Looking to get away from the city lights in exchange for some warm country hospitality? Even born and bred city folk need a bit of fresh air sometimes! The Southern Downs delivers just that – complete with a unique granite landscape dotted with wineries, charming country towns and scenic tourist drives worthy of an epic road trip! Home to many regional communities, including Warwick
, Rosenthal, Allora and Glengallen, the Southern Downs is a beautiful part of Queensland that touches the New South Wales border. So whip out your headscarf like Thelma and Louise and get your friends along for the ride! Just don’t forget to book your Southern Downs accommodation before you slam the boot and hit the accelerator.
Most famous for its wine country, Stanthorpe sits at the centre of the action. Imagine pulling the top down, hair flying in the wind, winding your way past vineyards and straight up to the cellar doors. OK, k so you may not have a convertible, but that’s fine, the point is that you get there! With wine this good, you don’t want to miss out! You’ll be left picking out of a hat to decide which of the 20 cellar doors to knock on. Of course, wheren there’s wine, there’s food. Thankfully Stanthorpe is also home to bucket loads of fresh seasonal produce and markets so you can buy it straight from the picking. Prefer cheese and olives to go with that glass of Pinot? Gourmet treats and artisan foods are just around the corner to match your favourite drop.
Don’t stop driving, this is a road trip! Take one of the 10 tourist drives through the Southern Downs, most leading from Stanthorpe and Warwick. Zip through the country lanes past orchards, pastures and more vineyards, and stop for a better look at the cool granite boulders everywhere. You’ve probably never seen anything like it! For pretty waterfall pics, circle Queen Mary Falls National Park on your map. It’s only a short walk for amazeballs views! For longer tracks, head to the gorges, sharp ridges and peaks of Sundown National Park, or the World Heritage rainforest and eucalyptus forest of Main Range National Park. There are stacks on offer if you really want to give your Lorna Jane gear a workout!
Once you get to Warwick, forget about wine country. Here it’s like stepping back in time. With some of Queensland’s finest original sandstone buildings, the old-world charm of the streetscape will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a magical storybook set in the good ol’ days – just pretend there’s a horse pulling a cart down the street. Come on, you can at least take a photo to impress your nan! For a true country experience that’ll definitely require flats – don’t even think about wearing heels, ladies – come here in October for the Rose and Rodeo Festival. Now that’s something you’ll need photographic proof of!
Feeling tempted by a country holiday? The Southern Downs has it all, from cool old towns to classy wineries and natural settings that are more than just pretty to look at. Have you started creating your Facebook invite yet to suss out who’s coming? It’s time to get started! Have a look at our Southern Downs hotels below to get the inspiration flowing.