Roadtrip of discovery
THE road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to Stanthorpe, the apple of Queensland's eye.
Although the destination lies a good four-hour drive south of the Sunshine Coast, the kids in the back seat will have plenty to distract them along the way.
First stop is 60 clicks south-west of Brisbane at the Aratula Bakery for cakes baked the old-fashioned way.
Pick from a delicious choice of big pieces of apple pie (made with Stanthorpe apples), nutmeg topped custard tarts or extra long chocolate éclairs filled with jam and cream.
Back in the car, keep your eyes peeled for the old tumbledown house with solar panels, the fields of fresh produce such as beans, broccoli and cabbage.
Another fantastic sight on the road from Aratula is the Great Dividing Range.
Make your way through the domineering mountains with breathtaking views and abundant bushland either side of the road.
Next stop on the list is Warwick. The Condamine River runs through the township and on the riverbank you will find a sculpture of Tiddalik the frog who, according to Aboriginal Dreamtime legend, drank all of the fresh water.
It is a great place to stop for a picnic.
Pile into the car one last time, drive 60 kilometres and you will arrive at Stanthorpe.
Top of the Town Tourist Park on High Street is the ideal place to stay in Stanthorpe if you want to explore the local area.
The complex has motel rooms and bungalows for visitors who enjoy their creature comforts, as well as caravan and camping sites for the more adventurous traveller.
Lush natural bush land borders the tourist park, which merges beautifully with the park flora.
Visitors are sure to see and hear the native wildlife, such as kookaburras and magpies in the mornings, creating an unexpected environmentally aware holiday experience.
A weekend stay calls for a relaxed breakfast on Sunday morning, and the best place in town is the family-owned Aussie Beef Steakhouse.
The Big Breakfast is served buffet style so you can fill up on freshly cooked bacon and eggs, delicious pastries and mouth-watering seasonal fruit before a big day out.
Most Queenslanders know Stanthorpe as the apple capital of the state, but few know of the family-friendly accommodation, boutique wineries, dairy farms and other attractions speckled across the region.
Take the Granite Belt Dairy, for example. It is the highest and coldest dairy farm in Queensland, and is just 10 minutes north of Stanthorpe.
The cheese produced at the dairy is sure to excite the connoisseur in you.
It is made from milk coming from Jersey cows, which guarantees a smooth creamy texture across the board.
Barely a minute away from the dairy you will find a castle surrounded by vineyards.
It is not the castle of a long forgotten Lord; rather the birthplace and cellar door of Castle Glen Liqueurs and Winery.
The first thing to hit you as you walk through the cellar door is the sweet aroma of liqueur.
Row upon row of bottled wines, ports and liqueurs fill the room, each sorted into style of drink, bottle shape and colour.
It feels like walking into Professor Snape's Potions room.
Another few minutes up the road from Castle Glen is Robert Channon Wines, home of the award-winning Singing Lake labelled verdelho wine.
"For us, chardonnays grow really well and verdelho grows really well," vintner Robert Channon said.
"It's the soil, it's the sunshine it's the rain and it's the wind."
Regular visitors to the winery are the Caxton Street Jazz Band for some classic jazz, swing and blues in the Swigmore Hall.
Robert said he enjoyed hosting live performances at the winery as they drew people to the Granite Belt region and Stanthorpe in particular.