Stanthorpe, the Granite Belt Wineries and Bike Trail

Enzo chewing his xmas present - soft toy rabbit

The Enzotraveldog team visit Stanthorpe to explore the Granite Belt Wineries and do some Xmas bike riding. When ‘on the road’ during public holidays the folks like to get far away from the beach and crowds of holiday makers. Which is how we found ourselves in Stanthorpe during the first Xmas of the Corona Virus pandemic.  Santa brought me the grey rabbit in the photo.

We stayed at the Country Style Caravan Park, Glen Alpin, just south of Stanthorpe. This park was chosen as the midpoint of the Granite Belt Bike Trail.  There was a big dam down the back, great for dogs to swim in. The owners were friendly and the folks said the amenities were clean. The park’s water supply is from rainwater tanks, so the showers were fitted with coin in the slot timers set to a 5-minute limit. The owners hosted a ‘bring a plate’ Xmas lunch which turned out to be great multicultural fun as there were a few French backpackers staying at the park for fruit picking! The folks enjoyed talking to the backpackers about France as they used to visit it regularly. The owner’s dog Millie was there too, so between us we did very well for Xmas titbits!

Dam at Country Style Caravan Park
Lots of duckweed in the dam at the moment, came home good and stinky!

Boxing Day we headed south on the Bike Trail from Glen Alpin to Ballandean. There were a couple of big hills and the folks were still a bit full of Xmas dinner, so the plan quickly morphed into cycling halfway and turning back, about 18km in total. It was mostly on deserted country roads with plenty of rolling hills. I did my usual running the first few km then riding in the box on the back of the Sparrow’s bike on the way home. Everyone slept well!


Enzo and the Silverback cycling past grape vines

We walked around the Stanthorpe town centre the next day and then went on to lunch at the Heritage Estate Winery. Like most wineries we visit, this is a James Halliday 5-star winery. They serve a mini degustation sample plate with tastings of five matched wines for lunch. Dogs are welcome at the outside verandah tables. The folks really enjoyed themselves. The thing I like about that sort of meal is the way bits always seem to fall off the plate! The folks took home a bottle of Sparkling Shiraz for another day.

Chef explainig the dishes of the Nosh and Nips Platters
Nosh and Nips lunch – 5 dishes with matching wines at Heritage Estate Winery
Enzo lying under the table at Heritage Estate Winery
Just waiting for a few titbits to fall on the floor

The next day we finished off the southern end of the bike trail, cycling past some wineries and nice countryside. We set off early as it was going to be about 30 degrees. Once again a couple of big hills made the outward journey hard work, but the ride home was a long speedy downhill coast!

Enzo leading out Silverback on the bike

Sticking with the ‘wineries every second day’ plan the folks visited the cellar door at Ridgemill Estate. This was a very cool place, with dogs allowed inside the tasting room. They even had a wine named after a dog ‘Joshua’s Pup’ with his picture on the label. The folks generally don’t like those sort of labels, preferring something more traditional, but they liked the wine so much they bought a bottle for Ziggy’s cellar [it’s a box really].  Lunch at the Granite Belt Brewery followed [dogs allowed on the back verandah]. Standard pub fare, but with a tasting paddle of their beers.

Enzo guarding the bags
Guarding the bags at Ridgemill Estate

Grape vines at Ridgemill Estate

The cycle trail north of Glen Alpin to Stanthorpe had a profile map with some big hills in it.  Richie Porte would have loved it! Once again the folks opted for the ‘halfway and turn back’ 20km option. It was the Xmas – New Year week after all! I really liked this one and ran about 6k in two bursts.

The last winery day comprised the Cellar Door at Symphony Hill Wines which the folks voted the ‘best cellar-door experience of the week’ and came out with a couple of bottles for Ziggy’s cellar box. There were some toddlers running around in the tasting room, so I opted to stay in the van and watch though the window. Little humans can be annoying. They also stopped briefly at another 5-star winery aptly called Just Red Wines.

View of the entry to Ballandean Estate Wines cellar_door
Ballandean Estate Wines cellar door and Barrelroom verandah Photo: Kgbo,_Ballandean,_Queensland_-_cellar_door.jpg CC BY-SA 4.0

Our final lunch was at The Barrelroom Restaurant at Ballandean Estate Wines. Again, dogs welcome under the verandah tables. This and the Heritage Estate lunch tied for best lunch of the week. Technically it was a split decision one vote each. I thought as chairman I would have the casting vote but apparently that’s not how it works in the Enzotraveldog boardroom.

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