Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt
The nights are getting cooler, and retailers are trying to convince us it is time to rug up in winter woolies, despite the unusually warm weather we are experiencing in Brisbane. As soon as it gets cool, I start dreaming of getaways that involve log fires, red wine and doing nothing.
The Granite Belt region, and the town of Stanthorpe is the perfect location for this- two and a half hours drive from Brisbane. With the Autumn upon us, the leaves will start changing colours and it will hit peak accommodation season in the region.
We hit the road with our dog over the New Years Break, seeking solitude, a location that would accept a pet and a new adventure. It had been at least a decade since our last visit to the region and despite the easy access to restaurants and wineries, we just wanted to chill. Our taxing holiday wish list was to read books, eat good food, and pull out the cameras when we were inspired.
To start our journey we visited the famous Sunflower fields of Allora, and ran into a number of other Instagrammers who were there to do exactly the same – capture the illusive photo. As luck had it, the Sunflowers were about to be harvested and had lost their petals, however it made for a stunning stop regardless.
Mallow Cottage has its own private entrance on the property and is fully fenced to ensure the safety of your pet or children. There is no wifi and minimal phone reception, so you can truly disconnect and enjoy the moment, your partner and your surroundings. Helen the owner checked on us each day to see if there was anything we needed, but otherwise left us to enjoy the peace. We ordered a pack of organic lamb chops and sausages to cook on the bbq and enjoyed dining on the verandah.
The free range pasture feeding and certified organic farming practices and care for the welfare (there is no mulesing) certainly agrees with the sheep. And we’re not the only people to think so- Mallow Organic Lamb was a Medalist in the Paddock section of ABC’s Delicious Magazine’s Produce Award in 2012. The camera’s got a workout, and the books stayed beside the bed.
Helen invited us to wander the property at our leisure. Mallow Cottages is a photographic heaven. Black cockatoos, Willy wagtails, kookaburras and butterflies galore visited us. Not to mention the resident sheep. The property is a working organic lamb farm, complete with historic shearing shed, which was a Cobb and Co stop and a pub to name a few things.
The cottage itself is a delight, tastefully renovated in a style sympathetic to its farmhouse origins, using where possible sustainable or salvaged materials and furnishings. This is line with Helen and Andrew’s philosophy of ‘creating a lighter footprint’.
Near the dam is a secret summerhouse, which although we didn’t use it, would be a fantastic place to watch the colours of the afternoon golden hour, whilst relaxing with a bottle of wine. During our time we were treated to spectacular sunsets over the dam, and a storm, which brought magical clouds and freshness to the country air.
Two of our three days were spent relaxing and exploring the property, and New Year’s day we ventured out to explore the historic Wallangarra Railway station on the border of Qld and NSW and the Boonooboonoo falls near Tenterfield.
We were so taken by the property we didn’t get a chance to explore Stanthorpe or its wineries. Stanthorpe is a fantastic spot to escape the searing heat of summer, due to its elevation, however, we look forward to returning to stoke up the fire and enjoy the chill of a proper winter.
The writer and her partner stayed at Mallow Cottages and Organic Farm at their own expense. They have fallen in love with the property and the owners, not to mention the lambs and will be back with their kids as soon as possible.