5 wineries in Stanthorpe you must visit

People don’t often think of Queensland and wine in the same sentence, but about three hours south-west of Brisbane is a place called Stanthorpe – with amazing wineries.

The region is at it’s best during the cooler months with beautiful autumnal foliage painting the town in oranges, browns and yellows. But… onto the good stuff – wine!

To be honest, the region is loaded with amazing wineries, but here’s a short list of our favourites from the ones we had time to get to. I’m not a wine connoisseur so I’ve used the label descriptions for each of the wines we bought.

Stanthorpe grapes

Symphony Hill Winery

The Granite Belt has an alternative wine trail they call ‘Strange Bird Alternative Wine’. This is a list of wineries that make wine from grape varieties that are different from your usual Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc.

Symphony Hill has some wonderful Strange Bird selections, along with a welcoming and beautiful cellar door. The staff are super friendly and full of knowledge, not just about their wines, but also the region.

Here’s what we bought from Symphony Hill:

  • Gewurztraminer – 2015

A beautiful white wine, light and delicious, their signature white and winner of many awards. It’s easy to see why once you let the wine dance over your tongue.

Label description: ‘Exotic lavender and rose petal notes peek through a peacock’s fantail of wild musk and Turkish Delight aromas. Exquisite lip smacking flavours of lychee and spice dance delicately with perfectly balanced acidity all complemented with a talcum powder texture. Best enjoyed with spicy dishes where pleasure will then go up yet another level.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $40.

  • Shiraz – 2013

I’m a big fan of full-bodied red wines, though I have to admit this region broadened my wine wine taste buds.

Label description: ‘Gorgeous aromas of violets and spicy plum with a hint of blueberries and a touch of anise. The palate delivers rich sensual warm overtones of raspberry and chocolate with a splash of coconut harmoniously balanced with seamless acid and velvet like tannins.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • Tempranillo – 2013

I was first introduced to Tempranillo in Peru back in 2008, I wasn’t familiar with any of these varietals as we didn’t seem to have them in Australia (or maybe we did and I didn’t know about them!). So I took a stab at ordering and learned I liked Tempranillo and Malbecs. So of course, I knew I’d like this drop.

Label description: ‘Complex aromas of raspberry and anise push through an array of floral notes. Delicious flavours of savoury cherry like nuances with a hint of sarsaparilla notes balancing delicate velvet like tannins and seamless acidity.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe grapes

Summit Estate

Talk about welcoming! Summit Estate’s owner opened the cellar doors for us when there wasn’t any other visitors and took us through his entire collection. A sprawling cellar door with tables set up for big tour groups – this is a well established winery.

  • The Pinnacle – 2014

Label description: ‘A blend of Marsanne, Chardonnay and Viognier which co-exist beautifully in the glass. This dry, crisp style has subtle fruit driven character that will complement a variety of cuisine from fresh seafood to chicken dishes. This is a fine wine that will cellar well.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $22.

  • High Country white – 2014

Label description: ‘This wine has the familiar grapefruit and citrus notes of Sunny Queensland. Enjoy drinking his wine with your favourite salads, seafood dishes and Asian style recipes.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $22.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot -2013

Label description: ‘Unexpectedly complex. Replete with hiden charms. Surprisingly persistent. Qualities which define this impressive blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. This is an elegant style of Cabernet with structure and finesse. Ideal accompaniment to roast dinners and BBQ meats.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • The Anchorage Tawny Port

I find it hard to go past a port. I really just love it, so naturally, a bottle of this sticky, delicious drop had to come with us.

Label description: ’10 year old Tawny with typical rancio character, matured in French oak hogheads. Luscious and highly aromatic, with nuances of spice, toffee and plump raisins. Perfect as an after dinner indulgence with matured hard cheese.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe - Ridgemill

Ridgemill Estate

We actually stayed at Ridgemill Estate, they’re one of the few places with cabinets right in the middle of the vineyards! It’s only 10 minutes south of Stanthorpe, which puts you directly between the two major wine towns of Stanthorpe and Ballandean. You also get to wake up to this view:

Stanthorpe - Ridgemill view

And play with these little guys!

Stanthorpe - goats 2

Stanthorpe - goat

Anyway… the wine:

  • Cabernet, Malbec, Merlot – 2010

I got to be honest, I’m really not a fan of Merlot, but this Cabernet, Malbec mix is delicious.

Label description: 3 Bronze medals
Strong deep red colour with crimson hues on the edges. The palate is soft and rounded with black olive, blackberry and dried herbs; finishing with well-balanced acid and plush tannins.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $28.

