Queensland – South Burnett – behind the Sunshine Coast

By Winsor Dobbin
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Grand Hotel, Wooroolin, Queensland

Grand Hotel, Wooroolin, Queensland

Kilkivan Fine Art and Antiques, Queensland
dashons RETREAT, Kingaroy, Queensland
Captain's Paddock cafe, Kingaroy, Queensland
The Left Bank, Kilkivan, Queensland

 

Unlikely as it may seem to outsiders, Queensland has two wine producing regions, the Granite Belt region around Stanthorpe, just north of the NSW border, and the South Burnett, which lies 2.5 hours north-west of Brisbane and west of the Sunshine Coast.

The South Burnett is Queensland's largest wine region, covering a bigger area than the Granite Belt, and is home to more than 20 wineries and cellar doors, two of the state’s biggest inland waterways (Lake Boondooma and the Bjelke-Petersen Dam) and the rugged Bunya Mountains.

The agricultural countryside is beautiful but there are no big city facilities or chain hotels. Larger towns include Kingaroy, Nanango, Murgon and Goomeri.

Clovely Estate is the biggest regional producer but small wineries like Captain’s Paddock, Moffatdale Ridge and Crane Wines all have good ranges and offer warm greetings.

Barambah has several excellent wines, while Captain’s Paddock bistro is the perfect spot for a winery lunch and Moffatdale Ridge combines good food and great views.

deshons RETREAT is a very classy country getaway outside Kingaroy with two well-equipped cottages while The Left Bank in the former mining town of Kilkivan is a quirky but friendly and comfortable bed and breakfast.

 

Stop 1 – Tasting at Crane Wines

Crane Wines is a small, family owned boutique winery in an old colonial homestead that is renowned for its platters and its superb regional views. In addition to the rustic cellar door, it has bed and breakfast accommodation. Cranes was the very first winery cellar door in the region and offers a wide range of styles, boasting “a wine to suit all palates.” A range of home-made jams and chutneys are on sale while visitors are encouraged to enjoy a glass of wine on the porch.

You must taste: Verdelhos, made in three different styles, are a speciality, along with reds made from cabernet and merlot.

Open: Daily 10am-4pm
162 Haydens Road, Booie, via Kingaroy
Phone (07) 4162 7647

 

Stop 2 – Stroll and shopping in Kingaroy

The peanut capital of Australia is home to around 8,000 people and is a bustling country town notable for the peanut storage silos that are the town’s largest structures. It is the major regional centre with a large shopping centre, the Kingaroy Shire Art Gallery and Heritage Museum. The Heritage Precinct has several interesting old buildings and the town has several welcoming country pubs. Kingaroy is famous for being the home town of former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The Belltower restaurant at Booie, just out of town, is regarded as one of the best in the area.

 

Stop 3 – Tasting and lunch at Captain’s Paddock

This little gem comprises a winery, cellar door and cafe and also has on-site bed and breakfast accommodation. Set high on the Booie Range it is celebrating its 15th birthday in 2010. It offers tastings, lunches, morning and afternoon teas and a very warm welcome from owners Maryanne Pidcock and Peter Eaton. The spicy peanut soup is legendary but the menu also includes dishes like Thai green chicken curry and beef and shiraz pies. Chocolate sticky date pudding with caramel sauce and ice cream is the signature dessert.

You must taste: Chardonnay, shiraz and merlot are the specialities here.

Open: Daily 10am-5pm
18 Millers Road, Kingaroy
Phone (07) 4162 4534

 

Stop 4 – Wine tasting at Clovely Estate

Clovely Estate was established in 1997 and now comprises 133 hectares of grapes, making it the second-largest producer in the state. It is owned by the Heading family, who've been farming in the South Burnett for more than a century. Clovely Estate grows shiraz, cabernet, merlot, chardonnay, semillon and verdelho grapes along with smaller quantities of barbera, grenache and sangiovese. Tastings are available at the local cellar door as well as a second tasting facility at Red Hill in Brisbane. The on-site Old Dairy restaurant is open for lunch at weekends and on public holidays. Clovely Cottage provides on-vineyard bed and breakfast accommodation and can sleep up to 10 people.

You must taste: The estate chardonnay and double-pruned shiraz are standouts.

Open: Daily
91 Steinhardts Road, Moffatdale
Phone (07) 4168 4788

 

Stop 5 – Stroll and shopping in Goomeri

Goomeri, which hosts an annual pumpkin festival each May, has a population of less than 500 people but is known for its several attractive buildings dating back to the 1920s. It has an excellent deli in CheeseWorld, which sells a wide range of local produce. It’s the ideal spot to pick up picnic supplies, including a rotating range of fine cheeses.

Open: Daily
29 Moore St, Goomeri
Phone (07) 4168 4418

 

Stop 6 – Tasting at Barambah Wines

The first vines were planted on the Barambah property in 1995 and today the facility produces semillon, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz, made by leading Queensland expert Peter Scudamore-Smith MW. One of the oldest farms in Queensland, Barambah was established in 1843.

You must taste: The First Grid Chardonnay is excellent, as is the semillon.

Open: Varies. Closed during vintage
79 Goshnicks Road (off Redgate Road), Murgon
Phone 1300 781 815

 

Stop 7 – Tasting at Moffatdale Ridge

Jason and Sue Kinsella, descendants of local farmers, have built up one of the region’s most popular cellar doors. The Tuscan-inspired cellar door overlooks Barambah Creek and the views here are spectacular. The menu features dishes like toasted Turkish bread with a trio of dips and rib eye fillet steak topped with pepper sauce, served with salad and fries.

You must taste: Moffatdale Moonshine is a lovely white port.

Open: Daily
681 Barambah Road, Moffatdale
Phone (07) 4168 4797

 

Stop 8 – Overnight at deshons RETREAT

deshons RETREAT is the perfect place from which to explore the South Burnett. This classy country getaway boasts two very well-equipped cottages and extremely welcoming owners. The luxury self-contained bed and breakfast accommodation (chic versions of country sheds) are set on 23 hectares of bushland with views of the Booie Ranges and is next door to the Crane Wines cellar door. deshons also serves excellent meals if you don’t fancy driving the 9 kilometres up the road to Kingaroy. Breakfast baskets with home-laid eggs and local bacon and sausages are included in the tariffs, which start from $170 per night. Well-behaved dogs are welcome to stay with their owners.

Open: Nightly
164 Haydens Road, Kingaroy
Phone (07) 4163 6688

 

Don’t miss:

  • Buying some fresh local peanuts from the iconic Kingaroy peanut vendors
  • Cherbourg Tourist Centre, which sells a wide range of Aboriginal souvenirs and crafts
  • The Wine and Food In The Park Festival held each March in Kingaroy
  • The biannual Kingaroy Peanut Festival
  • The many arts and crafts stores dotted throughout the region
  • A visit to the Kilkivan Historical Museum, and a meal at the The Left Bank in the same village

 

Regions

  • Fraser Coast (QLD)
  • Fraser Coast (QLD)
  • South East Queensland (QLD)
  • South Burnett (QLD)

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