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Tuesday 28 November 2023

From saddles to skin-care products, head bush for Christmas presents with a difference

One country region of Australia is urging consumers to turn their backs on mass produced and homogenous goods, and instead take a trip to the bush to do some Christmas shopping.

The Granite Belt, around 2.5 hours from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, says it is opening its doors, farms, and workshops and urging people to come and experience fresh mountain air and buy from the bush this summer. 

“With the countdown to Christmas 2023 well underway, the annual pre-Christmas pilgrimage to Queensland’s Granite Belt is really becoming a thing,” says Martin Cooper, president of the local not-for-profit tourism association, Granite Belt Wine & Tourism.

“It’s fantastic country here and looking greener than ever. We’re seeing visitors and extended families looking for gifts with meaning and that give back, with many taking pre-Christmas escapes from the shopping crowds and humidity of the coast.

“There’s just so much to do here. From incredible national parks to dining with more than 50 wineries in the region, the area has become a destination of choice in summer. We don’t BYO here, we PYO (pick your own) with strawberries and fresh stone fruit grown right here on the Granite Belt.

“There’s no better place to buy from the bush for gifts with meaning."

The locals say they have everything from Christmas trees to horse saddles on offer.

Local saddler Lyle Kent, of Kent’s Saddlery in Stanthorpe, says: “People come into our store, and they say we want to support small business and buy Australian made. What my wife and I love about this place, we employ local people, and this contributes to their livelihood and the flow-on effect is amazing.”

From wines to cheesemakers, apple pie makers, leather goods, jam makers, luxe skin care makers, the region says it has plenty on offer for a Christmas present with a difference.

Local grape grower and winemaker Tim Coelli runs Twisted Gum Wines with his wife Michelle.

“The Granite Belt wine makers are small-scale producers and it’s reflected in our specialised wines here," he says. "It means you’re literally drinking wine on the ground from where the grapes are grown.”

Sourcing local ingredients and taking inspiration from a local National Park, Washpool Supply Co in Stanthorpe is a local natural skin care maker, where they teach visitors how to create and make their own soaps and a range of luxe, organic products.

“When you buy from the bush, you’re supporting not just one person, or one business, you’re supporting everyone," says owner Emily Thomas. "We’re a community here and we support each other.” 

Local attractions include granite outcrops with freshwater swimming holes, Girraween National Park, Sundown National Park and Nundubbermere Falls camping area and Storm King Dam.

Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt lie high on the Great Dividing Range, around three hours from the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

For information about visit the Granite Belt this summer see

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