A foodie’s ultimate long weekend in the Scenic Rim
It might seem unlikely to find a foodie’s paradise on the edge of an ancient volcanic rim, but head south-west of Brisbane for just an hour and you’ll land at the Scenic Rim region – a spectacular landscape packed with culinary surprises.
From speciality seafood to award-winning cheese and world-class fruit, the Scenic Rim is an endless buffet of fresh produce and the ultimate spot for experiential diners. Devour the best it has to offer by digging into this long weekend itinerary.
12PM: Spicers Hidden Vale
If Brisbane’s backyard has a best-kept secret, Spicers Hidden Vale is it. The true hero of the property – set on 12,000 acres of working farmland in the Lockyer Valley region – is the Spicers’ signature restaurant, Homage.
Head chef, Ash Martin, makes paddock to plate look positively perfect, with a menu incorporating products from the local area and herbs from the onsite market garden. By day, sweeping views of the Scenic Rim are complemented by a gourmet picnic of tomato and goats curd quiche or antipasto vegetables with olives, or seasonal two and three-course lunches.
To cap it off, Homage has been awarded one chefs hat in the 2019 Good Food Guide Awards – so you know it’s going to be worth the pitstop.
2:30PM: Freshwater Australian Crayfish Traders
Driving between Hidden Vale and Tarome, you’ll see why this area is so keen to celebrate its farmers – but stop in at Freshwater Australian Crayfish Traders’ 80-hectare property and you’ll be treated to an even more unique perspective.
Packed with over 70 freshwater dams, it’s home to some of Australia’s best crayfish with this local trader selling up to a million redclaw crayfish each year, as well as a range of other freshwater aquatic fish and shrimps, to the restaurant trade all over south-east Queensland.
Pack an Esky and grab yourself some takeaway crays at a great price.
6PM: Spicers Peak Lodge
The twists and turns your wheels will take to make it to the top of Spicers Peak Lodge are well worth it when you arrive at 10,000 acres overlooking the World Heritage-listed Main Range National Park and Great Dividing Range.
Peak Lodge might be Australia’s highest non-alpine luxury property, but that’s not it’s only claim to fame – the property’s restaurant, The Peak, was also awarded one chefs hat in the 2019 Good Food Guide Awards.
With a focus on ‘The best of Australia’, you’ll be feasting on uniquely Australian goodness with luxury trimmings. The Peak’s menu sates appetites with ingredients such as Fraser Isle spanner crab, Moreton Bay bug and Bowen mangoes.
Rest your head here and all meals and beverages – including the celebrated degustation dinner menu – are included in the price tag.
8AM: Stay right where you are
Whatever you do, don’t skip the first meal of the day at Spicers Peak Lodge. The breakfast game is strong here – especially the dressed-up avocado on toast with goats curd, sumac and dukkah on house-baked sourdough.
Or, you can dig into other delicacies like the “Funghi Feast” served with poached eggs, mushrooms, parmesan custard, marinated grains and soft leaves.
11AM: Kalfresh Vegetables
Veggie lovers should make a beeline for Kalfresh Vegetables, Queensland’s largest supplier of carrots. You can stop in at their Kalbar base to see where most of Australia’s carrots, onions, green beans and pumpkin start life as seedlings.
Aside from observing produce and packing, you’ll also stumble across one of Queensland’s most unusual creations – carrot beer. Made with 16 per cent carrot juice, it’s surely the healthiest beer around.
12PM: Fassifern Valley Produce
Heirloom tomatoes have never looked as good as the ones that come out of Fassifern Valley Produce. With colours befitting of such exotic names, brace your taste buds for flavour bursts from their Green Zebra, Tigerella, Ida Gold and Black Cherry varieties, plus the Mortgage Lifter – a tomato named by its grower in recognition of this ruby red fruit being his ticket to a debt-free life.
Bring your reusable shopping bag and stock up at their roadside stall on Boonah-Fassifern Rd, which turns over more than a tonne of fresh tomatoes each week.
1PM: Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm
Dig into a scrumptious lunch prepared by the chefs at Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm. While seasonal vegetables are prominent on the menu it is, of course, lavender that plays a starring role in dishes like lavender confit duck leg and lavender crème brulee.
