Your Guide to the Ultimate Winter Weekend
Want to experience a true winter this year? You’re in luck! Before you start planning a July jaunt to our southern states, simply head two hours south west to the coldest place in the state! Here’s how to spend 48 hours for a winter weekend escape to the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.
3PM: Hit the road
The Malt House, Warwick
Did someone say early knock off? Leave work a couple of hours early and hit the road, travelling about two hours south west to Warwick via the Cunningham Highway. Historic Warwick, known for its roses and rodeo, features some of the state’s finest original sandstone buildings and has a range of accommodation types from BnBs with your own fire to new motel rooms. Take in a spectacular country sunset and head out for dinner. Most of the pubs and restaurants are in the main streets, so it’s only a short walk from your accommodation…just don’t forget to rug up! Enjoy chatting to locals in a country pub or head to one of the newer restaurants celebrating local produce like Bluebird Kitchen or The Malt House (above). Overnight Warwick.
7AM: Rise and shine
Warwick Town Hall, Palmerin St
To get a full winter experience, rise early and head to the Condamine River for the popular river walk. You’ll need a beanie, but the fog rising off the water will make you feel like you’re in another wintery world! If you’re a keen runner, Park Run also starts in the same location at 7am every Saturday. Warm up with a hearty breakfast at one of the many local cafes.
9AM: On the road again
Apple pie from Sutton’s Juice Factory
Jump in the car again for the quick 50 minute trip south to Stanthorpe, the coldest town in Queensland (it even snowed in 2015!). Break up the drive by stopping in to Stanthorpe Cheese or Sutton’s Juice Factory on the way. If you’ve got kids with you, they’ll love the Granite Belt Christmas Farm, the Granite Belt Maze or Law Dogs Australia.
11AM: Wine time
Meeting the winemaker, Golden Grove Estate
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. If you’re more interested in the grain than the grape, head to the Brass Monkey Brewhouse or the Granite Belt Brewery, which also has a restaurant onsite.
2PM: Stanthorpe Stroll
Fromes Lane street art, Stanthorpe
After lunch, culture buffs should head to the Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery, which houses a Picasso lithograph, as well as the Stanthorpe Heritage Museum. Stanthorpe’s street art can also be explored by following this short walking guide.
Winter is the perfect time for hiking, with crisp, cool and clear days. Nature lovers should head 30 minutes south to to Girraween National Park to explore the walking tracks, granite boulders and spectacular views. The Granite Arch trail is suitable for all ages of choose the popular Pyramid climb for a challenge.
6PM: Wine down
Diamondvale Cottages, Stanthorpe
Winter is the perfect time to snuggle up in front of a roaring fire. Make a platter from your day’s purchases and rug up with a glass of Granite Belt red by the fire in your BnB. Let someone else do the cooking and head to one of the winery restaurants, country pubs or popular jaunts in the main streets. The Queensland College of Wine Tourism’s Varias restaurant offers a menu that celebrates local produce straight from the source. Overnight Stanthorpe.
8AM: Cool mornings
The Big Thermometer, Stanthorpe (Image by Patrick Doyle)
Sleep in and enjoying waking up to a frosty morning and hazy fog. To prove just how cold it really is, head to The Big Thermometer near the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre to snap a selfie. For breakfast, try Brinx Deli & Cafe which offers a delicious menu with plenty of Granite Belt goodies in the deli to stock up on before your journey home. Head one hour north east to Killarney on Mount Lindesay Rd.
10AM: Waterfall chasing
Queen Mary Falls, Killarney
In Killarney, explore the art galleries, museum and cafes in Willow St, before following the signs for the Falls Drive. This scenic drive takes in Browns Falls, Daggs Falls and Queen Mary Falls. Stop at Queen Mary Falls where you can choose between a 20 minute or 40 minute walk and hand-feed the crimson rosellas across the road at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park. Continue on the Falls Drive, stopping to take in the views at Carrs Lookout. The nearby Spring Creek Cafe offers a seasonal menu as well as stunning vistas.
Take the scenic route and head back to Brisbane or the Gold Coast via Boonah, continuing on the Falls Drive route. Caravans should drive home via Warwick.
While You’re Here
Make a weekend of it by checking out these other things to do in the area:
- National Park lover? Check out more information on Girraween and Main Range National Park.
- Want to spend some more time in Stanthorpe? Here’s a local’s guide on spending 24 hours there.
- Keen on coming to Queen Mary Falls? Check out how to spend 48 hours of food, fun and four wheel driving in Killarney.
- Prefer to travel in Spring? These 3 spring break ideas will give you all the travel inspo you need.
- If you have the kids in tow, make sure you check out these 20 family activities in the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.