If you’re looking for inspiration for a kid friendly family getaway to Stanthorpe, this post is for you.
Last weekend we headed away to Stanthorpe for a much needed break.
When life gets overwhelmingly busy and noisy, a quieter scene is always sought and for us, Stanthorpe was the place to head to. We filled our days with visiting the main attractions, and the change of scenery was just what we needed. Possibly more so me, because I’ve been feeling under pressure lately with all thing things I’ve said yes to this year.
A couple of years ago when Jacob went to Stanthorpe to do a work visit, he described how quaint the town was and his description made me want to put it on our bucket list for a family trip away.
Stanthorpe is just under a 3 hour drive from Brisbane. The scenery along the way is far from boring and I felt calmer the further we drove away from home.
When researching an itinerary for a day or weekend away in Stanthorpe that was kid friendly, there wasn’t a lot of articles that came up. So I’m hoping this post will offer some advice on where to stay and where to visit.
We left for Stanthorpe early Saturday morning and didn’t come home till late Monday afternoon. Our days were spent exploring the region and experiencing the must do foodie attractions. Some places we didn’t end up visiting, but they can always wait for another trip back.
Tips on Travelling to Stanthorpe with Kids
• Pack beanies, scarves, gloves and a good down coat. Stanthorpe can be freezing in the morning and at night.
• Bring a cooler bag or esky to cart all the gourmet food you buy like cheeses, cold meats etc.
• When travelling with kids, stay at a guest house or cottage or farm stay. Stayz offer the best range of accommodation to suit large families. Do ring the accommodation before trying to book online. Sometimes the booking calendar doesn’t calibrate to the accommodation’s website calendar.
• If Stanthorpe doesn’t have accommodation for your needs, look at outer areas including Ballandean (where we stayed), Applethorpe, Thurlimbah, or Glen Aplin. Even Tenterfield. Also travel on a weekend rather than mid week as many of the attractions and wineries are open on the weekend from Friday to Monday.
• Consider buying fresh produce for your meals or alternatively buying all meals from the range of restaurants and cafes in the area. We chose to do a big breakfast, dessert for lunch and a big dinner with a lot of taste testing in between.
• Mix the stops with shops and activities so the kids don’t get bored or ask when can they play? Most stops had some sort of interactive part, which meant the girls were happy to get in and out of the car. Interact with the people at each location. They will be happy to show the kids the animals that help make the produce.
Day 1 – Getting to Stanthorpe, Tasting All The Food and Checking In
We drove to Stanthorpe without any stops in between. The kids did ask how much longer we’d be in the car. Next time, I’d make a stop at the Aratula Bakery for something to eat. The reason we chose not to do this on our trip into Stanthorpe is because our first stop was going to be at Suttons Farm – an apple juicery, cidery and distillery. The cafe is known to serve the best apple pie and we wanted to try it for morning tea.
When we finally arrived at Suttons, the kids were eager to get outside and kick the leaves piled near the fence. The weather was crisp, so the apple pie and latte went down very well.
The apple pie servings are massive and come with cream and apple cider ice-cream. We only bought one for the three girls to share. They were more interested in the cream and ice-cream. The girls taste tested the apple juice while mummy and daddy tasted the cider. We walked away with two bottles of apple juice and full bellies.
Our next stop was at Castle Glen. This may not be the most kid friendly destination to go to. But we took our chances because the girls loved the look of the castle. We headed inside and it looked like a scene from Shrek with all the potions (liqueurs) in different shaped bottles. We were only in here for 5 minutes as I was too apprehensive about the girls going down the aisles and breaking a bottle. There was taste testing available, but we mainly went in for a quick look and so the girls could say they have been in a castle.
From Castle Glen, Stanthorpe Cheese was our next stop where we got to taste test some cheese. You can watch the cow milking early in the morning, which is then used to make the cheese. The cheese isn’t made onsite, but the bigger blocks that are cut by hand for the deli can be seen in the back storage room. Esther and I got to hold one of the blocks of cheese. Each round block holds 60Litres of milk. We bought some feta and peppercorn cheese to take home (hence the need for the cooler bag). The girls grabbed a box of Jatz to snack on while in the car. Before we got in the car, we let the girls explore the hill in the carpark.
After Stanthorpe Cheese, the girls were keen to go to a lavender farm. We headed to Aloomba Lavender Farm, where the harvest had been completed but there were some lavender bushes for the girls to look at. There was a gorgeous puppy the girls enjoyed playing with. You can stop to have scones and lavender tea, but we were still full from Suttons. The gift shop housed all the products made from the lavender. We diffuse lavender each night in the girls rooms, so it was good for them to understand where the lavender oil comes from.
After the drive back to Stanthorpe, we were finally hungry for lunch. We stopped at Café 77 and the food didn’t disappoint. The burgers were fresh and delicious. We did have to wait a while for our food, but the food presentation for a café was impressive.
