Life is all about great pairings – peanut butter and chocolate, hot tea and cold milk and nature and nurture.
Find the latter in abundance in Southern Queensland Country, the only region of Queensland which actively enjoys all four seasons.
The region’s winter is the perfect blend of nature and nurture, where days spent outdoors under the gentle winter sun are matched by nights of self-care – soaking in outdoor hot tubs, sipping award-winning red wine or working your way through a progressive menu.
More than just home of out-of-the-Queensland-ordinary temperatures, winter in Southern Queensland Country is memorable. Parts of this region experience a dusting of snow thanks to high elevation and proximity to the Queensland-New South Wales border.
Looking for a winter wonderland? Discover these seven ways to nurture yourself in nature this winter in Southern Queensland Country.
1. Sample Comforting Food for the Soul
Winter is comfort food season and Southern Queensland Country is not short on places to sample its best slow-cooked fare – from high end degustations, country pubs to food trucks and honesty boxes.
The region is as good at cooking comfort food as it is growing it too, with parts of the region like the Lockyer Valley, voted one of the 10 most fertile growing regions in the world.
Southern Queensland Country’s fascination with growing extends from vegetables to viticulture, with the region serving as the State’s largest wine producer too.
With more than fifty cellar doors in the region, there’s at least 50 ways to warm up that we can think of!
2. Dine Out on Delicacies Only Harvested in Winter
Truffles might be divisive, but what the jury can agree on is that they are a dainty, delicacy the world over.
Stanthorpe is home to two truffle producers who open to the public, The Folly Truffles and Stanthorpe Truffle Discovery Centre, who make use of the Granite Belt’s ideal growing conditions for the fungus.
Sample these dark, knobbly, pungent delicacies at their truffieres – or dial up the action joining a truffle hunt among the trees.
Considering truffles retail for about $3 per gram / up to $3000 per kilo, joining a truffle tour is one of the best value ways to see the truffles on mass.
With these fungi only harvested in winter, be sure to shuffle your holiday dates in line with truffle season.
3. Have Yourself a White Christmas
While 25 December might be more boardshort and bikini weather for most of Australia, in Stanthorpe, there’s an operator celebrating Christmas all year round.
Don your favourite ugly Christmas sweater – you’ll need it when you visit in winter – and pay a visit to the Granite Belt Christmas Farm.
Aside from growing Christmas trees, the farm is a celebration of the season with the Mistletoe Store stocking more than 20,000 decorations.
The onsite café serves breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, but don’t leave without sampling their winter-warming Belgian Hot Chocolate.
Winter sun shining? Soak it up by asking the café to prepare a picnic hamper to enjoy outside, breathing in the crisp scent of fresh pine needles with every bite.
4. S’more Where that Came From
Winter = fire pit season and good news, Southern Queensland Country has plenty of campsites with firepits to base your winter camping adventure.
Stock up on marshmallows from the local convenience store and squish them between your favourite store-bought biscuits and melt them delicately over a fire for a smore-ish dessert.
Looking for something a heartier than a pillowy, sugary bite to warm your camping adventure? If you’re staying at one of these places near the Bunya Mountains – you’re mere footsteps from Australia’s highest whiskey bar.
At Shackleton’s Whisky Bar you’ll find 116 whiskies on the menu – a selection built for winter-warming.
5. Keep Moving, Stay Warm
The mercury might have dropped, but in Southern Queensland Country the events calendar is just warming up.
Across 10 days in July, the town of Warwick embraces the cool change at the annual Jumpers and Jazz festival, which is dedicated to celebrating what’s wonderfully winter in the region.
Everything at this regional event takes on a distinctly chilly theme, including the trees of the town, which are dressed up in knitwear and textile art in a nod to the season.
Further west, the Western Downs town of Tara draws a crowd every second winter for Australia’s biggest camel party combines camels, culture and Camping at the Tara Festival of Culture and Camel Races.
Expect 10,000 people to descend on the otherwise tiny town of approximately 3000 people for a program of camel races, multi-cultural entertainment and camping.
Closer to the border, every second year (next event 2023), Snowflakes in Stanthorpe, gives visitors a good excuse to don their beanies, mittens and scarves for an event that’s held in the coolest town in Queensland.
6. Enjoy the Chill of the Crisp Outdoors
The soul-warming winter sun is best enjoyed with a picnic made from local produce.
While there’s no shortage of places to throw out a picnic rug and BYO picnic in Southern Queensland Country, if you’re looking for a location to remember, add Awassi Cheesery to your winter-to-do-list.
Forget packing your own picnic, join this Lockyer Valley sheep farm for their ‘high cheese’, which takes you on a cheese tasting journey while sitting in their avocado orchard.
No time for high tea? Their standard cheese tasting will take you through hard and soft variety’s for just $20.
7. Take a Country Drive
Round up the family, crank up the heater – there’s a road trip with your name on it to experience the spoils of the season.
If leaving from Brisbane, take the Western Freeway out of town towards the Great Dividing Range – and choose your own adventure whether it be the Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba, Southern Downs and Granite Belt, Goondiwindi or Western Downs region.
If time is on your side, mark Goondiwindi, Yelarbon and Texas on your winter travel list and experience a destination where winter temperatures frequently drop into single figures.
From the comfort of your car, you can explore Goondiwindi’s public art, including fixture on the Australian silo trail in Yelarbon.
Warm up with a classic meal at the iconic Victoria Hotel in the main street, before choosing your next adventure.