‘Towns like this attract a lot of eccentric souls’: a visitor’s guide to scenic Queensland’s edge | Australia vacations

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IIt’s home to an area called the Lost World, and for decades the Scenic Rim has felt a bit like the middle child, curled up around the hem of the bright lights of Brisbane and the glittering Gold Coast, about 60 minute drive inland and south. But when no one was paying attention, there was a lot going on behind the scenes and this kid blew up.

So much so that in Lonely Planet’s list of 10 regions to visit in 2022, the Scenic Rim rubs shoulders with Burgundy, Vancouver and Puerto Rico. Queensland older and younger siblings (and smug Australian cousins)… eat your heart out.

At around 10 times the size of the Gold Coast, this rich, green and mountainous region is home to seven distinct areas – many with names as picturesque as “Scenic Rim” – and six national parks, including the rainforests of Gondwana, classified. world heritage. . To cover the entire region and participate in the activities, plan on at least two days of visiting.

The Scenic Rim was named by Arthur Groom, a pioneer in Binna Burra tourism, in the mid-1900s. Photograph: Boaz Rottem / Alamy

Tabitha Bird, author of A Lifetime of Impossible Days and The Emporium of Imagination, lives on the west side of the region in a town called Boonah, which is also the setting for her two books.

“I was writing my first book and when I came out here I realized that there was no setting, then I found out that it was the perfect place with its characters,” she says. . “Cities like this attract a lot of eccentric souls.

“My second book has even more of the city featured and the locals love it. I often do things like ‘get lost in the car’, the whole point of the road is to get lost and discover the area.

The Scenic Rim was named by Binna Burra tourism pioneer Arthur Groom in the mid-1900s. But Jenny Jenner of Kalbar Sunflowers says visitors are still amazed by the area a century later.

“People come out and say, ‘Why haven’t we found this place before now?’ It’s so picturesque, tranquil and peaceful.

“Visitors love the experience of… picking flowers; ride a camel or climb a mountain.

Do not miss

The trail to Best of All Lookout
The Scenic Rim is home to hundreds of hiking trails, including this trail that leads to the Best of All Lookout. Photograph: Andrew McInnes / Alamy

Unsurprisingly, considering all the national parks, the Scenic Rim is home to hundreds of hiking trails.

For a tough day hike, try the 7.4 km Lower Portals Trail in Mount Barney National Park, which leads to a deep freshwater pool. Cunningham’s Gap in Main Range National Park has a 1 mile rainforest circuit; while Rainforest Retreat O’Reilly has an 800m elevated walkway through the rainforest canopy, which is free and open to the public.

For serious hikers, the 34.5 km Scenic Rim Trail, which winds through private property and Main Range National Park, is a four-day hike with small free campsites along the way. These must be reserved before leaving, as places are limited.

Or sleep

After devastating fires in 2019, the rainforest and tumultuous valleys of Binna Burra Lodge are turning green again. Camping starts from $ 40 a night or, if you don’t want BYO, book one of their new safari tents, starting at $ 104. For quaint historic cottages that tell a story, head to Mount Barney and Barney Creek Cottages (from $ 174) or Rathdowney with its Tuckeroo Cottages and Gardens (from $ 128).

Safari tents at Binna Burra Lodge
Safari tents at Binna Burra Lodge

Where to eat

The agricultural region is full of doors to farms and cellars. Lavender enthusiasts will love Mount Alford’s Karoomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm which injects these fragrant blossoms into its dishes. Nearby, sample craft beers with quirky names like Shazza, Digga and Fat Man at the Scenic Rim Brewery. Choose your potion at the Witches Falls cellar in Mount Tamborine (Syrah Prophecy 2019 comes out at the door).

For something more quirky, Harrisville’s Summer Land Camels offers everything from walks to tastings – from fetta, halloumi, gelati and even a world first vodka, all made from camel milk.

There’s also a Scenic Rim Farm Box, an innovative idea born out of Covid-19 blockages to bring the flavors of the countryside to the city. Visit the Kent’s Lagoon store, bring home goods or have it delivered.

When should we go

Sunflowers
The farmers of Scenic Rim launched the Kalbar Sunflower Festival in 2021. Photograph: Destin Sparks / Kalbar Tournesols

During sunflower season, spring and summer, the farm’s golden fields flourish. In 2021, drought-stricken farmers in Kalbar, frustrated with strangers roaming their flower fields looking for Instagram opportunities, decided to start a festival, and Kalbar’s sunflowers bloomed.

Head here for paid events including sunrise yoga, sunset dinners among the flowers, and bouquets to take home. There are still photo opportunities, but these really contribute to the local economy.


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