Don’t you hate seeing those sad eyes when you leave man’s best doggie friend at home? Make the pet-friendly Granite Belt your destination and you can take them along.

Four-year-old cockalier Bella is rarely gets invited when I go travelling but a trip to the Granite Belt changed all that.

At Alure Stanthorpe, not only was she invited to stay, but her personally addressed welcome email mentioned gourmet treats, a plush bed and bathrobe.  Next visit Bella will be requesting a wake-up puppa chino and a doggie pedicure as well. Note to self – better manage future dog expectations early!

There were a few requests (rules) that had to be negotiated with Bella. After a full day of exploring and sniffing, she could stretch out by the fire, or end the day stargazing in the private courtyard. Bella also had to agree to resist the temptation to climb on the furniture or sleep on the bed. (Never happens at home, well mostly never happens.)

As you would expect, there was a mention that Bella uses the great outdoor facilities and never make a mess inside and only her ‘inside voice’ so as not to disturb the residents in other villas.

The rule that she couldn’t be left behind inside or outside the villa, in case she disturbed other guests came with a long list of pet-friendly attractions and activities.

So along with walking shoes and swimmers for the spa, I packed dog food.

Visit the Granite Belt for the 2018 Apple & Grape Harvest Festival – see the program.

Where to stay on the Granite Belt

Alure Stanthorpe was every bit as luxurious as promised for both humans and dog.  We had a king-sized bed with crisp white sheets and a furry throw, while Bella had a deeply plush bed of her own.  She did sleep on it after a few reminders.

The treats were very much appreciated by Bella.  Well, who doesn’t like pink iced doughnuts? I was almost tempted to eat it myself before I checked out the homemade bread and local honey in the breakfast basket.

We were all very content to lie around and enjoy the ambience, but the great outdoors did beckon Bella on a regular basis for toilet stops.  Luckily there was a great view of the dog walking area from the spa, so I was able to supervise K2 and make sure that he did everything according to the rules.

Where to eat with your dog on the Granite Belt

They are friendly folk on the pet-friendly Granite Belt and happy to accommodate travelling dogs where possible with an outdoor spot and a bowl of water.

We dined at McGregor Terrace Food Project (0pen for coffee and dinner Wednesday to Saturday) where there is a delightful vine-shrouded outdoor dining adjacent to the garden.  It’s an excellent space for children as well and plenty of room to get up and wander the garden for a mid-meal walk if necessary. The menu has a strong local food focus and doesn’t miss the delicious ice cream.  It’s available in take-home packs too.

Hidden Creek Winery Cafe (Open for lunch Friday to Monday) was a perfect lunch spot.  With tables set under a heavy tree canopy and overlooking the lake, this was the sort of place where you could while away the afternoon.

Famous for their apple pie and a huge range of apple products, Sutton’s Juice Factory and Shed Cafe has a spot you can tie a dog under a shady tree. It is out of sight if you dined inside, but you could take a couple of chairs out there.  A visit to the Granite Belt is not complete for me without at least one stop here and a giant slice of pie.

At The Barrelroom at Ballandean Wines dog-friendly dining is possible with a table at the front of the restaurant or right at the back of the barrel room where your dog can sit within view just outside.

There’s a large outdoor deck at Feast & Farmin’ a café that makes everything in-house.  Their baklava is the best I have ever tasted! They only source from local producers and don’t support factory farming of livestock. Check out the herbs in their gardens.

Other pet-friendly Granite Belt places where your furry friend can visit 

  • Wallangarra Railway Café & Museum – Wallangarra is approximately 30 minutes south of Stanthorpe. Open daily.
  • Bramble Patch – Fantastic spot for coffee and waffles, berries and ice-cream. – Open Thursday to Monday.
  • Stanthorpe town café’s Brinx Deli and Zest Pastries both have outside tables and chairs. Some have dog water bowls.
  • Jamworks –Dogs are allowed in the outdoor undercover dining area. Open Friday to Tuesday.

Granite Belt winery visiting with dogs

Many of the pet-friendly Granite Belt wineries often have their own dogs as well.

Our trail took us to lunch by the dam at Hidden Creek Wines where there was a cool spot under some large trees. A local produce inspired lunch with a glass of matching wine was a pretty easy way to spend several afternoon hours.

Bella enjoyed meeting the local dogs and relaxing by the table on the grass.

Robert Channon Wines is another winery with a resident dog and an open-door policy for travelling pets.

Other pet-friendly wineries

Take your dog to the Stanthorpe Apple & Grape Festival

Head to Stanthorpe for some apple and grape fun! For more than 50 years Stanthorpe has kicked up its heels and come together to celebrate the region’s bounty for the Apple & Grape Harvest Festival.  From February 23 to March 4 the festival vibes fill the streets with bike rides and chalk artists, apple peeling and pie making.

The Carnival and Wine Fiesta on March 3 and 4 is a festival highlight. Head to Stanthorpe for the day on Saturday or Sunday, and you can travel on a puffing billy, learn about wine from Australia’s top winemaker, browse the Market in the Mountains, watch grape crushing the old- fashioned way, check out a rodeo, see the grand parade and visit an open garden.

Check out the full Apple & Grape Harvest Festival.

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Southern Downs Regional Council. For more ways to explore the region visit the Southern Downs and Granite Belt.