Enjoy the scenic rim this Autumn

Gen Windley at the Scenic Rim Farm House which opened in 2022_pic Pete Wallis.

A luxury country retreat on Lamington National Park’s Beechmont plateau, an old railway station headhouse that’s now a quaint cottage in the hills, a 21-seater restaurant that’s blown the country’s best foodies away, a gin distillery on Tamborine Mountain that can’t stop winning awards, incredible eco-pod accommodation at a winery, a country home amidst a patchwork of paddocks, and a three-day cultural immersion program created with local Elders … no wonder the Scenic Rim is the envy of the world!

While 2022 may have been year the global travel authority Lonely Planet named the Scenic Rim as one of the hottest destinations to visit, 2023 is the year the region shares some of the most unique accommodation and travel experiences in the country.

Here’s the latest new experiences and stay offerings in the Scenic Rim….

ALCHERINGA HOUSES @ Lamington National Park

Alcheringa is the home of two exceptional holiday houses in Lamington National Park, adjacent to the famous Binna Burra Lodge in the Gold Coast Hinterland of South East Queensland. And, they have a wonderful history….. the original Alcheringa was built in the early ‘70s by Donn Groom, one of the sons of Arthur Groom, co-founder of Binna Burra Lodge. Brisbane architect Robin Spencer designed the house. Donn built six massive rock walls without cranes or heavy machinery and employed carpenters to build around them. The original house was destroyed in the bushfires that swept the east of Australia in late 2019 and Robin Spencer was thrilled to be asked to design the replacement houses, which he did with his son Fraser. The two new houses were finished in August this year. The Alcheringa houses are a short walk from the four main track entrances. https://alcheringa-lamington.com.au/

BARNEY CREEK VINEYARD COTTAGES

Nestled at the base of the World Heritage-listed Mount Barney National Park, this pocket of paradise is the perfect hideaway. Five cottages have been seamlessly blended into the natural environment, with glorious views and access to the creek, the lake, the vineyard, a rambling country garden and of course, the mountains.

Hill Station cottage is the old Logan Village railway station, beautifully refurbished and perched atop a hill. Florrie’s Cottage is a delightful 120-year-old renovated workers’ cottage, a couple’s paradise. The Lakeside Bungalow is also a couple’s escape – wake to stunning views across the lake to Mount Barney and enjoy a coffee in the dining nook, built just for two. There’s a sunken spa and a wood-fired heater. The Garden Cottage sleeps eight and is great for a family or a group of friends and Pecan’s Camping Cabin sleeps four and is shaded by huge pecan trees, beside the Logan River, offering a wonderful way to re-connect. What’s even better? The property is dog friendly. https://barneycreekcottages.com.au/

BEECHMONT ESTATE (formerly Hazelwood Estate)

A luxury country retreat on Lamington National Park’s Beechmont plateau 600m above sea level, Beechmont Estate is a privately-owned Wagyu farm, home to luxury cabins and pavilions across a 75 acre property of idyllic hinterland countryside. The acclaimed onsite restaurant – The Paddock – is led by famed chef Simon Furley who champions local produce. Watching the sun set over the green hills, with horses grazing in the distance and an open fire crackling closely on the terrace is a seriously wonderful experience. It is part of the Northern Escape Collection, a portfolio of boutique sustainable experiences that celebrate Queensland’s diverse natural beauty. Fun fact: the estate is harnessing cutting-edge renewables technology to become Australia’ first carbon positive hotel by 2023. https://beechmontestate.com.au/

BLUME @ Boonah

Coming in hot at number 11 in the delicious. Top 100 Queensland Restaurants for 2022, Blume is an exciting 21-seater at home in a former dental surgery in Boonah, with stunning white pressed-metal walls and ceiling. Under the culinary direction of owner chef Jack Stuart, who worked in the UK before three years as head chef at Melbourne’s Congress Wine, and then at Gauge in South Brisbane, the menu stars local produce served with technique and restraint; and edible flowers and herbs from Jack’s aunt’s garden up the road! Described as putting the ‘OO-AH’ in Boonah, Blume is the real deal – a knockout regional destination restaurant that is a MUST VISIT.

Fun Fact: the name Blume nods to Boonah’s original name of Blumbergville. https://blumerestaurant.com.au/

Fun fact #2 – the quirky, steampunk-esque ‘Blumbergville Clock’ in Boonah’s main street is an attraction in its own right. It’s a sculptural timepiece by local artisan Chris Trotter, that honours the spirit of resilience in the Scenic Rim community following the flood disasters of 2011 and 2013. It is made from recovered and donated farm equipment. It features different sounds that emerge from the clock at quarter past, half past and quarter to the hours.

