50 Best Things To Do In Stanthorpe & The Granite Belt
In need of a day trip or weekend away from Brisbane or Gold Coast and wondering what are the best things to do in Stanthorpe & The Granite Belt? Located in the Southern Queensland Country, I’m sharing how much Stanthorpe surprised us in being a fantastic getaway, and one you should put on your list to visit too.
Expect to read about the incredible Girraween National Park walks, a Christmas farm like no other, Stanthorpe wineries and cellar doors you must visit, the famous Stanthorpe cheese and so much more in the Granite Belt region!
We searched high and low on our recent trip to bring you this ultimate Stanthorpe travel guide. Discover hidden gems, and that you won’t find in any other Stanthorpe guide on the internet!
Expect to eat plenty of cheese platters, gorge on the best apple pie on the planet and drink lots of decent wine.
Where is Stanthorpe?
Unsure where Stanthorpe is? Located 3 hours from both Gold Coast and Brisbane in the Southern Downs Region, it’s the perfect destination for either a day trip or weekend getaway from everyday life.
Stanthorpe is also a 2 hour drive from Toowoomba and 4 hours from Sunshine Coast, located close to the New South Wales border. With that in mind, you might notice your timings change when you go to some places, if you’re visiting during daylight savings.
What makes Stanthorpe a special place to visit?
Known as Queensland’s premiere wine country, it’s like Queensland’s version of Hunter Valley in NSW, but I have to say, I think it’s better! Wondering why? With quirky wineries to visit, an amazing national park known as Queensland’s version of Stone Henge and much more, Stanthorpe has much more to offer in our books.
It’s also known as the coldest town in Queensland filled with local granite (even outside people’s homes), and while we packed a mixture of clothes, it was really hot when we visited on the October long weekend.
What I really love about this town is that the locals are so friendly here. Every single person we spoke to was so nice, welcoming and gave us loads of tips. This was during a long weekend when we were told the town was full and there was no accommodation left to book.
Stanthorpe demonstrated excellent hospitality, and it truly made a difference to be surrounded by genuinely nice people.
This is also the apple capital of Australia. You’ll find local apple juice, a famous apple pie to try, a working apple orchard, apple picking, and of course the big apple is located here. We were surprised not to find a cider factory here, although some of the local makers did offer a homemade cider.
If you’re visiting during a long weekend, pre-book restaurants and cafes, even for breakfast. We managed to get in because there’s only two of us, but if you have more people in your group, you’ll definitely need to book.
The Best Time to Visit Stanthorpe
The best time to visit Stanthorpe is during spring time when the weather isn’t too cold or too hot. Mind you, when we visited, we found it a bit too hot during the day and that was at the very end of September. The air is really dry here so we struggled to do a three hour hike in the middle of the day. If you’re coming hiking here, I strongly recommend going early morning or late afternoon.
If you’re visiting in winter, be prepared. We spoke to the locals who told us they had a long drawn out winter with temperatures dropping to -5C at times.
Best Things To Do in Stanthorpe
There’s so many things to do in Stanthorpe, it’s the perfect getaway for everyone!
1. Hike The Pyramid in Girraween National Park
Girraween National Park is an incredible and unique national park you need to see for yourself. The Pyramid walk is slightly scary, especially for those of us terrified of heights. I went up there for sunset and basically had to rush as quickly as possible to avoid getting down the massive mountain in the dark. The steep granite mountain walk is a sight to be seen though, especially when you see the famous balancing rock for the first time.
The Sphinx and Turtle Rock walk is a three to four hour walk in the Southern walking trails in Girraween National Park. We started it around 1pm and it was so hot, we struggled on this walk, even though it wasn’t particularly hard. Read our full guide for visiting The Sphinx and Turtle Rock Walk before doing it, but I must say, it really is quite remarkable in person seeing the granite rock formation with your own eyes.
3. Mt Norman walk
The longest walk in Girraween National Park is Mount Norman walk. This 5 hour walk will take you up to the top of the mountain and is known as one of the hardest walks in Girraween national park. We didn’t get time to do this walk, but we would definitely put it on our list to do next time we’re in Stanthorpe.
