Mt Barney and beyond

Beautiful Mt Barney. Pictures Greg Smith.

As the sun sets over the Scenic Rim, we take a short drive from the picturesque town of Canungra to the sprawling mountains beyond, with an abundant food bowl and an array of nature-based experiences to explore, Mount Barney is a desirable destination.

The lush green hills and striking mountain peaks, remind us of a scene from Yellowstone, with a healthy array of cattle studs and farms with sculptured horse gates-you get the picture.

The striking peaks of Mount Barney guide us further into the enchanted valley, where the land is a rich green, after the summer rain. At the end of the gravel road is Mount Barney National Park, home to the summit (a hike for experienced climbers) that takes around 8 hours to complete.

As novice climbers, we opt for the guided walk and talk at Mount Barney lodge with the knowledgeable and friendly owners Innis and Tracey Larkin. Established by Innis’s parents in the late 1980’s, the lodge is eco-tourism certified and is the ideal place to camp in nature.

The lodge recently launched ‘Yarriba Dreaming’ the first indigenous experience for the Scenic Rim, a collaboration between Savannah Guides, Mount Barney Lodge and Urarapul man Kruze Summers. Kruze is also known as Gurruhmun ‘Old Man Kangaroo’ and recently won the Young Achiever Award at the Destination Indigenous Queensland Awards.

The rich songlines of the land weave through the ancient shield volcano that erupted some 24 million years ago. Take a half day, full day or three-day cultural walk in and around the national park- learning about indigenous knowledge, and native flora and fauna along the way.

There is an array of places to stay in this captivating region, from cabins to campsites to farm stays. We choose to stay at the Barney Creek Vineyard and Cottages-just a short drive up the hill from the Mount Barney National Park.

We are greeted with open arms by the owners Aspen and Brendan Forgan, who purchased the property, just a few years back. Learning the trials and tribulations of hospitality and tourism from the ground up, they have endured a pandemic and floods- the young family not only survived but are thriving into the future.

Under the expert guidance of renowned winemaker Mike Hays, Barney Creek Vineyard picked up a silver medal at the Queensland Wine Awards for their impressive ‘Charis’ a petit Verdot Shiraz, along with the illustrious Steward’s Award for Greater Queensland- placing them firmly on the nations wine map.

The tastefully renovated and appointed cabins are dotted around the property and pay homage to the region’s history- from the original Logan Village Railway Station ‘Hill Station’ to ‘Florries Cottage’-a 120-year-old workers cottage. (Added bonus you can bring your canine friend along for the Barney Creek ride.)

We rest our heads in ‘Hill Station’ a quaint cottage that takes pride of place at the top of the property, with 360-degree, breathtaking views of Mount Barney and beyond. Legend has it the silhouette of Mount Barney represents a pregnant woman with her hands on her belly- the mountain ranges are mesmerising to say the least.

Local produce hampers are delivered to our door, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, curated by Chef Shinade Harper, from Beaudeserts Teaspoons and Aprons Café. The hampers burst with fresh produce-from meat to dairy to fruit and vegetables. Dessert is a Barney Creek Port and Dark Chocolate ice-cream, a collab between the vineyard and Tommerup’s Dairy, down the road.

All about supporting and shopping local we stop off on our way home to The Shed’ Café in Rathdowney, owned and operated by local foodie and olive oil farmer Lou Cheevers. We sample an array of local artisans from chilli olives to tomato relish to the purest olive oil from the surrounding vines- topped off with really, good coffee and house made rocky road.

In under two hours from the Gold Coast and Brisbane, you’ll discover the picturesque peaks of Mount Barney and surrounding mountains that make up the Mount Barney National Park-the traditional land of the Mununjali, Githabul and Yugambeh people.

From open farm gates, to award winning wineries to country style hospitality and accommodation- it’s no wonder the region was named by Lonely Planet as one of the ‘Top 10’ destinations to visit in the world a year of so back.

EAT-

The Shed Cafe, Rathdowney

Teaspoons and Aprons Hampers, Beaudesert

PLAY-

Mt Barney National Park

Yarriba Dreaming, Cultural Walk

STAY-

Mt Barney lodge and Campgrounds

Barney Creek Vineyards and Cottages

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