“It’s not what you have in life that matters, but who you share your life with.”
Are you about to embark on a road trip with the family to the Granite Belt? Here are our tips on the best activities for making the most of your family weekend away…
Firstly, there is so much to look forward to on the drive. If you are coming from Brisbane and driving up Cunningham’s Gap (the big mountain after Aratula), wind down the window and listen out for the Bell birds. You can almost always hear them calling out. We love to do this any time of the year. If you have plenty of time on your way, you could also take a few hours to drive up to Queen Mary Falls near Killarney. You can do the falls walk in about 30 minutes to an hour; it’s such a beautiful part of the world. This could work on your drive home as well.
So, the first stop before reaching Stanthorpe has to be Suttons Juice Factory for apple pie and to taste all the beautiful apple juice varieties. I haven’t met a child yet that doesn’t love their apple pie!
After you have filled your tummies, make your way to the motel to check in and stretch your legs after the drive. We recommend taking the 30 minute round trip walk to Sentimental Rocks, which is located just behind the motel in Jardine street. Or if you have more time then set off down to the Quart Pot Creek Parklands. The parklands extends for kilometres around the creek and there is a playground and lots of nature and wildlife to enjoy. You can even try and spot the water dragons that live in the rocks near the Visitor Centre or feed the ducks in the creek.
The town’s iconic Big Thermometer is also located near Quart Pot Creek Parklands and the Visitor Centre. Be sure to check the temperature and take an obligatory selfie in front of it. Depending on the season, the kids may be able to play with falling Autumn leaves or just enjoy a picnic on the grass.
If you’re still keen for adventure, we recommend driving up Mt Marley and checking out the lookout, complete with viewing binoculars. The kids can enjoy the extensive views of the district and try and spot where the motel is! Or if you’re feeling peckish again, pop over to Ashbern Farms, where the family can pick and eat the juiciest strawberries they can find from October to May. They also have delicious home made strawberry ice cream and other treats available in their cafe.
Another great activity to take the kids to is the Stanthorpe Museum. Located near the Show Grounds, you can take a step back into the town’s past and explore our local history. The museum has two collections of national significance and one of state significance.
If you need more time to stretch your legs, we also recommend visiting Weeroona Park. It has a lovely playground set under giant trees and the Art Gallery located near the library has new exhibitions every six weeks. You could also wonder along the main street of Stanthorpe and awe at all of the street art on your way to lunch!
Almost all venues accept children for dining. If you want a simple meal try O’Mara’s Hotel, Country Club Hotel or the RSL. If the kids want pizza and pasta we recommend Lilly’s, or if you just fancy a simple takeaway head to Holly’s Cafe. Or if you don’t mind a short drive out of town, you could head to the retro-inspired Blue Topaz Diner and enjoy one of their drool worthy burgers. Or why not head to Balancing Heart Winery (30 minute drive) for wood fire pizzas at sunset. There really are too many options!
The next day, when your batteries have been recharged, you must head to the iconic Girraween National Park. The activities are endless and include hiking, boulder scrambling, a picnic, swimming (only recommend during the warmer months of course) or just nature watching. On the road to the park is Heavenly Chocolate, loved by kids and all ages!
After you have spent half the day at Girraween, why not head North and check out Granite Belt Christmas Farm. You can enjoy a warming hot chocolate, feed the reindeers or pre-order a picnic hamper and enjoy nature. Just a short drive down the road is the Granite Belt Maze where the kids can wander through or try their hand at playing mini golf! On this side of town is also Donnelly’s Castle, a great granite rock formation.
If you still have some daylight left, head east into NSW and check out Bald Rock National Park and Boonoo Boonoo National Park which has a great swimming hole for the warmer months. Bald Rock has two different options to walk to the summit, so depending on your energy levels you can decide on the best path. The view is spectacular and looks back over Girraween National Park!
When you simply don’t have any more time, it’s time to drive home. We suggest you drop in to Sam’s Fruit Shop at Thulimbah to stock up on local fruit and vegetables for home. You probably didn’t get time to do all of these activities, so we of course recommend another family trip back to the Granite Belt!