Brisbane Campervan hire – visiting the Granite Belt

January 6, 2022

Queensland’s pretty capital city, Brisbane, is popular for campervan hire.  It’s also the perfect start for a shorter (or longer!) road trip.  There’s such a diversity of destinations and attractions!

Experience stunning native bushland, pristine beaches, rainforest-covered mountains, wine country and World Heritage listed national parks right on the city’s doorstep.  it’s quite astonishing how much you can fit into a short space of time on a Brisbane campervan hire holiday! 

Famous regions to visit on your Brisbane campervan hire holiday

Less than two hours from Brisbane’s campervan hire depots are stunning regions that appear on most traveller’s itineraries. The Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the spectacular Scenic Rim – which, incidentally, has just been named as one of the Top 10 regions to visit in the WHOLE world by Lonely Planet!

Get off the beaten track on your Brisbane campervan hire holiday

But, there is another spectacular region easily accessible from Brisbane on your campervan hire holiday which simply doesn’t get the recognition it deserves!  Tucked away over the Great Dividing Range by the QLD/NSW border, is the startlingly beautiful Granite Belt.  Despite being a mere three hours’ drive from Brisbane and deeply loved by locals, this magnificent region is largely unknown to other campervan hire visitors. 

Getting to the Granite Belt from Brisbane on your campervan hire holiday

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Collect your campervan from one of our Brisbane campervan hire depots, and set your GPS for the largest town in the Granite Belt region; Stanthorpe.

As we always say, it’s as much about the journey as the destination.  Which is why we recommend a short detour to take in the dramatic 40m high Queen Mary Falls on the way to the Granite Belt. There are two walking tracks.  A short stroll from the car park leads to a viewing platform.  If you fancy something a little more vigorous, the longer 2km circuit which leads from the top of the waterfall the base, and back again.

Keen to detour to Queen Mary Falls?  Then this bit of information is vitally important.

You may think that your GPS has found a short cut from the Brisbane campervan hire depot to the Falls. You must cross at Cunninghams Gap, THEN head south towards Queen Mary Falls once you’re on the other side.  If your GPS is suggesting an alternative way you’ll probably realise an hour later that your GPS wants you to cross the Great Dividing Range on a glorified goat track.  This is not a great look as the 2WD campervan and motorhome hire vehicles are only allowed to travel a maximum of 10 – 12 km on well maintained unsealed roads to recognised campgrounds…which rules out goat tracks!

Discovering the Granite Belt on your campervan hire holiday from Brisbane

Nearing Stanthorpe, you quickly realise how this region got its name as huge granite boulders begin to appear in the surrounding landscape. 

At 1,000m above sea level, the Granite Belt has a much cooler climate than elsewhere in Queensland and lends itself beautifully to fruit-growing.  As well as romantic campervan hire holidays…haha!  All manner of stone-fruit is grown here but the region is particularly famous for apples…and more recently, grapes.  Being one of the few places in Queensland that is cool enough for winemaking, fermenting the grape is far from a new endeavour here.  However, it got off to a bit of a slow start.

The short history of grapes (and manners) on your visit to the Granite Belt

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The first vine was planted in the region the 1860s by the local Catholic parish priest, purely for ceremonial use.  And, we’re going to call it; quality probably wasn’t the primary focus back then!  Many Italian families that settled in the region thereafter also grew vines for their own consumption.  However, the volcanic soil and local climate was not ideal for the popular grape varieties of the time.  Compared to some other emerging wine regions in Australia, such as the Barossa or the Hunter Valley, it was accused of having little terroir. Which is basically French for ‘being able to taste the quality of a wine region through the wine’.  The region was known for predominantly producing ‘table wine’.  Or as some southern swillers rather rudely dubbed it; ‘rough red’. 

But this was all about to change! In recent years wine growers discovered that these unusual conditions are, in fact, perfect for some lesser-known grape varieties. And in a bid to showcase these rare and delicious wines, the quirkily named Strangebird Alternative Wine Trail was born.  This self-drive wine trail showcases 24 lesser-known wine varieties, such as Roussanne, Barbara, Mourvèdre, Petit Manseng, Durif and Vermentino.  As ever when exploring a wine region from Brisbane on your campervan hire holiday, either designate a driver or join one of the many wonderful wine tours!

What else is there to do around the Granite Belt with my Brisbane campervan hire?

granite belt qld

Visiting the Girraween National Park is high on many travellers itinerary to this area.  If you love walking or camping in nature, this is the place for you.  This in itself is a great destination with your Brisbane campervan hire, or as a detour on a longer adventure.

There are a range of shorter and longer hikes – perfect for a family holiday with or without kids.  We share more on the walks that are available in the Granite Belt with motorhome hire from Brisbane on our website.

When is the best time of year to hire a campervan from Brisbane to visit the Granite Belt?

This very much depends on the kind of campervan hire holiday that you love best!  Dreaming of long walks and exploring the vineyards and interesting little cellar doors? Then grabbing a Brisbane campervan hire for an autumn or spring Granite Belt holiday is ideal for you!  

Autumn
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Autumn. Think warm sunny days, cool crisp evenings, clear blue skies and trees ablaze with autumn leaves.  If you’re travelling in autumn, you may also like to time your campervan hire holiday to coincide with the biennial Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival.  Held over 10 days in March, this fun-filled festival features parades, grape crushing and apple peeling competitions, food events, markets and music.

Spring

Spring is magical in the Granite Belt, especially if you plan to spend some time in the magnificent Girraween National Park.  This time of year, native orchards and wildflowers line the roadsides, and the bush is alive with colour as every plant from the towering gums, the blossom-covered wattle, little shrubs and even the moss has covered itself in flowers!  The air is fresh and sweet with the scent of blossom, and the birds and native animals gather to enjoy the delicious feast.

Winter

Winter is cold in the Granite Belt.  In fact, Stanthorpe is officially Queensland’s coldest place and even gets a sprinkling of snow from time to time!  If grabbing a campervan hire for a Brisbane winter escape, we highly advise booking into a powered caravan park.  Explore during the day when it’s lovely and cool, then in the late afternoon it’s time to relax!  As the mercury begins to drop, your warm cosy little home on wheels is waiting for you! Whip up a delicious gourmet meal in the fully kitted-out kitchen. Then then relax in comfort with onboard heating, spacious dining area and warm snuggly bed.

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Summer

Summer days are warm but without any of the humidity of coastal Queensland.  This is one of our favourite times to visit, particularly if you are looking for a family campervan hire adventure.  The summer rains have filled rivers and swimming holes, waterfalls are gushing, summer fruit is ripe for the picking, and the native wildlife is everywhere!  Kid heaven! We will add a note though, if you are from a cooler climate, you may be best to avoid summer in Brisbane.

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What is the best campervan to hire for a trip from Brisbane to the Granite Belt?

As you’ve probably realised, this depends on who you’re travelling with, when you’re travelling and what you want to do!  We have a large range of choices when it comes to Brisbane campervan hire.

At Gallivanting Oz, our friendly and knowledgeable travel team is available whenever you need us, to answer any questions you may have about campervan and motorhome hire in Australia.

Secure the best deal.  Choose from one of Australia’s biggest range of vehicles.  Enjoy the best customer service.   We can’t wait to hear from you!

Some images supplied courtesy of Granite Belt Wine Country, Queensland, Australia

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