Travel

Comfort you dream about

An aerial view of the mountains near Stanthorpe.
An aerial view of the mountains near Stanthorpe. Gail Loader

FROM the co-pilot's seat of the Piper Lance II six-seater, I had an uninterrupted view of the patchwork of manicured farms and high, forested mountain ranges.

We were on our way to explore the wonders of Stanthorpe in Granite Belt country and, with pilot Cheryl Arrentz pointing out sights along the way, the time flew.

Less than an hour later, we had landed on the other side of the range on a wide runway lined with fruit trees.

As this was the inaugural Sunshine Aviation flight from Archerfield to the newly upgraded Stanthorpe airstrip, we were greeted with cheers, chilled bubbly and my first walk down a red carpet.

The first thing I noticed was the pure “freshness” of the countryside. At an altitude of more than 800m above sea level, the air felt very clean and a little crisp.

Still best known for its apples and other fruit orchards, Stanthorpe now has a wider appeal to visitors with almost 50 wineries, lavender farms, cheese and olive processors and tempting pamper products on offer.

But more of that later. Soon, we were whisked away to the five-star luxury of The Olive Grove Estate.

With friendly staff, the accommodation has every comfort I dream about, including private outdoor spa, massage chair and leather lounge.

Jumping on board the Filippos Tour bus with our friendly driver Frank, the first stop is at Pure Heaven skincare factory and store in a beautifully converted timber farm house.

The organic skin care and pamper products are made on-site using environmentally safe manufacturing methods. Visitors can sample the wonderful array of colourful and deliciously scented scrubs, soaps and lotions.

No visit to Stanthorpe would be complete without taking in the liquid delights at some of the boutique wineries which offer less-common wine varieties and something for all tastes.

At Tobin Wines, the new range has been 10 years in the making. Turning his life-long passion into reality, Adrian Tobin presents tastings of his experimental wines, which have the flavour of the Mediterranean and bear the names of his grandchildren.

Wild Soul winery takes a hands-on approach to its wine-making with planting and picking all done by hand in the traditional way. The Boullier family specialises in red wine and welcomes visitors to sample its wares.

The Rocks Restaurant is known in Stanthorpe for its special dining experience. The owners, Paul White and Deb Thurlow, are chefs and their diverse range of dishes is guaranteed to tempt your tastebuds, as will the extensive range of local wines.

If you enjoy the finer things in life and have a penchant for chocolate, enjoy sampling the decadent desserts and heavenly nibbles of Bella Rosa's Tea Rooms in nearby Thulimbah. Set among the fine English china in a pink tearoom paradise, Nat Burton holds regular chocolate-making workshops.

Work off the calories afterwards by frollicking in the fields of Aloomba Lavender Farm. Former teacher Tere Bonner welcomes you into the warmth of her home to sample mouth-watering lavender scones.

The cooler months equate to specially warm hospitality with plenty of events happening around Stanthorpe. But any time is good time to enjoy the ambience of the town and surrounding areas. Call in at the friendly visitors' centre to enjoy a cuppa and a walk on the banks of Quart Pot Creek.

But my personal choice is curling up in front a warm fire, with good company and a delectable boutique wine.

The writer travelled as a guest of Sunshine Aviation and Granite Belt Wine & Tourism Inc.

STANTHORPE BOUND

Stanthorpe is close to the Queensland-New South Wales border, west of Brisbane.

Flights are available from the Sunshine Coast and Archerfield Airport.

Contact Sunshine Aviation on 5450 0516 or www.sunshineaviation.com.au to arrange your personalised tour or visit www.granitebeltwinecountry.com.au for more information.

Gympie Times

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Local jobs a priority

LOCAL JOBS ARE A PRIORITY: Senator Chris Ketter is in Emerald for a round-table discussion about local jobs.

Labor to hold a round-table discussing local jobs.

CQ housing market starts to recover

MARKET RECOVERY: Things are looking up for CQ real estate.

CQ housing market continues to gain traction says Herron Todd White.

Getting the right message

Bridie Duggan who was awarded the Northern Territory Australian of the Year.

Bridie receives top honour as NT Young Australian of the Year.

Local Partners

WATER UPDATE: Supply improves thanks to rain, residents

UPDATE SUNDAY 5.30PM: WATER supply to some CQ towns that was placed on emergency restrictions has cleared up due to rain and residents adhering to restrictions.

Kernaghan's a 'boy from the bush' with a timeless quality

Country music singer Lee Kernaghan.

Lee Kernaghan is celebrating the 25th year of his breakthrough song.

Beating the heat in the school holidays

Ellie Dyer on the monkey bars at a fun filled playground.

Looking for something to do these school holidays?

Santa is coming to Isaac libraries

CHRISTMAS CRAFT: Join in the special Story Time sessions at Isaac Libraries December 5 to 9 and create your own Christmas craft like Sophia, Evie and Ashley Williams.

Santa is dropping in to the libraries in the Isaac Region.

Chris Pratt's 'mental preparation' for going nude on screen

Actor Chris Pratt

New film took some mental preparation for Chris Pratt

Spiderman star used fake name to research role

Spiderman star Tom Holland.

Spiderman star went undercover at Brooklyn highschool

What's on the small screen this week

A scene from the TV documentary Running Wild: Australia's Camels.

TWO new Aussie docos will pique your interest.

EXCLUSIVE: Meet Robert Irwin, wildlife photographer

SNAPPER: Apart from wildlife, photography is Robert Irwin's great passion.

Steve's boy has a passion for photography

Louis Tomlinson's tribute to late mother

Louis Tomlinson's new single is a tribute to his late mother.

Justin Timberlake stuns students with secret class

Justin Timberlake stunned high school students in Sydney

Essential to get new Maroochydore CBD fundamentals right

LOOKING AHEAD: The central business district at Maroochydore is planned to be the heart of the Sunshine Coast.

SunCentral reports good progress on 53ha Sunshine Coast city heart

'Crucial' farm land eyed by defence department

Lawson Geddes moving the Brangus cattle to higher ground - which is the land the Defence Department is interested taking for the Shoalwater Bay expansion.

"You can't have one without the other.”

Former Shark Show for sale for $1.3 million

Vic Hislop at the old Shark Show.

TALK about a jaws-dropping real estate opportunity.

There's a whole lot of luxury in this home

The Endeavour Foundation's latest prize home in Mountain Creek.

WHEN it comes to desirable homes, it's hard to go past a prize home.

Ipswich City Properties asset portfolio retains its value

Ipswich City Council Administration Building, South Street, Ipswich. Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

New website launched by Ipswich City Council

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!