Scenic Rim Trail
The Scenic Rim Trail is without peer in Queensland - a multi-day trek through the stunning mountain ranges of the Scenic Rim combined with luxury eco-accommodation to make what is surely one of the world’s great walks.
And, if there was a quintessential snapshot to be had of Australia - the best of its countryside, its light, its food and hospitality in 4 days, this is it.
During the trek there are two indulgent nights spent in state of the art luxuriant African-style safari tents and the third and last night is the ultimate prize – a night at Spicers Peak Lodge with seven-course degustation dinner at the hatted Peak restaurant.
Walkers need to be of a reasonable level of fitness to undertake the trek, which is Grade 4 and involves a combination of designated trails and rough terrain, with lots of (at times steep) up and down hill along the way.
But this one is truly worth raising the fitness levels for, as walkers are more than rewarded for their efforts with picnics atop rocky outcrops, jaw-dropping vistas and an ever-changing visual backdrop of lush private rainforest glades, glorious bush orchids (in spring), convict built roads, ghostly eucalypt forests, ancient hoop pine groves and all kinds of bird life and fauna like potaroos and pademelons, Eastern Grey kangaroos and red-necked wallabies.
Part of the hike takes in established walking trails in national parks whilst other parts take walkers through exclusive private bushlands on the Spicers properties.
Brisbane and South East Queensland locals can take their car to the entry of Spicers Canopy property to meet the start of the walk (where it stays for the duration) while visitors from further afield have the option of spending the night before at the fabulous Spicers on Balfour in New Farm and taking advantage of the bus shuttle the next morning direct to the start of the walk.
Day 1 – Mt Mitchell Plateau – 13km
Meet at the White House just of Warrego Highway. The friendly Spicers staff collect luggage which is taken direct to the Spicers Canopy Safari tents and walkers (who get to meet each other here) are issued with Spicers Day packs complete with insulated lunch box, water pouch and rain poncho.
The walk starts at the pubic entry to Mt Mitchell Plateau and ascends gently through rain and eucalypt forest to the twin peaks of Mt Mitchell, which was named after the Surveyor-General by explorer Allan Cunningham. Along the way are awe-inspiring views over the Fassifern Valley and the Scenic Rim. From there it’s a largely down-hill descent through lush rainforest and then scrubby eucalypts to a river bed. The last of the walk is over river rocks with the odd Angus Black cow making an appearance before a slight hike up a hill upon which the Spicers Canopy spears like a golden mirage.
On the verandah of the main ranch-like house (which contains the kitchen, dining room, 3 guest bathrooms and lounge with fireplace) freshly baked scones and a tray of chilled sparkling wine awaits weary trekkers.
The remains of the afternoon guests with energy to spare can take a wander over the rolling hills upon which Spicers Canopy is situated or simply sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the mountains they just climbed from their verandah or from the fire circle.
Dinner is a 3 course gourmet affair, whipped up by Spicers Canopy Chef and wine flows freely, both inside by the fireplace or outside around the open fire.
Day 2 River Loop - 6.5km & optional Governors Chair Heritage Trail
Guests get to enjoy a delicious country style hot breakfast before heading off for a relaxing 2-3 hour traipse along Millars Vale Creek in its lush bush setting. There’s a stop for morning tea on some river rocks and the continuation of the walk, which is believed to be part of a route that indigenous traders once took from the Great Diving range to the sea. Look out for turtles and water dragons along the way.
Lunch is back at the Canopy – delicious wood-fired pizza from the outdoor pizza oven – and in the afternoon guests have the highly recommended option to take a trip up to the heritage-listed convict built road leading to the Governor’s Chair (an impressive rocky ‘chair’ outcrop where successive governors went to sit and survey their lands). Part of the trip is a bone-rattling 4WD jaunt which deposits guests at the start of the 45 min return easy grade heritage walk. Take time out to spot the remnants of the convict’s handiwork and to enjoy the spectacular panorama from the natural carved rock that is Governor’s chair.
Those who opt out of the latter are free to enjoy a siesta in their tent or hang out in the main house by the fire with one of the many great guest library books.
Day 3 – Spicers Peak Exploration – 10km
After another delectable chef-cooked breakfast, it’s time to experience a part of the Scenic Rim that few have been lucky enough to traverse, and follow in the footsteps of the first settlers. With lunch packs on backs, guests set off uphill on Spicers own property, at first on wide vehicle-travelled tracks which after about an hour disappear and the real hiking commences.
Today there’s a lot of up-hill climbing, at times mountain goat style, scrambling over ancient rocks and pausing for water and breath to gaze over the volcanic plugs and mountain ranges around. After morning tea on the edge of a steep escarpment, walkers plunge into an ethereal forest of ferns and get to leave their mark by adding a rock to the little pile that marks the mountain peak.
From there it’s a gentle slope down and up again before lunch on some rocks with a view and a fortifying tea or coffee before the last steep climb of some 400m. What keeps everyone going at this stage is the thought of what awaits less than half an hour away: the lodge, champagne in the tennis pavilion, a soak in the bath or outdoor spa and a divine 7 course degustation dinner.
When eventually Spicers Peak is reached every single second of climb has been worth it for the scene that greets hikers: a gorgeous peak-roofed Alpine style lodge set amongst impossibly picturesque green pastures dotted with Angus Black cows and, as a first stop on the way, a tennis pavilion with glass of chilled sparkling wine and a plate of delicious baked morsels, attended by the smiling host.
Guests at Spicers Lodge have the option of lounging around, taking a helicopter flight or a short guided bushwalk to Ryans Lookout before being transferred back to their cars at 11am. There is also the option of booking an extra night or 2 at Spicers Peak Lodge to take advantage of all it has to offer.
Need to know: Water pouches for hydration and caps are provided to all guests (for keeps) and day hiking packs stocked with lunch bags (and salad and fruit lunches) are provided for all and returned to Spicers at the end of the trip.
Tips: As well as the essential Spicers checklist allocated to guests before undertaking the 3 day trail, here are some further recommendations to make the walk easier and more enjoyable: invest in some lightweight long hiking pants from a store such as Kathmandu and pure woollen hiking socks. To assist with the hills, a proper hiking stick is recommended and makes all the difference in the feeling of surefootedness. Take some Vaseline to rub on the heels and toes before hiking each day – helps to prevent chafing.
Must Do Brisbane were guests of the Scenic Rim Trail by Spicers
Scenic Rim Trail
From $1490 pp