As Autumn has so clearly made itself at home, you may find yourself looking for some outdoor deeds that vary from lounging around in your usual bikini or boardshorts. The days are growing shorter, afternoon shadows are beginning to creep earlier — and we think you need to get out there and see it for yourself!
The Granite Belt
This area is Queensland’s little engine room of winemaking. The sunshine state is not particularly famed for its winemaking capabilities yet out near Stanthorpe (which is about 3.5 hours away), there are several exceptional wineries, a cheese factory, cute little country pubs and at the moment, weather cold enough to cosy up by the nearest fire. It’s a beautiful part of the country and close enough that you could go for the weekend and get your dose of fresh country air and tasty caramel tarts! Also, don’t forget to stock yourselves up on wines so you can continue to savour our fair state’s most fantastic wines once you get home.
Where: Head out west toward Beaudesert, then on to Warwick, and follow the signs from there
Advancetown to Murwillumbah
This back road to Murwillumbah from Advancetown is a great little quick hit to get away from it all and be amongst the green and forget all about the gold. As you wind your way through tree-lined hills and lush green paddocks, you’ll slip across the border into New South Wales and, before you know it, find yourself by the Tweed River and in Murbah (as the locals call it). Like so many of the small backwaters around the Tweed, the town has seen a tremendous renaissance in the fields of cafes, restaurants and interesting little shops where you can spend your hard-earned money. Don’t forget your credit card!
Where: Southbound out of Advancetown on the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road
Lost World Valley
Drive out to Beaudesert, then navigate to Christmas Creek Rd and head toward the mountains. There are waterfalls, dirt roads, fresh mountain air and very few other people around. The highlights are the ever-gorgeous Albert River and Wyaralong Dam, both excellent spots to try some fishing, take in tranquil surroundings or go for a revitalising dip. It’s a magical area, and the Razorback Mountains will take your breath away.
Where: Christmas Creek Rd, Lamington National Park
A sweet little town just outside of Lismore, The Channon is the perfect place to escape the Gold Coast for a well-earned little sojourn. The many sceneries you’ll encounter down this way are cattle farms, macadamia orchards, and coffee plantations — you’ll be pleased to hear there isn’t a set of traffic lights for miles! Like any great regional area, every second Sunday of the month is market day, and there’s plenty of local goodies to get hold of, as well as live music, food trucks and generally stoked country folk. Can you blame them?
Where: Southbound on the M1 before exiting towards Lismore
If you’re a Gold Coast local and you’ve not experienced the delightful little waterfront town that is Brunswick Heads, you are missing out. The drive is an easy 30-minute hit from most parts of our city, meaning you could take a leisurely Sunday drive of it and still have time for plenty of eating, drinking and exploring all the chic and vintage-inspired shops. By far, the Brunswick Hotel is our favourite feature – a beautiful, big old building in the heart of town and overlooking the river; it’s usually packed with weekend revellers and some form of live music.
Where: Southbound on the M1, about half an hour away
Byron Bay is the halfway house on a trip to Angourie, therefore implying you should probably book yourself a cute little Airbnb to nestle into for the night. In the Clarence region beside Yamba, this little fishing town just effortlessly oozes old-world charm out of every pore. You’ll also find there’s plenty to take in as you are on the northern tip of the Yuraygir National Park; there’s nature in abundance, spots to surf, fishing of course, and all of the best vibes. Not forgetting tasty eats too.
Where: Southbound on the M1, between Ballina and Yamba.
Words by Alex Mitcheson.