One of the best things to do in Stanthorpe is to experience the beauty of the Granite Belt region up close with this bike tour around the wineries. Pedal through scenic landscapes, stopping at various vineyards for tastings. It’s an active and intimate way to savour the region’s finest wines.
5. Or go on Filippos tour
For a curated and informative wine-tasting adventure, consider Filippos Tour, the most popular wine tour in the Granite Belt wine region. Led by a knowledgeable guide, you’ll visit select wineries, learn about local wine-making processes, and sample exclusive vintages. It’s the perfect opportunity for those who don’t want to end up being the delegated driver who can’t do many wine tastings.
Stanthorpe wineries to visit
Obviously our guide for the best thing to do in Stanthorpe has to include the wineries you need to visit.
We visited the first three cellar doors mentioned in this guide, and the last three we were told to visit by a local born and bred in Stanthorpe. These last three are the hidden gems within the 50 wineries and vineyards located in Stanthorpe which might not be as popular as others, but they are apparently the goods. You can read our full guide for the 15 Best Stanthorpe Wineries You Need To Visit if you’re looking for our full run down.
6. Ballandean Estate Wines
As one of the oldest family-owned wineries in the region, Ballandean Estate Wines offers a rich heritage along with its exquisite wines. Expect loads of options at this busy winery in the Granite Belt. It’s home to the oldest winery in Queensland, with wine barrels on display dating over 150 years old.
7. Mountain View Winery
With breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, Mountain View Winery provides a serene setting for wine tasting. Their boutique selection focuses on quality over quantity, offering handcrafted wines that capture the essence of the region.
We loved this quirky cellar door. With a faux grass ceiling and selected vintage decor, it’s the type of winery we wouldn’t think twice about spending the afternoon at. We popped in, but we were on our way to climb The Pyramid so we didn’t have time for a tasting even though we really wanted to.
8. Summit Estate for sunset evenings
Summit Estate specialises in ‘sunset evenings,’ where you can watch the sun dip below the horizon while sipping their award-winning wines. It’s a romantic and unforgettable experience, so we made a beeline there on our first night. They were serving up pizzas, grazing boxes and wine tasting pallets as well. We arrived just after the sun went down and loved the live music and bonfire – highly recommend visiting!
9. Boireann Winery
Known for its high-quality red wines, Boireann Winery offers an elegant and intimate tasting experience. With a focus on European grape varieties, their wines are rich and complex, making it a must-visit for red wine aficionados, and one that a local told us really is one of the best wineries in Stanthorpe.
10. Hidden Creek Winery
As the name suggests, Hidden Creek Winery offers a secluded and tranquil experience. Specialising in a range of varietals, this winery offers an off-the-beaten-path tasting experience that’s both rustic and sophisticated.
11. Ravenscroft Winery
Ravenscroft Winery prides itself on its artisanal approach to winemaking. Visitors can expect small-batch wines that are rich in character and flavor. This family-operated vineyard offers a warm and welcoming experience, complete with tastings and tours.
More things to do in Stanthorpe
There’s much more to Stanthorpe than wineries. We met a couple in the room next to us at our hotel and they were leaving the town saying there wasn’t much to do. Well, fear not! I searched high and low to bring you this guide for the best things to do in Stanthorpe because there really much more to this town than wine.
12. Pick Strawberries at Ashbern Farms or Eastern Colour
During our visit, Ashbern Farms was closed for the season, which is a strawberry picking farm, complete with homemade strawberry ice cream to buy as well.
We went to Eastern Colour Farm instead for strawberry picking and had a great time picking some of the biggest strawberries we’ve both ever seen. This is one of the best things to do in Stanthorpe for families as the strawberries are waist high so you won’t have to bend down to pick them from the ground.
We initially picked a small box each to fill being $8 for 1kg. Within minutes we had already filled them and opted for a big box instead which equalled to $32 worth to take home with us. You can pay via cash or bank transfer and it’s a lovely Stanthorpe activity to put on your list to do.
13. You can’t miss The Granite Belt Christmas Farm
The Granite Belt Christmas Farm is honestly so amazing, we loved this place so much, it was one of our favourite things we did in Stanthorpe! Yes I know… a Christmas Farm!! Sounds random but it really is one of the best things to do in Stanthorpe.