  • Pinot G – 2014

I’ve really grown to appreciate the taste of a Pinot Gris over the years (a big achievement for a non-white wine lover). This one is wonderful.

Label description: Gold, 2 Bronze medals
The aromas leap from the glass, exhibiting floral and exuberant fruits with Nashi pear to the fore.The palate is full and textural whilst being framed by the bright acidity giving the wine drive and length.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

  • Sly Dog

This was probably my favourite way to end the trip! Sly Dog is  a white fortified wine. Or as the label reads: Drinks like a wine, kicks like a port! A sticky delicious drop!

Label description: ‘Our sly. dog has rose gold and sherry hues with long legs. Aromas of nougat, raisins and nuts while on the palate if tastes like plump sultanas, dried apricots with fresh spirit and persistent flavours. We put “sly dog” in a half bottle for your own protection.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $30.

Stanthorpe - bottles

Heritage Estate

One of the first wineries we stopped in at, Heritage Estate is placed in a beautiful old church with a wonderful breeze (it was very hot that day).

  • Fiano – 2014

I adored this white and absolutely couldn’t leave the building without it. I can’t bring myself to open the bottle until we have a nice occasion for it.

Label description: ‘This ancient Mediterranean variety is suited perfectly to our high altitude vineyard on the northern Granite Belt. Ripe stone fruit and notes of paw paw, citrus and spice combine to produce a lovely aromatic style. The palate is lusciously fruity and textured – balanced by a vibrant line of acidity. Enjoy cool climate Granite Belt wine.’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $25.

Stanthorpe - leaves

Tobin Winery

I had to leave the best for last… and we almost missed it if it weren’t for us checking Trip Advisor for the last couple of wineries to hit before we headed out of town.

The owner is a unique person, a purist in the wine industry! Very knowledgable and amazing wines. I don’t even like Chardonnay… and yet, this was absolutely the best white wine I’ve ever tasted. I wish I’d bought two.

  • Lily Chardonnay

Label description: ‘Elegant and graceful aromas of wild fig and rockmelon ease through hints of butterscotch and vanilla. Complex, rich layers of melon and peach are harmoniously balanced with restrained acidity and surreal texture..’

Price per bottle from the cellar door: $65.

Stanthorpe - vineyard

What are some of your favourite Queensland wines?

Relax and recharge in Mooloolaba

We’re pretty lucky here in Brisbane to have two nearby coasts with beautiful beaches. Unfortunately it be difficult to find time to visit, but it’s important to remember the amazing locations we have right on our doorstep. So when I saw that Easter was early this year and my work project was pushed out, I jumped at the chance to back some of my annual leave onto the Easter break. This gave me 17 luxurious days off for the cost of only nine leave days.

After spending a few days up in Mackay visiting my parents, we decided to spend a week in glorious Mooloolaba – one of the more lively locations on the Sunshine Coast.

Getting around

The Sunshine Coast isn’t the easiest place to get to without a car, however if you’re coming from Brisbane public transport is workable. Once you’re in Mooloolaba, there’s buses that travel between the towns, otherwise if you’re staying on the Esplanade like we did, most things in the area are within walking distance.

Where to stay

You’ll be spoilt for choice accommodation-wise at Mooloolaba, with many self-contained apartments right on the esplanade looking over the water. It can be noisy on Friday and Saturday nights though with restaurants spilling over with weekend visitors. If noise bothers you there are hotel options a street back or towards the quieter ends of the esplanade, alternatively you can always request a upper level apartment.

View from Mantra Sirocco

We stayed at Mantra Sirocco with a spectacular seventh floor view in a two bedroom self-contained apartment. All rooms have ocean views and if you’re staying for longer than a weekend, a self-contained apartment is the way to go. There’s also a grocery store one street back within walking distance.

Things to do


Mooloolaba Beach

One of the major reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast is purely for the beach! There’s plenty of surf and swimming locations (swim between the life saving flags for safety) and you can also hire boats, jetski and other water sport equipment.

If you’re looking to change up your beach location, there’s plenty of others up and down the coast, two of my favourites being Dicky Beach and Shelly Beach.

Underwater World

Underwater World Sea Life

If you’re into education and looking at pretty fish and seals, Underwater World Sea Life is a great place to visit. Weekends get pretty busy, but during the week it’s less hectic. They also have shows throughout the day and a cafe on site if you need a break part way through your visit. It’s bigger than it looks, so take some comfortable walking shoes.


Point Cartwright

Point Cartwright

If you’re staying in Mooloolaba, Point Cartwright is the closest walking track, stretching out to the lighthouse point with ocean on one side and river/habour on the other. This is an easy walk for all  abilities and the top gives you beautiful views back to Mooloolaba Beach.

