Millions of years ago, the gigantic Tweed Volcano rocked South East Queensland, covering it in what would become some of the most fertile soil in Australia.
The valleys and hills, carefully carved by Mother Nature, give us today a perfect location for sampling food with the farmer, tasting wines in organic vineyards and spotting wildlife.
Within an hour’s drive from the Gold Coast and Brisbane, bush walking, adventure activities, festivals celebrating harvests and seasons, along with farm stays and quaint B&Bs, all combine to make the Scenic Rim well worth putting the keys in the car and exploring overnight.
Here’s a few places to whet your appetite.
Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavendar Farm
Travel down a country lane west of Boonah to Kooroomba. The first thing you will notice as you step out of the car is the delicate scent of lavender hanging in the air.
Kooroomba’s restaurant has commanding 180-degree views. Sample one of the many cuisines served by Chef Mark Naoum—who has been experimenting with local produce for 11 years—while you enjoy one of the award-winning wines. The building uses local stone from the property and there’s the lavender gift shop and fields to explore with resident kangaroos.
Twin Peaks Alpaca Picnic
This is a gem. Enjoy a picnic under the trees and feed the resident alpacas and llamas while owner Emma reveals many interesting facts about her growing herd. Either bring your own picnic or add in some local delights from the Scenic Rim Hampers shop after a tasting experience.
Top Tip: Emma makes hampers using local produce. You can pre-order or make a hamper while you are there—these are perfect gifts to take home.
Bunjurgen Estate Vineyard
A mere 10 kilometres south of Boonah meet David, who has planted 2,500 vines which now produce in excess of 10,000 bottles a year. David is proud of his eco-approach, with no insecticides or pesticides used. Picking at Bunjurgen Estate is done by hand to lessen berry trauma. You can drive or fly in, as the estate has a helicopter pad which is often included in the Heli Pub Crawl. Now that’s one to mark on your ‘to do’ list.
Classi di Cucina Italiana: Cooking School
What better way to experience the local cuisine than by learning to cook with it. Pietro and Desley Agnoletto’s Italian cooking school, Classi di Cucina Italiana, is another of the Scenic Rims’ hidden gems. Pietro’s intriguing tales form only part of your experience. At the end of your kneading, cutting and slicing, you will enjoy your reward and receive your recipe sheets to take home.
Top Tip: Allow time to view the sculptures in the garden.
The Dugandan Hotel
Only one kilometre west of Boonah is The Dugandan Hotel, or what the locals refer to as "The Dugie."
The doors were opened on this historic hotel in the 1800s as a general store. Local farmers call in regularly to have a beverage on their way home from the markets or stock sales. Meals are served seven days a week.
Where To Stay
There are a variety of options for accommodation, from camping along gurgling creeks to B&B’s, farm stays and eco resorts.
Meet farmer Doug at Lillydale Farm Stay, an award-winning farm stay that is still a working farm. Day visitors are welcome. We recommend you book in advance to ensure some activities, like horse riding and milking the cows, are available as farmer Doug may be busy running the farm. Rooms include an eco-cabin and homestead accommodation.
The award-winning eco property, Mount Barney Lodge, offers camping and accommodation options at the foot of Mount Barney, a spectacular location for bushwalkers and nature lovers.