downs Region of Queensland, Stanthorpe is nestled amidst the picturesque Great Dividing Range, close to the border of New South Wales. It is easily accessible by car, approximately a 3-hour drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, making it an ideal weekend getaway or short break. The region’s stunning landscapes and natural wonders are worth the drive, promising a rewarding and rejuvenating experience.

Why We Think You’ll Enjoy Visiting Stanthorpe

Stanthorpe is Queensland’s premiere wine country, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and warm country charm. The region’s granite rock formations give the area its name and create a distinct and breathtaking landscape. The locals are known for their hospitality and welcoming nature, ensuring visitors feel at home.

Stanthorpe is also famous for its apple orchards, producing a significant portion of Queensland’s apple crop. The abundance of fresh produce grown in the area creates a vibrant culinary scene that food enthusiasts will find irresistible.

The Best Time to Visit Stanthorpe

While Stanthorpe is often associated with autumn and winter, the region offers something special all year round. Spring brings vibrant blooms, while summer offers warm and pleasant days perfect for outdoor adventures. Autumn showcases the stunning foliage of the deciduous trees, creating a magical atmosphere. Winter provides cozy evenings by the fireplace, wine tasting, and hearty meals.

Whether you prefer the crisp winter air or the vibrant spring colours, Stanthorpe offers a unique charm for every season.

Best Things To Do in Stanthorpe

Stanthorpe, with its plethora of activities and sights, is a destination that warrants more than just a weekend visit, and once you see how much there is to do and see here, we’re sure you’ll be planning a few trips!

Stanthorpe is a vibrant town that offers an array of exciting experiences that cater to various tastes. Its unique topography provides an ideal setting for invigorating hiking adventures, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

The region also boasts a rich culinary scene that can satisfy the most discerning palates. With the numerous vineyards punctuating its picturesque landscape, visitors are invited to embark on an indulgent gourmet journey.

Related: Experience Romance in Stanthorpe ~ A Guide for Couples

If a romantic escapade is what you seek, Stanthorpe does not disappoint. Book a cosy cabin, spend your day exploring the myriad things to do in Stanthorpe, and then return to the warmth and comfort of your cabin, where you can unwind with a glass of shiraz, merlot or cabernet sauvignon in front of the fire.

Whether you’re an adventure seeker, lover of good food and wine or a love-struck couple, Stanthorpe presents an exciting canvas to paint your perfect short break. Here are some of our favourite things to do:

Explore Girraween National Park

Girraween National Park is a natural wonderland that should be at the top of your list when visiting Stanthorpe. Embark on the Pyramid Walk, a challenging yet rewarding hike that takes you to the summit of a granite mountain. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking. Explore the Sphinx and Turtle Rock area for a more leisurely walk that showcases the unique granite rock formations. If you’re up for a more extended adventure, the Mount Norman walk offers a 5-hour trek to the highest peak in the park.

Indulge in Wine-Tasting

No visit to Stanthorpe is complete without exploring the region’s renowned wineries. Take a leisurely cycle tour through the vineyards, stopping at various cellar doors for wine tastings. Filippos Tours offers a curated wine-tasting adventure where you can learn about local wine-making processes and sample exclusive vintages. Ballandean Estate Wines, Mountain View Winery, Summit Estate, Boireann Winery, Hidden Creek Winery, Whiskey Gully Wines, Symphony Hill Wines and Balancing Heart are just a few of the must-visit wineries in the region. Each offers a unique experience and a chance to savour the flavours of the Granite Belt.

Experience the Joy of Picking Strawberries.

One of the delightful things to do in Stanthorpe is to visit Ashbern Farms, a haven for strawberry lovers. Here, you can pick your delicious strawberries and enjoy a unique experience. The farm is committed to sustainable agriculture and uses biological control methods to manage pests and diseases, so you can be sure that every strawberry you pick is healthy and organic.

But the fun continues beyond the strawberry fields. After picking, you can indulge in a sweet treat at the farm’s cafe. Their homemade ice cream, decadent chocolate-dipped strawberries, and mouthwatering waffles are the perfect reward after a day spent in the fields. This experience combines the joy of being outdoors with the pleasure of tasting fresh, locally-grown produce.

The strawberry picking season runs from October to May, making Ashbern Farms an ideal destination for a fun-filled activity during these months.

Visit The Granite Belt Christmas Farm

Immerse yourself in the Christmas spirit at The Granite Belt Christmas Farm, where you can pick your Christmas tree and browse a festive selection of decorations and gifts.

Be amazed by the Ballandean Pyramid

Ballandean Pyramid
Courtesy Granite Belt Wine Country

Nobody expects to see a giant pyramid built from blocks of local granite when driving along the highway, yet there it is! The pyramid stands 17.5 metres in height, is 30 metres square at the base, and contains 7,500 tonnes of rock. It was built using an excavator and dump truck and took eight months to complete. It may be the owner’s folly, but it has become a Granite Belt landmark and a favourite Instagram spot!

