Located in Queensland’s Southern Downs region, Stanthorpe is a hidden gem. It offers amazing fresh fruit and vegetables, locally made cheeses and wines, all among some of Queensland’s most stunning backdrop. The area also sports a number of national parks, with walks catering for all fitness levels, plus the Storm King Dam offers an array of watersports and fishing opportunities. With so much on offer, make sure Stanthorpe is top of the list for your next weekend escape.
Around the turn of the 20th century, tin miners, a Catholic priest, soldiers, and Italian immigrants helped shape Stanthorpe in southern Queensland’s Granite Belt. The town endured a downturn after the tin industry collapsed, but in 1919, encouraged by a Catholic priest, locals capitalised on their ideal climate to grow fruit and vegetables. Father Jerome Davadi had given them cuttings from his own garden before leaving for Rome.
Many soldiers in the 1920s lived off the land with skills in agriculture. They arrived with a talent for making wine and learned winemaking from the Italians who were working in sugarcane plantations at that time.
Today, Stanthorpe has become an area renowned for producing some of Australia’s finest cool climate wines,plus its rich local history, and its collection of activities for a much-needed weekend escape. Here’s a list of what to do in Stanthorpe the next time you plan to visit.
But First, Some Directions and Information
Stanthorpe is located 218 kilometres southwest of Brisbane and can be accessed from Ipswich via the Cunningham Highway (National Highway 150).
If you want a truly memorable idea of what to do in Stanthorpe, the highlight of its calendar is the Apple and Grape Festival. The Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Harvest Festival is one of Queensland’s longest running and most successful Festivals!
The biennial festival is a celebration of the Granite Belt region’s produce and booming wine industry, with on average 60,000 people attending the 10 day festival. This event has been held in Stanthorpe since 1966—over 56 years, and celebrates the harvest of all produce from the Granite Belt Region! Next held in 2024, the festival will run from Friday 23 February to Sunday 3 March. 1 – 3 March is what is known as the ‘big weekend’, with the Grand Parade and grape crushing fun.
Lifestyle Enthusiasts Can Check These Locations Out
Stanthorpe is the heart of Queensland’s wine industry, with more than 50 vineyards surrounding the town. Many specialise in lesser-known wine varieties such as graciano and fiano. Meanwhile, markets are packed with regional bounty, including freshly roasted coffee and locally made cheese.
In addition, there are plenty of opportunities for nature enthusiasts: you can attend yoga classes, camp in local national parks where it snows occasionally, and hike through the nearby Sundown and Girraween National Parks.
Wining and Dining Spots
Stanthorpe is home to four pubs, a craft brewery, and three local vineyards. Here’s a look at some of the best places to wine and dine when you’re at a loss for what to do in Stanthorpe:
- If you’re in the mood for something a bit more on the dairy side, try the cheese and ice cream at Jersey Girls Cafe and The Bramble Patch. Locals reckon they’re among the best in the world.
- Expert picnic basket delivery is available at Robert Channon Wines. Picnic baskets are created by resident winemaker Paola and are great for lunch on a wine-tasting day out on the Granite Belt. Each picnic basket can feed two to three adults for lunch. You are also welcome to a BYO picnic lunch!
Set the Date to Visit Stanthorpe
Visit Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt if you have the opportunity. There is plenty to explore and do: nature trails, food crawls, pub crawls, and other hidden activities you can expect. Remember to soak it all in, and you’ll never be at a loss for what to do in Stanthorpe during your next weekend escape.
If you’re looking to travel and need a solid itinerary on what to do in Stanthorpe, book your accommodations at Granite Belt Retreat! Set on 30 acres of natural bushland just five minutes from Stanthorpe, our country estate features 20 cedar cabins complete with log fire, a 1000 litre microbrewery, plus a bar, restaurant and function centre. Check our availability now!