Down on the harbour is One La Balsa Cafe, conveniently located at bottom of the hill with views over the harbour and La Balsa Park. The cafe serves breakfast and lunch, making it the perfect way to start your morning and to reward yourself for your bit of exercise.

Buderim Forest Waterfall

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A 45 hectre rainforest filled with walking tracks, bridges, waterfalls, rivers and plenty of bird life, Buderim Forest Waterfall is challenging enough to get your heart rate up. There is a short walk from Quorn Close entry that brings you out to the falls and then you can loop back around. Or there’s a longer walk which will bring you out to Harry’s Restaurant.

The walking tracks are probably suitable for most fitness levels, but there are stairs at some sections and most of the path is natural, so good walking shoes would be advised.

Kondalilla Falls

About a 30 minute drive inland to Montville, is a beautiful rainforest trek at Kondalilla Falls. There are different walks to suit your fitness level and timeframes and also a picnic area and facilities for when you’re done.

You’ll be able to see a variety of native animal and plant life if you keep your eyes peeled. And if you feel like more than a picnic, Elements on Montville Tea House is just a short walk up the road and serve both lunch and delicious buttermilk scones.

Mount Coolum

Unfortunately it was pouring with rain the day we wanted to climb Mount Coolum, so I can’t testify for this one myself. But it gets good reviews as being a solid 30 minute walk with 360 degree views, along with other local walks.

Where to eat

You’ll be spoilt for choice on the Mooloolaba Esplanade for places to eat. Here are some of my favourites:


If you love Italian (and I do), you can’t go past Augello’s. They’re right on the corner so you get a view of all the foot traffic and also the ocean. The service is really friendly and fast, there’s a great selection of wines and you’ll want to come back more than once because the menu choices all look so good (we went back twice).

Hot Pipis

Don’t underestimate this little pocket rocket, it packs a punch when it comes to tapas food. They’ll tell you it’s small serves of everything, but the servings will definitely leave you feeling full and in need of nap. Hot Pipis has a lot going for it with it’s ocean views, comfortable atmosphere, good food and friendly staff. The lunch crowd on weekends will be enough to convince you to give them a try.

Lemon and Thyme

Looking for a simple but good breakfast? Lemon and Thyme won’t disappoint. It has a bit of a focus on the healthy and organic, but it’s really good simple foods. We ate here for both breakfast and dinner and were very happy with both the food and the price.

Do you have a favourite Sunshine Coast location, restaurant or hiking trail? 

Friday link roundup

Some of these are pretty old, but I have been cleaning up my ol’ blog here and didn’t want to lose these gems, so here’s a cool trip down memory lane.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

All of Me by Kim Noble

By far one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a while. All of Me by Kim Noble is the true story of a woman who was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – a condition where she shares her body with multiple personalities. These personalities share no memory of each other and are each completely individual humans with their own memories, lives, jobs and, sometimes in her past, their own apartments.

Continue reading All of Me by Kim Noble

A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

‘The more clearly one sees this world, the more one is obliged to pretend it does not exist.’

A beautifully written book set in provincial France during the ’60s about a relationship between an American Yale dropout and a young French girl. Salter’s writing is short, sharp and illuminating with it’s descriptions. Unlike other older novels, this book isn’t flowery in it’s wording, which is refreshing.

Continue reading A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter

Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano

“In America, killers pump themselves up on rap, but in Secondigliano they go off to kill with love songs in their ears.”

This is a really interesting book about the Camorra (or The System) —the Neapolitan mafia. Written by Roberto Saviano, a journalist and Naples native, he describes seeing his first murder at the age of fourteen.

Continue reading Gomorrah by Roberto Saviano

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.

Continue reading The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer JohnsonThis book was given to each of us at work about six months ago by our director. Given we recently went through a 20 per cent staff cut, I’m guessing she might have been trying to give us all a heads up.

Normally, I don’t much go in for the self-help style of book, but this one was pretty interesting. Firstly, it’s super short, I read it all on my bus trip into work. Continue reading Who Moved My Cheese by Dr Spencer Johnson

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Book club book #7:

If you’ve never read Bill Bryson, you really need to. I first picked up his ‘Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe’ in 2002, right about the time I was planning my own Europe trip. Since then I’ve weaved in and out of his works, never coming away disappointed; he’s a very entertaining writer. A very easy read and hard to put down kind of writer.

Continue reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Weekend noun 1. Saturday and Sunday, especially regarded as a time for leisure.