You can pick your own real life Christmas trees to be chopped down, but what we really loved were the two shops to buy Christmas decorations and gifts. When you walk inside, it’s like getting a hug from Christmas itself. Music from your favourite Christmas movies are playing out in the shop and you’ll be wishing it was Christmas already.
I ordered their famous European style hot chocolate, which is freshly made everyday using Belgian chocolate. It’s honestly the goods – order it when you’re here. There’s even an option for feeding Santa’s farm animals here as well, making it one of the best Stanthorpe tourist attractions.
14. Explore Stanthorpe’s Street Art
When visiting Stanthorpe, you’ll find loads of local street art and bright and colourful murals, which really brings the town to life around the heritage buildings.
15. Visit the Ballandean Pyramid
You can’t visit the Granite Belt without checking out the incredible Ballandean Pyramid. It is so much more impressive in person, we felt like we could have been back in Mexico or something! This man made pyramid made out of the granite rock formations is really impressive and worth dropping by for when you’re on your way to Girraweeen National Park.
16. Visitin the Aloomba Lavender Farm
Located 20 minutes East of Stanthorpe, Aloomba Lavender Farm is a small lavender farm with a shop and cafe onsite. We visited at the beginning of October and we were told the season isn’t until November – December, so keep it in mind if you’re thinking of visiting. This was fine by us because we stopped by here on our way to the next hidden gem which is pretty amazing.
17. Be wowed by Undercliffe Falls
Sometimes when you see a waterfall online, it can be a little deceiving. We didn’t know if there would be any water or how long it would take to get to. When we arrived down a dirt road to an empty carpark, we were unsure what was ahead of us. But I have to say Undercliffe Falls really is the type of waterfall you can see is truly a hidden gem.
The swimming hole at the bottom looks so inviting, I would have loved to have tried to get to the bottom, but we ran out of time to have attempted it. I did notice a few walking paths, but I don’t know how you get to the bottom unfortunately. If you do attempt it, please be very careful as it’s not the type of waterfall you’ll see many people if any at.
18. Big Thermometer
There’s a couple of big things in Stanthorpe to tick off your list, the very being the Big Thermometer, which is located next to the Tourist Information Centre in Lions Park. The stone sculpture is a fun photo opportunity to swing by when you’re in town.
19. The Big Apple
On the outskirts of town, you’ll come to the Big Apple at Vincenzo’s Cafe. This was our first stop on our Stanthorpe trip as I always love stopping by the big things. We also had lunch at the cafe here, and mistakingly thought it was the go to cafe for the famous apple pie – it’s not. But I’ll talk more about the Stanthorpe apple pie place later in this guide as it is so so good, you need to visit it!
20. Rotary Park Picnic at Quart Pot Creek
If you’re a picnic basket lover, I would recommend ordering a cheese hamper from The Brinx Deli and Cafe and bringing it down to the Rotary Park opposite Quart Pot Creek and the Stanthorpe Visitor Information Centre. It’s a lovely spot with picnic tables and worth stopping by if you’d prefer to eat here than at a cafe.
21. Stanthorpe Heritage Museum
Located next to the Stanthorpe Showgrounds, the Stanthorpe Heritage Museum is complete with old buildings and information about the history of Stanthorpe.
22. Mt Marlay Lookout
You can drive right up to Mt Marlay Lookout to see the city from above. This will give you perspective of the town and where everything is located.
23. Market In the Mountains
Market In The Mountains is held once a month on the second Sunday of the month. Luckily it was on during our visit and we enjoyed seeing all of the crafts to buy from and support the locals. We ended up buying some handmade mugs and tea cups from a pottery maker as we collect them.
24. Visit the truffle discovery centre
The Truffle Discovery Centre is located at a house where they make all of the truffle sauces and oils selling in their shop. When we visited, we were given sticks to try a lot of their products such as the truffle triple cream brie, truffle honey and of course truffle oil – I’m sure Steve could have stayed there all day. Before I knew it, we walked out with about $60 worth of oil, balsamic vinegar and more.
25. Find the secret Sentimental Rocks
If you’re short on time and don’t have enough time to visit Girraween, I recommend checking out Sentimental Rocks instead. While you can’t compare the two, Sentimental Rocks will give you a taster of Girraween with giant granite boulders to take some Insta worthy photos next to them.
