Weekend Adventures in Southern Downs & Granite Belt

After months of being cooped up, it’s time to get out and explore the natural wonders around you and where better to start than the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.

Located right on Brisbane’s doorstep, the beautiful high country is the perfect place to visit in winter, whether for a cosy weekend escape or a longer relaxing holiday.

The charming historic towns of Warwick, Killarney, Stanthorpe and Wallangarra are all an easy 2.5-3 hour drive from Brisbane and make ideal bases to explore all that the region has to offer, from outdoor adventures to foodie experiences.

For The Adventurer

Combine an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with a dose of fresh country air, jaw-dropping scenery and 5 exhilarating experiences not to be found anywhere else:

Clamber up awe-inspiring giant granite boulders, the biggest in Queensland, at Girraween National Park.

Queen Mary Falls

Go chasing waterfalls on a stunning scenic drive with viewpoints on the famous Queen Mary Falls, Browns Falls and Daggs Falls.

Spicers Peak

Indulge yourself with a stay at Spicers Peak Lodge, Queensland’s highest luxury hotel, (1.100m above sea level) with its five-star hunting lodge ambience and first-class restaurant.

Wine Cycle Tours

Cycle through picturesque countryside on a bike tour of the Granite Belt’s many award-winning vineyards.

Mt Cordeaux

Hike to the top of Mt Cordeaux and enjoy a picnic at the peak, where you’ll enjoy mesmerising views as far as Brisbane. Pick up your picnic fare at the roadside stalls of fresh and gourmet produce dotted along the way.

For the Foodie/Weekender

Short of time but want to get a taste of everything great that the Southern Downs has to offer? Then here’s the ultimate itinerary for a foodie weekend:

Scenic Rim

Be sure to knock off early so you can make the most of the beautiful 2-hour drive west along the Cunningham Highway to historic Warwick (famous for its roses and rodeo) and catch the late afternoon light on its heritage sandstone buildings. Check into your B&B with fireplace or contemporary motel room then hit the town for dinner, either with the locals at a country pub or a restaurant which celebrates local produce such as Bluebird Kitchen and Smokehouse.

The next morning, hit the road for a scenic 50-minute drive to another charming country town, Stanthorpe (the coldest in Queensland, where it snowed in the winter of 2015!), stopping along the way for a visit to Stanthorpe Cheese and Suttons Juice Factory.

Granite Belt Wineries

Take a peek around the town and grab a bite to eat from one of the cafes before checking into your accommodation. Then spend the afternoon paying a visit to the Granite Belt wineries, either via escorted tour or by bicycle (leave the car behind so you can enjoy the wine tastings). With over 40 cellar doors, the Granite Belt is Queensland’s premier wine region so stock up whilst you are here.

Scenic Rim Microbreweries

If you’re more of a beer than wine aficionado, there are 2 great breweries in town – the Brass Monkey Brew House and the Granite Belt Retreat and Brewery (the latter has a restaurant onsite, ideal for lunch).

Scenic Rim

Back at your accommodation, enjoy a cosy pre-dinner drink and snack from the day’s purchases by the fireplace at your cottage, before heading out for dinner at one of the winery restaurants, country pubs or popular foodie jaunts in the main streets. Worth checking out is the Queensland College of Wine Tourism’s Varias Restaurant, which offers a menu featuring local produce straight from the source.

Top image credit: Lachlan Gardiner and Southern QLD Country Tourism

Southern Downs Regional Council is a valued partner of Must Do Brisbane.com

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