A wintery weekend in Stanthorpe

Stanthorpe is well known for its orchards and vineyards… but who needs apple and grapes when you can have beer and truffles!

Let’s start with the truffles – not so pleasant to look at, but delicious to taste. These highly sought after, subterranean fungi are actually grown on the Granite Belt, the only place in Queensland where it’s cold enough, and you can discover more at the aptly named Truffle Discovery Centre.

Matt Hibberd runs the centre, along with Lawdogs Australia – a tourist attraction starring trained canines! But you’re probably wondering what the connection is between the pups and the truffles…

Although pigs are usually used to detect these lucrative fungi, dogs make even better detectives to source the rare delicacy. So, with a business that combines both, you could say Matt is on a winner!

Using previous season truffle, the fungi is planted in pots to test the dogs on where to find it… which you could say is a bit of simulation for when they head out in nature for the real deal and strike a gold mine.

As for the taste, truffles are of the acquired variety, and while champagne might be the obvious match, if you’re after a more robust palate cleanser… well Geoff Davenport, who’s the master of beer-making at Granite Belt Brewery, has you covered.

They have 11 different beers on tap, all brewed, bottled and kegged on-site. Plus, their restaurant also delivers a great feed and is only a five-minute drive from town.

As for a place to say, you’ll probably need somewhere cozy for the night. Top of the Town Tourist Park has snug self-contained cabins with fireplaces and central heating, comfortable motel rooms, and powered sites scattered among the boulders and bushland. There are also three campfire pits… which make for a great spot to warm up and get to know your fellow-travellers. 

So, if you’re keen to check out the Granite Belt and beyond for yourself, it’s equally as beautiful in the summer as it is in the winter. And if you’re feeling jolly, you can even pick your own Christmas Tree at a nearby farm.

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