Quick escape: 48 hours in the Scenic Rim
The Scenic Rim may evoke thoughts of hiking ancient volcanic ridges and cellar door experiences. But what if we told you that was only just the beginning?
A growing arts scene, accommodation with a twist, and restaurants headed up by Michelin-starred chefs add another layer to the region’s allure.
Recovered from recent bushfires, the Scenic Rim is well and truly open for business. Here’s how you can transform your weekend with our 48-hour guide.
Day 1 – AM: Uncover the arts scene
Just over a one-hour drive from Brisbane’s CBD lies Beaudesert, the gateway to your weekend away. It’s also the perfect stop for a quick re-fuel from Bean to?, the type of café where everybody knows everybody.
Spurred by its agricultural roots and the many talented artisans who call the region home, the arts scene in Beaudesert and nearby Kooralbyn is rapidly growing, highlighted by the recently held Arts Ablaze festival.
Indigenous art and culture underpinned three days of workshops, live performances, exhibitions and artisan markets, providing the perfect platform to meet the local artists with stories to tell. Local artist Colleen Lavender’s passion for laser cutting and sculpting scrap metal into art pieces was inspired by a want for warmth and a love of recycling to combat what she describes as an over-use of new product.
The Centre in Beaudesert, one of two art galleries in the Scenic Rim, is well worth a visit. Or browse the Saturday farmer’s markets (Dick Westerman Park), where you can get to know some of the local artists.
Day 1 – AM: Treks or tempranillo
From Beaudesert, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure day.
Hikers should head further south to Mount Barney National Park, with the Park’s namesake one of the most spectacular hikes in Queensland (13km return/9h/hard grade/must start early). For a more leisurely, yet equally beautiful bushwalk, set the GPS for Girraween National Park in the Granite Belt.
For the wine lovers, travel 20 minutes past grazing fields and shady trees where a wallaby is never far away. You’ll find yourself at The Overflow Estate 1895, a boutique vineyard on a peninsula overlooking Lake Wyaralong.
The cellar door building, designed by LoucasZahos Architects, is as distinct as its glasses of vermentino, fiuano, montepulciano and tempranillo, with every drop produced from fruit harvested in their vineyard.
An alternative and equally tasty option, Storm Cru, is a testament to the region’s resilience. After a hail storm in 2017 destroyed half their crop, the remaining vermentino and fiano grapes were (in a moment of madness or genius) combined to create this delicious sparkling white.
Day 1: PM – An international twist
Owners Hideyo and Louise Yonezawa have spared no details, creating a retreat that blends their Japanese and Australian heritage at every turn.
Offering three different room options, the highlight is the traditional room “Tsuru” with two futons, a Chabudai (Japanese style low timber table) and a Hinoki-buro (Cypress wood bath). It’s perfect for a late-night soak as the smell of cedar gently cloaks the room.
The final stop for your evening is Songbirds (at Songbirds Rainforest Retreat), an intimate dining experience centred around an ever-evolving menu equal parts rule-breaking and delicious.
At the helm is French-native Meyjitte Boughenout who has worked at some of the world’s leading restaurants: three-Michelin starred L’Auberge du Pere Bise, Restaurant George Blanc and Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire in Paris.
The simply named Egg starts the six-course degustation, before moving onto larger courses that include John Dory and short ribs (season dependent), ending with the theatrical Cigarillo dessert.
Day 2: AM: Nature’s finest
Japanese culture focuses on eating for enjoyment, wonderfully demonstrated by the traditional three course breakfast created by Hideyo and Louise back at Yumeji Japanese Retreat.
Served on an Irori (Japanese sunken table), the first course includes rice, miso soup, nori and tsukemono (Japanese pickles) accompanied by small seasonal dishes such as grilled fish, vegetables or noodles.
Course two is a fusion between the two cultures, and the final course serves more savoury Australian fare.
After breakfast it’s time to lace up the trainers and explore the neighbouring National Parks of the Gold Coast Hinterland.
An icon of the region, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park has welcomed visitors for more than 93 years. It’s the perfect base to experience and connect with nature via 160km of nature trails that pass a ridiculous 500 waterfalls.
A highlight is the picture-perfect tree-top walk, Moonlight Crag (7km return/3hr) with sweeping views of the Lost World Plateau. Otherwise, Moran’s Falls is a comfortable 4.4km return walk with breathtaking views down the waterfall and across the gully.
Day 2 – PM: The perfect ending
The last stop for the weekend offers a little treat after your day of hiking – Ania’s famous peach cheesecake from the recently re-opened Polish Place on Tamborine Mountain.
If cheesecake isn’t your thing, simply enjoy a drink (there’s more than 30 Polish vodkas and a great selection of Polish beers) and a snack (or if you’re after a late lunch, order the pork hock and you’ll be thinking about it for days) in this quirky, homely café.
The perfect way to end your weekend escape, overlook the valley below as lorikeets chirp on the deck and the resident Dachshunds look for a willing visitor to give them a scratch.
Equal parts nature, exploring and delicious dining – the Scenic Rim has everything a weekend escape should.