Quirky Accommodation In Southern Queensland Country
No one goes to the country for city comforts and a one-size-fits-all experience. It’s the rustic charm and local hospitality that sets a stay in the countryside apart. And Southern Queensland Country has both by the acreage. Here are eight of the quirkiest accommodation in Southern Queensland Country, where within 90 minutes’ drive of Brisbane you’ll arrive in the land of B&Bs, winery cottages, and unique places to lay your head, where niche interests prevail (stargazing, anyone?) and the unimaginable is made possible.
Train carriage at Harrington Glen Wines, Stanthorpe
There’s something to be said for making decisions on a whim, and it was with barely a second thought that the owners of Harrington Glen came to transport an out-of-service train all the way from Melbourne to the Granite Belt.
Harrington Glen Train House is right up there when it comes to weird and wacky; a three-bedroom house has been built around the silver train carriages to offer a one-of-a-kind accommodation in Southern Queensland Country.
As well as providing gorgeous views over the vineyard, a short amble down to the cellar door will give you the opportunity to sip and swill your way through the winery’s top drops.
Twinstar Guesthouse and Observatory, Ballandean
Japanese astronomy enthusiasts Eiji and Naomi were growing tired of commuting from their home on the Gold Coast to Maidenwell to get their stargazing fix every weekend, so they decided to build their own observatory in the backyard of Twinstar Guesthouse & Observatory in Ballandean instead.
Now guests can sleep in comfort in one of the three bedsit rooms and join in the nightly sky tour, looking through their gigantic 46cm reflector telescope. Star-trail chasers are encouraged to set up their photography equipment in the backyard for the perfect time-lapse frame and two large binocular telescopes are also available for guests to use.
If you have an all-night stargazing bender, you can rest assured your continental breakfast will be waiting for you in your room when you wake. If you feel like some home cooking at night during your stay, Naomi will whip you up a bento or teriyaki fish.
The Cottage at Twisted Gum Wines, Ballandean
Okay, so it’s more cute than quirky, but the 1920s guest cottage at Twisted Gum Wines comes with a hearty dose of Australiana thanks to the Hills Hoist out back and Gus, the adorable border collie-cross-kelpie keeping watch at the front door.
Much of the three-bedroom home has been kept in its original condition, resurrected with care by owners Michelle and Tim, though all the mod cons have been provided for a comfortable stay. Think: Super comfy beds, a fully-equipped kitchen and plenty of books and board games.
Sleeping amongst the vines of a single-vineyard winery in Ballandean has its obvious perks, but it’s the tranquil outlook and beautiful homely feel of this cottage that will win you over long after the last drop of vino has been poured.
Visit in February for the chance to get hands-on when the picking season is in full swing. And while you can easily self-cater during your stay, a short amble down the driveway will place you at the Hidden Creek Winery Cafe for a relaxing long lunch.
Alure glamping tent, Stanthorpe
‘Glamping’ changed the camping game forever, upping the standard of sleeping under the stars. And just a short 10-minute drive out of Stanthorpe‘s main street you’ll find the Ritz of glamping tents.
Alure Stanthorpe’s tent accommodation provides more creature comforts than the average person’s home, so while you’re listening to the gentle flap of the canvas tent in the breeze, you can simultaneously be sitting in front of the eco fireplace, chandelier on above you, kicking back watching a DVD after a relaxing soak in the heated outdoor spa.
Then, after a hot shower (with L’Occitane products on tap), you can nuzzle into your four-poster bed and awake the next day to hot croissants, homemade granola, local berry compote and juice, and freshly-baked bread.
Abbey of the Roses
Unless you’re planning on joining a convent, there are few times in your life when you’ll have the chance to sleep in an abbey – and we can assure you this converted manor has all the essence of the 1980s original, with a few more luxuries thrown in.
The adults-only heritage-listed boutique country manor hotel has 13 beautifully repurposed rooms with stained glass windows, chandeliers hanging over four-poster beds, and wood panel ceilings that nod to the original, while air conditioning, mini bar fridges and coffee machines meet your modern-day needs.
There’s little reason to leave the grounds, with tennis, outdoor chess and free DVDs on offer, but jumping on one of the complimentary bikes and peddling into Warwick for an American-style smoked barbecue at Bluebird Kitchen is well worth it.
Diamondvale B&B Cottages, Stanthorpe
The gorgeous cluster of cottages and main lodge of Diamondvale B&B – sitting pretty along the banks of Quart Pot Creek just three minutes outside Stanthorpe – has country charm and hospitality in spades.
Opt for a romantic getaway in one of their one-bedroom cottages, a family escape in a two-bedroom cottage, a celebration with friends in the lodge, or hire the entire property for up to 20 guests.
The marshmallow on the stick is the Pioneer Hut, where you can sit around an open fire beside the creek, and truly get into the spirit with bocce, darts, a BBQ and music on hand.
For more tips on how to spend your days in the Granite Belt, check out this guide.
The Woolshed at Jondaryan
Country escapes don’t get much better than the Woolshed at Jondaryan. Set on the acreage of one of Australia’s oldest and largest sheep stations, you can expect an authentic true blue bush experience coupled with a healthy dose of the great outdoors.
Turn back the clock when you bunker down in the original Shearer’s Quarters that housed the station’s workers back in the 1800s. Stepping into these dormitory style rooms really is like travelling back to a simpler time, when all you needed for a decent night’s sleep was a comfy bed and a roof over your head (don’t fret, you can still charge your smartphone, too).
If you really can’t bear skipping on today’s luxuries, their self-contained cottages come decked out with a TV, aircon and ensuite, while still holding true to that simple rural feel. Camping and caravaning is also permitted on the grounds, and pets are welcome.
A little taste of what else you can expect: two on-site restaurants, fishing and kayaking down at the river, waking up to alpacas and horses out your window, self-guided museum tours, and in true Aussie style, billy tea and damper.
Rocking up to Quest Toowoomba can be a little puzzling. At first, you might think “am I in the right place?” when you pull up to the church-like building and notice the stained-glass windows and brick arches leading to the entrance.
But alas, your GPS was in fact right, because the reception of this renowned hotel has been thoughtfully built inside a church in the heart (and main street) of Toowoomba.
The original building houses the hotel lobby, which has been modernly upgraded with a marble-tiled wall and contemporary lighting, both of which accent the church’s high cathedral ceilings. The rooms are a new build and the one, two and three bedroom apartments come with fully-equipped kitchens.
Since you’re on holiday and only a short stroll away, it would be rude not to stop into The Baker’s Duck for the prettiest pastries you ever did see.