Stanthorpe To Ballandean Bike Trail
Autumn is the perfect time to hop on a bicycle and go exploring, so the Stanthorpe to Ballandean Bike Trail in the stunning Granite Belt is the ideal getaway - you get to sample local goodies and work off any after-effects with some enjoyable exercise! The weather's pleasantly cool, the autumn leaves are golden and gorgeous, and it's just two-and-a-half hours from Brisbane.
Either B.Y.O. bike or check out what Granite Belt Bicycle Tours & Hire have to offer. They'll deliver bikes to local accommodation and even pick you up if you get tired. You can choose from guided or D.I.Y. adventures, and can even purchase a picnic hamper.
The Stanthorpe to Ballandean Bike Trail is a 34 kilometre trail along winding country roads. Starting at the home of apple orchards and heading to Queensland's most awarded wine region, there are too many highlights to cover them all, so here's a few to get you started.
Varius Restaurant at the award-winning Queensland College of Wine Tourism has hospitality students serving fresh local produce in picturesque surroundings overlooking a dam, Banca Ridge Vineyard and Stanthorpe. Diners rave about the food and there's even an Interpretative Gallery telling the story of the Queensland wine industry.
In the hills above Glen Aplin is The Bramble Patch, where you can taste before you buy from a delicious range of jams, sauces, jellies, chutneys, fortified wines and more, all made onsite. They also serve mouth-watering sweet treats such as waffles and poffertjes. Yum!
Mt Stirling Olives in Glen Aplin is an equally rewarding gourmet experience, with over 3,500 olive trees and a nursery where you can buy your own olive tree. It's tempting to stay overnight in their farm cabin, then take all the time you need to choose which of the olive products you'd like to take home.
Once you hit the Ballandean wine area, you're spoilt for choice. Ballandean Estate Wines' cellar door and gourmet food gallery are definitely worth a visit, as is their Barrelroom Restaurant with the oldest working barrels in Queensland - 150 year-old German beer barrels filled with ageing port and liqueur muscat.
Wine connoisseurs won't want to miss Symphony Hill Wines, whose 2010 Wild Child Viognier was described by James Halliday as "right up there with the best". Taste for yourself at their quirky cellar door with chandelier and red leather 1960s lounge.
Then there's Golden Grove Estate, three-time winner of Queensland Winery of the Year. It's been in the same family since 1946 and they're rightly proud of their medal-winning and 5-star rated wines. Pop in to their cellar door and you'll see why!
Twisted Gum's cellar door is in a charming 1920s Queenslander, and there's also a three-bedroom cottage for extended stays. In the hills east of Ballandean, this boutique vineyard's agricultural practices won them the 2015 Premier's Sustainability Award.
The Stanthorpe to Ballandean Bike Trail has plenty of rest stops, signage, toilets and bike racks, so what are you waiting for?