Just park your car in Jardine Street where we’ll see a walking path and a sign. Simply walk into the bush for about 1 minute and you’ll come to the granite rock formations.
26. Donnelly’s Castle
Donnelly’s Castle is home to a short bushwalk, where you’ll encounter giant granite boulders and magnificent views that seem to stretch on forever. According to local folklore, this was once a hideout for bushrangers.
When you reach the pinnacle, take a moment to breathe in the crisp air and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside.
27. Storm King Dam
Looking for a tranquil escape? Head to Storm King Dam, a local sanctuary for peace and relaxation. Spend your time fishing, kayaking, and sailing or set up a picnic by the lakeside. This is a great spot for sunset as well.
28. Granite Belt Maze
Get lost and find yourself at the Granite Belt Maze. Whether you’re visiting with family or friends, this place offers a fun challenge for all ages. There’s also a mini-golf course and a bird aviary to make a fun filled day here!
29. Find some hidden gems at Vintage Rocks
We loved Vintage Rocks which is a surprisingly big antique and vintage shop. Expect to find everything from antique furniture to vintage clothing here!
Where to eat in Stanthorpe
30. Try the famous apple pie at Suttons Juice Factory
It’s true! The apply pie at Sutton’s Juice Factory is as delicious as we heard it is! Both Steve and I had decided it was easily one of if not the best apple pie we’ve ever eaten. Initially we were only going to order one to share between us, but the assistant behind the counter assured us we would regret it and she was right.
The spiced cider ice cream sounds a bit random but it is truly delicious which goes perfectly with the apple pie. Think of delicious apple chunks, paired with a crusty but soft pastry and a side of ice cream and cream. Honestly, do not miss out on this place! Buy a bottle of their pure apple juice as well – I doubt you’ll find anyone in Australia producing a better apple juice.
31. Little Larder
Little Larder is a great option for breakfast or lunch in Stanthope. The modern cafe serves up insta worthy dishes and even has one labelled ‘The Gen Z breakfast’ which of course is avo on toast. We both ordered the Bad Bene, a version of eggs bene but with hash browns instead of toast.
32. Brinx Cafe for breakfast
If you’re staying more than a night, I would recommend checking out The Brinx Deli and Cafe for breakfast or lunch. We preferred this option and loved the simplicity of the fantastic produce they serve up. I would 100% order one of their hamper boxes to pair with wines from the wineries for a picnic for sure.
33. Check out ZEST Pastries
ZEST Pastries has a reputation for fantastic bakery food for those who prefer a light breakfast of coffee and croissant for example. We didn’t get time to visit, but we would have definitely checked it out if we had longer in town.
34. Stop off at Heavenly chocolate
If you’re heading over to Girraween National Park, stop off at Heavenly Chocolate just minutes before you enter the park. The shop has a beautiful wisteria garden and the chocolates are to die for. We stocked up on a couple for energy before hiking the up to the top of the Pyramid.
35. Groove N Grill Diner
Who doesn’t love a themed diner? Located in the middle of town, Groove N Grill Diner is the perfect place to get a burger and shake.
36. Granite Belt Brewery
We went to Granite Belt Brewery for dinner and loved this place. They actually have accommodation here too which we would 100% check out next time. The brewery is super cost and has a cabin in the woods kind of feel to it. We spoke to the super friendly waitress who told us the pork is one of the most popular dishes. So we ordered it and she was right. Again, this is one of the best pork dishes we’ve both ever had.
I ordered the cider and loved it, Steve wasn’t too impressed with the pale ale but I highly recommend visiting.
Indulge your palate at Vine+Dine at Heritage Estates, a gastronomic experience that pairs the best of local wines with sumptuous meals. As you enter this establishment, you’re greeted by an atmosphere that exudes sophistication and warmth. Knowledgeable staff guide you through a curated menu, where each dish is designed to complement the wine selections.
Make sure to book in advance, as this is a sought-after experience that captivates both locals and tourists alike.
If you’re a cheese lover, visit the Stanthorpe Cheese which is also a cafe. You can order amazing cheese grazing boxes here and sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy. The store offers an impressive range of handcrafted cheeses, each produced using traditional methods and locally sourced milk.
