20 Things to Do with Kids on the Southern Downs and Granite Belt
With wineries, mountainous peaks, art galleries and romantic BnBs, you’d be forgiven for thinking Southern Downs and Granite Belt is an adult-only destination. But that’s not the case! Here’s 20 things you can do with kids of all ages:
STANTHORPE AND SURROUNDS
1. Get lost at the Granite Belt Maze
Come and get lost at the Granite Belt Maze! As well as the maze, the littlies will love the mini golf course and giant chess set, as well as plenty of other puzzling activities to get their minds into gear! The Granite Belt Maze is located just off the New England Highway as you approach Stanthorpe, so it’s a super convenient stop before you enter town.
2. Watch a show at Lawdogs Australia
Attention dog lovers! Don’t miss a stop at Lawdogs Australia to see specialist dog training in action at one of their biweekly live sit downs shows (Wednesdays, Saturdays and more during busy times). They’ve also opened up a Truffle Discovery Centre,a working trufferie and home to a truffle dog detection centre.
3. Stretch the legs at Girraween National Park
Kids need to burn off some energy? Girraween National Park’s 30km of walking trails is the perfect spot for restless legs! Try the Granite Arch walk (pictured above). It’s a fairly short, easy trail that’s perfect for all ages and follows some fascinating rock formations, with granite archways and secret caves, allowing the kids to play bushranger for the day!
4. Visit the Big Apple
What’s a Queensland road trip without stopping at an iconic ‘big thing’ on the side of the road? The ‘Big Apple’ will greet you on the New England Highway as you approach Stanthorpe, giving the kids endless photo opportunities! There’s parking at Vincenzos, where you can stop in for some delicious local eats too.
5. Camp Under the Stars
A family escape to the country is all about leaving the iPads at home and reconnecting with each other and nature, and there’s no better way to do that than camping under a starlit sky. You’ll find a huge variety of camping and caravanning spots in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt, from National Parks, to tourist parks and bush camping too.
6. Tempt Your Sweet Tooth
Our foodie paradise is not just for adults! It’s easy to treat the kids (and yourself!) to a delicious stop when you’re travelling through the Granite Belt, with plenty of options for a cheeky morning tea stopover. Choose between apple pie, handmade chocolates, berry waffles and heaps more! Check out some of the enticing hotspots.
7. Rug Up at Snowflakes in Stanthorpe
Your best chance of seeing real snow in Queensland is in Stanthorpe, and to celebrate their freezing winter weather, every two years the town puts on a festival with plenty of faux snow to play in! Snowflakes in Stanthorpe takes place over three magical winter themed days, with snowfields, snow globes, an enchanted forest and more! The next Snowflakes in Stanthorpe Festival will be held from 5-7 July 2019. (Image by Glenda Riley)
8. Get festive at the Granite Belt Christmas Farm
Get festive at the Granite Belt Christmas Farm, in Applethorpe. Let the kids explore Santa’s animals, wander through the fields of real Christmas trees and savor the fresh smell of pine or visit the farm In harvest season and let the kids pick the perfect tree for your family festivities.
9. Pick Your Own Strawberries
You haven’t experienced Summer on the Southern Downs and Granite Belt if you haven’t savoured a local strawberry! Embark on a pick-your-own berry adventure at Ashbern Farms (between October and May) and enjoy some of the best strawberries found in Queensland, thanks to our mild summer temps!
10. Play in Autumn leaves
The whole family will fall in love with the rich colours of Autumn as our deciduous landscapes turn to hues of gold and crimson. Have fun stomping and rolling in huge fields of crunchy Autumn leaves. Head to the park in front of the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre where you’ll be able to explore Quart Pot Creek and the many trees (and leaves!) in the area. Image by Cory Rossiter.
WARWICK AND SURROUNDS
Say howdy to life in the country by experiencing first hand how a functioning farm works. There are a number of farm stays in the area with plenty of activities available including live shearing demonstrations, horseback riding, milking cows, whip cracking and plenty of 1:1 time with the animals.
12. Leslie Dam
Swap the surf and the sand for freshwater and fish at Leslie Dam, one of Queensland’s most popular freshwater fishing and camping destinations. It’s also an ideal spot for swimming and watersports, so BYO kayak, tinnie or jetski and head out onto the water! You’ll spot plenty of kangaroos onsite too!
13. Queen Mary Falls Animal Experiences
Queen Mary Falls is one of the region’s must stunning attractions, with an easy stroll that takes you to the lookout point (even suitable for toddlers). Hand feed rosellas and lorikeets at the top of the park (you can BYO feed or buy some from Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cabins) or embark on the Twilight Native Animal Walk, where you are likely to see bandicoots, kangaroos, and sugar gliders. From late October to early December fireflies light up the forest and glowworms illuminate the caverns near the Falls. This natural phenomenon occurs between 6pm and 8pm.
14. Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre
Giddy up! Head to the Australian Rodeo Heritage Centre in Warwick, the home of Australia’s most famous Rodeo! The only one of its type in Australia, the Centre exhibits interactive and static displays, live rodeo demonstrations, a theatrette, museum store and more.
All aboard! The Southern Downs Steam Railway operates steam train tours from Warwick to Clifton and Stanthorpe. Train buffs and kids will love stepping back in time on one of these C17 locomotives. Extra trips are put on during peak event times, so check out the train schedule and be sure to set some time aside to visit the railway memorabilia at the station before setting off.
17. Jumpers and Jazz in July
Queensland’s quirkiest winter festival hits Warwick every winter, giving everyone an excuse to don knitted jumpers, beanies and scarves and head outside to celebrate the cooler months. The trees around the centre of town are covered in knitted jumpers, turning the streets of this historical town into an outdoor art gallery! Check out the live jazz performances, the crafty events and don’t miss the Killarney Bonfire Night, where massive bonfires, creative fire drums and fireworks light up the night sky!
18. Sunflower Spotting in Summer
In Summer, from around late December onwards, a sea of yellow floods parts of the region as spectacular sunflower fields line major highways and country roads attracting thousands of snap-happy visitors. Travel the Sunflower Route from Warwick to Allora to take in these picturesque scenes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Keep an eye on the Southern Downs and Granite Belt Facebook to be in the know as soon as these beauties start blooming!
19. Mary Poppins House, Allora
Did you know, the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers, lived in Allora as a child when her father Travers Goff manged the Australian Joint Stock Bank, now known as the Mary Poppins House (built in circa 1880, pictured). Take a tour of this Heritage listed house by contacting Les on 0428 746 458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre (WIRAC)
Little ones need to use some energy up? Swim, gym and play at the Warwick Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Centre, open 362 days a year! There’s a huge indoor pool (with a beach style floor, allowing young children to play in shallow water), a rockwall to explore, plenty of space to run around and food and drink onsite.