Fly/Drive Gourmet Getaway
Discover a gourmet getaway to Southern Queensland Country – get ready for good food and wine and time together in beautiful places.
Think award-winning wineries, locally-grown produce lovingly served at regional restaurants, rolling green hills, quaint country villages and stunning national parks all just an easy 90-minute flight away.
It’s as simple as flying direct to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport with QantasLink in the heart of Southern Queensland Country, picking up a hire car and away you go!
Day 1: Sydney to Toowoomba
Your gourmet getaway begins when you touch down at Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport. All major car hire companies are represented at the airport so head straight for the car hire desk to pick up your new ride for the next couple of days.
First stop, coffee. Blink and you’ll miss skinny Searles Lane, right next to the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. If you miss it, you’ll miss one of the locals’ favourite coffee spots, Ground Up Espresso. This lively hole in the wall has led the emergence of a hip café scene. It’s the perfect perch to people-watch over breakfast or lunch and you won’t meet a happier bunch of baristas.
Time to stretch your legs and take a stroll around the city centre, follow our guide for the perfect balance of classic architecture, vibrant street art murals and cool laneways.
Spend the afternoon strolling in Queens Park, taking in the tranquillity of Ju Raku En Japanese Gardens or enjoying the views along Picnic Point’s escarpment trails.
Catch dinner at Encores and a show at the Empire Theatre, or admire the city with a rooftop pre-dinner drink at George Banks, before a night of authentic Turkish cuisine at Sofra; or head out of town to treat your senses at Emeraude micro region eatery at Hampton.
Take your pick from a range of places to stay:
Potters Boutique Hotel, Quest Apartment Hotel, Vacy Hall Boutique Hotel, Homewood Cottages, Applegum Inn, Highlander Motor Inn, ecoRidge Hideaway, Platinum International.
Day 2: Toowoomba to Stanthorpe
Sneak in breakfast at Ortem, Milk and Honey or Burrow café before you set your course south for the Southern Downs and Granite Belt – when you begin to see granite boulders, stone fruit groves and apple orchards dotting the landscape, you’re getting close. On the 1.5hr drive, you will pass through the rose and rodeo city, Warwick, were the heritage of the region is unmistakable in the majestic sandstone buildings that still dominate the town and speak of a thriving agricultural history.
Today is all about eating and drinking…somebody has to do it!
Morning tea is beckoning and tucking into freshly baked crumbly apple pie with creamy spiced cider ice cream at Suttons Farm is going to be a highlight of your day! Farmers Dave & Ros Sutton also make wicked cider, juice, jams, sauces and syrups from their apples, so don’t leave without stocking up.
Stanthorpe Cheese is just a short hop over the railway tracks – here you can try and buy farmhouse cheeses made from the milk of happy Jersey Cows – and other local artisanal products like Lyrah infused vinegars, Mt Stirling olives and olive oil, and New England Larder pickles, chutneys and relishes.
You’re in Queensland’s premier wine region so a wine tasting or two along the Strange Bird Wine Trail is compulsory! ‘Strange Bird’ is the nickname for the unusual, lesser known varieties of wine grapes grown in this area - Saperavi, Fiano, Verdelho, and Durif to name a few. As you’re heading south, drop into Balancing Rock Wines, Ballandean Estate, Golden Grove Estate, Granite Ridge, Hidden Creek, Jester Hill, Ridgemill Estate, Twisted Gum or Symphony Hill for a wine tasting and a chat with the winemaker at the cellar door. Don’t forget to buy a case or two to take home!
For hand-crafted sweet treats made from local produce, stop in at Jamworks Gourmet Foods Café and Larder – buy a jar of delicious strawberry, ginger and rose jam – it’ll be the perfect reminder of your time here when you’re gobbling down some toast and rushing off to work next week.
Dinner will roll around soon enough. Try the Modern Australian menu at Varias at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, traditional Italian at Anna’s Restaurant or combine a beer tasting with dinner at Granite Belt Brewery Restaurant.
Take your pick from local lodges and cottages:
31 The Rocks, Accommodation Creek Cottages, Alpine Lodges, Alure Stanthorpe, Apple Blossom Cottage, Diamondvale Cottages, Girraween Environmental Lodge, Granite Gardens Cottages & Lake Retreat, Grovely House, Maric Park, Possums Hollow and Hooters Hut, Ridgemill Estate, Severn-dipity, Vineyard Cottages.
Day 3: Stanthorpe to Sydney (via Toowoomba)
Sleep in and take your time or rise early and seize the day! If you’re not cooking your own breakfast or having it cooked for you by your hosts, head to Brinx Deli or Zest Bakery Café in Stanthorpe.
Browse the collection at Stanthorpe Regional Art Gallery or if you’re there on a market day, take a wander around Market in the Mountains.
If you need a nature fix, there’s nothing better than a walk in Girraween National Park. Granite trails, from easy 30-minute strolls to challenging half day hikes take in spectacular granite landscapes, tracts of bush, meandering creeks and precariously balancing boulders.
It’s time to begin a leisurely drive back to Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, but there’s no rush…on your way out of town drop into Kent Saddlery’s workshop to see master saddlers and leather artisans at work, visit The Truffle Discovery Centre to buy fresh truffles in season or a range of truffle products including local truffle-infused honey or visit Granite Belt Christmas Farm – where you can buy fresh handmade chocolates from Mrs Claus’ Kitchen and wander through fields of real Christmas trees.
Closer to Toowoomba you may like to detour to meet Kamina the pygmy hippo and other creatures at Darling Downs Zoo or spend some time over a hearty counter lunch taking in the history of Rudd’s Pub at Nobby.
You’ll board your homeward flight relaxed and rejuvenated, with bottles of Granite Belt Wine and local goodies to remind you of Southern Queensland Country and a lots of stories to tell your friends about the next great gourmet adventure they just have to try!
Image credit @adam.herden
Up for more?
Check out our other great escapes with Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport as the base for your Southern Queensland Country getaway:
- Western Country Must Sees
- Hit the Heritage Trail
- Spectacular Country National Parks
For more inspiration on where to explore across Southern Queensland Country, check out our handy guide or head to our blog.