We checked into our accommodation at Vineyard Cottages where we booked a 2 bedroom cottage. The older two girls shared a queen bed and there was one spare bed in the loft. The girls slept upstairs and Jacob and I slept downstairs. There were two bathrooms, one upstairs and another downstairs so the kids didn’t have to venture down the stairs during the night for the toilet.
For the rest of the afternoon we kicked a ball in the back courtyard and looked around the gardens surrounding the cottages.
We had dinner at the Vineyard Café which is a licensed restaurant onsite. The food was lovely but a little pricey.
Our cottage was kept warm with heaters and a split system air heater. It would have been nice to have a fire, but after our experience in Byron Bay we weren’t too worried about not having a fireplace in our accommodation.
Day 2 – Food, Markets, Hiking and Wine Tasting in Stanthorpe
On Sunday morning, we decided to have breakfast at Wallangarra Station. The markets were also on at the same time of our visit (they are on the first weekend of the month). The station has been turned into a café and their meals were affordable and delicious.
Wallangarra is the last town before the New South Wales border. The history of the station dates back to the 1800’s when the NSW and QLD governments couldn’t agree on a rail gauge so this town became a major junction for interstate passengers to change trains.
We got to stand at the border sign and visited a craft gift shop (which is directly behind the sign) where the girls got to spend their pocket money and buy some knitted toys. Maggie bought another bag to add to her collection.
After our visit to Wallangarra, we drove to Girraween National Park. The girls loved this part of our trip the most. We did a 2 hour hike where we explored the Granite Arch.
We decided to trek onwards towards the Pyramid and made two thirds of the way up. There were a lot of stairs and my calves are still sore from the climb while carrying Phoebe. If you do want to reach the top, do wear hiking shoes or shoes that have a good grip.
My fear was not so much reaching the top, but getting down without the proper footwear. I carried Phoebe most of the way up because she wore her ugg boots. We didn’t expect to get as high as we did. But where we stopped was enough for us to get a good view down below.
After our trek, we visited Heavenly Chocolate. We bought the girls whatever they liked, but kept the chocolates for them to devour during our winery visit.
From Heavenly Chocolate we drove to The Bramble Patch which is a dessertery and serves artisan preserves which they make on the farm. This place is a MUST VISIT. The desserts were amazing. I spent a good while taste testing the chutneys, jams and various condiments. Some of them will be featured in this weeks Tradie’s Lunchbox post.
We stopped into Anna’s Candles on the way back down from Bramble Patch. I got a laugh at some of the candle names (sex on the beach or monkey farts anyone?). I walked away with the last rose candle.
The last stop of the day was spent at Tobin Wines. I wanted to visit here after reading some recommendations online and having the reputation of being the best wine from the Stanthorpe region, worldwide. The visit did not disappoint as Adrian (the owner and wine maker) was very passionate talking about his wines, which are named after his grandchildren. Jacob set the girls up outside near the swings with their Heavenly Chocolate treats and I got to taste test some delicious white wines and one red. Jacob is not a huge wine drinker, but got to sip some of the wine from my glass. If you do decide to visit Tobin Wines, visit late on a Sunday afternoon or on a Monday, as Friday afternoon and Saturday can be busy with visitors. It’s definitely a child-friendly winery to visit with the swings just outside the door at the entrance.
On Sunday night, we headed to the Ballandean Tavern for dinner. It was typical pub food – with decent servings. It was the perfect way to end a big day.
Day 3 – More Hiking, Hot Chocolates, Animal Feeding and Trekking Home
On Monday morning, we headed to Le Bel which is a café and antique shop, for breakfast. We all enjoyed looking through the range of antiques and homewares in the shop.
The girls were keen to do another bushwalk so we headed back to Girraween National park and did the Bald Creek Circuit which took just over an hour to complete. We got to see a kangaroo and a gorgeous red bird which we forgot to find the name of.
On the way back to Stanthorpe, we dropped back into Heavenly Chocolates, this time to have a hot chocolate. The girls enjoyed watching the chickens and when we left, we were allowed to feed the cows mulberry leaves. The girls enjoyed this immensely.
Our last stop in Stanthorpe was at Washpool Farm Soaperie. This place is DIVINE. Known for it’s goat milk soap, you can buy all natural beauty products with no nasties. We didn’t leave without buying a few bars of soap. The girls got to say hello to the goats before we jumped back in the car to drive home.
On the way home, we stopped at Vincenzos for some deli meats. And at Aratula, we bought fresh fruit and veg, steak and bread from the main shopping precinct. If you wanted to get more produce from some of the attractions in Stanthorpe, more could be bought at the Aratula fruit shop.
We filled in our days with fun for everyone, making sure everyone got to see and experience what they wanted.
I definitely recommend staying at the Vineyard Cottages if you want a good base to explore from.
Overall we had an amazing weekend and look forward to going back to explore more of the region and maybe try our hand at some more walking tracks.
If you are looking for a place where you can’t be reached by phone and the Wifi is limited, this is your place. I definitely recommend it for anyone who needs a bit of a technology detox.