#Things to Do in the Scenic Rim
The Scenic Rim can often feel like an enigma.
Tucked in behind the Gold Coast, the region was recently named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 hottest destinations in the world, yet it’s still easy to find Gold Coast and Brisbane locals who have never visited the place – or, when they have, haven’t known what’s hidden behind its winsome windbreaks or atop its craggy peaks.
But there’s so much to explore in and around the Scenic Rim, from wine and beer tastings and long lunches, to country markets and secret botanical gardens. Here’s a few highlights of what you should check out while in the area.
Head to visitscenicrim.com.au for more ideas.
#((1)) Visit Summer Land Camels
You’ll find Australia’s largest camel dairy just off the Cunningham Highway, about a 45-minute drive from Brisbane and 80 minutes from the Gold Coast.
Summer Land is a one-stop shop for all things camel-related: you can buy camel milk (and camel milk powder), camel-milk cheese, camel-milk day cream and camel-milk lip conditioner. But the farm’s beautiful old homestead with its bullnose verandahs also boasts a cafe and a tight breakfast and lunch menu that serves eggs Benedict, shakshuka, camel burgers and camel meatball fettuccine.
Still, some punters just stop to drop a coin for a bag of feed and hang with the friendly ungulates for a photo or two. You can also go on a farm tour, learning about its operations and the history of camels in Australia, and take a sunrise camel ride around the 850-acre property followed by breakfast at the cafe.
Summer Land Camels
8 Charles Chauvel Drive, Harrisville
(07) 5467 1707
#((2)) Lunch at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm
A favoured country lunch trip for Brisbane foodies in the know, Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is perched on a gentle slope just outside Mount Alford, with stunning views west across the undulating farmland.
In the restaurant, chef Daniel Groneberg applies French techniques to local produce. You might eat dishes such as Warrill Creek beef carpaccio, Brisbane Valley Quail poached in green coconut and chilli, or lavender and honey glazed dug leg. Drinks lean on the winery’s own drops, which include a chardonnay, an alba, a rosé and a cab sav.
The dining room itself is a modern, minimal affair, all timber walls, vaulted ceilings and polished concrete floors – it gets out of the way of its enormous windows, which provide front-row views of that amazing landscape.
Karoomba Vineyard and Lavendar Farm
168 F M Bells Road, Mount Alford
(07) 5463 0022
#((3)) Stop for frothies at Scenic Rim Brewery
Just a five-minute drive from Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm is Scenic Rim Brewery.
Housed in the beautiful, century-old Mount Alford general store, this poky little brewpub pours a menu of quirkily branded beers that include a Digga’s pale ale, a Giddy Gout milk stout, a Fat Man maroon ale and a Ginger Extra Dry ginger beer. The beers tend to land in the 4.5 to 5 per cent ABV range, making them easy to enjoy over a session on the brewery’s back deck or at a table out front, watching country life go by.
There’s also a cafe that serves Euro-inspired grub such as bratwurst, kransky and bockwurst hotdogs; mini croquettes; and tarts and quiches.
Fair warning: Scenic Rim Brewery gets busy on weekends so book ahead for a table, even if you’re just stopping for a beer.
Scenic Rim Brewery
898 Reckumpilla Street, Mount Alford
(07) 5463 0412
#((4)) Breakfast at Tamborine Country Market
The morning after, burst out of bed early and shake off your hangover at Tamborine Mountain Country Markets, a fabulous food, arts and crafts market held at the Tamborine Mountain Showgrounds.
Grab a coffee and a plate of poffertjes or a German sausage, and browse local artworks, jewellery, pottery, blacksmith products and fashion.
If nothing else, Tamborine’s a great place to escape the heat, and the showgrounds, with their towering gum trees, are a pleasant place to wander on a Sunday morning as they catch the breeze blowing in from the west. Parking is available for a gold coin donation via the back of the grounds on Normandie Court.
Tamborine Country Market
386-398 Main Western Road, Tamborine Mountain
0417 618 379
#((5)) Wander the Gallery Walk
After the markets, drive north across the Tamborine plateau to visit the Tamborine Mountain Gallery Walk on Long Road. A winsome, wide high street, on weekends it buzzes with tourists browsing an enormous number of boutiques, galleries, cellar doors, fudge shops and cafes.
Check out Tamborine Tea for an enormous range of loose-leaf tea, Witches Chase Cheese for locally made smelly stuff, and Fortitude Brewing Co. for a terrific range of takeaway craft beer.
If you have time, pair the shopping with a visit to the nearby Tamborine Mountain Botanic Gardens situated in a beautiful gully just beyond the Gallery Walk, or the nearby Curtis Falls track, an easy forest stroll down to Curtis Falls and back that you can knockoff in half an hour.
Tamborine Mountain Gallery Walk
Long Road, Tamborine Mountain
#((6)) Enjoy a wine tasting at The Overflow Estate 1895
The opening of Wyaralong Dam in 2011 brought with it the creation of a picturesque reservoir surrounded by wooded hills and mountains.
On a peninsula jutting out of the southern shore you’ll find The Overflow Estate 1895, an old cattle property transformed into a classy, modern cellar door and restaurant.
You can stop here for a wine tasting – Overflow produces a tight collection of fiano, vermentino, montepulciano and tempranillo – but there’s a terrific lunch menu at in-house restaurant The Two French Chefs. Dishes change seasonally but you might eat slow cooked pork belly with chimichurri mayo, sand crab lasagne with a crustacean sauce, or confit duck leg served with vegetables a la bourgeoise.
The Overflow Estate 1895
1660 Beaudesert Boonah Rd, Wyaralong
0455 221 895
#((7)) Explore O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is a Scenic Rim classic, so try to make time to wend your way up to this ecotourism classic, a 50-minute drive beyond Canungra.
The drive into Lamington National Park gets a bit gnarly at points, with lots of single-lane spells where you have to give way to approaching traffic, but what awaits you at the top (and the views along the way) is worth the effort.
There’s plenty to do up here: wildlife encounters, bird of prey shows and a bunch of longer trail walks. There’s also a fine café and a gift shop. One of the real treats is a fabulous botanical garden. Established in 1966, the labyrinthine green space is maintained by volunteers and has that feel, with some of the species spilling over onto the pathways, but that accounts for much of its dreamlike charm.
Also make time for a terrific treetop walk, and a climb up to a 30-metre viewing platform. With views of the surrounding Lamington National Park, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.
O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat
3582 Lamington National Park, Canungra
1800 688 722
Images courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland, Summer Land Camels, O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, Rob Downer Photography.