Last month during our two weeks of school holidays, two of my girlfriends and I decided to take a little mini getaway to the country. One of our other friends had told us about the quaint little town of Stanthorpe that was nestled in the Granite Belt region of Queensland, about two and a half hours from Brisbane, that sounded perfect.
We left Tuesday morning and rolled into town around 11am. We were all excited to visit a town that apparently has actual winter weather but as soon as we got out of the car we found out they were having an unseasonably warm winter day (wah wah back in the car went the pea coats). We grabbed some coffees and took a stroll around the tiny town. Sidetone: Stanthorpe was all over the news here a couple weeks ago because it snowed there for the first time in 30 years.
The town was super cute but we realized quickly there were not too many dining options and we were starting to wonder if we were going to be eating dinner at the chinese take out place next door to our motel. Against our better judgement we decided to not grab lunch at any of the cafes in town but head out to the wineries to try our luck.
We stopped at the information centre where we found out there were several different “runs” (drives) you can take around the area, some focused on wineries, others on the fruit and dairy side- all of the things the region is known for. We set out on one of the wine trails because hello- this was a girls trip and it was a Tuesday and we weren’t at work.
Our first stop was Ballandean because we were told they served a nice lunch. Well they do serve lunch- just not on a Tuesday, of course. So we just drank wine and talked about blogging with the sommelier.
In order to avoid hanger setting in we gave up hopes of our nice lunch and ate a quick and subpar meal at a local pub. We plotted out the rest of our route and headed back on the road.
Next stop- Golden Grove Estate. The grounds were beautiful and the man pouring our wine (not the sommelier just a poor employee who got thrown in last minute) let us wander around the back and check out the casks.
The next winery was by far our favorite- Symphony Hill Wines. It was different from the other wineries style, it was much more modern and had a cute gift shop and vintage clothes store inside the cellar door.
The Shiraz that William and Kate drank when they visited Brisbane. Delicious but out of my substitute teacher budget.
The owners adopted their daughter from China and named one of their Cabernets after her. Ten percent of the sales from that wine go to Chinese orphanages, so I decided to get myself a bottle. I am all for drinking for a cause.
After some relaxing time at our little motel we got cleaned up and headed to dinner at the only place we could find open- Granite Belt Brewery. To be honest we didn’t have to high of hopes and expected it to be similar to the pub we ate lunch at. But when we pulled up the dirt road (after I almost ran over not one but three kangaroos) we realized it was a legit brewery with a lovely, rustic restaurant inside.
The best part is that they were playing country music when we walked in, we teased the manager that he put it on after hearing Emily Anne’s southern accent when she called for a reservation. The food and beer flight were delicious and I would definitely recommend getting dinner there if are ever in the area.
The next day we had a lazy morning and then grabbed brekky at a little cafe in town. We decided to spend our second and last day checking out the different attractions in the area. We took in a scenic drive on the Fruit Run and snapped some pictures while waiting for the cheese shop to open.
When the clock struck 10am we pulled up to Jersey Girls for a mid morning cheese tasting.
Three blocks of cheese and a mini esky (cooler) later we hopped back in the car.
Next stop was the giant apple, one of Australia’s “big things” right in front of Vincenzo’s. We were told by multiple people how good the food at Vincenzo’s was but didn’t have the appetite to try it out ourselves.
Next, we crossed the road and headed to Sutton’s Juice Factory and Cidery.
It wasn’t the right time of year to pick our own apples, so we had to settle with admiring all the different apple juices and homemade pies inside.
We did a taste test of all their varieties, all different in their own right and all free of preservatives and added sugars. Their ciders tasted quite different than what we were used to without all the extra stuff added in.
You can tell who the juice fan in the group was. But seriously I bought a bottle and treated myself to a little glass every morning for the next week. It was so delicious and refreshing I might need to make a trip back for more.
The inside had a dark, rustic feel to it and the sheer volume and diversity of all the liqueurs and spirits was a little overwhelming.
A couple pit stops for lunch and some antique browsing and then we were on the road jamming 90’s country music and taking in these views.
It was the perfect little winter getaway. I can’t wait to take another trip back with Travis and explore the national park so I can actually see the granite that the region is named for. There is just so much to do and see in this great big state (and country) we live in!
Linking up with Travel Tuesday!