Stanthorpe’s Must-do Country Drive Loop this Spring
Photo: Taken 15th September 2019 blossoms on Amiens Rd
The Amiens Road country drive loop north of Stanthorpe winds through orchards and in spring see them burst into blossom!
Early September: early stonefruit in blossom (eg nectarines)
Late September to early October: apple trees in blossom
See the spring blossoms on this country drive loop north of Stanthorpe, with bonus stops at the Cheese Factory, for an Apple Pie, a short walk at a Bushranger’s Hideout and wineries and a craft brewery too!
Finding the Blossoms
Photo: taken 4th October 2019 on Amiens road just west of Stanthorpe Cheese
Just follow the Amiens Road loop marked on this page and you’ll stumble upon September and early October orchard blossoms. The route leaves the New England Highway at The Big Apple in Thulimbah, heads west to the village of Amiens and returns to Stanthorpe via the Granite Belt Brewery.
- Find lots of apple tree orchards lining each side of Amiens Road between Stanthorpe Cheese Factory and west to Passchendaele Forrest (usually in bloom late Sept to early Oct).
- See some earlier spring blossoms (pink nectarine blossoms) which usually bloom late Aug to early Sept on the roadside driving from Amiens towards Robert Channon Wines.
Discover along the way…
Sutton’s Apple Farm
Stop in for a famed Sutton’s apple pie and some apple juice, both made on the apple farm at Stanthorpe’s iconic Sutton’s Juice Factory, Cidery & Cafe. Dine inside the shed cafe and peek through the factory window to see what Farmer Dave is making in the farm factory today.
Open: 9.30am – 4.30pm, 7 days
Photo: Louse Wright | Southern Qld Country Tourism
Heritage Estate Church Cellar Door & Cafe
Across the Highway from Sutton’s Farm are The Big Apple and Heritage Estate’s quaint Church Cellar Door & Cafe. This is a great spot to park to walk across for a photo with the Big Apple and also the historic Thulimbah Railway Siding. Step inside the beautifully transformed old church and taste James Halliday 5 star rated wines or sit in the historic atmosphere for coffee and homemade cakes.
TIP: It’s only a short drive up the road to Heritage Estate’s winery and main cellar door where one foot in the door and you’ll realise you’ve found a special place laden with as much heritage treasure as wine treasure!
Open: 10am – 4pm, 7 Days
The Big Apple
You’re right in the centre of Queensland’s apple country! This is where all of the state’s apple crop is grown and so it should be no surprise to spot the Big Apple! Walk or drive in to the carpark at the foot of the Big Apple to capture a selfie with Stanthorpe’s own ‘BIG THING’.
Summit Estate Wines
Get ready to taste some exciting rare wines and relax in a great atmosphere of one of Stanthorpe’s largest cellar doors. Summit Estate Wines have a vast range of wines… and definitely noteworthy is their large range of sparkling wines which include a few you’ve possibly never tried: Sparkling Marsanne, Sparkling Tempranillo and Sparkling Pinot Noir to name a few. Relax here in bean bags inside or on the verandah with vineyard views.
Open: Monday 10am-2pm, Thursday 12-4pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 10am-2pm
Drive in through the vineyard and step inside the castle at Castle Glen Australia to discover a veritable treasure trove of liquor! Here a kaleidoscope of colours bounces off thousands of bottles of liqueurs, gin, whiskey, wine and more. It’s all made chemical and preservative free, right onsite by Glen Millar and with his giant new still recently delivered he is having a lot of fun producing far more tempting tastes than you could possibly try in one visit!
Open: 10am-4pm, 7 Days
Donnelly’s Castle Boulders & Lookout
Bushranger Captain Thunderbolt used this spot as his hideout and we think he was onto something – it’s a great spot to disappear for a short while! A short walk from the Donnelly’s Castle picnic area and carpark and you’re instantly meandering through giant boulders, squeezing under and through crevices and feeling like a little kid again.
Find the ‘Yowie’ mural inside and keep pushing on further to the inner hidden cave-like areas for a truly exciting little adventure. Check out the lookout via a different walking track too (only a short walk also).
Castle Lane, via Donnelly’s Castle Road.
Just follow GPS directions to Donnelly’s Castle
Between Castle Glen and Donnelly’s Castle you’ll drive right past picturesque Boireann Winery. Here Brad grows and crafts a diverse range of “Strange Bird” rare wine varieties, including Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbara, Mourvèdre and Tannat.
Just around the corner a herd of Jersey cows are every day grazing in the fields to produce milk for the range of farmhouse cheeses made at Stanthorpe Cheese. Inside see the cheese wheels thorough the factory window and in front a delicious range of cheeses and condiments for tastings. Order a Ploughman’s Lunch to takeaway and devour nearby at either one of the wineries or Donnelly’s Castle picnic spot.
Open: 10am – 4pm, 7 Days
Location: 4 Duncan Lane, Thulimbah
Sunday? Visit the Amiens Legacy Centre
If you’re doing this drive on a Sunday, drop in to see the old railway carriage at the Amiens Legacy Centre. In the little village of Amiens, this site is a memorial to WWI soldiers who settled in this area and built on the original spot where the railway line stopped in Amiens.
Volunteers have lovingly restored the 1909 Qld Rail carriage which now contains stories and artefacts of the soldiers and their families.
Location: 17 Goldfields Rd, Amiens
Open: 10am – 1pm Sundays
Ravens Croft Wines
Mark Ravenscroft began his winemaking journey in his home country South Africa and thus you can understand why he is proud to share his exceptional Pinotage wine with visitors to his cellar door. (Pinotage is a South African wine that is a rarer variety in Australia).
Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Pinot Grigio and Graciono Rose are also amongst the fine boutique wines that Mark grows and produces. This little winery is a true find and Mark’s wine knowledge is a pure joy to share – and share he does as Mark is a ‘one-man-show’ making the wines himself and pouring your tasting glass too.
Open: 10.30am – 4.30pm Friday to Sunday (and long weekends)
Location: 274 Spring Creek Rd, Stanthorpe
Robert Channon Wines
No need to bow… but do be aware here you’re visiting wine royalty – Robert Channon the ‘King of the Verdelho’. Robert Channon Wines is also renowned for excellent Chardonnay and it was in fact in the process of growing this Chardonnay that their happy Verdelho wine ‘accident’ began, as Robert explains…
“the nursery supplying the vines to us couldn’t supply the chardonnay we had ordered because they had sold them to someone else; bigger and more important than us. So, at the very last moment, we had to take verdelho from them instead.
Views back towards Stanthorpe and across the lake on the property are beautiful from this popular cellar door.
Open: 10am – 5pm Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4pm Monday, Tuesday & Friday.
Location: 32 Bradley Lane, Stanthorpe
Granite Belt Brewery
Geoff Davenport has happily put his days working in IT behind him and has achieved what many would only dream of. Welcome to Geoff’s Granite Belt Brewery, where the ales and ciders on tap are all crafted onsite by Geoff himself. Peek through into the micro-brewery via the window from the bar area and adjacent find a large restaurant with meals and drinks.
Open: 10am – 9pm Friday to Monday. 10am – 5pm Tuesday to Thursday (bar snacks, no restaurant meals)
Location: 146 Glenlyon Drive, Stanthorpe