People’s Weekend: Your Long Weekend Plans Sorted

With the Ekka public holiday moved to Friday 29 October 2021, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to enjoying a country escape, less than two hours from Brisbane. Put that ‘out of office’ on and hit the road to enjoy a long weekend on the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.

Time your trip with these events

lady walking through an art mural in Stanthorpe

Granite Belt Art & Craft Trail | Fromes Lane, Stanthorpe

The Southern Downs and Granite Belt events calendar is packed this Spring, and the People’s Weekend is no different! Your visit coincides with one of the biggest events on our calendar, the annual Warwick Rodeo and Gold Cup Campdraft – one of the largest rodeos in the southern hemisphere! Never been to a rodeo before? Muster your mates, don your boots, hit the arena and get ready for a night of action where the locals let loose! Dance the night away to headline acts Adam Brand and The Wolfe Brothers. Bringing the family? The kids will love the Warwick Rodeo Street Parade and Potters Market on Saturday 30 October.  The Rodeo runs from 25-31 October and you’ll need to purchase tickets.

If you prefer a slower pace, head south to the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail – Open Studios Event. From 29-31 October, you’ll discover a variety of local artisans as they exhibit at studios and galleries, with plenty of opportunities to try your hands at creating art yourself, including workshops for cheese making, jewellery making, watercolours, sculpture, creating your own boomerang bag and more. Head to the GBART website to download the trail map and view events.

Add these must dos to your itinerary

lady at the base of Queen MAry Falls

Queen Mary Falls, Killarney | Image by @emiliebrooke via Instagram

Want to scratch more than the surface while you’re here? The Southern Downs and Granite Belt takes in the towns of Stanthorpe, Warwick, Killarney and a string of friendly villages – all with plenty to keep your schedule busy. To make the most of your long weekend, check out some of these must dos across the region while you’re here:

  • Spring is blooming beautiful on the Southern Downs, as the region bursts to life with roadside flowers, colourful wildlife and apple blossom season! Savour the springtime vibes by picking your own apples or strawberries.
  • Love a nature fix? Then check out these five trails that are worth lacing your boots for. You’ll notice popular insta favs Girraween National Park and Queen Mary Falls on the list.
  • The Granite Belt is Queensland’s premier wine region and is home to over 40 cellar doors. Wine lovers should let someone else do the driving and embark on an escorted vineyard tour. If you’re feeling more adventurous, bicycle tours are also available and suit all fitness levels.
  • Hit the heritage trail! The heritage of the region is unmistakable in the majestic sandstone buildings that still dominate Warwick and Stanthorpe and speak of a thriving history. Step back in time with a ride on the Downs Explorer, a steam train that will take you from Warwick to Stanthorpe or Wallangarra and return. There’s three trips scheduled for Saturday 30 October, so you’ll have to book quickly.
  • For more ideas on things to do, check out the blog.

Where to stay

two kids by the banks of a river camping at Gordon Country

Gordon Country Camping, Goomburra | Image by @thefam4adventure via Instagram

This is a busy weekend for the Southern Downs, so we encourage you to book your accommodation as soon as possible. Can’t find what you’re after in Warwick or Stanthorpe? Check out our smaller towns of Killarney, Allora, Yangan, Leyburn or Maryvale, which all offer multiple accommodation options.

Or swap screen time for green time and set off on a camping adventure, using that extra day to pack up the tent and take your time heading home. The Southern Downs and Granite Belt has plenty of camping spots available, from caravan parks located near coffee shops, to creekside bush camping retreats. Plenty of them allow your furry friend too. Check out the Camping in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt booklet for all the camping spots across the region.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the Southern Downs this long weekend!

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lady doing a watercolour painting