Ballandean – Granite Belt

Our trivia team decided to head to the Granite Belt for a weekend of wining and dining.

My friend and I headed down there on Friday morning, stopping for a late brekky at the Halfway Cafe. Then it was back on the road to meet with some of the team for lunch. I’d read good reviews of The Barrel Room, at Ballandean Estate, so we had lunch there. It was very nice!

Lunch at the Barrel Room
Lunch at the Barrel Room

After some wine shopping in the shop, it was off to the accommodations. I’d programmed them all into the Here app on my phone and confidently led the convoy … in the completely wrong direction. We ended up on a dead-end dirt track, with me freaking out the whole way… Here’s a photo of us parked at the end of the track, while I went to speak to a local.

Bushwacking in Ballandean
Bushwacking in Ballandean

After this stressful bushwacking adventure we went to our accommdoations. We had a chalet to ourselves (all 8 of us) at the Girraween Country Inn. The little old lady showed us around, pointing out the termite damage that we shouldn’t step in… One toilet and one shower between 8 people was a little minimalistic, but we managed 🙂 The fireplace was a big hit and warmed the upstairs particularly well, which was good because my friend and I slept on foldaway beds upstairs.

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The Inn backs onto the Girraween National Park, so the ‘back yard’ looked like that. Unfortunately, it was too wet and cold to go exploring too much. A few of us went shopping for breakfast ingredients while the rest sat around drinking coffee (mainly me!) by the fire.

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That evening we got a taxi to take us into Stanthorpe for dinner at Anna’s Restaurant. This is apparently a bit of an institution in Stanthorpe. They have a buffet dinner on Friday and Saturday nights for under $30. There’s quite the selection of Italian dishes to choose from, as well as a large selection of really yummy looking desserts and cheeses. It was well worth it, even though it was packed with people and you couldn’t help but overhear entire conversations from the next table…

After a leisurely dinner we headed back to our accommodations and sat around the fireplace, drinking wine and talking and having a fine old time.

Saturday morning we cooked oureselves a nice hot breakfast and then got ready for our wine-tasting tour.

We stopped at a few different wineries. The first was Rumbalara estate, with its weird African animal names. I did like their port!

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Next stop was at the Golden Grove Winery. It has won all sorts of awards, but I didn’t actually like anything there myself, though some of the others bought wines.
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After this it was off to Mt Stirling Olives and Fudge Cottage. It was a big hit with the others. They did have nice olive oils and dips, but I didn’t buy anything. The little chili hut was cute:

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Then it was time for lunch. This was at Jester Hill Winery. I had the cheese and vege stack and it was absolutely scrumptious. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals immensely as well. They’re quite busy there with their lunches, and it’s no wonder why!

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After lunch we had a short photo-stop at the Ballandean Pyramid, before continuing on to our next winery:

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Symphony Hill was another award-winning winery. We were taken into the barrel room and had a wine tasting in there. Some of their wines were really nice!!! I especially like the sweet ones.

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They had a shop with second-hand coats, as well as some funny signs:

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It was getting a bit late, but we had a final stop at the Just Reds Winery, which only produces red wines (obviously). The others bought up big here. There was a beautiful rainbow display on outside, which I had to photograph:

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We were dropped back to our accommodations and I went on a photo-shoot around the grounds (photos at the beginning of this post) for a little while. My shoes and jeans got saturated, but oh well!

We went to the Ballandean Tavern for dinner. It was quite nice, actually.

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After dinner, we headed back to our accommodations for another evening before the fire, drinking wine and telling stories.

Sunday morning, we cooked the rest of the breakfast supplies and had a hearty brekky before heading home. We all stopped at the Jersey Girls cheese factory at Thulimbah, where I bought some really good Mettwurst.

We split up there and my friend and I drove home via Boonah. There’s some nice scenery out that way. Our lunch in Boonah wasn’t bad either!

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And that was the end of our weekend.

Reworked and larger sized pictures from this day are here. Click on the first picture and then move through them at full screen size.

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