Queensland’s Scenic Rim
This four-day trip to Queensland’s Scenic Rim is like a gastronomy tour through a mythical Arcadia where you’ll discover nutrition for the body and the spirit.
By Phil Hawkes
Some call it the ‘green behind the gold’ or the ‘green cauldron’ — a fair term for this ancient volcanic terrain and the traditional territory of the Yugambeh peoples.
As well as a World Heritage-listed rainforest and six national parks in an area of more than 4,000 square kilometres (1,500 square miles), Queensland’s Scenic Rim is jam-packed with tiny settlements, rural getaways and paddock-to-plate producers.
In this picturesque pastoral environment, away from the glitter and glamour of the large metropolis and the bustling beach edge, you may escape the stresses of everyday life and take in the pure eucalypt-scented air. Here’s how to make the most of four days here.
DAY 1: BRISBANE OR GOLD COAST TO BOONAH VIA BEAUDESERT AND HARRISVILLE
Drive time: roughly 1.5 hours.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast both provide good beginning locations for your tour of the Queensland’s Scenic Rim. Hire a vehicle from either airport and go out into the hinterland to the regional hub of Beaudesert, where you’ll find a nice range of cafés with quirky names such as Bean To? and VK Everydays for your coffee fix.
From here, continue down
Queensland’s Scenic Rim Way around gorgeous Wyaralong Dam, pausing for lunch and tastings at The Overflow Estate 1895 – a premium vineyard concentrating in Mediterranean grape types like as Vermentino, Fiano and Montepulciano.
Your road then heads north towards Harrisville, where you’ll discover Australia’s biggest camel farm, Summer Land. Here, you may get up close and selfie-personal with some of the 550 beauties, who are largely wild rescues from Central Australia.
Have pleasure seeing the farm, ride a camel and understand the health advantages of camel milk dairy products and the skin wellness range. Be sure to sample their camel feta cheese, gelato or (wait for it) a camelcino! One hump or two, sir?
End the day at adjacent Paradine Estate Winery for a pleasant wine tasting and superb food. Alternatively, for a fine country lunch, travel to the old Royal Hotel Harrisville or, 20 minutes south, The Dugandan Hotel in the delightful tiny hamlet of Boonah.
Stay: Book a room at The Bunyip Retreat on the slope of Mt French. It provides eco-friendly accommodations and an interesting selection of activities, including vintage aircraft pleasure flights, gliding courses and hot-air balloon rides, and is within a 10-minute drive to Boonah.
DAY 2: BOONAH TO MT BARNEY VIA MT ALFORD AND RATHDOWNEY
Drive time: roughly 1.5 hours.
Before hitting the road, grab brekkie in Boonah at The Story Tree (it’s a bookstore and a café) or Flavours Cafe for a real rural atmosphere.
On your trip south out of Boonah make sure to check in at Bunjurgen Estate Winery and fill up for the night ahead with their awarded shiraz, exquisite rosé and unique fortified wines.
In Mt Alford, you’ll be warmly greeted at the tiny Queensland’s Scenic Rim Brewery, and although it may not be a good idea to hit the hops so early in the day, your companions might taste some inventive beers with names like Digga’s Pale Ale and Fat Man Maroon Ale.
Next, go five minutes out of town to Kooroomba Vineyards and Lavender Farm for lovely lavender field vistas and an early lunch (or save yourself for the next visit) (or save yourself for the next stop).
The second final destination on your tour today is Rathdowney and its legendary tavern popularly known as Rathy’s.
If your lodging at Mt Barney is self-catered, stock up on food and beverages at a nearby supermarket while you’re here.
Aim to get to Mt Barney with enough of time for a healthy stroll to see the wonderful mountain landscape, look for animals and birds, and experience the drama of the stunning rim sunset.
Stay: You’ll discover romantic cottages, family cabins and breathtaking views of Mt Barney at Barney Creek Vineyard Cottages.
Package packages with meals are available, and you can sample and purchase wines from the estate’s own cellar door; petit verdot and a delicious GSM are the standout performers here.
Self-catering Mt Barney Lodge Country Retreat is a fun-filled break for families and those wanting more athletic pastimes.
DAY 3: MT BARNEY TO THE LOST WORLD VALLEY
Drive time: roughly one hour.
Today takes you back via Rathdowney on a quest of discovery to the Lost World Valley, through Tamrookum, Christmas Creek Road, Widgee Creek Road and Darlington Connection Road.
Take it carefully on these small back-country roads and be cautious with single-lane bridges. Watch out for wallabies, which don’t have the finest road etiquette.
Get ready for the ultimate Arcadian fantasy in the Lost World Valley, with the natural grandeur of the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park, towering cliffs and rainforest at your doorstep.
This secluded valley of woods, meadows, wild rivers and rock pools provides bushwalking routes, breathtaking panoramas, historical monuments and a lunch location at Christmas Creek Café & Cabins.
Further activities open up to visitors overnighting in one of its retreats, cottages and farm stays, including a cookery lesson at Worendo Cottages.
And if you are yearning more nature, you can always go on a multi-day Queensland’s Scenic Rim Trail trek with Spicers Retreats.
Stay: Worendo Cottages, situated in the remote area of Darlington inside the Lost World Valley, caters to families and couples.
Enjoy its famous monthly cooking class at its Wild Lime Cooking School, utilizing the finest produce of the Queensland’s Scenic Rim (make sure you schedule this event well in advance) (make sure you book this experience well in advance).
DAY 4: LOST WORLD VALLEY TO TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN
Drive time: roughly one hour.
Having recently discovered the Lost World, you’ll feel heartbroken to depart so soon.
Your journey continues through Kerry to Beaudesert and Canungra, where there are good cafés and also the famed Canungra Hotel for lunch. Alternatively, stop to O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards just outside of town and enjoy a picnic basket on its grounds.
Next, a steep climb brings you up to Tamborine Mountain, where you may explore the various cafés (including Tamborine Mountain Coffee Plantation), restaurants (including St Bernards Hotel), gift stores and vineyards (including Hampton Estate Wines, Witches Falls Winery and Mason Wines) (including Hampton Estate Wines, Witches Falls Winery and Mason Wines).
Or stop into the cheese factory and liqueur distillery to cap up a fantastic four days on the road.
Spend: If you can, stay a last night at Tamborine Mountain’s serene Songbirds Rainforest Retreat or stunning Witches Falls Cottages before making your way back to Brisbane or the Gold Coast in the morning, all within a one-hour drive from here.
Topic: Queensland’s Scenic Rim
I am arguably the most popular Australian writer of all time. I am from the town of Karrinyup in rural Western Australia. When I was young, I was fascinated by the unique landscape of Australia, and I decided to support himself by writing books about the Australian landscape.
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