The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - ESCAPE - WORDS: SEAN TEUMA

Ar­riv­ing at Stan­thorpe after dark, the chill of win­ter is still in the air. Thank­fully, I was warmed by the wel­come I re­ceived at Ridgemill Es­tate in Stan­thorpe from owner Michelle Feenan.

Wait­ing in my spa­cious cabin was a bot­tle of rose, fresh fruit, a hulk­ing bed with more pil­lows than a depart­ment store and a wood-stocked fire­place. It was the per­fect way to whet my ap­petite for the temp­ta­tions to fol­low.

I don’t con­sider my­self a wine afi­cionado by any stretch of the imag­i­na­tion, how­ever, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the ded­i­ca­tion that goes into ev­ery sin­gle bot­tle at Ridgemill Es­tate gave me a new ap­pre­ci­a­tion. Guests have the op­por­tu­nity to see “wine whis­perer” Pete McGlashan at work, with the cel­lar door now open seven days.

After wak­ing early, I took the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore my Stan­thorpe sur­rounds, start­ing with a stom­ach-fill­ing break­fast.

I drove up Mary­land Street where a chic, mod­ern venue caught my eye. You can eat your fill of fine fare at Fork and Cork, but I was just as happy with the tra­di­tional ba­con, eggs, toast and sausage.

After break­fast, it was time to take in the sights and what bet­ter way to do so than by adopt­ing a bird’s eye view.

The Mt Mar­ley look­out is sim­ply breathtaking. It is nes­tled in the trees, with the op­tion to take a walk through the bush.

Back in town, you can’t progress too far in Stan­thorpe without a men­tion of ap­ples, so it was fit­ting that would frame my fi­nal ex­pe­ri­ence in the re­gion.

Sut­ton’s Shed Cafe is a must visit, if only to try one spe­cial dish.

Sut­ton’s ap­ple pie has a rep­u­ta­tion that stretches be­yond the town, and it was cer­tainly on my af­ter­noon tea menu.

My size­able slice was served with cream, ice cream and a glass of dry cider ... and it def­i­nitely de­served a toast.

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