CAULDRON ESTATE AND DISTILLERY @ Tamborine Mountain

Barely two years old and already the awards mantelpiece at Cauldron Estate and Distillery is heaving. The newest destination on Tamborine Mountain, ‘The Cauldron’ is in the Hartley Road Winery Precinct and sprawls over seven glorious green hectares – perfect for picnics or bocce. The charismatic owners host tastings, tours, gin making classes, Sip ‘n Paint sessions and more, with the line-up led by the multi award-winning Five To Five Gin range (the distillery sits at an altitude of 525m … or maybe the name came about because this fragrant pour lures sippers just before 5pm most days)! PS. Their Christmas Gin is perfect for a rendition of GINgles Bells!

CEDAR CREEK LODGES at TAMBORINE MOUNTAIN

Cedar Creek Lodges shares a 112-hectare rainforest property with Thunderbird Park on Tamborine Mountain, along the beautiful Cedar Creek. Guests can adventure, go bushwalking, swim in rock pools, order Farm to Fork platters and listen to the sounds of the ancient landscape. https://www.cedarcreeklodges.com.au/

THE COURTYARD SPA LUXE is already in-demand. Featuring a vaulted ceiling, private bush courtyard, a couple’s bathroom, oval bed, luxe linen and of course, local produce on a platter at any time, this experience is great for babymoons, honeymoons and romantic and quiet time away for couples! Courtyard Spa Luxe – Mt Tamborine Accommodation | Cedar Creek Lodges

THE WOODLANDS FAMILY TENTS are surrounded by rainforest and overlook Cedar Creek. Taking glamping to a new level, they boast an ensuite (showers under the stars anyone?) and one king bed, two single beds and a day bed.

COPPERHEAD RESTAURANT & BAR @ Tamborine Mountain

This woodfired kitchen cafe is led by chefs Kirk Page and Lisabet Wallin, talented, young, innovative flavour creators who cook only over fire and coals. Local produce advocates, they access all the produce of the Scenic Rim – from camel meat to specialty mushrooms, and sheep cheese to olives. Their food is all made in-house – cured meats, breads and pastries, butter and sauces and condiments. Pop-in for breakfast, lunch, or a specialty dinner. https://thecopperheadcafe.com/

KERRY VALLEY SECRET – camping

The Kerry Valley outside Beaudesert was already quite magical. Now Stockyard Creek boasts an exclusive bush campsite – it’s the Kerry Valley Secret! Property owners Sally and Michael Undery created the campsite for family and friends to book exclusively, and use as a base to relax, or adventure. It sits beside the gorgeous Stockyard Creek and is a short walk to the Albert River swimming hole. This stunning spot features Silky Oaks and Ironwood trees, views to Luke’s Bluff and Ding Bing falls in Lamington National Park; it has plenty of shade for tents and a huge space for caravans and camper trailers to turn around in. https://kerryvalleysecret.com.au/

MOUNT FRENCH LODGE (formerly Bunyip Retreat)

Commanding prime position on a majestic mountainside overlooking the Scenic Rim, Mount French Lodge is all about modern luxury, and is part of the Private Collection by Spicers. With four guesthouses catering to eight guests, the Lodge is designed to provide total ownership of a small group experience. For some, that’s reclining with a full champagne framed against an endless horizon; for others, it’s walking around the 100 acres of the mountain and then music around a fire-lit sunset. This is what makes it unique. Included in any stay is breakfast and dinner created from local produce from the gourmet kitchen, select beverages, local walking tracks, a stunning saltwater pool, huge lawn area, tennis courts, enjoyment of the famous Great Room and exclusive use of the property.