You’ll also find a cellar door and lavender shop here, all overlooking six acres of vineyards, fields of lavender and the Scenic Rim Mountains.
2PM: Naughty Little Kids
They’ve put their own spin on the traditional gelato recipe by using goat’s milk instead of cow’s, which makes this ice-cream lactose friendly (not lactose-free), and 100% gluten-, egg- and nut-free to boot. Sensitive tums, rejoice!
3PM: Bunjurgen Estate vineyard
Ah, rosé; the lovable grape combination that merges the crispness of a white with the body of a red and goes down as smooth as a bubbly. If you feel the same way about rosé, make tracks to Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard for their award-winning pink drop.
Wine tastings are conducted in either an undercover outdoor cellar door or beneath a jacaranda tree, allowing you to take in the breathtaking Scenic Rim vistas with every sip. The kind folk at Bunjurgen allow BYO picnics (or fresh Fassifern Valley tomato hauls) too.
5PM: Scenic Rim Brewery & Cafe
Operating out of a heritage-listed old general store, the small family-owned Scenic Rim Brewery & Cafe is dedicated to brewing craft beer with the best ingredients.
There’s a café smack bang in the middle of the brewery’s factory floor, so you can wash down your glass of Digga, Shazza or Fat Man with a tasty treat from their Dutch-inspired menu.
7PM: Ketchups Bank Glamping
You’ve got to love a destination where even the accommodation sounds like something you can eat! Enter Ketchups Bank Glamping and their luxury eco-tents near Boonah, where you’re promised unparalleled mountain views and a relaxing evening in a rugged Australian bush setting.
They offer up BBQ dinner hampers for two, packed with locally-sourced cuts of meat and fresh vegetables ready to toss on your private BBQ or campfire; plus a country breakfast hamper for the AM.
11AM: Towri Sheep Cheeses
Ditch the traditional morning tea and lunch meals and dedicate this day to grazing – on sheep cheese!
Towri Sheep Cheeses, just outside of Beaudesert, won’t just let you devour the cheese, they’ll also teach you how to make it with their ‘art of cheese-making’ class (takes place every second Wednesday).
With 350 sheep on site, there’s no shortage of supplies to make hard and soft varieties. And you certainly won’t leave hungry with morning tea, light refreshments and lunch all part of the package.
3PM: Witches Falls Winery
Get to know their signature drops with a tasting paddle – a flight of wines will leave you with change from a tenner. If you order in advance, you can pair your tipples with a delicious platter from local deli, The Vintage Pickle.
6PM: Witches Falls Cottages
Stay within arm’s reach of the winery at Witches Falls Cottages – all about location, and offering up a secluded setting for a romantic getaway.
As for food, if there’s still belly room, you can have take-away delivered to your cottage from many of the local restaurants on the mountain or the Witches Falls team can pull together a BBQ dinner hamper complete with dessert.
A day of hunting and gathering
Make today about stocking up on local supplies before leaving the Scenic Rim. While most of the suppliers don’t have their own farm gate, they use cafes, restaurants and boutique shops to sell their produce.
Look out for these grocery essentials:
- Scenic Rim Olives: The region even produces its own olives. You’ll find them in brine, olive oil, tapenade and dukkah for a salty fix.
- Dewar Honey:Making the Scenic Rim all the more sweet, these jars of liquid amber are the work of a third-generation beekeeper.
- Farmer Joe’s Garlic and Produce: Warding off vampires this side of the Gondwana Rainforest, Farmer Joe’s garlic business is one of only 30 garlic growers in Australia.
- Tamborine Mountain Free Range Eggs: These chickens are so special they have their own guard dog who keeps them free from predators on the 80-acre farm.
- 4Real Milk: If you’re enjoying a cup of coffee in this neck of the woods, chances are it’s made with 4Real Milk, a pasteurised, non-homogenised full cream milk.
- The Lime Caviar Company: The Scenic Rim happens to be home to Australia’s premier grower of native finger limes. They pick-to-order and supply local and international fine dining markets.
Want more? Scenic Rim Eat Local Week is your backstage pass to the farms, wineries and food stories of the Scenic Rim. Eat your way around the region through a range of experiences from long table lunches to carrot-picking!