Go camping, climbing, and hiking in Queensland’s Granite Belt.
Stanthorpe is the largest town on Queensland’s Granite Belt, a region renowned for the huge granite outcrops found in Girraween National Park. A 3-hour drive from Brisbane, near the border between Queensland and New South Wales, the town is also renowned for its cold-climate wineries. All said, it is a great base for exploring several nearby national parks, including Girraween, Sundown, and Bald Rock (across the border in NSW). Out of town, the landscape is dotted with vineyards and orchards, with opportunities to buy fresh produce directly from growers.
About 26 km (16 miles) south of Stanthorpe, Girraween National Park is known for its huge 200-million-year-old Triassic granite boulders. Hikers and climbers can tackle Castle Rock, the Pyramid, and Mount Norman, while walkers have 17 km (10.5 miles) of tracks to explore.
A feature of Sundown National Park is the Severn River, which cuts through the park forming steep gorges and sharp ridges. In Red Rock Gorge, waterfalls cascade 50 metres (154 feet) over the red cliffs. Popular with birdwatchers, Sundown is also a great place for camping thanks to the riverside Broadwater camping area, home to a ranger station.
For panoramic views of the region, take the Mt Marlay Lookout and Summit Walk, a steep winding path on the edge of town. There are picnic tables and binoculars at the top.
Walking paths on both sides of Quart Pot Creek lead to picnic spots, playgrounds, and rock pools where you can swim. The Red Bridge was built in the 1880s as a railway bridge.
The Granite Belt has a distinct four seasons, and is renowned as the coldest place in Queensland, with winter sometimes even bringing snowfall. Spring is a great time to visit Girraween National Park, when the wildflowers are in bloom. Major festivals include the Apple and Grape Harvest Festival (March, every two years) and Brass Monkey Season every winter (June to August).