Did you know ALL of Queensland’s apple crop is grown around Stanthorpe? In Queensland’s apple capital, the orchards are busy with apple harvesting from February to April with the last of the crop harvested in May.
Here are our tips for experiencing apple harvest season.
Visit an Orchard and Pick Your Own Apples
Eastern Colour Orchard
Eastern Colour is a 3rd generation family-run apple orchard and a hydroponic strawberry farm. It’s the only spot where you can pick your own apples and strawberries in one spot!
Here you’ll find the well-loved and delicious apple varieties – Pink Lady, Royal Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji.
Families (and bring your pets too!) love their pick-your-own events, held at various times during summer and autumn. Entry is FREE (only pay for what you pick) but you must pre-register to attend. Find the date for their next open day, and pre-register here.
Looking for more information on strawberry picking in the Granite Belt? Read on here.
The Nicoletti Family are 3rd generation apple growers in Pozieres near Stanthorpe with the orchard’s beginnings starting in 1950 growing Granny Smith and Gravenstein varieties and some stone fruit.
Most weekends during apple season Nicoletti Orchards is open for sales of apples from their farm shop from 10am – 1pm Friday to Sunday. If you are keen for a tour/walk in the orchard and the chance to pick your own new season apples, varieties include the Royal Gala, Pink Lady, Sundowner and Fuji. Dogs are welcome to join in on the fun.
2024 picking dates
Friday 23rd February – Sunday 25th February
Friday 1st March – Sunday 3rd March
Check their website for further information available tour/picking dates with the apple farmer and bookings.
Eat Apple Pie at an Apple Farm
The cafe at Sutton’s Apple Farm is open 7 days and is a ‘must-do’ where you can deep-dive into the many varied tastes of the Stanthorpe apple!
The most famous? Sutton’s Apple Pie has become a Stanthorpe icon. Each pie is packed with an impressive 24 apples, encased in buttery pastry made from scratch daily and served with their own special recipe apple cider ice cream (just when you thought you couldn’t get enough apple).
Treat your tastebuds on the apple farm at Sutton’s Juice Factory Cidery and Cafe with apple juice, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, apple syrup, apple brandy, liqueurs and preserves.
Taste Stanthorpe Apple Ciders & Juice
Crisp local apples are a great temptation for Granite Belt brewers and the result… a delicious way to dive into a Stanthorpe apple tasting!
Head to the bar at Granite Belt Brewery to taste the Applethorpe Cider, made with just fresh local apple juice, the perfect addition to their tasting paddles. Cedric the brewer at Castle Glen Australia crafts an Apple Cider, made with apples grown at the Castle Glen Farm. This spot isn’t just a castle by name, step inside this photogenic castle built by Cedric himself for a tasting (or two!).
Take your pick from a full-bodied dry cider or a sweet cider produced by Farmer David at Sutton’s Juice Factory Cidery & Cafe made with apples grown onsite at Sutton’s farm during harvest season, or nearby orchards at other times. For a zero alcohol taste test, you can try a variety of their apple juices at the cafe’s tasting bar too.
Take a Country Drive or Cycle through Amiens Road Orchards
Take a country drive north of Stanthorpe along Amiens Road, the best spot for spotting apple orchards! From the Big Apple (on the New England Highway at Thulimbah) drive west on Amiens Road, past Castle Glen Australia and continue past Stanthorpe Cheese (or stop in for a cheese tasting break) towards Passchendaele State Forest. This whole area is lined with apple trees and makes for a very pretty drive and photo opportunity at harvest time.
Alternatively, swap four wheels for two and cycle the country roads. Breathe in the clean, crisp country air as you pedal along the bitumen and admire the surrounds.
Buy Farm Fresh Apples
During harvest season the crispest, sweetest, new-season apples are available to buy almost everywhere you look.
To buy direct from the farmer, make way to the Granite Belt Farmers Markets on Saturday’s from 7.30am – 12pm in the Railway Precinct on Davadi Street, Stanthorpe.
Get a Photo with the Big Apple
You can’t miss it – the Big Apple sits on the New England Highway 10 minutes north of Stanthorpe at Thulimbah. It’s right in the heart of Stanthorpe’s apple growing area and across the highway from the famous Sutton’s Juice Factory Cidery & Cafe.
Pull in to Vincenzo’s at the Big Apple, featuring a mouth-watering deli and wine bar, full of locally made Granite Belt products. Their cafe in the shadow of the giant apple is a must-stop.
Stretch your legs with a short walk across the railway line at the old Thulimbah Railway Siding and turn left onto Granite Belt Drive to see the characterful old brick Cold Store buildings along the railway line that once held local apples, a spot loved by photographers.
Do a Wine Tasting Inside an Old Apple Store
Once an old apple store building… now a highly awarded winery, Heritage Estate Wines is an ideal spot to indulge in a little wine tasting. The winery building and cellar door was built as an apple store in the 1940s.
The old building was converted to a cellar door in 1992 using 100+ year-old bricks handmade in the brickworks close by. The supporting beam in the winery cellar door came from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and was used in the place of the many small rooms of the old apple store. While they are open 7 days to visit, we suggest planning your visit for their Friday night POETs Progressive Dinners (weekly) or have lunch on a Vine + Dine Tour (available Thursday to Monday weekly).
Celebrate at the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival
It’s only every two years, so mark your calendar for the next Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival from 23 February – 3 March 2024. Join in on the apple fun, especially on Apple Day, Thursday 29th February 2024. Find out more about the Festival here.
It’s also Grape Harvest Season!
A visit during apple harvest season coincides with the Granite Belt’s grape harvest. This is Queensland’s premier wine region, where the wineries from February through to April are picking and fermenting grapes. The season begins with first producing white wine varieties from February, moving onto red varieties in the mid to late harvest season.
What Apples are Grown around Stanthorpe?
Apple varieties grown on the Granite Belt: Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, Pink Ladies, Granny Smith, Sundowners, Jazz and Jonathons.
It’s only on every two years, so don’t miss the Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival when it returns in …
Find accommodation in Granite Belt Wine Country including Stanthorpe and Ballandean with vineyard views.