Why the five-day Scenic Rim Trail should be your next walking holiday
Walking holidays are highly addictive. The fresh air and the immersive nature experience are good for the soul, and of course, there’s the exercise you get, which hardly feels like a workout when you’re so busy taking in all that scenery and wildlife around you.
What the Scenic Rim Trail has over just any ol’ walking holiday is its diverse landscapes, the chance to see endangered animals in their natural habitat, its eco commitments and its suitability for every fitness level, with a little luxury thrown in for good measure. You are still on holidays, after all.
Here’s what you have to look forward to during your Spicers Scenic Rim Trail five-day ecotourism experience.
What to expect
Just 1.5 hours from Brisbane, and set in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, South East Queensland’s Scenic Rim is a pretty special corner of the world. And this five-day/five-night guided luxury walking tour has you trekking through 47 beautiful kilometres of it.
The existing walking track has been extended in 2020 from a two-day only option to a five-day adventure that allows you to explore parts of the Scenic Rim that were previously only touched by Indigenous Australians and early pioneers. You’ll set off from Mount Mistake and weave through parts of Main Range National Park, taking in sub-tropical rainforests, eucalypt forests, old logging trails, waterfalls and ancient volcanic terrain as you ascend and descend just a handful of the 40 mountain peaks here. Throw in sightings of endangered rock wallabies and ample flora lessons (the guides here really know their stuff) and you’re basically on the great Australian adventure.
You’ll also be pleased to know that groups are kept small, your package is all-inclusive and you don’t need to lug around your luggage as it’s portered for you daily.
Sleep in eco luxury
Two words you’ll be chuffed to hear after walking between seven and 18 kilometres per day: relaxed luxury. You can thank the two new sustainable eco-camps that combine with Spicers’ existing properties to make up a one-of-a-kind accommodation journey.
The walk starts at the recently renovated Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester and finishes at Spicers Hidden Peaks Cabins in Clumber, with all the luxuries of good food, plush king-size bedding and ensuite bathrooms in between. However, it’s the newest additions, Spicers Amphitheatre Eco Cabins and Spicers Timber Getters Eco Cabins, that will have you floating above the forest floor in a unique treehouse-like sleeping “eco pod” with a private balcony and magical views to boot.
As for the refuelling? The daily menus (including a cooked breakfast and dinner at each lodging; and a packed morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea on the trails) are designed by Ash Martin, the head chef at Spicers Retreats’ hatted Homage restaurant. Think wholesome and hearty dishes made from ingredients grown in Homage’s own garden and orchard or sourced from producers down the road that follow a paddock-to-plate philosophy, plus all-inclusive tipples to reward your tramping efforts.
Good for the environment
While your comfort is of the utmost importance, great care has also been taken to ensure Spicers’ structures make a positive impact on the environment in the long-run.
Your showers might be timed (four minutes and counting), but the feel-good factor is a big drawcard to this tour for any eco-conscious traveller. Sustainability is as king-sized as the beds, with the use of carefully-sourced and recyclable building materials, and low water-use toilets among the initiatives.
If you don’t arrive with a bursting appreciation for Queensland’s bushland beauty and history, you’ll certainly leave with a heaped dose of it. There are few worthier spots to ‘leave only footprints’ as you stand atop this spectacular trail and breathe in the fresh mountain air. It’s not called Scenic for nothing.
Highlights from your Scenic Rim Trail itinerary
After arriving at your starting point – the historic Hidden Vale – you’ll ease into your five days of nature with a tour of Spicers Hidden Vale’s own wildlife centre (in partnership with the University of Queensland) that helps rehabilitate and breed endangered animals, such as white checkered wallabies and Australian king parrots. In the evening, you’ll be treated to the flavours of the local area, cooked on the outside coal-fired kitchen. The rustic luxury retreat and hatted Homage restaurant have recently been renovated after the 99-year-old Homestead suffered a devastating fire in 2018. Following dinner, it’s time to retreat to your room for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, you begin your walk.
Today eases you into your Scenic Rim Trail adventure with a half-day seven kilometre hike up the Mistake Mountain Range. The slow ascent takes you through an open eucalyptus forest to reveal sweeping views. Along the way you may encounter endangered brush-tailed rock-wallabies, who live in the region. You’ll enjoy morning tea and lunch in picture-perfect locations, and by afternoon tea time, you will have arrived at your campsite for the night – the Spicers Mount Mistake Farmhouse. Wrap up the day with a chef-prepared dinner in the large dining room with your fellow adventurers.
The next day is a long one (eight hours, 18 kilometres), but the walk itself is easy and relatively flat. The Scenic Rim has one of the best vantage points in Queensland so today you’ll wake up early to catch the sunrise. Following breakfast, you’ll cross the border into the Main Range National Park. See remnants of old logging equipment from the 1900s and go ahead and tick off a World Heritage-listed site from your bucket list because you just entered the 180-million-year-old Gondwana Rainforest. Your accomodation for the night, the Spicers Amphitheatre Eco Cabins, are the perfect example of sustainable ingenuity that doesn’t compromise on luxury. Fall asleep to the sounds of the endangered Fleay’s barred frogs as they remind you that you’re truly deep within nature now.
Your fourth day covers just eight kilometres, but the hike is a little more tough and the terrain varied, including some steps, boulder-fringed walkways and an ancient eucalyptus forest. Under the cool cover of rainforest canopy, you’ll descend down into Dalrymple Creek where you can refill your water bottle from the mountain spring water that flows from the waterfall. Listen out for Albert’s lyrebirds, endangered eastern bristlebirds and vulnerable black-breasted button-quail on today’s journey.
You have a lot of ground to cover on your final day. Your 13-kilometre efforts will be rewarded with spectacular views over the collective farming towns of Fassifern Valley, a chance to see signs of the region’s volcanic history, and you’ll come across a monument in the name of botanist and explorer Allan Cunningham who was the first European to find and explore the area in 1828.
A gourmet dinner and a relaxing evening beside the fireplace in your rustic cabin is the perfect end to an unforgettables walk.
Five days just not long enough? The original two-day Spicers Scenic Rim Trail is a part of the Great Walks of Australia collection and can also be combined with the five-day tour for a seven-day exploration of the Scenic Rim.
The Spicers Scenic Rim Trail departs on Sundays between March and November.
Looking for more stunning walks around Queensland?
Lace up and try these on for size:
- Cooloola Great Walk
- Fraser Island Great Walk
- Mackay Highlands Great Walk
- Carnarvon Gorge day walks
- Stinson Walk in the Gold Coast Hinterland