It was time for another trip. Stanthorpe had been a place that had been on the cards for some time. Last year, we had been talking about autumn in that area and debating when to go. So, I got online and start looking at what was around. 6km outside of Stanthorpe I was in luck. 

The Granite Belt – a little information.

It is an area of the Great Dividing Range of the Darling Downs region of Queensland, and the New England region of New South Wales.  Centred on the town of Stanthorpe, the Granite Belt is located on the southern border of Queensland and boasts a population of over 32,000.

It gains its name from the granite rocks and outcrops that distinguish it from the rest of South East Queensland. Throw in flowers, the sunflower region, wineries, and virtually all of Queenslands $40m apple crop, and there you have it. Sounds spectacular right.

The weather 

There is a catch. The weather can be changeable. For my overseas friends & family, let me remind you of our seasons. Sept, October and November are Spring. December, January and February are Summer. March, April and May are Autumn and June, July and August are Winter. While temperatures are high in the summer months, April through to September can be cold. 

Now for the trip

I found Dad and I a place to stay and we were ready to go. Monday 17th October, we left home. Our plan was three nights away and home on Thursday. 

There were several routes that we could have taken, but cross country, is always favourable for us. Highways usually equal traffic, and when you. cross country, you see more. Usually things that you may never have seen before, or noticed. 

The journey was around 250km and estimated by Google maps to be 4 hours. Add in a coffee and lunch pitstop and we made it to the accommodation at 2pm. 

The accommodation was Whiskey Gully Winery, located at Severenlea, about 6km outside Stanthorpe. 

Our Accommodation

Our accommodation was a cottage in the grounds of the winery. It was called ‘The Opera House’ and very architectural in its design. It was two bedroom and one bathroom. The man of the house got the top floor and the queen bed, while I took the single bed. The bathroom was on the middle floor, with the kitchen and lounge on ground. 

The cottage was small. Cozy for a couple, and for us (dad and daughter travelling) we could make it work, but I imagine if there were mum, dad and 2 kids running around, it could be problematic. There were two other things that I spotted. There was no bedside lamp in the downstairs bedroom. Sounds like a little thing, but as someone who sits in bed with her light on every night reading, this was annoying. The other was cleanliness. When you see dead bugs on the windowsill behind the sofa, and a general shabbiness in that area…..again, this may be me being a little pedantic. 

The Opera House
Dads room
My room
View from the cottage

We had an afternoon settling in, when we arrived and ended up in OMaras in Stanthorpe for dinner. Aussie outback parmi  was on the menu. For those philestines amongst you that have no idea what I’m talking about….it is breaded chicken, smothered in BBQ sauce with bacon and melted cheese on top. And in answer to the next question…Gorgeous!

I checked out the wine list and memories came flooding back….one in particular….Symphony Hill. Symphony Hill was my favourite winery when Mark and I did a tour back in 2007. It was on the wine list begging for a taster. It was my first glass of red wine in a long, long time and it was very nice.

The 2nd day, Tuesday 18th, was a ‘drive out’ day. We headed out to  Amosfield. Then on to Liston,  and Wylie Creek, and eventually got to Killarney. 

A coffee stop and check of the map and we ere on our way to Falls Drive. 

Falls Drive website

While we had every intention of following it the whole way to Boonah, it was not to be. The road was closed which left us no choice but to retrace our steps. 

Taken on The Falls Drive
Taken on The Falls Drive
Taken on The Falls Drive
Taken on The Falls Drive

Through the entire days journey, we dipped our toes in and out of New South Wales. Every time we crossed the state line, daylight savings kicked in and our watches jumped forward an hour. We came back to Queensland and gained back our hour. As we crossed into New South Wales, I did report in to a friend via text, that I had gone “into the Twilight zone!” I won’t repeat what she said! 

It proved to be a productive wildlife day too. Kookaburras (before we had even left the cottage), a red bellied black snake, a green snake, an echidna and a few lizards. Tons of different birds too. 

When we got back to Killarney, it was time of course to check out the local tavern. When ‘the suns over the yardarm’ you just got to have a cold one!

On the Wednesday 19th, we decided that despite the continual onslaught of overnight rain, we were still going out. We headed back towards Tenterfield via the country lanes. We were hoping the rain would stop, long enough for the sky to change and not be that awful white. As Dad says, that white sky is not good when you’re photographing. 

As we crossed the state line again, the hour disappeared and we went from 12noon to 1pm. Here in Australia, many places stop lunch cooking at 2pm, so we were trying to find somewhere. Either shut or ‘sorry we stopped cooking’ In the end, I was lucky enough to spot a courtside cafe that was open long enough for two coffees and two toasted sandwiches. 

Todays wildlife spotting was limited to kookaburras at the cottage and kangaroos on our drive out. Many of them simply hopping the country lanes in front of you. No matter how long I live here, I`ll always be in awe of the nature we have in Australia. 

Then the last stop of the day. Symphony Hill Winery Cellar Door. Since tasting this on the first night, I realised I had found a red wine I loved! So, my treat to myself this trip was three bottles of this. (As well as an order form and the knowledge they deliver!)

Thursday 20th was home day and much as we would have extended this trip by moving to a new location (we were thinking Lake Leslie), the weather wasn’t good. 

With the continual rain our deciding factor, we headed home. We took a quicker route home in kilometres, but due to the rain  and severe lack of visibility, it slowed everything down. Highway 15, through to the A5/M5 at Springfield and then up the M1. We were home.