It may sound odd but the first thing I look for in family holiday accommodation is whether it offers a scenic spot to sit and soak up a view; preferably somewhere pleasant where I can enjoy a steaming cup of tea or a chilled glass of wine, while relishing that unhurried, holiday feeling.
Far from being, “just a place to sleep”, I prefer our holiday places to be a pleasure to be in – relaxing retreats that don’t make us feel compelled to spend most of the time out and about.
We recently stayed at Loughmore House in Queensland’s Granite Belt Region, just 15 minutes from Stanthorpe, and found it fitted this bill perfectly.
The house itself is a beautifully renovated and immaculately presented old Queenslander style home, that is perfectly suited to accommodating families.
It has three generously sized bedrooms with linen provided, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, separate dining room, television room, and a lounge room with an inviting fireplace.
But what really drew me in were its expansive north and south facing verandahs, complete with a dining set, couch with coffee table set and a day bed, strategically positioned to take advantage of the views of the surrounding countryside dotted with giant granite boulders that give the region its name.
On the property there’s also a covered pergola, fire pit, and a sitting area in the garden that are perfect for catching some warming sun with a coffee in the morning or watching a golden sunset over dinner in the evening.
Any one of these sitting areas are also the ideal spot to watch the kids play in the rambling 110-acre property, much of it natural bushland, which is a haven for local wildlife including wallabies, echidnas, yellow-tailed black cockatoos and king parrots.
Things for families to do at Loughmore House
- Take family photos in the picturesque setting
- Swing under the tree that overlooks a neighbouring vineyard
- Catch a fish in the onsite dams
- Play boules on the purpose-built court
- Encourage kids to enjoy some unstructured nature play
- Toast marshmallows around an open fire (check fire restrictions)
- Cosy up indoors around the crackling fireplace
- Cook up a storm using local produce and enjoy a family dinner in the dining room
Things for families to do within the Granite Belt Region.
There’s an absolute plethora of things to do in the Granite Belt Region with kids and most are just a short drive from Loughmore House. Here’s just a few examples.
Eat breakfast out at Brinx Deli
In the heart of the Stanthorpe township you’ll find the Brinx Deli and Café which is always heaving with a mix of locals and tourists. Using locally made products, Brinx serves up generously sized breakfasts and great coffee. Their friendly staff are happy to cater for children, but bookings are essential on weekends.
Get lost at the Granite Belt Maze
This maze makes for a fun day out, with families having to find clues concealed within the labyrinth and work together to solve riddles. There’s also mini golf and a café serving great coffee to keep everyone happy!
Wine Tasting at Balancing Rock Wines
There are more than 50 wineries in the Granite Belt, and the owners of Balancing Rock Wines are welcoming of kids. While you try some award-winning reds or whites, the kids can enjoy a lemonade and a game of badminton on the lawn. Families are also welcomed to wander through the vineyards which are heavy with fruit in summer.
Bushwalking at Girraween National Park
There’s several spectacular, family-friendly walks at Girraween National Park. Call into the visitor centre to speak to a ranger about which walk is best suited to your family. The vast amount of giant granite rocks in this park makes it truly unique, and some walks take you to summits with breathtaking views, while others follow crystal clear creeks.
Treat the family to lunch and a milkshake at Stanthorpe Cheese
Taste Stanthorpe Cheese‘s hand made cheese (tastings are free) and then choose which cheeses you would like served with your ploughman’s lunch. The ploughman’s lunch is a generous serving of freshly made bread, cheese, deli meats and locally made pickles. All their cheeses are made using fresh milk from their own herd of jersey cows. They also do amazing milkshakes, made without ice cream because the jersey cows’ milk is already so thick and creamy.
Feeding animals at the Granite Belt Christmas Farm
This quirky farm is well worth a visit. Entry is free and for just a couple of dollars, you can buy a cup of animal feed to offer the “Christmas” animals (reindeers, donkeys, lambs and goats). And if you visit in December, you can purchase a real, pine Christmas tree from one of the thousands grown onsite. There’s also a café and beautiful Christmas gift shop.
Strawberry picking at Ashbern Farms
During the summer months, the cooler temperatures of the Stanthorpe area make it just right for harvesting strawberries. At Ashbern Farms you can pick your own, and you can also enjoy a strawberry treat in their café – there’s everything from chocolate-dipped strawberries to strawberry smoothies.
Soap making at Washpool Soaperie
This is a place that must be smelt to believe! Stepping into the Washpool Soaperie is a (pleasant) assault on the senses! All the products are lovingly handmade inhouse, and if you book into one of their popular soap making classes, you can go home with your very own creation made with your favourite scent.
Boulder hopping at Donnellys Castle
The granite boulders at Donnellys Castle are so immense and clustered together at this location that it makes for a fun morning or afternoon of scrabbling around on the boulders, poking in and out of “caves” and then climbing up to the lookout for an uninterrupted view over the Granite Belt countryside.
For more information, or to make a booking, visit http://stayatloughmore.com.au/.