A food lover’s long weekend guide to the Scenic Rim
It doesn’t take long to uncover some of the state’s best kept local secrets. The Scenic Rim and surrounding regions are home to some of South East Queensland’s premier food and beverage experiences, tucked into the hillside within an hour’s drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
The kind of place you can tuck into a home-made apple pie for morning tea and sip on wines of the local vineyards by lunch. There’s a sense of space. There’s an appreciation for local ingredients. There’s a rich culture, and even richer community. Most importantly, there’s an entire long weekend in Scenic Rim to be savoured.
From the natural beauty of the century-old volcanic mountains and valleys, to the award-winning regional produce, and every country charm in between, there’s something to be enjoyed for every food enthusiast while winding your way through a long weekend in Scenic Rim.
A thirst for experience at Scenic Rim Brewery
A little destination packed with Scenic Rim personality and nestled into the picturesque town of Mount Alford is the Scenic Rim Brewery & Café, a local haunt that will give you a taste of the region before you’ve barely ventured through it. One trip to Mike and Wendy’s beloved brewery will leave your heart full and warm, as they share their journey with you about the place they love and call home, in a way it’s best shared, over a beer and a bite to eat.
The perfect destination to enjoy with another, this heritage-listed old general store is the humble beginning to a food adventure that connects you to the land it’s inspired by. Taste test beers with quintessentially Queensland brew names like Shazza and treat yourself to a bite or two off their Dutch-inspired menu.
Set off for Kooroomba Vineyard & Lavender Farm
With something to tantalise each of your senses, there’s few places as unique as Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm to stop in on your long weekend in Scenic Rim. After your morning of fresh country air you’ll be sure to have worked up an appetite for the fare on offer for lunch.
While seasonal local produce is prominent on the menu, it’s of course lavender that features the leading role, with dishes like lavender honey glazed duck breast and a lavender ice cream with macadamia nut crumb. There’s nothing quite like the joy of letting your taste buds dabble in something a little different.
You’ll also find a cellar door and lavender shop here, all overlooking six acres of vineyards, fields of lavender, and of course, Scenic Rim range views that speak for themselves.
Nature waits for you at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat
Take the scenic drive towards your rainforest escape for the night (insider tip: keep an eye out for Dale Mahoney’s iconic potato stall on Coburg Road).
Feel worlds away from cityscapes and busy streets amidst the World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park and spend a fulfilling slice of time at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat. A quaint expression of Gold Coast hinterland, this proudly third generation family operated experience will have you exploring peaceful walking trails, guided bird walks, Segway tours and the renowned Tree Top Walk.
O’Reilly’s have been pioneers of eco-tourism in Australia since 1926 and have built a reputation for merging luxury comfort with adventurous activities that will have you whiling your time with them with as much or as little action as you seek. A family-friendly place to rest your head, stay in cosy serviced accommodating at the Retreat with expansive views overlooking the western McPherson Ranges, or one of 48 self-contained and architecturally designed villas, perched upon the sloping hillside.
A quaint slice of Queensland dished up at Binna Burra Kitchen
Wake up slow or take a leisurely morning walk through the greenery at O’Reilly’s, then point your bonnet towards lunch (perhaps stopping by Canungra for a coffee and a bite on the way).
Set within the walls of an old headmasters building on the old Beechmont school grounds, Binna Burra Kitchen at Headmasters Café is humble little venue with plenty of Queensland flavour. This unique venue is home to views that stretch from Northern Gold Coast all the way down to Tweed Heads – making it a popular stop for locals and savvy tourists alike.
Only 20 minutes from the Gold Coast, and open for breakfast and lunch, this is the perfect little day start to any foodie’s long weekend in Scenic Rim. After losing much of the Lodge to the 2019 bushfires, all proceeds from your visit to the Kitchen and Café go directly to assisting the rebuild and recovery of Binna Burra’s famous heritage-listed Lodge – the heart and history of the Gold Coast Hinterland, and the first Australian property to attain the internationally recognised Green Globe Certification for its best practice environmental performance.
Settle in for a night at Pethers Rainforest Retreat
Let Mother Nature put on a show as you watch the sunset light dapple through the greenery from Pethers Rainforest Retreat, the ultimate escape from everyday life. This unique and tranquil adults-only lodge offers a sense of escape and peace that few places this close to a major city could offer, complete with every luxury comfort after a day of eating and drinking your way around the region.
Guests can stay in one of ten private treehouses set amidst lush sub-tropical rainforest brimming with native Australian flora and fauna, and are offered a truly luxurious and sensory experience.
The Pethers dining experience for your Scenic Rim long weekend
Enjoy your evening meal at Pethers Rainforest Restaurant, a graceful dining room within the Retreat that sources much of its ingredients from within the region, transforming it into a modern contemporary Australian cruise that will hit the spot nicely to finish your day.
Head chef Obie Faulkner’s ethos revolves around showcasing the best of local and seasonal produce, making for a completely immersive and exceptional dining experience.
Get to know Tamborine Mountain
Familiarise yourself with the area and take the journey up on of Witches Falls walking tracks, a gentle hike through the Heritage-listed rainforest which is appropriate for most fitness levels. Take the five-minute drive up the road to Cedar Creek Estate where you can witness a natural glow worm habitat, taking a tour through damp, purpose-built caves – an initiative that helps support and ensure their survival, and Queensland’s only opportunity to see glow worms during the day.
There’s no age limit for enjoying adventure and activities, and there’s certainly no shortage of those on Tamborine Mountain, with plenty to be enjoyed from Tree Top ropes challenge, to dips in local Cedar Creek watering holes, or even fossicking for Thunder Eggs with your family at the mountain’s famous Thunderbird Park.
Fall for the region’s wine and cosy cottages at Witches Falls
Tamborine Mountain is home to some of Queensland’s most spectacular features – accessible rainforest walks, waterfalls, community events, adventurous activities and climbs, along with some of the regions most beautiful vineyards and cottages, a favourite among them being Witches Falls. Follow the ridgeline of the incredible landscape back toward the coast until you reach the peak of Tamborine Mountain where Witches Falls Winery sits.
Get to know their signature drops with a tasting paddle, or order ahead of time to indulge in a local platter full of deli-favourites and Jambreen cheeses for you to enjoy on the grounds.
Settle in for the night in the sweet secluded hideaway, Witches Falls Cottages, a string of gorgeous stone villas that accommodate intimate getaways for travelling couples. Surrounded by shrubland, but feeling miles from civilisation, sink into a luxury night away with a loved one complete with fireplace, spa, and continental breakfast baskets to cook up the following morning. Interact with the local wildlife and enjoy being greeted by birds that call the neighbouring trees and rainforest home.
Mark your diary for Scenic Rim Eat Local Week
The ultimate Scenic Rim event for those looking to explore more local food and produce, Scenic Rim Eat Local Week is an opportunity for the region to showcase its many incredible offerings across a week of eating, drinking and mingling. Queenslanders and tourists flock to the Scenic Rim to dine their way around a region that offers personality, flavour and heart in everything they do.
Mark your diary for the end of June to support and take part in this quintessential Scenic Rim event, where you can better get to know the diverse cultural and artistic community.
Learn more about the Scenic Rim region here.