Wander through the Aloomba Lavender Farm

The Aloomba Lavender Farm in Stanthorpe is an idyllic destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the tranquillity of the countryside. This farm cultivates many lavender varieties, ensuring a constant bloom throughout the year. However, if you want to witness the breathtaking sight of six acres of lavender fields at their most vibrant, the best time to visit would be from November to early December, when it’s peak blooming season, creating an enchanting sea of purple across the landscape.

The lavender harvest typically commences mid-November and concludes mid-December, adding another dimension to the visitor experience.

Lunch at Ballandean Estate

Angelo Puglisi, the founder of Ballandean Estate, is an influential figure in Queensland’s wine industry. His family-owned and operated winery, the oldest in Queensland, has become a symbol of long-standing tradition and unmatched quality. Established in 1932, Ballandean Estate has faithfully produced exceptional wine for nearly a century. The winery, open every day from 9 am to 5 pm, invites enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike to explore its rich history and exquisite offerings.

Ballandean Estate is home to the Barrelroom Wine Lounge, open from 11 am to 4 pm daily and serves signature grazing platters, cheese boards, and premium wines.

The ambience is rustic, moody, and quirky. Think leather and luxury with a roaring fire, ambient lighting, and mirrors. Sitting amongst the 160-year-old barrels full of ageing fortified wines, spending a few hours here is an unforgettable experience.

Visit Stanthorpe Cheese Shop

For cheese connoisseurs and culinary enthusiasts, visiting the Stanthorpe Cheese Shop is a must. Boasting the unique distinction of being the highest and coldest dairy farm cheese shop in the region, the shop produces an exquisite array of cheeses, all derived from a single herd of purebred Jersey cows. This singular source ensures a consistent and superior quality of cheese that is difficult to rival.

The Stanthorpe Cheese Shop offers a unique opportunity to sample various cheeses before purchasing. On average, visitors can expect to taste around 12 different types of cheese on any given day.

The Stanthorpe Cheese Shop offers a wide variety of cheese. It also showcases an array of other locally produced items, allowing visitors to taste and support local businesses and farmers, promoting a sense of community and highlighting the region’s agricultural excellence.

Uncover Natural Wonders

Stanthorpe and its surrounding areas are blessed with natural wonders that will leave you in awe. Be captivated by the beauty of Undercliffe Falls, a hidden gem nestled in a tranquil setting. Remember to visit the Big Apple, an iconic photo spot and a symbol of the region’s apple-growing heritage. Enjoy a picnic at Rotary Park by Quart Pot Creek, surrounded by picturesque scenery. Explore the enchanting Donnelly’s Castle, a unique rock formation with intriguing caves and tunnels.

Immerse Yourself in Local Culture

Experience Stanthorpe’s rich history and culture by visiting the Stanthorpe Heritage Museum, where you can learn about the town’s fascinating past. Take in panoramic views from Mt Marlay Lookout, a vantage point that offers a stunning perspective of the region. Browse the Market in the Mountains, a monthly market showcasing local arts, crafts, food, and organic products. Discover the secrets of truffles at the Truffle Discovery Centre, where you can sample truffle-infused delicacies and learn about the intricacies of truffle farming.

Join Festivals and Events

Courtesy Granite Belt Wine Country

Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt are known for their vibrant festivals and events celebrating the region’s unique offerings. The Texas Country Music Festival, Apple & Grape Harvest Festival, Snowflakes Festival, Grazing the Granite Belt, the Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail and Stanthorpe Berry Festival are just a few of the events that showcase the region’s cultural and culinary heritage. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, enjoy live music, indulge in local delicacies, and join in the festivities that make Stanthorpe an extraordinary place.

Where to Stay in Stanthorpe

Alure Lodge Stanthorpe
Alure Lodge

Stanthorpe offers a range of accommodation options to suit every traveller’s needs. Here’s a few options covering a range of budgets and styles.

Ridgemill Estate, nestled among the vineyards, offers comfortable cabins with stunning views and an on-site winery.

Alure Stanthorpe offers luxurious dog-friendly accommodations, including glamping experiences and stunning villas, all featuring private hot tubs and breathtaking countryside views.

Girraween Environmental Lodge offers cozy bush chalets surrounded by nature.

Ballandean Estate offers new and unique accommodation in its Barrel View Luxury Cabins.

These are just a few options, as plenty of lovely cabins, villas, and large homes are available if travelling with family or friends.

Related: Amazing Winery Stays in Australia (Perfect for Two)

Girraween National Park

As you can see with this comprehensive guide to things to do and see in Stanthorpe and The Granite Belt, the region offers a unique blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and warm country hospitality.

Whether seeking outdoor adventures in Girraween National Park, enjoying wine tastings at the region’s renowned wineries, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Stanthorpe has something for everyone.

Getting there

Stanthorpe sits high in the Southern Downs ranges, three hours south-west of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The scenic drive winds through the lush fields of Fassifern Valley, the steep mountain pass, and the rainforests of Cunninghams Gap and on to the lovely town of Warwick, famed for its heritage sandstone buildings, before you reach Stanthorpe 45 minutes later.

From Sydney, head up the New England Highway from Newcastle, driving through Tamworth, Armidale and Tenterfield before crossing the border at Wallangarra.

Related: Here’s how to spend 48 hours in Stanthorpe & The Granite Belt

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