Nestled in the Southern Downs Region of Queensland, Stanthorpe is a hidden gem where you can explore Australia’s highest vineyards or go hiking through a national park, while enjoying the best of country life in the sunshine state. This is why Stanthorpe should be your next weekend escape.
Tin miners, a Catholic priest, soldiers and Italian immigrants have all helped shape Stanthorpe in southern Queensland’s Granite Belt. In the late 1800s, at the downturn of the tin industry, Father Jerome Davadi persuaded the townsfolk to capitalise on the ideal climate by growing fruit and vegetables, offering them cuttings from his own garden.
In the wake of World War I, 500 returned soldiers settled on orchards west of Stanthorpe but by the 1930s many of the farms were abandoned. The properties were offered to Italian migrants, who were then working in the state’s sugar industry. They arrived in Stanthorpe with agricultural skills – and a talent for winemaking.
The best things to do in Stanthorpe
Stanthorpe is the hub of Queensland’s wine industry, with 50-plus vineyards surrounding the town, many specialising in lesser-known varietals such as graciano and fiano.
Bolstering the town’s gourmand appeal are markets packed with regional bounty including freshly roasted coffee and locally made cheese.
There’s plenty for nature enthusiasts, too: think winding trails in the nearby Sundown and Girraween national parks and skies that serve up the occasional sprinkle of snow. Yes, in Queensland.
Where to eat and drink in Stanthorpe
With four pubs, a craft brewery, and several vineyards, there’s plenty to eat and drink in Stanthorpe. Here’s what the locals recommend...
“As well as wine, we have good beer and cider – ask for Severn River Pale Ale at the Brass Monkey Brew House [in Severnlea]. We also have incredible walks and our own pyramid! It’s 15 metres and was built as a bit of a joke, using rocks left from clearing. It’s on private land [in Ballandean] but you can view it from the road. Residents will be impressed if you ask where it is,” says Paola Andrea Cabezas Bono, a local winemaker.
“[Stanthorpe is] a great community of kind, generous people. I love the beautiful crisp winters, the rich culture, the many wineries and the artisan makers. Visitors should try the cheese at Jersey Girls Cafe and the ice-cream from The Bramble Patch, which locals reckon is among the best in the world,” recommends alpaca farmer Tom Dachs.
- Stanthorpe is 218KM south-west of Brisbane, travelling via Ipswich on National Highway 15.
- According to the 2016 census, Stanthorpe has a population of 5406.
- The highlight of the Stanthorpe calendar is the Johnny Cash Country Festival, a celebration of the star who often holidayed here (2-3 November).