Mount French Lodge

PICNIC REAL FOOD BAR

Culinary pathmaker Brenda Fawdon is a chef of note; the driver behind Brisbane’s first organic restaurant in Mondo Organics for many years ago, she now proudly helms Picnic Real Food Bar. This Tamborine delight favours local and seasonal produce, and nourishing food made with love. To many, it’s the home of the best pies and sausage rolls in the country – all filled with Scenic Rim goodness of course. Sustainability is important, so Picnic have a closed-loop system that turns the kitchen waste into compost so they can minimise garbage and nourish the soil. TIP: pick your goodies and either sit on their deck, or head to Robert Sowter Park at Main Western Rd, Tamborine Mountain, sit and watch the hang-gliders. https://northstores.com.au/picnic-real-food-bar/

SCENIC RIM FARM HOUSE

At home beside majestic 120-year-old Jacaranda trees, and surrounded by a patchwork of green paddocks for which the region is famed, Scenic Rim Farm House is the perfect base for food adventures, hiking, relaxing or exploring. Oozing country charm and comfort, it sits on the grounds of the Scenic Rim Farm Shop, so coffee and local dishes created by chef Kate Raymont are literally a stone’s throw away, as is Elderflower Farm’s beautiful flower field and shop. The house features three bedrooms, all king beds (or king singles), with a full country kitchen, generous dining table, comfy lounge and large private back deck complete with additional outdoor seating and BBQ, wrap around verandahs, and a huge front lawn. It’s the perfect setting for a family catch-up, or a weekend away with friends. TIP: Catch the early morning, cuppa in hand, from the cane lounge on the verandah as the sun rises. It’s so quiet, save for the bird song, an irrigator watering the neighbouring crops, and perhaps a tractor passing by. Dog friendly!

To book: enquiries@scenicrimfarmshop.com.au / www.scenicrimfarmshop.com.au

TWO RABBIT HILL

Two beautifully appointed cabins have just opened their doors, offering a country escape only minutes away from the Boonah township, wineries, restaurants, and good old country pubs. Two Rabbit Hill is close to some of the most stunning walks in the country, with guests regularly welcomed by the owners’ two rabbits on the hill as they approach! The cabins are fully fenced, and furry friends are more than welcome to stay.

WANDER at The Overflow 1895

Wander is the design-led, eco-pod accommodation experience that reconnects guests with nature and invites them into the story of the local community. A leader in sustainable tourism, Wander chose the Scenic Rim as their first home. Five secluded WanderPods now overlook Lake Wyaralong and 1600 hectares of bushland at The Overflow Estate 1895, the acclaimed winery, cellar door and restaurant between Boonah and Beaudesert, just 90 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Each WanderPod is named after a local mountain, and is beautifully – and sustainably – appointed. A stay here is unique, memorable and connected. Wander is also a proud participant in the Scenic Rim Regional Council’s 1 Million Trees initiative. https://wander.com.au/locations/scenicrim/

WISS EMPORIUM AND COTTAGE at Kalbar

In 1909 Wiss Bros built the Emporium at Kalbar, designed by Ipswich architect M W Haenke. Having been vacant for many years, this stunning building in the booming village of Kalbar is now home to an eclectic offering of fashion, collectibles, vintage pieces and more! Beside the Emporium is the gorgeous two bedroom cottage, built circa 1890 and lovingly refurbished. Emporium: here Cottage: here

YARRIBA DREAMING at MT BARNEY LODGE

There is an incredible new experience in the Scenic Rim – introducing the only cultural immersion program in Southern Queensland, YARRIBA DREAMING, created with the collaboration of Savannah Guides and Mt Barney Lodge. The three-day experience sees participants immersed in the ancient landscapes of the Scenic Rim – walking, sharing stories, learning traditional Indigenous ways of living, and considering their own place in nature. Yarriba means ‘walking’ and we will walk together. The host is Gurruhmun ‘Old Man Kangaroo’, a Ugarapul and Bidjara man with ancient local heritage, and the acclaimed Mt Barney Lodge guides accompany on walks, and ensure a comfortable stay at this genuine ecotourism retreat. Yarriba Dreaming dates are on the website, and additional dates for private groups for up to 10 participants can be booked by request. Experience – Mt Barney Lodge

VERANDAH HOUSE COUNTRY ESTATE (formerly Aaronlee Retreat)

The first five-star luxury retreat with THE most breathtaking views of the hinterland and beyond, in the heart of the Scenic Rim is Verandah House Country Estate, a brand new haven at Tamborine Mountain. Quite simply, it’s stunning. Eight designer-appointed guest suites capture beautiful country style with modern-day luxuries, all boast panoramic mountain views and bespoke interiors. Each suite offers a unique interior. There’s a wellness space, yoga and meditation areas, a cedar hot tub and infrared sauna, and a communal fire-pit and in 2023, there will be a cellar and barn for guests to enjoy a more communal space to interact and relax.

Luxury Boutique Accommodation Set Atop Tamborine Mountain (vhcountryestate.com.au)

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