Just 1-hour drive from the Gold Coast or Brisbane and you hit Brisbane’s World Heritage-listed backyard, the Scenic Rim. Home to lush rainforests, spectacular mountain ranges and ancient landforms, this region is so spectacular, that Lonely Planet recently ranked it in its Top 10 Regions of the World list for 2022.
The Scenic Rim is a stretch of dramatic mountain ranges that circle farmland valleys and country villages. Across this ring is idyllic National Parks and World Heritage-listed rainforests that hide scattered waterfalls and breathtaking lookouts.
This imposing volcanic mountain range dates back millions of years. The Scenic Rim Mountains and the Mt Warning area in northern NSW are known as the Green Cauldron. Once a volcanic hotspot, over time the region has grown into a lush landscape. This early volcanic activity reveals itself in the region’s rich flora and fauna, making the Scenic Rim region a treasure trove of unique plants, animals and distinctive vegetation types.
When staying in the region, you can’t look past possibly the most famous of the Scenic Rim accommodations, Spicers Hidden Vale.
The luxury lodge sits on a massive 12,000 acres property. While this is a luxury retreat, it is not pretentious, instead offering the warmest country welcome as you experience the bush at its best.
Here you will stay in a heritage cottage decked out with everything you could need. Some cottages even have an outdoor bathtub so you can soak and watch kangaroos hop by. Don’t have an outdoor bath? Don’t worry, as there is a pool with a heated spa that is also a great viewing spot for wildlife.
Some of Australia’s most iconic species, like kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, platypus, echidna, kookaburra, lyrebird, wedge-tailed eagle, cockatoos and goannas have been spotted around the property and some right outside the cottages.
Spicers Hidden Vale is home to the award-winning restaurant, Homage, which is a chef-hatted dining experience celebrating local produce. The retreat has its own market garden which supplies Homage with an abundance of seasonal fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits. In addition to this, the restaurant relies on strong relationships with local farmers built up over the past decade ensure the freshest of sourced produce.
With two firepits, a wood oven and a smokehouse sending a flurry of secrets through the air, Homage puts a spotlight on traditional cooking techniques of fire, smoke and earth. The menu always features at least one dish that offers a challenge to diners, such as emu tartare or kangaroo tail. Native Australian creations and ingredients such as riberry, lemon aspen, native pepper and wattle seed all add to the culinary adventure.
You can even take a paddock-to-plate tour of the smokehouse and gardens to see exactly where your food is coming from.
What to do
A visit to Spicers Hidden Vale Wildlife Centre, a partnership between the University of Queensland and The Turner Family Foundation, gives an insight into the wildlife conservation efforts and studies of the region’s wildlife. There is even an opportunity to take a Koala Experience where visitors can learn about the plight of koalas through the conservation outreach program, before heading ‘out bush’ to see what makes a koala successful in the wild.
At Hidden Vale Adventure Park (HVAP), there are some 12,000 acres to explore over an amazing variety of terrain. The multi-use property has over 110 kilometres of World Class trail network of mountain biking, running and hiking tracks catering for all ages and abilities. Day visitors can pick up a 1 Day Trail Pass (starting from $10.00AUD) which allows access to the Trail Network during the hours of 7am – 3pm for the day selected. However, with so many trails on offer, you will be wanting to come back time and time again with a 6 Month Trail Pass (starting from $99.00AUD) allowing 182 Days of adventure.
Bring your own equipment or hire a bike, including e-bikes, at a charge. There is a shuttle service to take you to the more remote trail starts and for the ultimate adventure, you can even try heli-biking with a helicopter transfer.
Make sure you book the cottage with an outdoor bathtub and take time to have a soak as the sun sets and watch the wildlife like wallabies grazing right in front of you.
Booking Spicers Hidden Vale
Address: 617 Grandchester Mount Mort Rd, Grandchester QLD 4340
Phone Number: 1300 179 340
Disclosure: The writer stayed as a guest of Spicers Retreats