Whether you prefer a tangy blue or a creamy brie, you’ll find an option that tickles your taste buds. Don’t miss the opportunity to chat with the knowledgeable staff who are eager to share pairing tips and interesting cheese facts. Consider signing up for a tasting session to truly explore the nuanced flavors and textures that make each cheese unique.
40. Anna’s Restaurant
Anna’s Restaurant is an Italian restaurant just outside of the main street. We would have visited but we didn’t know much about it until we arrived.
41. Sams Fresh Fruit Stall
We were told by countless locals to make sure we visit Sam’s Fresh Produce shop on our way out of Stanthorpe because of his passion for providing some of the regions best fruit and veg. We met the man himself and he has a beautiful energy to him, as a man who cares about his business and his customers.
We stocked up on our weekly shop to take home with us and he even gave us a free jar of local honey, telling us we won’t ever have tasted better. What a beautiful way to end a fun trip to Stanthorpe.
While you’re planning your getaway to Stanthorpe, keep these festivals in mind to add into your stay.
42. Texas Country Music Festival
Yee-haw! The Texas Country Music Festival is a vibrant celebration of country music and culture. With live bands, line dancing, and rodeo activities, it’s a down-home extravaganza that offers a slice of the American Southwest right in Queensland. Don’t forget to don your cowboy boots and hat for this lively event in September.
43. Apple & Grape Harvest Festival
Celebrate the bounty of the Granite Belt at the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival. This biennial event in February showcases the amazing local produce, through food stalls, wine tastings, and orchard tours. From the grand parade to the grape crush, it’s a jubilant occasion that’s fun for the entire family.
44. Snowflakes Festival
Experience winter magic at Stanthorpe’s Snowflakes Festival. Though snowfall is rare in Queensland, this festival captures the winter spirit with activities like ice skating and snowman building. Cozy up with hot cocoa and enjoy an enchanting atmosphere that celebrates the colder months at this biennial event held on odd years. Unfortunately no pets are allowed at this festival.
45. Stanthorpe Berry Festival
Indulge your sweet tooth at the Stanthorpe Berry Festival, a summertime November event dedicated to all things berry-related. With a variety of berry-picking activities, cooking demonstrations, and scrumptious desserts, this festival is a berry lover’s dream come true. It’s a delightful way to enjoy the season’s freshest fruits
Places to visit nearby
Looking for more places to visit nearby or on your way back home? Luckily there are some incredible sights to tick off your bucket list when either heading to or from Brisbane in particular.
46. Boonoo Boonoo Falls
If you drive an hour from Stanthorpe to Tenterfield, you’ll come to Boonoo Boonoo National Park. Here the big ticket item is Boonoo Boonoo Falls. I’ve wanted to come here for a while but we were pretty exhausted after everything else we got to see on this trip. The falls are massive with fantastic swimming holes and the best part is, it’s only a 1km round trip. The 9km off road driving will be the exhausting part to get there.
47. Basket Swamp Falls
For those looking for a local hidden gem, visit Basket Swamp Falls also located in Boonoo Boonoo National Park. This waterfall is tucked away and is a marvel to behold, especially after it’s rained.
48. Queen Mary Falls
If you’re heading back to Brisbane or Gold Coast via the Mount Lindesay Road, then you’ll basically entering The Falls Drive which will bring you to plenty of waterfalls in the Scenic Rim to visit. The main one is Queen Mary Falls which is one of the most impressive waterfalls in South East Queensland.
You’ll pass by Main Range National Park which is just over a 1 hour drive from Stanthorpe on the way back to Brisbane. As part of the Gondwana region, it’s a beautiful spot to see a rainforest again after being in the Granite Belt. The top walks to consider here is the infamous Steamers hike which is notorious for being very hard but with outstanding views.
Many people also climb Mt Cordeaux and there’s some hidden swimming holes here to research as well.
If you’re on a road trip, Toowoomba i a 2 hour drive north of Stanthorpe. We recently visited and really loved the town for it’s stunning parks and gardens and great town vibe. Put the Empire Theatre on your list to visit, and don’t miss out on the Botanic Gardens. You can read our guide, The Best Things To Do In Toowoomba before you go to plan your trip.
More Stanthorpe travel guides to read!
Looking for more Stanthorpe inspiration? Check out our list of travel guides to help you plan your next trip to the Southern Downs